Changes To Employment Pass and S Pass Requirements in Singapore [2022]

The Singapore Government has recently announced a slew of changes to the pass requirements for foreigners applying to work in Singapore under Employment Pass and S Pass. 

These impending tightening measures will force Singapore businesses to review their foreign hiring strategies. These changes include increasing the minimum salaries and decreasing the quotas for S passes for certain sectors. 

Increase In Salary Threshold For Employment Pass Holders

The new minimum qualifying salary for Employment Pass applicants increases from SGD4,500 to SGD5,000. For foreigners working in the financial sector, the qualifying salary increases from SGD5,000 to SGD5,500.

This new measure will take effect from the 1st of September 2022. For existing Employment Pass holders who are renewing their work passes, this new requirement will take effect from September next year (2023). 

Increase In Salary Threshold For S Pass Holders

Similarly, the new minimum qualifying salary for S Pass applicants increases from the current SGD2,500 to SGD3,000. For individuals working in the financial sector, the minimum qualifying salary increases to SGD3,500. 

This new measure will take effect from the 1st of September 2022. 

The government will further increase the minimum qualifying salary for S Pass holders in 2023 and 2025. The government will announce the exact increment details nearer to the date. 

The new rules will apply to existing S Pass holders from September 2023. This is to give businesses enough time to plan and adapt to the new measures. 

Changes To Employment Pass Application Assessment 

From September 2023, the government will implement a new way of assessing all foreign applicants for the employment pass.

Known as the Complementary Assessment Framework (Compass), it is a point-based system that will evaluate the applicant based on four foundational and two bonus criteria. 

The applicant will be scored in the following four foundational criteria:

  1. Salary - relative to the salary norms of the professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) in the domestic workforce for the sector
  2. Qualification - based on the EP applicant’s qualification
  3. Diversity - whether the applicant improves nationality diversity in the firm
  4. Support for resident employment - the firm’s employment of resident PMETs as a percentage relative to industry peers

The applicant will be scored on each of the above 4 items and assigned points (0, 10 or 20) for each of them. 

The applicant will need at least 40 points in total to succeed in their employment pass application. 

The bonus criteria consider skills that are short in supply to support strategic economic priorities.

Conclusion

These new changes are a step towards bringing in a complementary foreign workforce that is high in calibre.

Companies will now have to revise their selection process to better identify potential applicants who fit the various criteria listed above.

If you have any questions with regards to the application of passes, do not hesitate to get in touch with us!


The Importance of HR Policies in Maintaining a Successful Business

The Importance of HR Policies in Maintaining a Successful Business

As a business owner, you know that it is important to have a team of qualified employees in order to be successful. But did you know that having effective HR policies is just as important? In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of HR policies in maintaining a successful business. We will also take a look at some of the most important policies every business should have in its employee handbook.

What are HR policies and why are they important for businesses?

Human resources policies are rules that govern the way employees interact with each other and their employers. They provide clear guidance on issues such as sexual harassment, drug use in the workplace, discrimination or retaliation for reporting wrongdoing etc. These policies are necessary because they help establish a culture of trust between employees and employers by providing guidance for every aspect of employment from hiring to firing.

There are a number of reasons why it is important for businesses to have effective HR policies in place. First, good HR policies can help protect the company from potential lawsuits. Second, well-written policies can help reduce the risk of employee misconduct. Third, effective HR policies can improve employee productivity and morale. And finally, good HR policies can help create a positive work environment that is conducive to employee retention.

What should be included in an effective HR policy framework?

When drafting HR policies, it is important to keep in mind the following:

- The policy should be clear and concise

- The policy should be easy to understand

- The policy should be tailored to your specific business needs

- The policy should be updated regularly as needed

It is also important to consider the following policies in your employee handbook:

- Anti-Harassment Policy

- Drug and Alcohol Use Policy

- Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy

- Employee Conduct Policy

- Grievance Procedure

How can businesses ensure that their HR policies are up-to-date and compliant with current legislation and best practice standards?

In order to ensure that your HR policies are up-to-date and compliant with current legislation, it is important for businesses to conduct regular audits of their employee handbooks. This ensures that any changes made by government bodies or industry regulators have been taken into consideration when drafting new policies and procedures within the organization. It also allows employers to identify any gaps that may exist between their current employee handbooks and other resources such as HR guides published by professional bodies like SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). In addition, regular audits can help ensure that all employees are aware of these policies so they know how to respond if an issue arises at work.

What steps can businesses take to implement effective HR policies?

