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?

Generally, a bank in Singapore shall ask for a certified copy of the shareholder's and director's passport (as well as for the beneficial owner if different), as well as a recent proof of residence and a bank reference letter which must be less than three months old,

The company itself must be identified, which is usually done with a set of certified corporate documents consisting of:

SFM will be sharing with you the additional documents necessary for an account opening by email as the list of the required due diligence may vary from one bank to another.