COSMIC AML Platform May Expand Beyond Banking, Says Deputy PM Wong

COSMIC AML Platform May Expand Beyond Banking, Says Deputy PM Wong

by May 8, 2024

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Lawrence Wong, discussed the potential expansion of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) anti-money laundering platform, COSMIC, to non-banking sectors in a recent response to a parliamentary question.

COSMIC, which stands for Collaborative Sharing of Money Laundering/Terrorism Financing Information and Cases, is currently utilised by participating banks to enhance the detection and prevention of significant financial crimes through shared customer information.

The question raised in parliament inquired whether COSMIC could be adapted for use by “gatekeepers” such as law firms, trust and company service providers, and accounting firms.

This adaptation would aim to bolster these gatekeepers’ capabilities in detecting and deterring criminal activities.

Wong explained that COSMIC is specifically designed to address the risk of criminals exploiting information silos within banks to facilitate illicit transactions.

The platform ensures that activities across the banking sector can be effectively detected and disrupted.

He highlighted that any expansion of COSMIC would need to consider the balance between information sharing and customer confidentiality, and that the current focus is on perfecting this balance within the banking sector.

The deployment of COSMIC began with six major commercial banks – DBS, OCBC, UOB, Citibank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank – under a phased approach.

MAS plans to evaluate the success of these initial phases before considering an expansion to include other sectors of the financial industry.

Wong indicated that while there is potential to explore the applicability of the COSMIC model to other sectors, the priority remains on ensuring the platform’s effectiveness within banks before extending it to other areas.

This careful, phased approach aims to build confidence in the system’s governance and the safeguarding of shared information.