To implement effective HR policies, it is important for businesses to include all relevant stakeholders in the policy drafting process. This includes employees, managers and owners or shareholders. It also means taking feedback from these different groups into account when writing hr policies that are fair and transparent for everyone involved with your organization. Allowing input from employees helps to ensure that policies are practical and realistic while obtaining buy-in from managers can help to ensure that these policies are enforced properly.

Finally, involving shareholders or owners in the process can help to avoid any potential conflict down the road over how hr policies are implemented and interpreted within your company.

How should I get started with HR policies?

Whether you are a small company with a handful of employees or a larger organisation, HR issues will bound to arise. Precious time and resources will be wasted fixing these issues if there is no proper HR framework in place to guide the stakeholders.

SG Company Services Pte Ltd can assist you with the development and implementation of HR policies and strategies in your business. To find out more, get in touch with us today!

 


Buying A Private Residential Property in Singapore - For Foreigners

Buying A Private Residential Property in Singapore - For Foreigners

For many foreigners, the idea of buying a private residential property in Singapore is an exciting one. With little or no restrictions on foreign ownership, it can be a great way to have a vacation home in the tropics but still keep your main residence in another country. For others, this idea will be mooted when they decide to relocate their family to Singapore for good.

But before you commit to making this investment abroad, there are some things that you should know about how to buy a house in Singapore as a foreigner. In this guide, we will go over what steps need to be taken and what fees need to be paid for purchasing property here!

Can foreigners buy a private residential property in Singapore?

In Singapore, foreigners are only allowed to own private residential property in Singapore. Public housing or commonly known as HDB is affordable housing extended only to Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents.

For private residential property, there are two main categories:

  1. Non-landed private residential property
  2. Landed private residential property

With the exception of Sentosa, which is a specially zoned landed enclave, foreigners are only allowed to buy non-landed private residential property (condominiums).

In Singapore, as long as you are sound legally and financially, there are generally no restrictions to the ownership of a condominium. This is unlike some countries such as Thailand where they impose a foreigner ownership quota on condominiums.

You are also free to sell to anyone (regardless of citizenship status) should you choose to divest this property investment in the future.

How much does it cost to buy a private residential property in Singapore?

Besides the cost of the property, there are taxes and fees involved which we will address in this section.

As of 2022, the Singapore government has introduced new cooling measures to tackle the red hot property market. This involved raising the stamp duties payable when buying a property.

Stamp Duties For Buying

Besides the value of the property, this is the next biggest cost when it comes to buying the property.

As a foreigner(individual), you are liable to pay the following stamp duties upon buying:

Buyer Stamp Duty:

  1. 1% on the first $180,000
  2. 2% on the next $180,000
  3. 3% on the next $640,000
  4. 4% on balance amount above $1,000,000

Additional Buyer Stamp Duty:

  1. 30% on the property purchase price

If you choose the buy the private residential property under an entity (company or association), the additional buyer stamp duty will be taxed at 35%.

Other Fees To Note

Buying involves engaging a lawyer for conveyancing. Depending on the case complexity and value of the property, the legal fees payable will vary. In most cases, a budget of $3,000 to $4,000 should suffice.

If you engage an agent to help with the property search and purchase, you may also be liable to pay agency fees. In Singapore, the common practice for private residential property is the buyer's representing agent will co-broke and share the commission with the seller's representing agent. That means the buyer (you) do not have to pay agency fees out of your own pocket.

However, do note that while this is a common practice, this is not a rule that is enforced throughout. So it will be best to seek clarity with the agent you intend to engage.

What are the procedures involved in buying a property?

If there are no special arrangements, a private property transaction typically takes about ten to twelve weeks to complete.

Once your negotiation for a property is successful, here are the typical flow of events:

  1. 1% option fee - quite a standard practice, 1% of the agreed property purchase price is paid to the seller in exchange for the option to purchase agreement. This 1% option fee will be forfeited by the seller if the buyer chooses not to proceed with the purchase after the given cooling period.
  2. 4% option fee - most option to purchase agreement expires in 14 calendar days (unless otherwise agreed). During this period, the buyer ought to have their financials sorted and confirm they will proceed with the purchase. Once confirmed, the buyer will issue a 4% payment (to be held in trust by the conveyancing lawyer) and sign the option to purchase agreement. After this point, the buyer will be legally bound to complete the sale of the property.
  3. After this is done, there is generally no action required by the buyer. The conveyancing lawyers from both sides will liaise and work towards the completion of the property sale. The lawyer will advise the buyer on the payment schedule and timeline of events.

Other Important Things To Note

Seller Stamp Duty

While you will be free to sell the property to anyone and at any time after you take ownership of the property, do take note that there is a Seller's Stamp Duty imposed on anyone who wishes to dispose of their property within a 3 year holding period.

