Policies & Guidelines
To protect and champion the interests of the business community, it is important for SBF to engage members on pertinent business issues and concerns, as well as keep members abreast of the latest changes in government regulations and policies. Members are also encouraged to provide their feedback to government agencies and SBF to create a conducive and pro-business environment.
New Regulatory Requirement for Companies and LLPs – More transparency in the ownership and control of corporate entities On 10 March 2017, Parliament passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill and Limited Liability Partnerships (Amendment) Bill. The amendments in these Bills will take effect in phases. A key legislative amendment which takes effect from 31 Mar 2017 requires all corporate entities, namely companies, foreign companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) (unless exempted by legislation1 ) to maintain a register of beneficial owners (termed as registrable "controllers"). Companies will also be required to maintain a register of nominee directors.
The Ministry of Health issued a press release on 28 August 2016 confirming 41 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection in Singapore. Of these, 34 people have fully recovered while the other seven, who are still symptomatic and potentially infectious, are recovering at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. To find out more, please click here.
While the community transmission appears to be localised within the Aljunied Crescent/ Sims Drive cluster, employers, unions and employees should work together to limit the spread of the Zika virus to ensure workplace safety and resilience.
For the Ministry of Manpower’s Advisory on Workplace Measures Against the Zika virus, please click here.
Companies filing XBRL financial statements with ACRA are reminded to ensure that the information filed is accurate and complete. This is crucial as the information filed becomes a public record.
For past XBRL filings, companies should take appropriate steps such as filing a Notice of Error (NOE) to rectify any errors noted as soon as possible. Companies can refer to the list of common filing errors, compiled from past reviews of XBRL financial statements filed with ACRA.
Since 2013, ACRA has, in collaboration with their professional partners, provided training courses to help companies prepare their financials in full XBRL format at a heavily subsidised rate. Over 5,000 participants have attended these courses to-date. With the demand for such courses declining, these training subsidies will be phased out by 31 December 2016.
Participants applying for training subsidies (which are available for courses conducted before 31 December 2016) are strongly encouraged to submit their subsidy application forms to their respective training providers before 31 December 2016. This is to ensure that these applications are reviewed and approved in time.
For information on the list of training providers conducting XBRL training courses, please click here.
The United States have put in place new restrictions under their Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). From 21 January 2016, persons with a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTAs) who (a) have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan in the last five years; or (b) are dual citizens of VWP countries and the four said countries, will not be eligible to travel to the US under the VWP. The latest restrictions, which came into effect on 21 January 2016, do not bar travel to the US per se but require travellers from VWP countries to obtain a visa to enter US should they fulfil either or both of the afore-mentioned requirements.
For more information, please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) has launched its first handbook titled “ACRA & I – Being an Effective Director”.
The handbook is written for new or aspiring directors as well as those who have no formal training to help them better understand their responsibilities and duties. It also serves as a practical hands-on guide for these directors on the know-how in performing their statutory duties and meeting their legal and compliance requirements. The director’s handbook is launched as a part of ACRA’s suite of initiatives in the promotion of voluntary compliance among companies.
Written from a regulator’s perspective and in a style that is easy to read, the handbook is based on ACRA’s past experiences and dealings with directors in default. The handbook provides information such as the requirements of directors, common statutory requirements under the Companies Act, passing of resolutions, capital maintenance, fiduciary duties, closing of company and many more. Real examples of non-compliance by directors and companies and the lessons learnt are also featured in the handbook, so as to serve as useful reference points for directors and professional advisers of companies. ACRA also engaged the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS), the Singapore Association of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (SAICSA) and Singapore Compact for CSR to contribute on chapters on Preparation of Financial Statements, the Company Secretary and Corporate Social Responsibility.
The softcopy is available for free download.
A hardcopy is available for sale at the ACRA office, 10 Anson Road, #05-01/15, International Plaza.
