Overview of licences for financial institutions in Singapore

    Which financial businesses require a licence?

    The provision of financial services in Singapore or targeting of customers in Singapore requires a licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”). The licence required depends on the specific activity the financial institution is carrying out.

    The below list of activities focuses on the most common types of financial services in Singapore requiring a licence. It is not comprehensive.

    • Storing of Money • Lending of Money
    • Money Transfer Services
    • Dealing in Cryptocurrencies and Digital Tokens
    • Trading of Securities
    • Fund Management and Discretionary Asset Management
    • Financial Advice

    All financial institutions must be corporations maintaining a physical office in Singapore. The corporation applying for the licence as well as its substantial shareholders and key officers must be fit and proper.

    While the financial institution must put in place arrangements for its operations that are commensurate with the nature, scale, and complexity of its business, many functions of the business can be outsourced as long as the financial institution carries out the core activities itself.

    Along with these general licensing requirements, specific requirements must be met to obtain and maintain particular licences.

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