In 2016, the International Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) issued an assessment of anti-money laundering measures, and the FATF asked Singapore to increase transparency in beneficial ownership information due to the increase in the number of suspicious transactions in Singapore. Under pressure, the Monetary Authority of Singapore immediately responded by considering increasing the transparency of beneficial ownership information.
Singapore recorded a record number of suspicious transactions in 2013, with 22,417 cases, up 25 per cent on the previous year. In 2017, the number of suspicious transaction reports in Singapore continued to increase significantly from 22,000 to 35,000 each year. Behind the suspicious transaction report, Singapore’s serious money laundering problem is reflected.
Singapore Parliament passes Companies (Amendment) Bill:
Locally registered companies and foreign companies in Singapore are required to keep a register of the ultimate beneficial owner (i.e., the final shareholders) of the company at the designated location and to produce the appropriate records at the request of law enforcement agencies.
Limited Liability Partnerships (Amendment) Bill and Trustees (Amendment) Bill has also passed a requirement that limited liability partners and trusts registered locally in Singapore also retain a register of beneficiaries.
Exemption from filing entity requirements
- Listed companies listed on the Singapore Approved Exchange;
- Companies of financial institutions in Singapore;
- A company wholly owned by the Government of Singapore;
- A company wholly owned by a statutory body established by or on the basis of a public act for a public purpose;
- A wholly owned subsidiary of the company referred to in subparagraphs (1), (2), (3) or (4);
- Companies listed on stock exchanges outside Singapore are subject to the relevant restrictions.
Singapore Limited Liability Partnership (LLP):
- Singapore Financial Institutions Limited;
- All partners are limited liability companies of companies or foreign companies and do not need to keep a register of actual controllers.
- A foreign company that is a financial institution in Singapore.
- A foreign company is a wholly owned subsidiary of a foreign company of a Singapore financial institution;
- Foreign companies are listed on stock exchanges outside Singapore and are subject to these restrictions.
Additional archiving filling
In fact, since March 31, 2017, Singapore companies, foreign companies and LLPs have been required to file ultimate beneficial owner information.
- New requirements
Not only must the beneficiary owner’s information be archived on its own, but the beneficial owner’s information must also be archived at ACRA.
- Changes in information
Subject to change in beneficiary information, the same information must be updated “within two business days” through the Accounting and Enterprise Authority of Singapore (ACRA) and the registered Controllers Register (RORC) information materials.
- Information is made public
Beneficiary owner information archived in ACRA is only available to government agencies when enforcing the law, such as money laundering investigations, and is not open to the public.
- Archive agent
You and your customers may choose to archive on their own or authorize local agents to archive.
- Liability for violations of the law
Failure to file, or to correct beneficial ownership information in a timely manner, is an offence and will result in a fine of up to S$5,000.