Singapore Financial Regulator Updates Guide to Digital Token Offerings

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published new guidelines pertaining to digital token offerings. The document provides additional clarity on the regulatory requirements for intermediaries that facilitate them, while highlighting the reporting obligations of entities offering capital markets products that are not classified as securities.

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The guidelines state that offerings of digital tokens are categorized as “capital markets products” under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA). The document also states that MAS will determine compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) requirements for offerings of capital markets products.

Capital markets products are described as “any securities, units in a collective investment scheme, derivatives contracts and spot foreign exchange contracts for purposes of leveraged foreign exchange trading.” Any entity that offers capital markets products will be required to submit a prospectus in accordance with SFA requirements.

Exemptions From Prospectus Requirements

However, the new guidelines state that an offering may be exempt from prospectus requirements under certain circumstances. Subject to conditions, MAS states that an offering may not require a prospectus if it is a “small personal offer” that does not exceed the equivalent of 5 million Singapore dollars ($3.66 million) within any 12-month period. Exemptions will also be made for any “private placement offer” to up to 50 people within a 12-month period, as well as for offers solely targeted at institutional or accredited investors. However, MAS states that any exemptions for small personal offers, private placements or offers to accredited investors will still be subject to advertising restrictions.

Rules for Intermediaries Offering Tokens

MAS states that it has observed several types of intermediaries that “facilitate offers or issues of digital tokens.” Such intermediaries include platforms on which one or more entities “make primary offers or issues of digital tokens,” as well as any individual who operates “a platform at which digital tokens are traded.” People who operate said platforms could be deemed to be engaged in regulated activities and will be required to hold a capital markets services license.

The guidelines also state that any person who “provides financial advice in respect of any digital tokens” as an intermediary must secure a financial adviser’s license. The same expectations will apply to any person who “provides any financial advice in Singapore in respect of any digital token that is an investment product.” In addition, the regulator says that anyone based in a foreign jurisdiction who engages in activities designed to influence citizens of Singapore through financial advisory services will be “deemed to be acting as a financial adviser” in the city-state.

Do you think that other nations will adopt similar guidelines for digital token offerings to Singapore? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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