Before registering your company in Singapore, you need to understand the legal requirements of setting up a business to ensure preparedness. In Singapore, after the registration and incorporation of a company, you are required to appoint a company secretary within six months. If at some point the company secretary chooses to leave the company, this position should not be vacant for more than six months after.
If you are the sole proprietor of the company, you cannot be the company secretary. You will need to appoint someone else to the position. However, if your company has more than one Director, and if that Director has the qualifications and skills to work as the company secretary, he or she can occupy this position.
It is imperative to look into the responsibilities and duties of a corporate secretary before appointing one. If you’ll be both a Director and company secretary, can you comfortably fulfil the obligations of both offices for the full duration of the company? If you are overwhelmed, it is best to consider someone else for the position or to consider outsourcing that role.
What makes a corporate secretary so crucial that this position is a legal requirement in Singapore? All companies in Singapore should run abiding to the legal authorities in Singapore, irrespective of the industry within which it operates. A corporate secretary ensures that the company follows governing regulations and that no laws are broken, knowingly or unknowingly.
As a company grows, most Directors are involved in strategy planning matters such as improving productivity, increasing efficiency and building the brand of the company. A corporate secretary’s main responsibilities are meeting corporate governance requirements, compliance with the rules, and to ensure that the board meets as often as is necessary. For example, all companies are required to file their audited accounts for the year within a specific period. Any delays or failure to file taxes will attract a penalty that may be a devastating blow to any business. It is the job of the corporate secretary to ensure that the company remains compliant.
If there are changes in the company’s structure, such as n increase in shareholders or a change of address, the corporate secretary should notify the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) as due diligence for the company.
All companies need to appoint a corporate secretary. However, companies may not follow the same approach in the appointment process. The Companies Act gives a list of requirements to guide companies as they select a corporate secretary that is best suited for the position. However, while some choose to have a full-time corporate secretary employee, others appoint consultants to manage the secretarial services on renewable short-term contracts.
Today, many companies offer corporate secretarial services to companies. The duties and responsibilities of a corporate secretary can sometimes be overwhelming for one person. Additionally, the hiring process can be a tough and tedious one due to the qualifications and requirements set out by the government concerning the role. It is easier to look for a company offering secretarial services because they possess trained consultants and staff with the qualifications, skills, and experience to fulfil the obligations of a corporate secretary no matter the industry.
Read more about the Corporate Secretarial Services offered here.