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September 13, 2023

Qualifications and Requirements of a Company Secretary in Singapore

A company secretary in Singapore plays an essential part in every business operation. As a professional responsible for ensuring a company’s compliance with all its legal and regulatory requirements, the role of a company secretary is vital in maintaining the integrity and transparency of any Singapore-registered enterprise. That said, reliable company secretary services are non-negotiable when it comes to starting a company in one of Southeast Asia’s biggest economic centres.

The Companies Act governs the role of a company secretary. Specific qualifications and requirements must be met by anyone or considered by a business seeking a company secretary in Singapore. In this blog, we will explore the qualifications and requirements of a company secretary in Singapore.

To become a company Secretary in Singapore, certain qualifications and requirements must be met. These include:

Professional Qualifications

To qualify as a company secretary in Singapore, certain requirements must be met. Firstly, the individual must be a local resident, which includes being a Singapore resident, permanent resident, dependant, or Employment Pass holder. Additionally, they should possess a good understanding of the Singapore Companies Act.

According to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), the company secretary should have one of the following qualifications:

  • a minimum of three years of secretarial experience within the past five years before being appointed as a public company’s secretary;
  • registration as a public accountant under the Accountants Act, Cap. 2;
  • recognition as a qualified person under the Legal Profession Act, Cap. 161;
  • membership in the Singapore Association of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators;
  • membership in the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore;
  • membership in the Institute of Company Accountants, Singapore; and
  • membership in the Association of International Accountants (Singapore Branch).

These qualifications ensure that the company secretary is knowledgeable and capable of fulfilling their duties effectively.

Chartered Secretary

Another recognised qualification is the Chartered Secretary (CS) qualification, awarded by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA). The CS qualification is recognised in Singapore and is a popular choice for those seeking to become a company secretary. The CS qualification provides candidates with a broad understanding of corporate governance, company law, and compliance. Candidates with the CS qualification may be well suited for the role of a company secretary as they have a comprehensive understanding of a company’s legal and regulatory requirements.

In addition to the qualifications mentioned earlier, other professional qualifications may be recognised by the relevant authorities in Singapore. These include the Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification awarded by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification.

Relevant Experience

Professional qualifications are an essential requirement for a company secretary in Singapore. However, as well as a recognised professional qualification, relevant experience is also crucial. A company secretary should have broad expertise, including corporate governance, company law, and compliance.

One way to gain relevant experience is by working in a corporate secretarial role. In such a role, a company secretary would provide advice on corporate governance matters, ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and maintain accurate and up-to-date company records. This experience provides a company secretary with an in-depth understanding of a company’s day-to-day operations and the legal and regulatory framework in which it operates.

In addition to work experience, other factors such as industry knowledge and a candidate’s ability to work under pressure are also essential. A company secretary must have a deep understanding of the industry in which their company operates and the specific legal and regulatory requirements that apply to their industry. They must also be able to work under pressure, as compliance deadlines can be tight, and the consequences of non-compliance can be severe.

Knowledge of Company Law and Regulations

A company secretary must have a comprehensive knowledge of company law and regulations to perform their duties effectively. The Companies Act is one of the primary areas of knowledge required for a company secretary. The Companies Act sets out the legal framework for companies in Singapore, including requirements for company registration, share capital, director and shareholder responsibilities, and company administration. A company secretary must have an in-depth understanding of the Companies Act to accurately advise the company’s board of directors and management.

In addition to the Companies Act, a company secretary must know other relevant legislation, such as the Securities and Futures Act and the Financial Advisers Act. These acts regulate the financial services industry in Singapore, including requirements for licensing and registration, disclosure requirements, and codes of conduct. A company secretary should be aware of the requirements of these acts to ensure the company complies with all relevant regulations.

The company secretary must also understand other regulations that may apply to the company. For example, data protection regulations such as the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) require companies to protect personal data and obtain consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal data. A company secretary must ensure compliance with these regulations to avoid legal or reputation risks.

Employment law is another area of knowledge required for a company secretary. This includes knowledge of the Employment Act, which sets out the minimum standards for employment in Singapore, including employment contracts, leave entitlements, and termination requirements. A company secretary should ensure that the company complies with employment law to protect the company’s and its employees’ interests.

