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Singapore banks have limited exposure to Russia; MAS sends reminder to manage risks amid Ukraine crisis

Singapore banks have limited exposure to Russia; MAS sends reminder to manage risks amid Ukraine crisis

A file photo showing the Monetary Authority of Singapore building. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s banks have limited exposure to Russia, they said on Tuesday (Mar 1) after Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced that Singapore will impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The measures will include imposing export controls on items that can be used directly as weapons in Ukraine, as well as blocking certain Russian banks and financial transactions connected to Russia.

A DBS spokesperson said the bank will comply with all applicable sanctions. 

“Separately, we have minimal direct exposure to Russia, and consistent with our risk management obligations, have adjusted appetite for transactions consuming Russian exposure limits,” the spokesperson added. 

OCBC’s exposure to Russian entities is “not significant”, said its head of group brand and communications Koh Ching Ching. 

“Our business is predominately in Asia and our international branches serve mostly our network customers,” she added. 

UOB has “no direct exposure” to Russian banks, since it is focused on Southeast Asia, said its spokesperson. 

“We have earlier advised a handful of our clients with trade flows affected by potential sanctions to manage down their exposure accordingly,” the spokesperson added. 

In response to CNA queries, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it has sent a circular to all financial institutions in Singapore to remind them to manage risks associated with the situation in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by major jurisdictions. 

“FIs (financial institutions) should also continue to stay vigilant to any suspicious transactions or flow of funds, and apply enhanced customer due diligence in higher-risk situations,” the MAS spokesperson said. 
“FIs are aware of the heightened risks, and are taking appropriate measures to manage any legal, reputational and operational risks arising from the sanctions imposed by various jurisdictions.”

Source: CNA/hw(gs)