The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched COSMIC, the “COllaborative Sharing of Money Laundering and terrorism financing Information and Cases”. 

COSMIC is a centralised digital platform to facilitate customer information sharing among financial institutions (FIs) with the intent of combatting global money laundering (ML), terrorism financing (TF), and proliferation financing (PF). 

The platform facilitates proactive information sharing among FIs by allowing one that detects suspicious activities – such as meeting or exceeding defined thresholds of red flag indicators – to request or share information with other FIs linked to the customer or transaction. 

Financial institutions participating on COSMIC may only share customer information with another participating FI if that customer’s profile has displayed indicators of suspicious activity.

Legislation that set out the legal basis and safeguards for such sharing – the Financial Services and Markets (Amendment) Act (FSMA) 2023 – commenced on the same day the platform launched.

Under the FSMA, participating financial institutions must also have policies and operational safeguards in place to protect the confidentiality of information shared. 

The combination of this platform and legislation will help to balance the need to share information on potential criminal behaviour with the importance of safeguarding the interests of legitimate customers.

Before sharing information within COSMIC, FIs are encouraged to asses if the customer behaviour warrants concern, allow the customer to explain any seemingly anomalous behaviour, and consider information sources beyond the platform itself to gain a holistic understanding.

Customers are encouraged to continue providing timely responses if FIs request to clarify their risk profiles or transactions so that FIs can make informed risk assessments.

Loo Siew Yee, assistant managing director (policy, payments, and financial crime) at MAS, said: “COSMIC will enable FIs to warn each other of suspicious activities and make more informed risk assessments on a timely basis. 

“It complements the industry’s existing close collaboration with MAS and law enforcement authorities to combat financial crime. This will strengthen Singapore’s capabilities to uphold our reputation as a well-regulated and trusted financial centre.”

COSMIC was co-developed by MAS and six major commercial banks in Singapore, which will be the participant FIs on COSMIC during its initial phase: DBS, OCBC, UOB, Citibank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank.  

Information sharing is currently voluntary and focused on three key financial crime risks in commercial banking: misuse of legal persons, misuse of trade finance for illicit purposes, and proliferation financing.