  1. Up to 1 year - 12%
  2. More than 1 year and up to 2 years - 8%
  3. More than 2 years and up to 3 years - 4%
  4. Beyond 3 years - no SSD payable

This seller stamp duty is imposed on the selling price of the property.

Tax on Disposal of Property

There is no capital gains tax imposed on your sale of the property. Unless you are deemed to be in the business of trading properties. Which in that case, the gains will be classified as revenue in nature.

There is also no inheritance tax applicable in Singapore as of the writing of this article. 

Property Tax

This is a tax on the property assessed value. Payable yearly, the applicable tax rates ranges up to 20% depending on whether the property is owner-occupied or non-owner occupied. In other words, you are liable to pay higher property tax if the property is bought for investment purposes.

Income Tax

If the property is rented out, the rental collected is considered as income to you. As such, depending on the rental collected yearly, you may be liable to pay tax based on personal income tax rates for foreigners.

Seeking to invest in a property in Singapore? Our experienced team will be able to craft a suitable roadmap for you. Come talk to us today!

 


How To Write A Fair Employment Contract in Singapore

How To Write A Fair Employment Contract in Singapore

The employment contract is one of the most important documents in an employment relationship. It lays out your obligations, as well as those of your employees. An employment contract that you fail to draft properly can lead to a legal battle that you will not want to be involved with. To avoid these issues, let's review how to write a fair employment contract in Singapore!

Have A Comprehensive Annual Leave Policy

One of the most important clauses in any employment contract is the annual leave clause. This clause should specify the number of days of paid leave your employees has, as well as the national holidays they will be given off.

You should also consider having a comprehensive maternity/paternity leave policy in place.

You ought to specify if the employee can carry over any unused leave to the next calendar year. In some cases, companies will stipulate a maximum number of days of unused leave that can be carried over.

There should also be a clause addressing the treatment of unused leave upon the termination of employment. It is a common practice to allow for compensation in cash for any unused leave.

Recognise Work Done On Public Holidays

Another clause in employment contracts should address the treatment of work done on public holidays. This is particularly relevant for Singaporean companies since they are usually open seven days a week with reduced operating hours depending on which day it is.

Under the Employment Act in Singapore, employees who have worked at least half their usual working time on National Days or Public Holidays are entitled to one day's extra pay. This entitlement does not apply if the employee is absent from work on that particular day without permission, or works a shift of six hours or less.

However, your employment contract can provide for different arrangements between you and your employees with regards to working on public holidays. You could agree to pay double the employee's rate of pay for any work done on public holidays.

Where employees are not covered under the Employment Act, it is advisable for employers to be flexible and acknowledge employees' efforts when they put in additional hours during public holidays.

Be Clear on Terms and Conditions For Bonuses, Annual Wage Supplement and Commissions

Your employment contract should also specify the terms and conditions for bonuses, annual wage supplements and commissions. This will avoid any disputes or misunderstandings that could potentially arise in the future.

For example, you may want to stipulate a certain number of years of service before an employee is eligible for a bonus. You could also agree on a percentage or a fixed sum that you will pay as a bonus.

Annual wage supplements are typically given in lieu of annual leave and should be clearly laid out in the employment contract. You also need to specify how and when to make commission payments, and the conditions to meet to be eligible for such commissions.

Be Clear On Medical Leave and Benefits

You should also be clear on the medical leave and benefits that your employees are eligible for. This will ensure that there is no confusion when an employee needs to take time off for medical reasons.

In Singapore, employees generally have 14 days of paid medical leave per year. This entitlement increases to 16 days if the employee has worked for the company for more than two years.

Your employment contract can provide for a longer or shorter medical leave entitlement, but it cannot be lower than the statutory minimum.

You should also specify which illnesses and injuries are under the medical leave policy. In most cases, employees are entitled to full pay during their medical leave. However, there are a few exceptions - for example, if the employee is absent from work due to an illness that is not covered under the employment contract.

You are also encouraged to recognise medical certificates from all registered medical practitioners.

Reimburse Expenses For Work-Related Activities

Your employment contract can also specify that the company will reimburse employees for work-related expenses. This could include travel and accommodation costs, as well as the cost of purchasing work-related equipment.

It is advisable to state the maximum amount that the company is willing to reimburse so that there is no confusion or disputes in the future.

If these details are in the employee handbook, do go over the details before he or she joins your organisation.

Provide Fair Termination Terms

A fair employment contract should also include a section on termination. This will ensure that both parties are clear on the grounds for termination, as well as the notice period and any severance payments that are owed to the employee.

