Speech by Mr. Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC, at the Second Reading of the Corporate Registers (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill (Bill No. 42/2021)
This Bill gives effect to the Financial Action Task Force’s recommendations on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Preventing the illicit movement of funds is key to Singapore’s role as a respected international financial hub, and I’m glad we are taking steps to strengthen our protections.
I have three points of clarification.
Listing directors and CEO with executive control in register
First, can Minister clarify the reasons why directors with executive control and the CEO must be listed in the register if no registrable controller is identified?
Why are these two groups specifically listed? Does this mean that no other person can have executive control and is not relevant to be disclosed in the register?
Further, this requirement seems repetitive, given that the information about directors and CEOs are already filed with ACRA.
Definition of nominee shareholders
Second, can Minister provide more clarity on the definition of nominee shareholders?
What would be necessary before someone is considered “accustomed”?
The amendment states that the nominee must also receive dividends on behalf of the principal shareholder. Is it sufficient that there is an agreement for the nominee to receive dividends, or must there be an actual distribution into the hands of the nominee?
If it is the latter, this creates a problem where it is impossible to clarify nominee status for companies that do not issue dividends.
Supporting small businesses with compliance costs
Third, can the Ministry share how it will support small businesses in complying with these new regulations?
These new regulations apply not only to multinational corporations or financial institutions, but also small local businesses.
For small businesses, these rules can be complex and require proportionally larger costs to comply with.
How will the ministry support our small businesses to ensure these regulations do not unfairly burden them?
In summary, I seek clarification on three things: the need to list directors or CEOs in the register, the definition of nominee shareholders, and the ways the Ministry will support small businesses in complying with the new regulations.
Sir, notwithstanding my clarifications, I stand in support of the Bill.
Watch the speech here.