With a view to reduce the regulatory and compliance burden on Singapore registered companies, the Singapore Companies Act is in for major changes. The modified version of the Act will be applicable for the year 2014. These changes were finalised after several rounds of consultation with industry players, service
providers which lasted well over 4 years.
Some of the main recommendations made for the new Act are as follows,
- Allow public companies to issue shares with different voting rights
- Add more safeguards to protect the rights of minority shareholders
- Encourage greater shareholder activism among retail investors
- Reduce regulatory burden and compliance costs for small companies
- Boost transparency and corporate governance standards
The Ministry of Finance’s responses to the Report of the Steering committee for Review of Companies Act which was issued on the 3rd of October, 2012 divides the recommendations into six major subjects – directors, shareholders’ rights and meetings, accounts and audit, general company administration and registration of charges. There is also one section dedicated to new issues raised. The changes to be made could mean a paradigm shift in the way Corporate Secretarial firms operate in Singapore.