In Singapore, either party can terminate an employment contract provided there is a valid reason for doing so. The most common reasons for termination are redundancy, misconduct and poor performance.

The notice period ranges from one to four weeks, depending on the length of employment. Employees who remain employed for more than two years are typically eligible for a severance payment of one month's salary.

Implementing A Fair Training Agreement

In addition to the employment contract, you should also consider implementing a fair training agreement. This document will outline the employee's training and development needs, as well as the company's expectations towards training and attendance.

It is important that both parties agree to the employee's training schedule to prevent confusion or conflict in the future.

The training agreement should also specify the notice period the employee should give when unable to attend a training session. This will help to prevent any misunderstandings and ensure that both parties are aware of their obligations.

When it comes to hiring, the last thing you want is a miscommunication that could lead to an expensive dispute. A fair employment contract should be clear and concise so that all parties have a common understanding of each other’s rights and obligations.

We can help you with our payroll services. Got any questions about how we can help protect your business? Speak with us today!

 


What Is A Certificate Of Residence (COR) and Why Does Your Business Need One

What Is A Certificate Of Residence (COR) and Why Does Your Business Need One?

The Certificate of Residence (COR) is a letter issued by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) to certify that the company is a tax resident of Singapore to claim tax benefits under the DTAs that Singapore has concluded with other jurisdictions. It is necessary to prove to the foreign tax authority that the company is a Singapore tax resident.

In countries where a DTAA with Singapore is in force, the COR may be required by that country's tax authority to determine if income from sources within its territory can be taxed at all or to what extent.

An example would include Germany whose domestic laws allow taxation of income earned by a Singapore company, regardless of whether the business has a permanent establishment in Germany or not. In such cases, the COR would be presented to the German tax authority as evidence that the Singapore company is indeed subject to tax in Singapore on its worldwide income.

As a result, the company gets to enjoy a lower corporate tax rate in Singapore as compared to that of Germany.

Who Is Eligible To Apply For A Certificate Of Residence?



A COR may only be issued to a company that is a tax resident in Singapore. 

Below are three forms of entities that do not qualify for the COR:

Foreign-owned investment holding companies

A foreign-owned company is one whereby 50% or more of the shareholdings belongs to foreign entities incorporated outside Singapore or by non-Singapore citizens individuals

There are exceptions to this rule if the company can demonstrate the following:

  1. The control and management of the company's business is exercised in Singapore and;
  2. There is a valid reason to set up an office in Singapore
  3. Have related companies in Singapore that are tax residents of Singapore or have business activities in Singapore
  4. Receive support or administrative services from a related company in Singapore
  5. Have at least one director based in Singapore with an executive role (not a nominee director) or at least one key employee based in Singapore

Nominee Companies  

A nominee company is a company that holds shares on behalf of another person or entity.

Since they are not the beneficial owner of the derived income, they are not eligible for the COR.

Non-Singapore Incorporated Companies

As these companies usually have their management outside of Singapore, they will not be eligible for the COR.

There are however exceptions:

  1. The control and management of the company is in Singapore
  2. The company has legitimate reasons for not incorporating in Singapore

IRAS may require further information to assess the application.

How To Apply For A Certificate Of Residence?

You can complete the application for the COR through the IRAS e-services portal.

Besides the current year, the company may apply for the COR up to four years back.

The waiting time is up to seven working days.

You may choose to do the application personally or appoint your tax agent or corporate secretary to do it on your behalf.

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what is singapore payment services act

What is Singapore Payment Services Act?

The Singapore Payment Services Act (PSA) was enacted to regulate the payment services industry in Singapore. The act is enforced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The MAS issues licences to payment service providers (PSPs) who wish to provide payment services in Singapore.

In order to be eligible for a licence, applicants must meet certain requirements such as having satisfactory financial resources and technical and organisational capabilities. The application process also requires the submission of detailed information on the proposed business model and operating arrangements.

This article is a helpful resource for businesses that are interested in providing payment services in Singapore. It provides an overview of the eligibility criteria and application process, as well as key considerations for PSPs when setting up their operations

What activities are governed under the Payment Services Act (PSA)?

The PSA governs the following activities:

  1. Account issuance services - issuing, maintaining or operating a payment account in Singapore. (e.g. e-wallets, non-bank credit cards)
  2. Domestic money transfer services - payment transactions executed through a payment account domestically such as payment gateway services and payment kiosks services in Singapore
  3. Cross-border money transfer services - services facilitating inbound and outbound money transfer, whether as principal or agent
  4. Merchant acquisition services - provision of point of sale terminals, or online payment gateways to accept and process payments on behalf of the merchants
  5. E-money issuance - provision of electronically-stored monetary value denominated in any currency for future payments and transfers to other individuals
  6. Digital payment token services - service of dealing in digital payment tokens or facilitating the exchange of digital payment tokens
  7. Money-changing service - buying or selling of foreign currency notes in Singapore

What are the different license types in the Payment Services Act (PSA)?

