Why do you need a Corporate Secretary In Singapore

7 minute read

Starting a new business is like embarking on a thrilling adventure filled with endless possibilities. And what better place to launch your entrepreneurial dreams than the vibrant country of Singapore?

With its favourable business climate, robust legal framework, and strategic location, Singapore has become a top choice for ambitious entrepreneurs and visionary investors from around the globe. However, amid the excitement of bringing your business to life, it’s essential to tread carefully through the labyrinth of legal requirements and compliance obligations.

But fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we will shed light on a crucial role that can alleviate your compliance concerns and ensure a smooth journey – the corporate secretary. Let’s get started with the basics.

Essential Laws for Starting a Business in Singapore

When starting a new business in Singapore, it is crucial to understand and comply with the country’s laws and regulations. The key legal requirements and compliance obligations include:

1. Company incorporation

Registering your business entity with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is the first step in setting up a company in Singapore. You need to choose a company name, determine the company’s structure (private limited, sole proprietorship, or partnership), and prepare the necessary incorporation documents.

2. Shareholding and directorship

The next requirement to start a business in Singapore is that you must have at least one shareholder and one director who is ordinarily resident in the country. The shareholder can be an individual or a corporate entity, while the director must be an individual and cannot be an undischarged bankrupt.

3. Registered office address

The third requirement for starting a business in Singapore is that your company must have a registered office address in the country where all official correspondence can be sent. It must be within the national boundaries, accessible during business hours, and compliant with regulations set by ACRA.

4. Compliance with statutory requirements

Once your company is incorporated, you need to comply with various statutory requirements, such as maintaining proper accounting records, holding annual general meetings, and filing annual returns with ACRA.

By fulfilling these requirements, you can start a new business in Singapore. But that’s just the first step. To ensure smooth operations and compliance with Singapore regulations, it is crucial to have a corporate secretary who can provide ongoing support and assistance.

The Importance of a Corporate Secretary for Small Businesses in Singapore

When starting a small business in Singapore, you may wonder why you need to appoint a corporate secretary. After all, you already have numerous responsibilities to manage, and adding another role to the mix might seem burdensome.

However, the importance of a corporate secretary cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to compliance and governance matters. Here’s why you need a corporate secretary for your small business:

A. To ensure compliance with Singapore’s laws and regulations

Singapore has stringent laws and regulations governing companies, and compliance is crucial to avoid penalties and legal risks. A corporate secretary ensures that your small business adheres to these regulations, assisting with the preparation and filing of statutory documents, maintaining company registers, and ensuring timely compliance with filing deadlines.

B. To provide expert advice and guidance

Corporate secretaries possess specialised knowledge and experience in corporate governance practices. They provide valuable guidance to the board of directors, ensuring compliance with the company’s constitution, facilitating effective communication, and upholding the highest standards of corporate governance within your organisation.

C. To support administrative functions

As a small business owner, you may find yourself overwhelmed with administrative tasks. A corporate secretary can alleviate this burden by handling the administrative aspects of compliance, such as preparing meeting agendas, taking minutes, and organizing necessary documentation. This allows you to focus on strategic decision-making and growing your business.

D. To handle statutory compliance obligations

Running a small business involves numerous statutory compliance obligations, such as annual filings, updating registers, and maintaining proper records. A corporate secretary is well-versed in these obligations and ensures that your business meets all the necessary requirements. They keep track of filing deadlines, assist in filing statutory documents, and help you stay in good standing with regulatory authorities.

In short, appointing a corporate secretary is a strategic investment that can help safeguard your business’s reputation and ensure its long-term success.

Who is Qualified to Serve as a Corporate Secretary in Singapore?

According to Singapore’s Companies Act, every company must appoint a qualified corporate secretary within six months of its incorporation.

A corporate secretary must meet specific eligibility requirements, such as being a resident and having the necessary knowledge and experience to perform the role effectively.

While not mandatory, it is recommended for the corporate secretary to be a member of a professional body such as the Singapore Association of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (SAICSA) or the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA).

The company’s director or shareholder can also serve as the corporate secretary, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. However, it is worth considering the benefits of appointing a professional corporate secretary who has the expertise and experience in handling corporate governance matters and statutory compliance.

Understanding the Responsibilities of a Singapore Corporate Secretary

The role of a corporate secretary in Singapore is diverse and encompasses various responsibilities, including:

A. Ensuring statutory compliance

A corporate secretary ensures that the company complies with all legal and regulatory requirements. They assist in preparing and filing statutory documents, maintaining the company’s registers, and updating the company’s records with ACRA.

B. Upholding corporate governance

Corporate secretaries play a crucial role in fostering good corporate governance practices within the company. They advise the board of directors on matters of corporate governance, ensure compliance with the company’s constitution, and facilitate effective communication between the board and shareholders.

C. Providing board support

Corporate secretaries support the board of directors by arranging and coordinating board meetings, preparing meeting agendas and minutes, and ensuring compliance with proper meeting procedures. They also assist in drafting resolutions and monitoring the implementation of board decisions.

