Alarm raised over Standard Chartered's Singapore asset transfer

Standard Chartered is today reported to be under investigation over £1.4bn of private bank client assets transferred from Singapore to Guernsey ahead of a deadline introducing new tax transparency rules.

The news service reported that the United Kingdom regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is "aware of the transfers" but that it is not "currently reviewing them". Britain's Financial Conduct Authority, StanChart's home regulator, is aware of the transfers, but is not now reviewing them, a person familiar with the matter said. StanChart shuttered its operations on the island past year.

Standard Chartered was said to have raised the flag itself after employees said they had concerns about whether the funds had been properly vetted.

The regulator is not believed to have suggested any collusion between bank employees and clients.

The transfers were approved by StanChart's financial crime compliance team after a review, they said.

The timing of the transfer in the second half of 2015 also pre-dated the introduction of Common Reporting Standards (CRS) in Guernsey created to boost transparency.

Guernsey, Singapore and the United Kingdom have all signed up to the standard, which means countries share annual reports about accounts owned by people who have to pay taxes in each member nation. Britain, Guernsey and Singapore have all signed up, but Guernsey implemented the rules ahead of Singapore.

Singapore did not enforce the CRS until the start of this year, and will not exchange any tax information until next year.

The banking and financial services firm announced it would eventually be closing its Guernsey branch in July 2016, and moving its trust business to Singapore.

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