Understanding Enhanced Regulatory Framework
The enhanced regulatory framework for Singapore companies took effect five years ago in May 2015. It is the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) that administered the framework.
The international standards recognize this framework because it meets their criteria when it comes to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. Both were started by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). They set global standards to control money laundering and terrorism.
The corporate service providers must register as filing agents and individuals who are qualified. If they breach the terms and conditions of the, they will be sanctioned.
The goal of the enhanced framework is to make sure that Corporate Services Providers (CSPs) have error-free systems to prevent illegal financial activities.
Know more about it now.
How to Register as Filing Agents (FA)
Entities must first register as FAs to offer statutory filing services for clients by using the electronic filing service of ACRA. If your entity provides these services, then you must register as an FA:
- Business registration or company incorporation
- Corporate Secretary/nominee director
- Nominee shareholder service clients can use aside from a corporation on Singapore exchange
- Business address registered office address or service related to it
- Other statutory business services
These conditions must be fulfilled for the registration to be successful:
- It must be ACRA registered as a limited liability partnership (LLP), company, business, or partnership
- If it is a sole proprietor, the person must be a Qualified Individual (QI), or if it is a partnership or an LLP, one person must be at least a QI, engages with a QI, or employs it
There is a non-refundable fee of S$200 for new applications and if you need to renew.
QI Registration Requirements:
- Use your SingPass ID to log in to www.bizfile.gov.sg
- Choose ‘individual profile’ once you are logged in
- Select “Explore e-services” from the top hover bar
- Next is you must choose “Corporate Service Providers”
- On the next screen, choose if you are a new applicant or for renewal
- Read the instructions properly, and submit the form
- Pay the non-refundable application fee of $100 that is good for 1 year or $200 for two years
Each renewal of registration has a validity of one or two years.
An FA and QI must know the legal obligations and follow the above-mentioned requirements. They must also note important terms and conditions of the First and Second Schedules of the Regulations. The legal obligations are under the new Part VIA of the ACRA Act. These requirements include:
- No convictions that involve fraud, cheating, or dishonesty with at least three months imprisonment as punishment
- Not bankrupt
- Does not act in such a way that gives a bad reflection on the applicant’s integrity
- Good previous history of conduct and compliance as an FA or QI
Requirements for AML & CTF
CSPs must conduct the appropriate checks and have robust processes and systems that are aligned with the AML and CTF standards. That includes taking the right steps to identify and access the AML and CTF of a customer by checking all customers whether they are old or new. This is to determine if the due diligence might be required for persons who are politically exposed to understand the AML and terrorism financing risks. Also, it denotes that the third-party registered FA wants to use its operations and monitor business relations with the customers.
Those that fail to comply might be canceled or suspended as a QI or FA. They will have limited use of the ACRA’s electronic filing system, censure, and financial penalties.
Changes During COVID
The ACRA provided some measures to improve online services due to the COVID-19 lockdown
One of them is to extend the deadline to hold the meeting for general shareholders and annual returns filing
ACRA also improved the BitzFile online that lessen the time needed for applicants input data
If you need accounting services in Singapore, we are here to help and work with you.