D. Managing shareholder relations

Corporate secretaries act as a liaison between the company and its shareholders. They help facilitate communication with shareholders, handle share transfers and issuance, and ensure compliance with shareholder-related requirements.

The Risks of Operating Without a Corporate Secretary

Failure to appoint a corporate secretary or non-compliance with the statutory duties of a corporate secretary can have severe consequences. Some potential legal risks and penalties for non-compliance include:

1. Breach of statutory obligations

Failure to comply with the Companies Act and other relevant laws can result in penalties, fines, or legal action against the company and its directors.

2. Inability to hold meetings

Without a corporate secretary, it becomes challenging to properly convene and conduct board meetings, annual general meetings, and extraordinary general meetings, which are vital for decision-making and compliance.

3. Lack of corporate governance oversight

Corporate secretaries play a crucial role in ensuring good corporate governance practices within the company. Without a competent corporate secretary, the company may face challenges in adhering to corporate governance standards.

4. Incomplete or inaccurate record-keeping

Corporate secretaries are responsible for maintaining accurate and up-to-date company records. Failure to have a corporate secretary can result in incomplete or inaccurate record-keeping, which may hinder important business operations.

For all these reasons, it is crucial to hire a company secretary for your Singapore business. But instead of hiring a local or in-house corporate secretary, we suggest that you opt for online corporate secretary services. Why? Let’s find out.

Can You Outsource a Corporate Secretary Role?

Yes, you can outsource the corporate secretary role for your business in Singapore. Outsourcing provides several benefits, especially for small businesses.

For example, by partnering with a reputable corporate service provider, you gain access to a team of experienced professionals who are well-versed in corporate secretarial tasks. This expertise ensures compliance with regulations and best practices.

Additionally, outsourcing also saves you time and resources. Instead of hiring and training an in-house corporate secretary, you can rely on the external provider’s knowledge and capabilities. This allows you to focus on core business activities and strategic decision-making.

Moreover, most reputable providers offer additional services like company incorporation, accounting, tax compliance, and corporate advisory. This comprehensive approach ensures that all your business needs are met by a single service provider.

Nevertheless, when outsourcing the corporate secretary role, it is essential to engage a reputable and experienced provider like Sleek that specialises in providing comprehensive corporate secretarial services to companies of all sizes.

How does Sleek help?

Sleek offers its customers dedicated customer secretaries to assist with statutory compliance, governance, and administrative tasks of the company.

A. Seamless accessibility

All documents are stored on the cloud, so you can access your company’s information and documents anytime, anywhere. Sleek’s online platform provides a secure portal where you can conveniently manage and retrieve important corporate records, track compliance deadlines, and collaborate with your corporate service provider.

B. Time and cost savings

Sleek’s digital platform automates administrative tasks, reducing manual effort and saving time. It streamlines processes such as document preparation, filing, and record-keeping, allowing you to allocate resources more efficiently. By eliminating manual paperwork and reducing the need for physical storage, you also save on paper and storage costs.

C. Real-time compliance monitoring

Compliance with statutory requirements is crucial for any business, and Sleek’s digital platform provides real-time monitoring and reminders for filing deadlines. This helps ensure that your company remains compliant with Singapore’s regulations, minimising the risk of penalties or legal issues.

D. Integration with other services

Sleek offers integration with other business services such as accounting and payroll. 

This integration allows for a seamless flow of information between different functions, reducing duplication of efforts and enhancing overall operational efficiency.

E. Round-the-clock expert support

Sleek also provides a digital platform and expert support from its professional team. They offer guidance on compliance, corporate governance, and other secretarial requirements. This combination of technology and human support delivers a comprehensive solution for your business.

Get expert assistance today

Appointing a corporate secretary is crucial for small companies in Singapore to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. 

Keen to learn how you can leverage Sleek’s company secretary services to enhance, streamline, and optimise your accounting operations? Schedule a call with our friendly experts right away!


If you're looking to start a company in Singapore, the key legal requirements include company incorporation, shareholding and directorship, a registered office address, and compliance with statutory requirements such as maintaining accounting records and filing annual returns.

A corporate secretary is essential for small firms in Singapore as they can ensure legal compliance, provide expertise in corporate governance, offer administrative support, and grant access to resources and expertise.

While there are no specific qualifications or certifications mandated by law, it is advisable for a corporate secretary in Singapore to possess relevant knowledge and experience in corporate governance, compliance, and company law.

No, a foreign individual or company cannot serve as a corporate secretary in Singapore. A Singapore corporate secretary must be a resident of the country, meaning they must be a Singapore citizen, permanent resident, or hold an employment pass or a dependant's pass.

Yes, outsourcing the corporate secretary role is possible and offers benefits such as access to experienced professionals, time and resource savings, and comprehensive support. Reputable service providers like Sleek specialise in providing comprehensive corporate secretarial services for businesses of all sizes.

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