Depending on the services your company wishes to provide, there are three license types that you can apply for.

  1. Money Changing License
  2. Standard Payment Institution License
  3. Major Payment Institution License

Money Changing License

A Money Changing License allows companies to exchange Singapore Dollars and foreign currency. The license also permits the provision of other services such as cross-border money transfers and cheque cashing.

Standard Payment Institution License

The Standard Payment Institution License is for companies that wish to provide payment services such as

  • debit card issuance and acceptance
  • prepaid cards
  • e-money issuance and acceptance
  • player-initiated credit card transactions
  • person-to-person fund transfer services.

The Standard Payment Institution License is subjected to the following thresholds:

  1. Monthly payment transactions up to S$3 million for any payment service
  2. Up to S$6 million for two or more payment services monthly
  3. Less than or equal to S$5 million of daily outstanding e-money for e-money issuance services

Major Payment Institution License

The Major Payment Institution (MPI) license is for companies that wish to provide all forms of payment service. This includes the provision of debit cards, as well as Singapore Dollar, denominated e-money.

The Major Payment Institution License is subjected to the following thresholds:

  1. S$3 million monthly transactions for any activity type.
  2. S$6 million monthly transactions for two or more activity types.
  3. S$5 million of daily outstanding e-money for e-money issuance services.

Who Is Eligible To Apply?

Eligibility For Money-Changing License

  1. The individual applicant, partners or directors of the company applying should have at least 1 year of relevant working or business experience on a full-time basis.
  2. For sole proprietors, the applicant must be a Singapore citizen.
  3. For partnership or limited liability partnership, the majority of its partners should be Singapore citizens. If there are only two partners, only one needs to be a Singapore citizen.
  4. For a Singapore-owned company, more than 50% of the equity shareholdings should be beneficially owned and effectively controlled by Singapore citizens. A majority of the board of directors of the company should be Singapore citizens. If there are only two directors, only one of the directors needs to be a Singapore citizen.
  5. For a Singapore incorporated wholly-owned subsidiary of a foreign bank, or a foreign company primarily engaged in money-changing, the parent company needs to:
  • be of significant size. in the case of a foreign bank, it needs to rank among the top banks in the country where it is incorporated
  • possess a good track record and reputation
  • be adequately regulated and supervised by its home supervisory authority for AML/CFT

Eligibility For Standard Payment Institution License

The applicant must

  1. be a Singapore-incorporated company or a foreign corporation registered in Singapore
  2. have a permanent place of business or registered office
  3. have a minimum base capital of S$100,000
  4. The applicant's board of directors should have either:
  • at least 1 executive director who is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident
  • at least 1 non-executive director who is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident and at least 1 executive director who is a Singapore Employment Pass Holder

Eligibility For Major Payment Institution License

The applicant must

  1. be a Singapore-incorporated company or a foreign corporation registered in Singapore
  2. have a permanent place of business or registered office
  3. have a minimum base capital of S$250,000
  4. The applicant's board of directors should have either:
  • at least 1 executive director who is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident
  • at least 1 non-executive director who is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident and at least 1 executive director who is a Singapore Employment Pass Holder

How does one get licensed?

Besides having the pre-requisite stated above, MAS will also consider the following when assessing the application:

Money-Changing Licence

  1. Fitness and propriety of the applicant; and in the case of a company, partnership or limited liability partnership, the fitness and propriety of its management
  2. The financial condition of the applicant, and in the case where the applicant is a company, partnership or limited liability partnership, its track record and financial performance in previous years
  3. Ownership and shareholding structure
  4. Qualifications and experience, particularly in operating a money-changing business and in anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT)
  5. Business plan and model, including AML/CFT policies and procedures
  6. Whether the public interest will be services by granting a licence

Standard and Major Payment Institution Licence

  1. Fitness and propriety of the controllers and directors
  2. Governance structure
  3. Qualifications and experience in operating a payment services business and compliance with regulatory requirements
  4. Financial condition and track record
  5. Business plan and model, including operational readiness
  6. Ability to comply with obligations under the PS Act, including compliance, safeguarding, technology risk management and audit arrangements
  7. Regulatory status in other jurisdictions, where applicable
  8. For applicants with a holding company, commitment to operations in Singapore
  9. Whether the public interest will be served by granting a licence

How long will the licence granted be valid?

