You’ve successfully start engine of your business from the ground up, did day-night efforts into making your vision a reality. Now it’s time to take it to the next level. All Singapore-incorporated companies must appoint a Company Secretary within six months of incorporation and ensure that the position of Secretary is not vacant for more than half a year at a time.
Hiring the right corporate secretary in Singapore could be the key to unlocking your company’s full potential. But with so many options out there, how do you choose? When it comes to selecting a corporate secretary, there are bundle of offers and services available. This decision is too important to not make lightly. The corporate secretary you bring on board will shape the future of your business. Whether you’re a bootstrapped startup or corporate enterprise, here is your guide to how a company secretary works and some important ideas to consider when hiring a corporate secretary. In this article, we’ll explore what you should look for in a corporate secretary and provide tips to find the perfect match for your needs.
Why Your Business Needs a Corporate Secretary to Thrive
To reach your full potential, your business needs the right support structure in place. One of the most important roles is that of a corporate secretary in Singapore. A Secretary’s function in today’s business climate should not be limited to administration and compliance with local legislation. In certain corporations, the Company Secretary also serves as the Board’s legal counsel, accountant, and business advisor.
- A corporate secretary ensures your company meets all legal and regulatory requirements.
- They keep your business licenses, permits and registrations up to date and file necessary reports to avoid penalties.
- They can advise you on everything from the best business structure to adopt to managing shareholder relationships.
- A corporate secretary organizes and maintains important company records like minutes of board meetings, shareholder registers, and other documents. This makes information easily accessible when needed and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
- Managing secretarial duties in-house can be time-consuming. Outsourcing to an expert corporate secretary frees up your time to focus on growing your business.
In today’s complex regulatory environment, a corporate secretary is invaluable. Partnering with the right one helps set your business up for success and gives you confidence in its compliance and governance.
Set the Required Qualifications and Skillsets
To find a corporate secretary in Singapore that will help maximize your business’s potential, you need to determine the necessary qualifications and skills. First, look for relevant experience. An ideal candidate should have at least 5-10 years of experience as a corporate secretary for a company of similar size and industry as yours. They should be well-versed in company law and governance practices.
Next, consider their education and certifications. Most corporate secretaries have a university degree, often in business, finance, or law. Professional certifications like the ICSA’s Chartered Secretary qualification are a plus point for them.
They need to be extremely organized, detail-oriented, and able to convey complex information clearly. Look for candidates with a proactive, strategic mindset. They should be able to anticipate issues before they arise and propose solutions to maximize opportunities and minimize risks. With the right qualifications and skills, a corporate secretary can help take your company to the next level. Finding a candidate that checks all the boxes may take time, but it will be worth the investment for the long-term success of your business.
Evaluate Desired Soft Skills and Communication Ability
When evaluating candidates for a corporate secretary position, look for someone with excellent communication abilities. This role requires interfacing with high-level executives, legal counsel, board members, shareholders, and more. In addition to communication ability, search for candidates with well-developed interpersonal skills.
- Express complex ideas in a clear, concise manner. They should be able to explain legal matters and procedures in a way that is easy to understand.
- Listen actively and ask good questions. A skilled communicator knows that listening is just as important as speaking.
- They must be able to connect with others, gain confidence, and maintain positive working relationships.
- They must be able to address sensitive issues and interact with people of diverse backgrounds. They should remain impartial and composed at all times.
- Look for candidates who thrive in changing environments and can adjust quickly to new demands.
- At some point, a corporate secretary may need to resolve disagreements between parties. Look for candidates with experience mediating disputes and finding common ground.
When interviewing candidates, look for those who make eye contact, speak clearly, and thoughtfully consider each question before responding. Candidates with exceptional communication talents will stand out from the crowd. Choose wisely, and your business will benefit from a corporate secretary who can master both the legal details and the human elements of the job.
Internal vs. External Hiring
When it comes to finding the right corporate secretary in Singapore for your business, you have two options which are hiring internally from your existing employee pool or recruiting external candidates. Both approaches have their pros and cons, so consider your needs and priorities to determine the best path forward.
Promoting from within has some advantages. Existing employees already understand your company culture and values. They have built rapport and trust with your team. And they require less training and onboarding. However, your options may be limited if you have few qualified internal candidates. You also risk upsetting team dynamics by moving someone into a new role.
Looking outside your company allows you to find candidates with specialized experience. You may discover someone who brings a fresh, innovative perspective. However, external hires typically demand higher compensation. They need more time to get up to speed on your business and build new working relationships.
Check references and background of all candidates thoroughly. Consider temporary or part-time corporate secretaries to start. This allows you to evaluate them before offering a permanent position. Post jobs on popular hiring platforms like LinkedIn, Monster and Indeed to reach qualified candidates. Whether hiring internally or externally, take time to find a corporate secretary who will be the right match for your company’s needs and values.
