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MOF, Acra propose changes to Companies Act; seek public consultation

Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 14:32

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THE Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) have proposed amendments to the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnerships Act and Accountants Act, in a joint statement released on Tuesday.

THE Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) have proposed amendments to the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnerships Act and Accountants Act, in a joint statement released on Tuesday.

To reduce regulatory burden and improve ease of doing business, listed companies and non-listed companies should respectively hold their annual general meetings (AGMs) no later than the last day of the fourth month or sixth month after the end of the financial year.

Under the proposed changes, all private companies will be exempted from holding AGMs subject to specified safeguards. The legal requirement for companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) to use common seals will also be removed, the statement said.

The amendments are open for public consultation starting Tuesday till Jan 13 next year. This follows an earlier round of public consultation in October on other proposed amendments to the Companies Act.

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To enhance transparency of businesses, the proposed changes require LLPs incorporated or registered in Singapore to maintain registers of beneficial owners at prescribed places, such as the company's registered office.

It also requires foreign companies registered in Singapore to maintain registers of beneficial owners and public registers of shareholders.

A liquidator will be required to retain records of wound-up companies and LLPs for five years instead of two, while the options for companies and LLPs to destroy records early if they are wound up by their members, partners or creditors, will be removed.

The Accountants Act will be amended to clarify that a breach of the Ethics Pronouncement 200 (EP200) - which sets out mandatory anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism requirements for professional accountants - is grounds for disciplinary action.

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