The licence is valid until either

  1. it is revoked by MAS
  2. it lapses
  3. the licensee surrenders its licence

How much is the application fee?

The application fee is non-refundable. 

  1. Money-changing licence: S$500
  2. Standard payment institution licence: S$1,000 or the sum of the amounts below for the payment services applied for whichever is higher
  3. Major payment institution licence: S$1,500 or the sum of the amounts below for the payment services applied for whichever is higher

 

Activity Type Standard Payment Institution Licence Major Payment Institution Licence
Account issuance service S$0 S$0
Domestic money transfer service S$1,000 S$1,500
Cross-border money transfer service S$1,000 S$1,500
Merchant acquisition service S$1,000 S$1,500
E-money issuance service S$1,000 S$1,500
Digital payment token service S$1,000 S$1,500
Money-changing service S$500 S$500

How much is the annual licence fee?

  1. Money-changing licensees: S$1,500
  2. Standard payment institutions: S$5,000 or the sum of the amounts below for the payment services provided, which is higher
  3. Major payment institutions: S$10,000 or the sum of the amounts below for the payment services provided, which is higher
Activity Type Standard Payment Institution Licence Major Payment Institution Licence
Account issuance service S$0 S$0
Domestic money transfer service S$5,000 S$10,000
Cross-border money transfer service S$5,000 S$10,000
Merchant acquisition service S$5,000 S$10,000
E-money issuance service S$5,000 S$10,000
Digital payment token service S$5,000 S$10,000
Money-changing service S$1,500 S$1,500

 

If you are keen to apply for a licence under the Payment Services Act (PAS) but are unsure of the process, please feel free to contact us for a non-obligatory discussion. Our professional team are fully trained to assist you in this process. 


why does your business need a trademark

Why Does Your Business Need A Trademark?

In Singapore, trademarks are governed by the Trade Marks Act 2004. In this article we share with you why does your business need a trademark. 

The Singapore Trade Marks Act governs the registration of trademarks. Trademarks are registered to identify the source of goods or services. The Singapore Trade Marks Act defines what is not registrable as a trademark, which includes "any mark consisting exclusively of signs which are so nearly resembling any other trademark in respect of which there is a well-known trade connection in Singapore concerning goods and services in respect of which such well-known trade connection exists". 

What is the definition of a trademark in Singapore?

A trademark in Singapore is defined as a "sign which is capable of being represented graphically and is capable of distinguishing goods and services in respect of which the trademark is registered from goods and services in respect of which it is not so registered."

There is no minimum term for trademarks. The duration of registration depends on whether the trademark is registered as a wordmark or an image mark. A word mark need to be renewed after seven years. A trademark consisting only of an image needs to be renewed every five years, while a trademark composed of both words and pictures needs to be renewed every ten years.

A trademark is a sign of uniqueness and distinctiveness that identifies your company from others in the market. You can also use trademarks to indicate the source of goods and services you sell without having to say it right on the product itself. A trademark is something that allows your brand to stand out from all the rest!

The benefits of having a trademark

The benefits of having a trademark for your business are as follows:

- A trademark is an indication that you own the rights to use certain words, phrases, logos or designs, which helps you identify your goods and services from others in the market.

- Trademarking a name is a way of securing it for exclusive use.

- It prevents other companies from using the same trademark without permission.

- Trademarking a name allows you to enter into licensing agreements with other parties. If they continue to manufacture under your trademark, they have to pay you royalties on any earnings.

- It will give your company a worldwide presence if you have your trademark registered in many countries.

- A trademark may also function as security to keep other parties from filing their own trademark application for the same name. In the event of any legal dispute, having a registered trademark can help prove that your company was using it before anyone else and

How to register your trademark in Singapore

All business entities that intend to use a trademark need to apply for a trademark before the Trade Mark Office (TM). You can do this by filling in an application form and paying a fee. If no one objects, the TM will register the trademark.

For a more detailed explanation of the process, you can refer to our earlier post, where we share how to register a trademark for your Singapore business.

You should register your trademark as soon as possible because you don't want someone else to beat you to it!

If you are serious about your product and services, you should consider registering your trademark as soon as possible. This is to prevent the unfortunate event of someone else registering a trademark that is too similar to yours.

Remember, trademark registration is not a must for you to use your trademark. It is to also prevent others from using them without permission or claiming ownership of your brand name.

If you need assistance, get in touch with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) or Trademark Registration Singapore. 

