Who Qualifies as a Company Secretary
Once you’ve taken the plunge and decided to put up and incorporate your business in Asia’s Financial Hub, you’ll immediately learn that you need to have a company secretary apart from the ‘secretary’ or ‘assistant’ that you may already have. The Singapore Companies Act says that within 6 months from the incorporation of your business, you should have already hired or appointed someone to be your company secretary in Singapore.
Knowing how much of a legal prerequisite it is, you don’t really want to risk everything by going against Singapore law, right? And since you already have more or less an idea of how special this role will be, you are now probably are thinking, how should I go and find one?
Don’t you panic, as your business experts here at Enterprise Assurance PAC are here to help you out. Because we truly understand how such a professional can actually help make or break your business, we’ll make it easier for you to find what kind of company secretary you really need.
Can I simply just hire anyone?
According to Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority or ACRA, basically, you can hire any Singapore citizen or permanent resident to be your company secretary just as long as he or she isn’t your sole director. But don’t get ahead of yourself and think that it’s all that. Remember, it is not only a statutory requirement. But more importantly, finding one that best suits the role is vital to your company’s existence in Singapore.
Furthermore, the qualifications for a company secretary may differ depending on the type of company you have.
If your business is a private limited company…
Then you can take it as an ‘easier’ process. The basic requirement of your company secretary being a proven Singapore citizen or resident is of course still in place. So technically, anyone you think you can entrust your company with can qualify to be your company secretary. There are no additional requirements. He or she can be your family member, your friend, one of your company officers, or even one of your directors (only if you have many). Again, just as long as he or she is a resident or a holder of an employment or dependent pass, then he or she is qualified.
Now if your company is public… it’s a totally different story. Public companies are expected to appoint a properly qualified person to be a company secretary. The Singapore Companies Act has actually imposed a set of requirements in hiring a company secretary for a public company. According to ACRA, the person you hire or appoint should have at least one of these qualifications:
- Has been a secretary of a company for at least 3 years in total during the 5 years prior to his/her appointment as company secretary of your company.
- A registered accountant under the Accountants Act.
- Qualified person under the Legal Professional Act.
- A member of the Institute of CPAs in Singapore.
- A member of the Institute of Company Accountants, Singapore.
- Member of the Association of International Accountants.
- A member of the Singapore Association of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
Take note of every requirement and qualification.
Did you know that the ACRA summons about 10,000 companies every year because of non-compliance to these legal prerequisites? And among all the many reasons (or alibis) business owners provide for not complying, guess what is the most common? Yes, it’s lack of knowledge or awareness. Always keep in mind that when it comes to the law, ignorance excuses no one. Hence, you should take note of all the prerequisites, guidelines, and requirements when it comes to hiring or appointing your company secretary.
Because it is a full-time and in-house role that involves more of legal and financial responsibilities, note that it is not enough for you to hire someone who has keen administrative skills. Choosing a well-trained, experienced, and fully qualified company secretary is but vital for all of you who aim to do business and survive in Singapore.
And should you need help finding a reputable person to be your company secretary, know that EAPAC is here to help you. More than that, we’ll help you with other vital steps in operating and growing your business. Simply click the button below to contact us.