Starting up

Incorporating in Singapore: DIY, Secretarial Firms, Law Firms

(Information updated as of 14 Aug 2015.)

While I was doing my research on how I should go about incorporating my business in Singapore, I realized that there are three ways that you can go about doing it – Do-it-yourself, hire a secretarial firm or hire a law firm, which was quite a headache initially when I couldn’t tease out which option was better for me. Hence this post is created.

DIY
Head down to Bizfile and click on “e-guides” on the header to check out the relevant e-guides. You will need your Singpass for this. Take note that you have to register a company name first before you can incorporate a business. Registering a company name and incorporating a business using that name is two separate process that both can be done via the Bizfile website.

Cost
Registering a Company Name – $15
Incorporating a business         – $300
Business profile (optional)      – $5.50
Time spend = 1hour

Secretarial Firms
This really tripped me. Initially, I couldn’t tell apart what are the secretarial firms and what are the law firms so I thought they were the same. But they are not. Secretarial firms are like the administrative people. They may or may not have their own version of the M&AA, and offer little or no tailor-making of the M&AA to a company. These people don’t have the expertise to navigate or manipulate the M&AA in any way because they are not lawyers. But what is good that the firms that offer incorporation usually also bundle incorporation with secretarial services. (PS. You need to appoint a professional secretary for all private companies in Singapore)

Here’s my short-listed companies for incorporation.

Richmond Corp Advisory PL
$600 (includes 1 year secretary)
Caveat: Annual filling is mandatory to be done by the secretary. These people charge $98 for them to prepare these documents on top of your $600.

Bizcorp
$600 for incorporation + $480 for one year of secretarial services
Caveat: They will not make any amendments to their own M&AA format to accommodate you, should you need any special amendments. Also, in order to hire them for incorporation, you MUST hire their secretarial services for a minimum of 1 year.

$888  (includes 1 year secretary)
WARNING: As I was incorporating my first business, I was really clueless about how to go about doing this due to my involvement with the Founder Institute, I thought that the bonus pool and Class F stocks will post a problem in my M&AA. Turns out, they don’t. I found out that class F stocks are only applicable to USA and bonus pool contribution has no implications on my M&AA.

While I was under the impression that bonus pool and Class F stocks affects my incorporation process, I dropped these two terms when I was calling up some firms. Paramount Asset Corp said that they have no problems with my incorporation despite the bonus pool and Class F stocks. They said they could handle it.

How can they be able to handle it when it doesn’t apply to my incorporation at all? How can he give me such assurances that doesn’t make sense in the Singapore context? I read this as an act of dishonesty.

For that, I really have to commend the honesty of Contact One ($850 for incorporation) and AG Corp ($765 including 1 year of secretary services) for telling me to go get a lawyer after I dropped the two terms. I really like businesses who are not afraid to stick to their integrity even though it means losing business.

Law firms

You really don’t need a lawyer to hammer out incorporation for you if you’re a small startup like mine. In fact, I think most lawyers don’t do incorporation for small start-ups because there isn’t much money to be made.

Choice
I choose to diy my incorporation because I don’t need value to be added for the incorporation documents at this point of time. Plus, it is really cheap to amend M&AA later on (like when I get invested or something big and funky happen). For my secretarial needs, I was a happy Contact One customer for 2 years before I decided to do it on my own.

Everything included, I’ve paid $618 for incorporation and 1 year of secretarial services.

And yes, Learnemy Pte Ltd is born. :D

 

Elisha Tan is the Founder of TechLadies. TechLadies is a community for women in Asia to connect, learn, and advance as programmers in the tech industry. Elisha is also the Developer Programs Regional Lead for Asia Pacific at Facebook.

 
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4 thoughts on “Incorporating in Singapore: DIY, Secretarial Firms, Law Firms

  1. Pingback: Startup | Life change in progress

  2. Chris says:

    Hi – I just stumbled on this page, good info for first-timers. Question:

    If going the DIY route (sounds easy enough from ACRA / BizFile website) – but what about M&AA (now called Constitution?). There is a PDF sample, but how do you insert your chosen company name? Just paste onto first page then photocopy, keep the rest unchanged? Or do you OCR the entire PDF to a text / Word file?

    Thanks!

  3. ben says:

    how long it takes for incorporating your company in singapore ?.
    was it only 1 or 2 days ..thank you very much for responding me

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