If you are looking to protect your brand name or logo, then it is imperative that you register for a trademark. Registering will give you legal protection and ownership rights over your company's intellectual property (IP). A branded product can be an excellent way of promoting your business as well as building customer loyalty. With so many benefits on offer, there really isn't any reason not to obtain one... unless you don't know how! You may want to contact our team today if this sounds like something worth exploring further.

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How to Start an E-Commerce Business in Singapore

How to Start an E-Commerce Business in Singapore

How can you start an e-commerce business to sell products in Singapore?  It is not as difficult as it may seem. There are many e-commerce platforms online that offer e-commerce solutions to help with just about every step of the process, including online advertising, marketing, e-mailing and warehouse management. If you're considering starting an e-commerce business in Singapore, this blog post will give you all of the information you need to get started!

Do You Need A License To Do Online Business In Singapore?

Generally, no license is required for doing e-commerce business in Singapore. This may vary depending on the product you are selling.  For example, if you are selling alcohol there may be certain requirements that the e-commerce platform will need to follow.

The professional and trade licenses required will depend on the products and services you are selling.

Decide What To Sell On Your New Business

Online Store

As part of your business plan, you will need to decide what products or services you want to sell.  Will your e-commerce platform be a general e-commerce business that sells multiple types of merchandise? Or do you have a specific niche market in mind such as clothing or food items only? Who is your target audience?

Depending on your business idea, there are certain e-commerce platforms that are better suited. You may want to consider starting your own e-commerce site.  This will give you more control over the look and feel of your site, as well as what products you decide to sell.

Choose A Business Model For Your Ecommerce Business

There is generally 3 modes of corporate structure you can choose from for your new e-commerce business.

In most cases, we would always advise our clients to go with option 1.  A private limited company offers more liability protection to the shareholders and directors.

It also gives a greater degree of flexibility as your business scales and you bring in new investors and shareholders in the future.

To understand more on the differences between the 3, you might wish to check out our earlier articles on whether it is better to set up a private limited company or sole-proprietorship in Singapore?

Incorporate And Start E-Commerce Business

After you've decided on the e-commerce platform and business model, it's time to incorporate your e-commerce business in Singapore. 

Over here at Sg Company Services, we provide a one-stop solution for all your incorporation needs.

The process to incorporate a business in Singapore is not complicated. We can also assist with the opening of the business bank account for your own e-commerce store.

Check out this article to find out more about the requirements for incorporating a business in Singapore.

Choose Your E-Commerce Platform

With the incorporation done, you are ready to start running your business!

The next thing you need to decide is the platform on which you will be selling your products/services.

Will it be on 3rd party platforms such as Amazon, Lazada and Shopee or do you intend to set up your own e-shop?

Most e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Shopee offer e-commerce solutions from e-mailing to marketing, so you can sell almost anything on these platforms. The downside is that they have a lot of competition.

3rd party e-commerce platforms also have their own terms and conditions which you should be familiar with before signing up, as this will affect your ability to sell your products or services. All 3rd party e-commerce platforms do charge a commission on every sale you make, thus lowering your profit margins.

In the event of too many customer complaints, you will run the risk of having your seller's account being suspended or terminated.

If you decide to set up your own e-commerce website, it will require more effort on your part as you need to design and develop the website yourself or hire a web developer.

You also have to worry about hosting, domain name registration and SSL certificates. However, this gives you more control over how your e-commerce business looks, as well as the products you decide to sell. You are also not at the mercy of terms and conditions set by e-commerce platforms.

More importantly, you are able to create a brand to develop customer loyalty. With your own website, you can also install marketing tools to analyze and track customers behaviour so as to optimise your business with data analytics.

Set Up Payment System

The next step is to set up your payment system. One of the most popular e-commerce payment gateways in Singapore is Paypal and Stripe.

It is easy to use and integrates with a lot of e-commerce platforms. It also offers buyers protection, so in the event that you do not deliver the product or services as promised, they can get a refund.

Paypal and Stripe do charge a commission on every transaction.

For businesses that sell primarily locally, it is also common for sellers to accept Paynow, a local interbank payment method that is instant and at zero transaction cost.

Set Up Accounting System

The next step is to set up an accounting system. This will allow you to keep track of your expenses and income, as well as tax payments.

Popular accounting software for small businesses in Singapore is Xero. It is cloud-based and easy to use, making it a good option for e-commerce businesses that are just starting out.

Xero also offers a lot of features such as invoicing, tracking expenses and staff payments. It also integrates with Paypal and Stripe so that you can keep track of your e-commerce business' finances in one place.

For businesses that want to solely focus on growing their business, they can consider outsourcing their accounting to certified accountants.

