Ravi Menon’s rise in global profile outshines 1MDB casualties

Picture Credit: MAS

Despite a contamination of the 1MDB scandal on a global scale, swift action by Monetary Authority of Singapore imposing stricter measures and some fines to the culprits – some of whom are behind bars – brought its managing director to fame.

MAS announced Ravi Menon has been re-appointed as a member of the board of directors and as managing director for a further term of two years.

His re-appointment comes as no surprise to the market and the financial world.

“Menon has seen his global profile rise in recent times albeit on the back of a flurry of unsavoury events around the Malaysian wealth fund1MDB,” said Fin News Asia.

The portal said it is hard to see how any other regulator could have done more to punish the miscreants while keeping the playing field level and stable for those who had not transgressed.

It blasted Malaysia for the lack of action on the tainted fund saying it speaks volumes “on why Singapore continues to attract banks, funds, external asset managers and those who support them.”

However, Ravi Menon is credited for MAS being a keen and consistent supporter and early adopter of financial technology also called Fintech.

“Menon recognised the value of the technology to the city-state and has supported the growth of fintech in Singapore which is now recognised as one of the leading global fintech hubs,” said Fin News Asia.

1MDB made several casualties in Singapore’s financial market, including Goldman Sachs’ local chief Tim Leissner who can be considered as the major high profile financial personality to have suffered the sting from the Singaporean regulator.

In the past few months, two banks closed down in Singapore and numerous regulatory actions against some of the worlds biggest names in wealth management were taken.

Credit Suisse and the local lender United Overseas Bank (UOB) joined a long list of banking heavyweights who have been sullied by the sordid episode, including Falcon Private Bank and the now deceased Banca della Svizzera Italiana (BSI).

These are banks associated with the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) global scandal and join DBS, UBS, Standard Chartered and Coutts among those fined.

Menon, speaking on the 1MDB scandal, said: “The two-year long 1MDB-related review holds key lessons for both MAS and financial institutions in Singapore.

“MAS has enhanced its AML surveillance and taken unprecedented enforcement actions against errant institutions and individuals.”

He added that financial institutions have increased their risk awareness and strengthened their AML controls.

“Our financial industry is in a better position today than it was when the abuses stemming from the 1MDB-related flows took place.

“The price for keeping our financial centre clean as it grows in size and inter-connectedness is unstinting vigilance,» Menon said.