Other Qualifications and Requirements of a Company Secretary in Singapore

Good Communication Skills

A company secretary must have excellent communication skills. This is because they must communicate with various stakeholders, including directors, shareholders, and regulators. A company secretary must be able to communicate complex legal and regulatory information clearly and concisely.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is essential for a company secretary. This is because they will maintain accurate and up-to-date company records, prepare board meeting agendas and minutes, and ensure that all legal and regulatory requirements are met. Any errors or omissions could seriously affect the company and its stakeholders.

September 28, 2022

An In-Depth Look at the Roles and Responsibilities of a Company Secretary in Singapore

Keeping track of your business goals can be challenging, with many things tagging along in starting and growing a company. For customer-oriented enterprises, excellent customer service and experience are the main focuses of most market leaders. But regardless of business type based on activities, well-thought-out professional support in place bridges the gap between mediocre and outstanding corporate performance. This makes a company secretary Singapore vital in providing expert assistance to different businesses in one of the most competitive economies in the world.

Roles of a Company Secretary in Keeping a Business on Top of their Game

No business is an exact copy of another. That said, every company in Singapore are not the same, and their needs also vary. Different tools, methods, or approaches are used to meet these needs. So, every corporate solution provider should tailor their services to resolve the issues at hand efficiently. Even professional business support, like company secretary services or the corporate secretary’s tasks, depends on the business they work in.

Below are some responsibilities of a company secretary in Singapore, according to ACRA. It is essential to note that this list does not include all roles a secretary carries out—only common secretarial tasks of most businesses. If a few secretarial duties you practice in your company are not on the list, it does not mean you have to make abrupt changes. As long as it works for your daily operations, it’s what matters most.

Maintaining and Updating Company’s Registers and Minutes Books

One of the many responsibilities of a company secretary is maintaining and updating the company’s registers. Registers, excluding the register of members for public companies, are maintained electronically by ACRA. Every time there are changes in the appointments or particulars of directors, auditors, CEOs, and even secretaries, the current company secretary must update this information within fourteen days from the date it has been changed through BizFile. The same goes for when there are changes to the company’s shareholders and share capital—the secretary has to file the appropriate share-related transactions on ACRA’s online filing and information retrieval system.

When it comes to minutes books, the company secretary should also maintain and update them regularly. Well-maintained minutes are crucial in making business decisions because they provide a written record of what has been discussed and agreed upon by the company’s members during previous business meetings. Avoid missing requested information, whether litigation, financing, audits, historical inquiry, transactions, and more, with a qualified company secretary at the helm of your business.

Administering, Attending, and Preparing Minutes of Meetings of Directors and Shareholders

Singapore companies must hold annual general meetings (AGM) unless exempted due to specific considerations. Before the AGM, the secretary must gather every document necessary for the members about the business’s health and performance. The company secretary is also in charge of administering and preparing minutes or meetings.

Without an efficient secretary at the forefront of your business, administrative duties will take more effort, time, and resources to carry out. An excellent secretary will take care of everything related to statutory compliance. And this keeps the business afloat in a saturated market like Singapore. Don’t cut yourself slack because the ever-changing business landscape will leave your company behind if it does not keep up with the competitors and market trends. All this is made more accessible through business support solutions, like company secretary services.

Keeping Company Directors Aware of Any Filings Required by ACRA

Keeping company directors aware of any filings ACRA requires is another duty of a company secretary. They are the ones who ensure that the business complies with the requirements set out by ACRA. A Singapore company that does not abide by the regulations mandated by the authorities is subject to penalty due to statutory breach. That is the last thing you would want to happen to your enterprise. Don’t let things come to this by hiring a qualified company secretary or getting secretarial services from reliable providers in Singapore.

Updating Directors and Shareholders on Changes in Corporate Regulations

When changes are made in corporate regulations, it is the company secretary’s job to update the directors and other appropriate members. Since they know the way around the business’s documents, secretaries understand the importance of keeping everyone in the company on the same page. Selecting the right company secretary in Singapore is crucial to its success. With the differences in business needs, hiring professional business support services should consider those that can keep up with the company’s phase.