Set Up Customer Relationship Management System

The final step is to set up a customer relationship management (CRM) system. A CRM will help you keep track of your customers' contact information, purchase history and any other interactions you have with them.

This will come in handy especially if you are looking to target your marketing efforts to specific target customers.

Popular CRM software for small businesses in Singapore is Salesforce. It offers a lot of features such as contact management, lead tracking and opportunity management.

Salesforce also integrates with Paypal and Stripe so that you can keep track of your e-commerce business' finances in one place.

You should be able to start an e-commerce business in Singapore with the right tools. There are many platforms online that offer both software and other services to help you get started, including warehouse management, marketing, etc.

If you're looking for a way to make money from home or want to own your own company one day, we can help!

Contact us today and we'll give you all of the information on how starting your own e-commerce business is easier than it may seem.

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how to become a millionaire with cryptocurrency

How To Become A Millionaire With Cryptocurrency?

How to become a millionaire through cryptocurrency? In short, you cannot. Of course not unless you are willing to bet big on it. And by saying 'bet', I mean yes, nobody can predict the prices of Bitcoin (BTC) tomorrow much less the day after. A lot of the 'gurus' out there will convince you otherwise, claiming that they have the best system, trading system, AI trading so on and so forth. In this article, I just want to share with you my humble opinion and little journey dabbling in cryptocurrency for the past 1 year.

1. Never put in more than you can afford to lose

Someone once told me before, the first rule of money, is never to lose any money. I started off with USD $2,500. Just to try it out you know. Because I have heard so many rags to riches stories, people going from broke to millionaires by trading BTC. Get the drift? Like I said previously, not unless you are willing to wager big time on it. Even if the BTC price was USD $20,000 (I am not talking about the early traders), how can an average person on the street own 10 BTCs without selling off his house and car?

And like I said, I dare say even Elon Musk himself does not know what will happen next (though he has a massive influence over it, you can click here). The next thing you know, if the Chinese government decides to come out with new restrictions, prices will crash again.

As of today, my portfolio is worth a grand total of USD $4,899.71 if I liquidate everything as of this instance. Fantastic? Probably. But another wise friend once told me, all the self-proclaimed gurus (investments of any kind), never told you about their losses. They only show you their wins. So be wise.

2. Money is the root of all evil

NO. Greed is. Since I started fiddling around with cryptocurrency, mainly BTC and Ethereum (ETH). Right before the crash in May 2021, I sold some, made a profit and I bought in at an all-time high price once more thinking that it will go higher. And you know the story. So refer back to point number 1. Making lesser profits is better than losses. Yes, you can always say that just hold on to it and wait for the rebound. But there is always something called opportunity costs, especially if your stakes on it is much higher than mine.

3. Keep track of what you do

On the advice of a close friend of mine, you should always keep a spreadsheet of your gains and losses. Buy price, sell price, for easy reference. Most people will say it is common sense to do so, but most don't. So if you are serious about it and want to make money out of it, I suggest you do so.

4. Other people's opinion

Well along the journey you will hear tons of advice, albeit some are well-meaning, some are just plain silly (I am being nice here). Some will tell you why trade? Just buy and leave it there and never look at them again and let your descendants discover that they are actually billionaires 20 years later.

What I wish to tell you is that it is all up to you. I cannot emphasise this enough. Why should you let others tell you what you should do with the money or profits? Even though you read this, you will still let other people's opinions influence you. I am not saying be stubborn and unreasonable or irresponsible and treat it as a gamble, but I am just saying whether you choose to take their advice or not, whether they turn out to be correct or wrong, you should not blame anyone except yourself.

You call the shots yourself. It is your account. Your own money. Blaming someone else for a decision you make with your own money is anything but foolish.

Conclusion

To further prove my point in number 4, compare the headlines of this article and the other one. Yes, there is a lot of driving factors behind every bull or bear run. But ultimately it is just market sentiments overall. When the market is feeling optimistic, cryptocurrency, in general, will experience a bull run.

No doubt pushing towards the adoption of digital coins can mean a huge deal for cryptocurrency in future but until then, I dare say that most retail investors are just putting in some money and hoping to make some money out of it that fund our next vacation. So be careful of what the media is always saying. Their business is to get more subscribers, the typical doomsday 'newsflash' tactics. They can tell you about cryptocurrency as much as I can tell you about the number of white hair on Joe Biden's head.

One thing is for sure, if it is really not something worth looking at, the Singapore government would not want to be running it themselves, you can read more here.

Contact us if you have any questions related to bringing your blockchain companies to Singapore. 

 

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