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Report: StanChart under regulatory scrutiny over US$1.4B of client transfers

Standard Chartered Plc is under scrutiny from regulators over the role its staff played in transferring US$1.4 billion of assets from Guernsey to Singapore, Bloomberg News reported Oct. 5, citing "people with knowledge of the probes".

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, or MAS, and Guernsey's Financial Services Commission are investigating a series of events that led to the transfer of US$1.4 billion assets of private bank clients held in Standard Chartered's Guernsey trust unit, primarily for Indonesian clients, before the Channel Island adopted the Common Reporting Standard, a global framework for the exchange of tax data at the start of 2016. The assets were moved in late 2015.

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA, is not currently reviewing the transfers, though it is aware of them, according to "one person familiar with the matter."

The Singapore and Guernsey regulators are reviewing the bank's processes and the way the transfers were handled, but they have not suggested that bank employees worked with clients to avoid the tax law, the people added.

The bank has also reportedly conducted its own investigation into the matter, with a focus on whether it had adequately examined the source of customer funds and performed "know your client" due diligence, the sources said. Employees of the trust in Guernsey and bankers in Singapore flagged the asset transfers after noting the sudden requests in what had been static accounts. The transfers were approved by Standard Chartered's financial crime compliance team after a review, "people familiar with the timeline" said.

Standard Chartered declined to comment on the matter to S&P Global Market Intelligence, while MAS did not respond before publication.

Dale Holmes, secretary of the Guernsey regulator who acts as a spokesman, along with the MAS and FCA, also declined to comment to Bloomberg.