ACRA Proposed Legislative Changes to Ensure the Regulatory Environment for Business Remains Competitive and Robust | Denton


The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), which is the statutory body that regulates business registration, financial reporting, accountants and business service providers, is seeking comments from the public on proposed amendments to the Companies Act 1967 Act, Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority Act 2004 (ACRA Act) and a new CSP Bill.

The proposed legislative changes are part of ACRA’s ongoing goal of ensuring that Singapore’s business regulatory environment remains competitive and robust. We have outlined the main proposed changes and provisions in this article.

Proposed Amendments to the ACRA Act

In order to ensure that the financial sanctions are effective, proportionate and dissuasive, taking into account the sanctions imposed on other service providers in Singapore and on business service providers (CSPs) in other foreign jurisdictions, ACRA proposes the following amendments :

Proposal to amend the Companies Act

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations now require nominee directors and shareholders to disclose their nominee status and the identity of their nominator to ACRA, and for ACRA to retain this information. They also require that the candidate status of the director/shareholder be made public. In this context, ACRA proposes the following changes:

Proposal for the adoption of the CSP bill

ACRA is proposing to enact the CSP Bill, which will, among other things, require all entities or individuals providing corporate secretarial services (which includes setting up companies, acting or causing another person acting as a director and providing a registered office) in and from Singapore to register with ACRA as communications service providers, whether or not they need to transact with ACRA . In addition, we have outlined below the effect that some of the salient new provisions of the CSP Bill will have:

Final Thoughts

The proposals seek to strengthen the regulatory regime for the corporate sector with the aim of, among other things, improving Singapore’s compliance with FATF Recommendations and maintaining Singapore’s reputation as a trusted financial hub. In addition, the legislative changes proposed by ACRA aim to reduce the risks posed by the misuse of agency arrangements in the creation of shell companies to facilitate money laundering and require persons acting as nominee directors, by means of the provision of services in exchange for remuneration or a price, to be qualified persons.

Dentons Rodyk acknowledges and acknowledges General Counsel Sean Gallagher for his contributions to this article.

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