Singapore is set to introduce a new anti-money laundering regime targeting the role of nominee directors.

Singapore is set to introduce a new anti-money laundering regime targeting the role of nominee directors.
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The proposed legislation will require all companies and individuals providing corporate secretarial services in and outside Singapore to register with a regulator. This law will also mandate corporate service providers to conduct "fitness" checks on nominee directors if they hold a certain number of director positions. Furthermore, nominee directors and shareholders will need to disclose their status and identify their nominators to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, which will make this information publicly available. Currently, nominee directors and shareholders are only required to disclose information to their companies, and this information is stored in a confidential registry of nominee directors.

This move reflects Singapore's commitment to strengthening its regulatory framework against financial crimes like money laundering. The enhanced transparency around nominee directors and shareholders is expected to curb the misuse of these positions for illicit activities. The requirement for a public disclosure will significantly reduce the anonymity that has previously aided in concealing financial crimes.

The changes also align Singapore with international standards set by bodies like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The increased scrutiny on nominee directors will make it harder for individuals to use these positions as a front for illegal activities. This legislation is likely to impact both local and foreign companies operating in Singapore, requiring them to adapt their practices to comply with the new regulations.

The requirement for service providers to perform fitness checks is a proactive approach to ensure that only qualified and reliable individuals hold these influential positions. This move is expected to increase the accountability of nominee directors and reduce the risk of companies being involved in financial misdeeds.

The proposed changes are part of Singapore's ongoing efforts to establish itself as a transparent and trustworthy financial hub. By tightening regulations around nominee directors and enhancing public disclosure, Singapore aims to deter financial crimes and foster a more secure and reliable business environment. This development is a significant step in the global fight against money laundering and financial fraud.