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Singapore

Geography: located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula and made up of 64 islands. It lies 137 kilometers (85 mi) north of the Equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. With 704.0 km² (272 sq mi), it is one of the few remaining city-states in the world and the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Despite its small size, Singapore has a population of slightly over 5.6 million people, of which over half were born locally. Size: 100 x 35 miles (160 by 56 kilometers)

Time zone: Singapore Standard Time (SST) or Waktu Piawai Singapura (WPS), also known as Singapore Time (SGT), is used in Singapore and is 8 hours ahead of UTC (UTC+08:00).

Singapore has been independent since 1965. It is one of the most economically and socially developed countries in the world. Also called, "The Switzerland of Asia" because of its high quality of life, Singapore has experienced exceptional growth thanks to its particularly advantageous maritime position, which has allowed it to become a real financial and trade hub between the Pacific and Europe.

The economy of Singapore is primarily based on banking and financial services, the electronics industry, the Creative Technology, and the maritime sector; its port is ranked in the premier class in the world in terms of exports and oil.

In spite of past socio-economic challenges, Singapore’s political system has been remarkably stable since independence. It is a republic with a parliamentary regime, and the city-state practices economic liberalism.

Currency: Singapore dollar.

Banking in Singapore

Singapore is a main financial jurisdiction, which offers confidentiality and a secured banking system. The attractive regulations, along with its strategic location, make Singapore a proper banking hub. More than 200 banks operate in Singapore. SFM maintains business ties to top tier banks in the region and can offer its clients support in setting up their corporate offshore bank account in Singapore.

History

On 3 June 1959, the 1.6 million people in Singapore awoke to a new beginning - as people of a fully internal self-governing city state under the British Crown. The majority of the population were immigrants from many lands and had no deep-rooted ties to Singapore. The new government thus needed to encourage them to establish roots in Singapore, and to foster a sense of pride, loyalty and national identity.

Following independence in 1965, the PAP Government inherited the full panoply of laws, institutions, structures and processes in place for governance established by the British Colonial Administration which had ruled Singapore for well over 140 years, with a brief interregnum only under the command of the Japanese Imperial Army in the 1940s. One area of importance was the management of the media environment.

In the 60s and 70s, a “Clean and Green Singapore” was meant to distinguish the city state from other Third World countries. A Clean and Green Singapore would enhance the quality of life, attract tourists and encourage and sustain foreign investments.

Today's Singapore is a nation carved from the ideals and motivation of the first generation of migrants who chose to make this island their home. Every August, many hang the Singapore flag outside their homes and display unabashed enthusiam and passion during the National Day celebrations. These, along with the pink Singapore identity card and red passport which citizens proudly carry, bear testimony to the success of the nation building efforts.

Banking Institutions & Laws and Regulations

As part of its monetary policy operations, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) monitors reserve and liquidity conditions and conducts appropriate money market operations to ensure sufficient liquidity for the smooth operation of the banking system, and to provide stable market conditions for financial institutions and economic agents to operate in.

To facilitate the fine tuning of liquidity at the level of the banking system and the level of the individual bank, the MAS operates the Standing Facility (SF) and Intra-day Liquidity Facility (ILF). The MAS also issues short term MAS Bills as part of its money market operations.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is governed by the MAS Act, which confers the MAS powers to issue legal instruments for the regulation and supervision of financial institutions. In addition, MAS also has frameworks and guidelines in place on topics which cut across various classes of financial institutions.

Therefore, despite the global economic challenges, Singapore remains a major financial jurisdiction, with well-known banks, such OCBC, and DBS.

Anti-Money Laundering / Countering the Financing of Terrorism

Financial institutions operating in Singapore are required to put in place robust controls to detect and deter the flow of illicit funds through Singapore's financial system. Such controls include the need for financial institutions to identify and know their customers (including beneficial owners), to conduct regular account reviews, and to monitor and report any suspicious transaction. The requirements on financial institutions are set out in the MAS’ Notices on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT Notices).

Under the MAS Act, a financial institution that fails or refuses to comply with the requirements of its applicable AML/CFT Notice is guilty of an offence and will be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1 million.

Banking Facilities:

All required banking services are offered in Singapore, including a growing trend toward electronic banking. Most banks also issue credit cards and debit cards, with access throughout the country and elsewhere to Automated Teller Machines.

Shopping around and comparing service charges or interest rates is recommended, as competition is fierce between the different banking and financial institutions in the country.

Retail banking, commercial and corporate banking as well as cash management are well known financial products in this jurisdiction.

Which documents are needed to open a bank account?

The Bank is required to confirm the identity and address of all clients opening bank accounts. The following documents are required for each signatory and beneficial owner and will be treated as confidential:

  • Notarised Passport copy
  • Certified Utility Bill (not older than 3 months)
  • Original Bank Reference Letter (not older than 3 months)
  • Original Bank Statements (for at least 6 months)

In case of corporate bank accounts, the bank will also request a set of certified corporate documents consisting of:

  • The Certificate of Incorporation
  • The Memorandum and Articles of Associations
  • Register of Shareholders and Directors
  • A Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Incumbency if the company is older than 12 months
  • Latest Audited Account/Corporate Profile, if available

In addition to your company and identity documents, you will need to provide certain business documentation to support your application such as invoices, letters of intent, contracts with a Client/Provider in Singapore.

Depending on the language of the documents, the bank might also ask translation of the documents as well. In that case, translation should be done after the certification of the documents

We will send you the additional bank forms necessary for opening the account by email, as an attachment, for you to sign and return to us preferably by special courier ( DHL, FedEx or Chronopost), along with the other documents mentioned above.

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