Check Industry Specialization and Expertise
General legal professionals may lack the specialized knowledge required for this role. An experienced corporate secretary in Singapore will be up to date with the latest laws and regulations in Singapore that govern companies and corporate compliance. Membership in professional organizations like SAICSA or the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA). This signals their commitment to excellence and access to resources and networks.
The ideal candidate will have experience working with companies in your industry. They will understand the unique challenges and compliance requirements that your business faces. For example, companies in finance, healthcare, and technology each have their own complex set of rules to follow. A corporate secretary with relevant industry experience can get up to speed quickly and provide genuine advice and support.
When you find candidates meeting these criteria, check their references and arranging an initial consultation. Discuss their experience, get a feel for their approach, and analyse if they are the right fit to support your company’s success and growth.
Analyse Familiarity with Relevant Laws and Regulations
As your company’s compliance officer, the corporate secretary in Singapore needs to be fully familiar with the Companies Act and other relevant legislation in Singapore to properly advise the board of directors and make sure the company meets all legal requirements to stay ahead from the crowd.
- Consider candidates with at least 5-10 years of experience as a corporate secretary for companies in Singapore. More experience means more expertise of handling issues and scenarios.
- Professional certifications like the ICSA’s Chartered Secretary qualification are also appealing and depicts a commitment to high standards.
- Ask candidates about their experience with tasks like preparing annual reports, filing returns with ACRA, maintaining statutory registers, and organizing board meetings.
- Test the candidate’s knowledge by asking questions about topics like the duties of directors and officers, rules around issuing shares, holding AGMs, and exemptions for private companies. The ideal candidate will be able to discuss these areas in depth.
A corporate secretary who is highly experienced and knowledgeable in Singapore’s regulatory framework will help your company crystal clear compliance process and help companies to maximize their potential.
Shortlist and Interview Top Candidates
Once you’ve narrowed down the candidates, it’s time to meet with them face to face. These interviews will give you a chance to evaluate each candidate’s experience, skills, and company fit. Come prepared with a list of questions that will help you to analyse the candidate’s relevant experience, work style, and priorities. For example:
- What do you see as the key responsibilities of a corporate secretary in Singapore?
- How would you ensure compliance with regulations and filing requirements?
- Describe your communication style. How would you interact with directors and shareholders?
- What software and tools you used? How do you stay up-to-date with technology?
Speaking with a candidate’s professional references is one of the best ways to determine if they are the right fit for your company’s needs. Ask open-ended questions about the candidate’s responsibilities, work quality, strengths, and weaknesses. Also try to get a sense of their work style and how well they interacted with colleagues and managers.
Negotiating Salary, Benefits, and Contract
When negotiating the terms of your corporate secretary’s contract, you want to make sure you get the best deal for your business. This person will play an integral role, so you need someone who is not only highly qualified but also reasonably compensated on your wallet.
Before sitting down to negotiate salary and benefits, research the typical compensation for a corporate secretary in Singapore. Check websites like Glassdoor, PayScale, and JobStreet to have the rough idea about the average pay for someone with the experience and qualifications you need. This will give you a good starting point so you don’t end up paying too little or too much.
Don’t just consider the base pay. Look at the total compensation package, including things like bonuses, paid time off, and insurance benefits. Outline exactly what you are willing to pay for each component so you can find the right balance. Once you have agreed to the terms of employment, get everything in writing in a formal contract. This gives you peace of mind that there are no misunderstandings regarding compensation, benefits, responsibilities, termination policies, and more.
Discuss Workplace Policies and Expectations
As an employer, it’s important to explicitly state your workplace policies and expectations to your corporate secretary in Singapore during the interview process and once they’ve been hired. Be transparent about things like core work hours, schedule flexibility, dress code and workplace culture. Explain the level of formality and any cultural norms they should be aware of. Share your process for giving constructive feedback.
Don’t just throw your new corporate secretary into the role and expect them to figure it out. Take the time to properly onboard them by giving access things like company policies, documentation, templates, and tools needed to do their job. Frequent communication and feedback will help ensure you continue meeting each other’s needs and expectations well into the future.
Hiring an experienced corporate secretary in Singapore is a strategic move that will help maximize your company’s potential. Do your homework well, check references, and find someone passionate about helping businesses thrive. Company Incorporation Service strives to go above and beyond our clients’ expectations, and we will continue to improve in order to give value and excellent standards of service at competitive pricing. You’ll get a trusted advisor and partner to help navigate challenges and opportunities. Your business’s future is bright. With the corporate secretary by your side, the sky is the limit.