On 2 April 2013, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued the Notice on Risk-based Capital Adequacy Requirements for Holders of Capital Markets Services Licences ("Notice") to expand the application of a risk-based capital ("RBC") framework for licensed Singapore fund management companies ("FMCs") with a new unified RBC regime.
The Notice establishes the methodology which a holder of a capital markets services ("CMS") licence shall use to calculate its financial resources and total risk requirement.
The Notice takes effect on 3 April 2013. There is a 24-month transition period to comply with the revised RBC framework for existing CMS licence holders, exempt fund managers, and registered Singapore fund management companies that are in operation as at 3 April 2013, and those which are granted CMS licences to carry out the regulated activity of fund management in Singapore within 24 months after 3 April 2013. There is also a 6-month transition period to comply with the revised RBC framework for the definition of base capital.
In April 2012, MAS issued a consultation paper on "Proposed Revisions to the Regulatory Capital Framework for Holders of Capital Markets Services Licences" (the "Consultation Paper"). The Consultation Paper invited comments on the proposed changes to the existing regulatory capital framework so as to align it across licence holders in Divisions 1, 2, and 3 under the Securities and Futures (Financial and Margin Requirements for Holders of Capital Markets Services Licences) Regulations ("SFR(FMR)") arising from MAS' ongoing review. Licence holders solely involved in the regulated activity of fund management belonged to Division 3 and were subject to a simplified RBC framework.
MAS' response to feedback received from Consultation Paper
On 2 April 2013, the MAS issued its response to feedback received from the Consultation Paper. The following are some of the more significant changes:
Financial resources have to be 120% or more at all times. Financial resources comprise base capital and other forms of capital, less deductions.
- Non-inclusion of interim profits as base capital:
Unaudited interim profits will continue to be excluded from the base capital computation to ensure the quality of base capital, taking into consideration that these may be unrealised.
- Preference share capital:
Some respondents suggested that the limit for irredeemable and cumulative preference share capital, and redeemable preference share capital recognised in financial resources be increased from the proposed aggregate limit of 100% of base capital. The MAS maintained the aggregate limit of 100% due to their lower loss absorption capability.
- Illiquidity adjustments:
In the Consultation Paper and now under the new RBC framework, the licensed FMCs need not deduct non-current assets, assets not convertible to cash within 30 days and receivables from related companies that are due to be repaid within 90 days, from financial resources, unlike other CMS licence holders. These deductions from financial resources largely seek to address liquidity risks. Some respondents suggested that this application be extended to CMS licence holders that advise on corporate finance, provide custodian services for securities, deal in securities (as limited activity licensees) or trade in futures contracts (as limited activity licensees). The MAS agreed and has amended the relevant paragraphs in the SFR(FMR) to apply to the above licensees and those that carry out a combination of the above.
Adjusted assets threshold. This is a new criteria introduced for all licensed FMCs. If the adjusted assets threshold is breached, the licensed FMC would have to account for other components such as counterparty and position risk in addition to operational risk for their total risk requirement calculation.
- Recalibration of threshold:
Respondents commented that the limit based on ten times of the base capital requirement was inconsistent with the lower base capital requirement applicable to licence holders that engaged in activities considered to be of lower risk. The MAS agreed and replaced the requirement of ten times of the base capital with a $10 million threshold. Thus all licensed FMCs have to assess their average adjusted assets at the end of each financial quarter to determine if it exceeds the lower of either (i) $10 million; or (ii) five times of its positive financial resources. If the average adjusted assets fall below the threshold, the licensed FMC will only have to compute the total risk requirement as the operational risk requirement (and any other risk requirements that the MAS may impose).
- Frequency of computation:
Some respondents were concerned about the efforts required for the proposed weekly computation. The MAS agreed that the adjusted assets be measured based on an average of monthly adjusted assets in a quarter.
How RSM Chio Lim LLP and RSM Ethos can help?
As with all new regulations, the practical implications of this new RBC framework for the different types of FMCs may not be fully appreciated and many more questions would be raised after the effective date. However, it is clear that most licensed FMCs will need to spend more time and resources in ensuring compliance with and seeking clarification for the new RBC regime. The directors and CEOs will also have to take greater responsibility and accountability. We thus recommend that we are engaged early to work out the possible solutions in financial audit, regulatory compliance advisory, risk management advisory and internal audit. We believe we have the expertise and experience to assist you and share our expertise to free up your time and resources from the new RBC regulatory requirements.
Author and Contributor:
Lock Chee Wee, Audit Director of RSM Chio Lim
The links to the abovementioned references are as follows:
Notice on Risk-based Capital Adequacy Requirements for Holders of Capital Markets Services Licences [Notice No. SFA 04-N13]
Consultation Paper On Proposed Revisions to the Regulatory Capital Framework for Holders of Capital Markets Services Licences dated 3 April 2012