Before an organisation starts to send any marketing message to a Singapore telephone number, it should check that: the number it is sending/calling to is not registered with the DNC Registry; the messages it is sending contain clear and accurate information identifying the organisation, as well as its contact details; and if making a phone call, the telephone number it is making the call from is not concealed.
The DNC Registry contains three separate Registers of Singapore telephone numbers for voice calls, text messages (SMS/MMS/text) and faxes, which the organisation can check against. To check, the organisation shall submit a list of the telephone numbers that it is planning to send the messages to. The DNC Registry will then indicate on the list, whether each number is in any of the Registers.
The organisation may then send its marketing messages to the numbers that are not in the relevant Registers. The organisation may rely on the information given by the DNC Registry on whether any number is registered on any of the Registers for up to 30 days. If the organisation intends to send the marketing message after the 30 days has lapsed, it must submit its list of numbers to the DNC registry again. To allow organisations to familiarise themselves with the requirements relating to the DNC registry, the prescribed duration (i.e. the 30 days referred to above) will be 60 days instead of 30 days for the first six months of the DNC Registry's operations.FAQs for the DNC Registry
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced new rules that require employers to consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring Employment Pass (EP) holders. Firms with discriminatory hiring practices will be subject to additional scrutiny and may have their work pass privileges curtailed. These changes will reinforce expectations for employers to consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities and enhance job market transparency.
The new rules, known as the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF), draw on feedback from Singaporeans who have submitted their views to MOM, through MOM’s Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) on Jobs, and from key stakeholders such as the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and employer groups.
Employers looking to apply to hire an Employment Pass (EP) holder will have to advertise its vacancies on a new Government jobs bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) for at least 14 days prior to their application, starting from 1 August next year.
This rule is applicable to jobs paying up to $12,000 a month, under the Fair Consideration Framework, while small firms with 25 or fewer employees, and those jobs which pay a fixed monthly salary of S$12,000 and above, will be exempted from the advertising requirement.
Companies that do not comply will not have their EP application approved, while those with disproportionately low numbers of Singaporeans at the PME level or are repeated complained of nationality-discrimination in their hiring will attract additional scrutiny and may have their work pass privileges curtailed.
Please click here for more information about the framework.
The FDA report provides analysis on four key financial ratios which covers:
Trend analysis up to 5 years on the performance of a selected company
Benchmarking your selected company's performance against industry medians and up to 3 peer companies
ACRA has also developed new tips and guidance to help companies better prepare 2nd year XBRL financial statements with the BizFinx preparation tool.
More details can be found at this announcement on the BizFinx portal through this link.
The Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP) was established in August 2000 to actively solicit feedback on rules and regulations that hinder businesses and stifle entrepreneurship. It is part of the Public Service 21 movement to ensure that government rules and regulations remain relevant and supportive of a pro-business environment.
Since its inception, the PEP has reviewed nearly 1,800 suggestions from businesses, of which more than half have been accepted for implementation. PEP has facilitated assistance to numerous businesses and individuals who encountered red tape. As a result, most of them have been able to work out viable solutions with the regulatory agencies. Agencies, in turn, have acquired a better understanding of businesses' needs.
The PEP is chaired by the Head of Civil Service and comprises business champions from the private sector and senior civil servants. SBF is represented on the panel and would actively channel members' feedback on any regulatory barriers to the PEP for its consideration to facilitate a pro-business environment for companies and businesses in Singapore. To find out more, please visit the PEP website.
If you have any feedback on rules and regulations that hinder your business or stifles entrepreneurship, click here to send your feedback to SBF.
Monthly Variable Component or MVC is a "standby" component to be used by employers to bring down wage costs in sudden and severe business downturns to survive and save jobs.
With the reduction of CPF contribution rate, there is little room to adjust wage cost through CPF cut in the future. Employers therefore should get ready MVC as an "emergency lever" to be used in bad times.Guide on How to Implement MVC for SMEs