Are You in Need of Company Secretary Services? Reach Out to ContactOne Today

Are you looking for professional support services to help with your company? ContactOne offers company secretary services that are worth the value for money. Check out other services by visiting our website, or you may also call us on +65 6333 0633 or +65 8666 3633. We would love to hear from you and assist you with anything we can provide.

September 28, 2022

4 Things to Keep in Mind Before Hiring Corporate Secretarial Services in Singapore

Are you planning to hire a company secretary or get company secretarial services? Whether the former or latter, there are some things to consider in preparing your business for the breakthrough it longs to have.

If you don’t know yet, many competitive businesses flocked to Singapore because of its friendliness in terms of starting a company, making the country one of the most saturated markets in the world. That is why everything requires careful consideration, including every business-related action taken. So, stick around and find out what to do before hiring company secretarial services and witness your enterprise succeed in every endeavour it takes.

What Should You Consider Before Hiring Company Secretarial Services?

Having a company secretary has many advantages, especially when it comes to complying with statutory requirements in Singapore. But before any business benefits from all this, it has to undergo a thorough process of choosing the best method of obtaining a corporate secretary or availing of secretarial services. Below are the things to consider before engaging in anything secretarial-related. Let’s get started!

Take Time to Understand the Roles of Corporate Secretarial Services

A company secretary carries out different tasks, including administrative, advisory, and fiduciary. Learning this yourself will help you understand the importance of having an in-house secretary or outsourcing corporate secretarial services from another firm. Find out more about the breadth of the role here:

  1. Administrative

    The main role of a corporate secretary in Singapore is to be ACRA’s primary point of contact. They ensure that the company complies with the statutory requirements mandated by the appropriate offices. A secretary, too, prepares the company’s AGMs and EGMs minutes, keeps the company registers updated, and files important documents with relevant organisations in Singapore.

  2. Advisory

    A company secretary can be considered an advisor to directors by providing practical advice necessary, including relevant information about legal and compliance practices. Company executives will be informed of this information through reporting and document compilation handled by the secretary.

  3. Fiduciary

    Besides communicating with ACRA and keeping executives up to date, a corporate secretary also keeps in touch with the shareholders to protect their business interests. With the timely financial statements prepared by the secretary, the stakeholders would see the bigger picture and understand the business projections comprehensively.

Acknowledge That Some Jobs Are Best Handled by a Professional

Not everyone can be a corporate secretary in Singapore because some guidelines have to be followed. For example, a person based overseas or the sole director of a company is not qualified to take on a secretarial job. Even if the company has more than one director, handing secretarial jobs to an executive officer is impractical.

Let’s say you know how to perform basic secretarial tasks. But in the long term, you will find it challenging to juggle more than one duty. This idea is only a waste of time and resources. Acknowledge that some jobs are best left to an expert’s care. When you hire a company secretary or outsource secretarial services, focusing on key business elements is easier. And you can grow your business more than ever.

Always Check Their Experience in Handling Secretarial Tasks

As a business, it is your obligation to find out the previous works and experiences of a company secretary or provider of secretarial services. Ask some questions if necessary, and dig deeper into customer feedback and reviews. This ensures that your secretary wouldn’t have difficulty handling a secretarial role in your company. Otherwise, you will be left doing all the work if things don’t go as expected.

For growing businesses, reliable secretarial services allow the owner to pay more attention to generating income rather than spending more time administering the company’s processes. Professional support is what a company needs to do better in every endeavour it takes.

Partner with Someone Who Moves at Your Phase

Although technologies make business operations more convenient, some are still stuck in the old ways of executing processes in their company. This will only lead to longer turnarounds and eventually result in delays. Always check if a secretary or service provider on your radar moves at your pace. The coordination of both parties makes no room for errors and repetitive work. In addition, utilise innovative ways to hasten business flow by digitising everything from signatures to processes.

Partner with ContactOne for Reliable Corporate Secretarial Services

Apart from what we mentioned in the list above, one more thing to consider when getting secretarial services is the cost. With ContactOne, you will no longer worry about hidden fees because what you avail is what you will pay for. Our founders don’t believe in sophisticated billing concepts. Previous clients have never been charged any of the following: Printing and Stationery Fees, Extra Annual Return Filing Fees, and Document Storage Fees.

Get in touch with us by calling +65 6333 0633 or +65 8666 3633. You may visit our website to learn more about the latest updates and deals!