MAS to get more powers under reforms
The changes may strengthen Singapore’s position as an international centre for debt restructuring.
Corporate law in Singapore is expected to be affected by amendments to the Securities and Futures Act, as well as the Companies Act. The proposed changes are said to be in line with the citystate’s initiative to reinforce its major financial centre status. Five partners share their thoughts including what the new year has in store for Singapore’s legal industry.
SFA changes Amit Dhume,
partner, funds and financial services, Colin Ng & Partners, says that as far as the area of corporate law is concerned, amendments to the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) recently passed by the parliament will bring investment schemes that invest in physical assets like plantations under the regulatory ambit of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
“This will offer better protection to retail investors,” says Dhume. “The manner in which net personal assets is calculated for a person to qualify as an ‘accredited investor’ will also be tightened, and accredited investors will have an option to be treated as a non-accredited investor by financial institutions.”
Sandra Seah, joint managing partner, Bird & Bird ATMD LLP, notes the SFA may be amended to provide stronger safeguards for retail investors and to strengthen enforcement against market misconduct. Commercial entities offering securities will likely need to reassess how best to manage their risk in their product offerings. “The changes to more stringent regulation and stricter substantial connection to Singapore” – will have profound implications for the restructuring and insolvency practice. He adds that the proposed changes to the Companies Act in 2017 are in line with Singapore’s initiative to reinforce its major financial centre status, and to position itself as a hub for restructuring and insolvency practice.
Sharing similar sentiments is Seah, who says the Companies Act will be amended to include new provisions to support creditor schemes of arrangements and to enhance creditor protection. “Such amendments may strengthen Singapore’s position as an international centre for debt restructuring and possibly encourage more companies to apply for judicial management in this challenging economic environment,” says Seah.
More disputes cases
It has been an interesting start to 2017 on the dispute resolution front, says Sean La’brooy, partner, professional liability and insurance practice, Colin Ng & Partners. “It is likely that we will see more international parties bring their disputes to Singapore, particularly for international commercial arbitrations, in light of the introduction of a framework for third-party funding under the Civil
Law Act (Amendment) Bill 2016 which was passed by Parliament on 10 January 2017,” says La’brooy.
Sim Lin Piah