The Top 5 FAQs About Singapore Company Registration Answered

Establishing a company during a strong economic period increases the likelihood of creating a brand and winning over loyal customers. The public has stable purchasing power and is more open to trying out new products in a robust economy. Singapore is the premier international economic hub in Southeast Asia to incorporate a business.

The Top 5 FAQs About Singapore Company Registration Answered

1. What are the different types of private companies in Singapore?

For singapore company registration, there are the following types of private companies in Singapore:

  • An exempt private company: In Singapore, this is the most widely used corporate form. It doesn’t allow corporate shareholders and only allows a maximum of 20 shareholders.
  • Private company limited by shares: A private company that accepts corporate shareholders as well as up to 50 shareholders.
  • Private company limited by guarantee: This is typically established for charitable purposes and lacks shareholders or share capital.

2. Can foreign companies be directors of a Singapore company?

No. In Singapore, individuals, not corporations, are required to serve as directors for all companies.

It should be noted, however, that foreign corporations can appoint a person to serve as their nominee (or “nominee director”). Under Singapore company law, a nominee director has the same rights and responsibilities as any other director, who is a full legal director.

Following nomination, the nominee director and the company will enter into a contract describing the nominee director’s responsibilities to the company.

3. In Singapore, what kind of local registered address is needed to establish a business?

One of the requirements for establishing a business in Singapore is having a local registered address. The address used for registration needs to be a real address in Singapore, not just a PO Box (Post Office Box).

Under the Home Office Scheme, residential addresses may be used as business addresses. However, using residential premises (owned or rented) for home office use requires prior approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (for private properties) or the Housing Development Board (for HDB flats).

4. For a Singaporean company, who can serve as the company secretary?

To serve as a company secretary for a Singaporean business, an individual needs to be:

  • A natural person;
  • A person who lives in Singapore (such as a Singaporean citizen, permanent resident, or an international person who has been granted a dependent or employment pass); and
  • To perform the duties of a company secretary, an individual must be knowledgeable about the Singapore Companies Act and have the necessary experience.

It should be noted that the company secretary cannot be the sole director of the company. Additionally, unless directed by the Singapore Company Registrar, ACRA, a private company does not have to choose a suitable individual as a company secretary.

Put differently, a Singapore private limited company is exempt from the need to appoint a company secretary or public accountant who holds certification from the Singapore Association of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

5. Does a Singapore company require a local resident director?

Yes, a Singaporean company must have a minimum of one director who resides in the country. To be considered a resident, an individual needs to be:

  • Singapore citizen; or
  • Singapore permanent resident; or
  • Holder of an Employment Pass (which needs to be from the same company as the one for which the individual wishes to serve as a director); or Holder of an Entrepreneur Pass (which also needs to be from the same company as the entity for which the individual wishes to serve as a director).

A director needs to be at least eighteen years old and a natural person. Corporate directors are not approved. You can fulfill the local resident director requirement in a few different ways:

  • You must apply for a work visa under your new entity (employment pass or entrepass) if you want to move to Singapore to manage your business. You can serve as the local resident director once your work visa has been granted.
  • Your problem is solved if you know someone in Singapore who is willing to serve as the local director, or if you have a local partner.
  • Use nominee local director services instead if you’re a foreign business owner and want to establish a Singaporean company without moving to Singapore.

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