• March 18, 2020

When it comes to being incorporated, the importance of corporate secretarial services in Singapore has become increasingly important. This is a unique position within the company that is not part of the line management and at the same time is not a direct member of the board. As a result of the significance of the position, the role which was formally known as the “administrative servant of the board” is set to change to the role of “board advisor”. This position carries with it a great deal of responsibility and as a result, should be treated with the utmost care.

So, what is a corporate secretary?

Within the organization, a company corporate secretary helps to maintain the daily routines of the organization. This includes ensuring the integrity of the governance framework, responsibility for all company administration as well as ensuring the compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. They also help by implementing decisions made by the Board of Directors.

What duties are included in the position? 

When considering your company secretary in Singapore, it is always important to consider the duties that are required in such a position. These duties include the following:

Acting as an advisor: During the position, the company secretary will advise the board of directors in regard to decisions that should be made. They significantly impact the decisions that are made and so it is crucial that the right individual is chosen for the job.

Handle share transactions: This will include everything from issuing new shares as the company expands, arranging the payment of dividends as well as ensuring that all legal requirements are met. This particular aspect of the job is extremely important as it will avoid significant legal costs should something go wrong.

Liaising: This will be accomplished with lawyers, auditors, tax advisers, bankers and shareholders on board governance issues.

Attending directors meetings: During these meetings, it will be the role of the corporate secretary to take notes and minutes of directors’ and members’ meetings.

Whilst these are some of the main duties of the position, there are many things that corporate secretaries are responsible for. Each of these responsibilities is an integral part of any corporation and will significantly impact the day to day operations of the business. Here are the main responsibilities of the role:

* Board and committee meetings
* Minutes of meetings
* The annual meeting of shareholders – including a proxy statement
* Corporate records
* Subsidiary management
* Stock transfers and dividends
* Securities market listings and compliance with listing standards
* Compliance with federal and provincial board governance laws
* Governance liaison for officers and directors
* Shareholder engagement on governance issues
* Who is a corporate secretary?

Attributes of a corporate secretary 

Given the nature of the position, there are a number of skill sets that are required in order to effectively complete the job. Without these skills, it is likely that the job will not be completed efficiently enough to guarantee the success of the company. Here are the most desired attributes:

Analytical Skills: The ability to analyze a situation and make quick problem-solving decisions is integral to the role. Throughout the daily routine, it is crucial to analyze a wide number of situations in order to work out which will be most profitable for the company.

Management and organizational skills: The position will include managing a team of individuals and as a result, organization skills are essential. By effectively managing and organizing a team, the corporate secretary will be able to ensure that daily operations run as smoothly as possible.

IT familiarity: In the modern corporation, technology is now having a greater impact than any time in history. As a result, it is crucial to have IT familiarity. This includes everything from understanding spreadsheets to efficiently managing emails.

Good Communication: Although considered a soft skill, having good levels of communication is crucial to the position. It is common for the corporate secretary to negotiate throughout the organization. As a result, they must be able to effectively portray their own point of view, whilst at the same time understanding the points of view given to them by employees and team leaders.

An understanding of the legal system: Understanding the legal system is very important for any corporate secretary. This ensures that the business runs within all legal guidelines and also prevents any unnecessary legal costs that have the potential to occur.

Time management: Flexible time management is crucial to the position due to the number of responsibilities that are covered in the job. A corporate secretary must get the most out of every minute throughout the day. By having great time management, they can do just that, supervising the business in its day to day operations.

In addition to these attributes, core competencies are also important to effectively manage the position. Here are the core competencies that are required for the job:

* Working knowledge of corporate and securities law
* Demonstration of “presence” and excellent communication skills
* Sensitivity and intuition toward CEO and directors thoughts and feelings
* Ability to read signals and provide early warnings to management
* Ability to mediate and assist in achieving consensus
* Ability to overcome bureaucratic thinking in the company
* Detail-oriented
* Flexible and creative
* A sense of balance no matter how pressured a situation

This job is extremely stressful and deserves a great deal of respect. There are so many responsibilities that must be covered on a day to day basis, which makes finding the right person for the job an extremely important task in itself.