A comprehensive guide to Nominee Directors in Singapore

Apr 19, 2024

Singapore's vibrant business environment attracts entrepreneurs and investors worldwide.  However, foreign companies establishing a presence in Singapore face a unique hurdle: the resident director requirement. This is where nominee directors offer a valuable solution for foreign businesses.

This blog is a detailed guide to the concept of nominee directors in Singapore, exploring their roles, responsibilities, and potential benefits for your company.

What is a Nominee Director in Singapore?

The Singapore Companies Act mandates that all companies must have at least one director who is a permanent resident in Singapore.  

For foreign companies lacking a resident to serve as a director, appointing a nominee director is a compelling option. The nominee director acts as a local representative for the company, ensuring compliance with residency requirements.

Key Characteristics of a Nominee Director:

  1. A resident of Singapore: The primary characteristic of a nominee director is their residency status. They must be a Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Employment Pass holder with a valid residence in Singapore.

  2. Limited Involvement in day-to-day operations: While not an explicit requirement, nominee directors typically don't participate in the company's day-to-day operations or strategic decision-making processes. Their role focuses on fulfilling legal and regulatory requirements.

  3. Fiduciary duty to act in the company's best interests: Despite limited operational involvement, nominee directors have a legal obligation to act in the company's best interests and ensure adherence to Singapore's laws and regulations.

If you’re looking for a Nominee Director in Singapore, click here to use Commenda’s Nominee Director services. 

Does my company need a Nominee Director? 

For foreign entities expanding in Singapore, appointing a nominee director is a necessary step to establish a local presence while complying with local regulations.

The Singaporean government mandates a local director to ensure accountability should a company violate any laws, thereby preventing foreign owners from evading responsibility for legal issues. According to Singapore’s Companies Act, every Singaporean company must have at least one resident director on their board of directors at all times. A nominee director can fulfill this requirement, provided they are a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident with a local address. 

Failure to appoint a locally resident director within six months of incorporation may result in legal penalties for non-compliance. A nominee director ensures adherence to local laws and regulations, mitigating these risks and fostering a smooth expansion into the Singaporean market.

What are the benefits of appointing a Nominee Director in Singapore? 

While the concept of a non-executive director might raise questions, appointing a nominee director offers several advantages for foreign businesses in Singapore:

  1. Fulfill the residency requirement: A nominee director ensures your company complies with the requirement for at least one resident director.

  2. Accelerate business setup: Nominee directors can expedite the company incorporation process in Singapore.

  3. Offer peace of mind: A local director simplifies compliance with local regulations, bringing peace of mind to foreign businesses.

  4. Maintain control: The ultimate control and decision-making authority remain with the company owners, not the nominee director. Having a nominee director guarantees that foreign owners and operators still have full control over the company.

What are the eligibility criteria for a nominee director in Singapore? 

  1. Singaporean citizenship or permanent residency: Nominee directors must be Singaporean citizens or permanent residents with a local address.

  2. Age requirement: A candidate must be at least 18 years old to be eligible to hold a nominee director position. 

  3. Clean records: An eligible nominee director must possess a clean criminal record and should not have been disqualified from holding director positions in the past. 

What is the process for appointing a Nominee Director in Singapore? 

Step 1: Identify the right Nominee Director

Ensure that your candidate meets the following criteria: 

  1. Singaporean citizen or permanent resident

  2. 18 years of age or older

  3. No criminal record 

  4. Does not hold company shares

  5. Is not involved in day-to-day operations of the company 

Step 2: Create a Nominee Director service agreement

Once you've found a suitable candidate for a nominee director, your company should create a Nominee Director Service Agreement that clearly defines their roles, responsibilities, and terms of engagement. This agreement should outline the nominee director's duties, limitations on their authority, and the agreed-upon method for resolving disputes.

Step 3: Get the required documents

To appoint a nominee director, it is essential to gather the necessary documentation, including the Memorandum and Articles of Association, board resolutions, and incorporation certificates. 

The required documents can be retrieved from the company's registered office or the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in Singapore. 

Step 4: Apply and verify on ACRA Bizfile+ 

Next, you’ll need to apply for the appointment of a nominee director and complete the verification process with ACRA. This involves submitting the necessary documents, including the nominee director’s identity and residential address. ACRA will verify this information through the Bizfile+ platform.

What to consider when appointing a nominee director:

While nominee directors offer valuable support, it's crucial to approach their appointment with due diligence:

  1. Choose a reputable nominee director service: Partner with a reputable and experienced nominee director service provider to ensure professionalism and expertise.

  2. Create a clearly defined service agreement: Establish a clear service agreement outlining the nominee director's duties, responsibilities, and limitations of their role.

  3. Open ongoing communication channels: Maintain open communication with your nominee director to ensure they are kept informed of relevant company developments.

What is the process for replacing or removing a nominee director? 

Follow these steps for replacing or removing a nominee director:

  1. Review the company constitution: Examine your company's constitution to understand the requirements and procedures for appointing or removing directors.

  2. Convene a board meeting: Organize a meeting with the current directors to discuss the nominee director's replacement or removal. Once you have approval to remove the resident director, you should submit either a notice of resignation or a letter of cessation to your existing resident director, following any notice period and quorum requirements in your company's constitution. 

  3. Pass a resolution: During the meeting, pass a resolution to appoint a new director or remove the existing nominee director, approved by a majority vote of the directors present. 

  4. Update ACRA records: Inform the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of the changes, filing relevant forms such as the Notification of Change in Directors within the specified timeframe. 

When replacing or removing a nominee director, securing a suitable replacement is essential before the current director leaves their position to maintain compliance with local laws and avoid legal repercussions. 

If you’re looking to replace your existing nominee director, try Commenda’s Nominee Director Services by clicking here. 

Need professional assistance in appointing a nominee director?

Nominee directors play an important role in enabling foreign companies to establish a foothold in Singapore. Partnering with a trusted corporate service provider helps ensure competence, compliance, and peace of mind.

If you are looking for a high-quality resident director service, reach out to Commenda today. 

Sign up for our Nominee Director services →


Commenda Technologies, Inc.

5617 Kirkwood Place North
Seattle, WA 98103
United States of America 🇺🇸
+1 631 921 3911

Commenda Technologies, Inc.

5617 Kirkwood Place North
Seattle, WA 98103
United States of America 🇺🇸
+1 631 921 3911


© Commenda 2024

Commenda Technologies, Inc.

5617 Kirkwood Place North
Seattle, WA 98103
United States of America 🇺🇸
+1 631 921 3911


© Commenda 2024