Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers, a group of highly-developed economies in Asia which includes Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Republic of Singapore. The country is also known for being the most business-friendly economy in the world. Needless to say, they’ve made Singapore company registration quick and very efficient as it does not involve any unnecessary paperwork.
Local and foreign businessmen who want to start and operate a company in the country must comply with Singapore’s ongoing regulations on Singapore company formation. Here are some useful things to consider before seeking company registration or incorporation in the country.
1. Foreign businessmen who want to branch out and operate a company in Singapore must employ the services of a professional firm in compliance with Singapore law. The Singapore Companies Act prohibits foreign businessmen from self-registering their company.
2. A new company’s name, i.e. a non-existent foreign company, must first be approved by the SCA before incorporation occurs. Name approval only takes an hour as long as it is not referred for review and approval by any external authority.
3. The prescribed person or professional firm appointed to register the company must submit the required memorandum and articles of the company’s proposal and other documents to the Registrar of Companies. The Registrar provides a standard MAA (Memorandum and Articles of Association) document for such purpose.
4. Once the company name is approved, a prescribed registration fee of S$300 is payable to the Registrar.
5. For a company to qualify for Singapore company registration, its director must be a citizen of Singapore, permanent resident, a foreigner with an EntrePass (Entrepreneur Pass), Employment Pass, or work visa permit. Moreover, the director must be 18 years old and above to be able to start and register a company in the country.
6. A foreigner who wants to set-up a company but is not relocating to the country do not need to obtain any Singapore visa as he can appoint a local resident as the company’s director. The foreign company owner or director can attend company meetings using a standard tourist or visitor visa. If the foreign director wants to manage the company himself, he must first obtain the necessary work permit, i.e. EntrePass or Employment Pass.
7. While the SCA requires only one company member upon company registration, the director/shareholder cannot act as the company secretary. The company must have a company secretary within 6 months after the company’s incorporation and he/she must be a citizen or resident of Singapore.
8. The director and shareholder do not necessarily have to be two different individuals, meaning the director can also be the shareholder. Furthermore, a shareholder taking part in the company can be a person, another company or legal entity, or trust.
9. Assuming all documents are completed and approved by the Registrar of Companies, the incorporation can be done in 1-2 days.
10. After approval, the Singapore Company Registrar will send the Certificate of Incorporation through email. This same email includes the company’s registration number and can be used to open a bank account in any major banks in Singapore. A hard copy is available upon request and can be collected next day in the SCR’s office.
Both local and foreign businessmen are encouraged to seek the services of a professional firm who is well-acquainted with Singapore laws. A professional firm provides special services like Singapore company setup, providing a local director for foreign company owners, accounting, and legislative administration services both for the company and the shareholders.