MAS to get more pow­ers un­der re­forms

The changes may strengthen Sin­ga­pore’s po­si­tion as an in­ter­na­tional cen­tre for debt re­struc­tur­ing.

Singapore Business Review - - LEGAL BRIEFING -

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.

Lor­raine Tay

Amit Dhume

Sim Lin Piah

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