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What does a company secretary do in Singapore?

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A corporate secretary (or company secretary) is responsible for looking after the administration work of a company efficiently. He or she is tasked with keeping the company compliant with the statutory and regulatory requirements of the company and being a mediator between shareholders and directors.

A corporate secretary must  be a natural person resident of Singapore – eg a citizen or a permanent resident – although the reason is not explicitly stated, it’s likely due to the requirement to be familiar with Singapore company law as well as remaining available to regulatory bodies if there are any issues with the company.

So why is a corporate secretary important, anyway?

A corporate secretary acts as the backbone of the company when it comes to keeping up with legal compliance. With their extensive knowledge about the internal governance of the company, they are often relied upon for advice and solutions for example if there is an internal conflict between stakeholders & directors, a corporate secretary will often step in to mediate.

 

Being a corporate secretary does not only mean filing and staying compliant with the main regulatory body, Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). A good corporate secretary will ensure best practice when it comes to corporate governance, regularly communicate with shareholders and directors on company matters, and ensure that the interests of the company are protected at all times.

 

It includes, among others, ensuring compliance with the company’s Constitution, keeping and maintaining the statutory registers of the company, supervising the issue of share capital and restructuring.

Statutory compliance with ACRA

ACRA is the national regulator of business entities, public accounts and corporate service providers in Singapore. A corporate secretary is in charge of ACRA related compliance work to ensure everything is in order. Here are the typical activities a corporate secretary can be involved in:

Filing annual returns

Every company incorporated in Singapore is required to file its annual return with ACRA within 7 months from its financial year end via an online portal called Bizfile.

(read here to find out more about the requirement to submit audited financial statements)

 

A corporate secretary has to be mindful and efficient when it comes to punctuality.  Every document has to be filed on time.

 

(Need tips on filing your annual returns? We have created a guide for you.)

Preparing the Annual General Meeting

Every company incorporated in Singapore is required to hold an annual general meeting within 6 months from its financial year end (unless it has dispensed with the holding of AGM or if it is exempted). The company secretary’s role is to assist the company to facilitate the annual general meeting as well as prepare all relevant documents relating to the approval of financial statements, convening of AGM, re-election of Directors and more.

Changing company details

A corporate secretary is also in charge of updating a company’s particulars and details on ACRA as well as preparing all corporate documents relating to these changes for the Directors and/or Shareholders’ approval. Few examples of changes that a corporate secretary has to make are listed below.

 

#1 Change of company name

 

If the company decides to change its registered name, a corporate secretary has to apply for approval with the proposed company name chosen.

 

#2 Change in registered office address

 

If your company’s registered office address has changed, a corporate secretary must notify ACRA within 14 days from when the change has taken place.

 

#3 Appointment/cessation of company officers & change in personal particulars

 

Company officers cover – directors, corporate secretaries, auditors and CEO (only if he/she is listed on ACRA).

Where there is a change in particulars or if company officers are changed, the company’s corporate secretary needs to inform ACRA within 14 days from when the change has taken place. The details required to be filed with ACRA for each officer is set out below-

  • Particulars of directors
  • Identification number
  • Nationality
  • Residential address
  • Contact number
  • Email address
  • Position held
  • Appointment/cessation date
  • Date of birth

To avoid money laundering and the financing of terrorism, ACRA has made it mandatory to obtain – Know your customer (KYC) proof from company officers before submitting the above information.

Next steps

Sleek was made by entrepreneurs who were sick of second-rate company secretaries. If you’re interested in a corporate services company that is transparent, efficient, and innovative, get in touch.

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