Although Singapore is one of the safest countries globally, the government of this Asian country still welcomes foreign and local private investments in its security sector. That’s because with economic expansion and globalisation comes the increasing need for a more secure environment to keep trade and commerce alive. And more than ever before, multinational companies and ventures are finding their way to Singapore because of the business-enabling environment it affords.
But while any qualified entrepreneur in the security sector can set up an security agency in Singapore, it is never a walk in the park. Given the sensitive nature of this service, the Association of Certified Security Agencies (ACSA) remains firm in ensuring full compliance with all the laws governing such agencies in Singapore.
If you have come here to learn everything it takes, you are in the right place. This article explains the steps needed to register and operate your agency in Singapore.
Steps for Registering Your Security Agency in Singapore
Since your proposed security agency is a business in some sense, you must comply with the laws establishing businesses and companies in Singapore. The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is the government agency in charge of this. It has provided a list of guidelines that anyone intending to establish a company in Singapore must comply with before it can be registered.
Here are the guidelines you must follow for company registration in Singapore
- Your business needs a name that will set it apart from others. As such, you must develop a unique business name that depicts your values and mission. Once you arrive at one, you are to submit the same to BizFile+ for approval.
- Determine the proper business structure that aligns with your company’s operational mode. For example, since it’s a security agency you have in mind, the appropriate one will be a Private Limited Liability Company.
- Appoint your company’s officials in compliance with the requirements set by ACRA. As stipulated by law, the important ones are directors, secretaries, and shareholders. You must have their IDs handy because you will be asked to upload them when submitting your application.
- Secure a physical office address. ACRA requires this to deliver your incorporation documents to you when they are ready.
- Indicate your issued capital – the required minimum is SGD1.
- You must also determine your Financial Year-End (FYE) for taxation and other corporate obligations.
- Complete your application by filling in all the necessary details.
The director of your company must work with the secretary to ensure that it complies with corporate obligations. Some of these obligations include Annual General Meetings, Personal Particulars of Company Officers, and Annual Return Changes in Company Information. As for tax obligations, outsourcing to a professional agency to help handle them is sometimes the way to go.
Meet Regulatory Requirements
While a private security agency is a business, its nature differs from other types of businesses. The Police Licensing and Regulatory Department (PLRD) of Singapore, the agency in charge of regulating private security agencies in the country, lists the following regulatory requirements that an agency must fulfil to operate legally.
- Secure either a Security Service Provider or Security Agency license from PLRD.
- Have a minimum of SGD300,000 as your proposed company’s issued share capital.
- Your company should be privately limited.
- You must establish the company in a space designated for commercial purposes only.
- Once established, you must appoint at least two directors with stated responsibilities to manage the company.
Required Qualifications for Security Agencies Directors in Singapore
As stated earlier, a private security agency seeking registration in Singapore must appoint at least two directors. One represents the agency before relevant government authorities, while the other deals with the police authorities on compliance and regulatory issues.
The qualifications required for the two directors differ slightly. For the director who is liaising with the Police Licensing Department, here are the required qualifications:
- He or she must not have had a criminal record in the past.
- He or she must hold a Management Security Agency (MSA) certification under the MSQ Module.
- He or she must possess at least two years of experience as a security firm manager or work in any security-related field for that period.
The second director, who handles government authorities, will be responsible for securing Security Agency Licensing and must fulfil any of these requirements:
- At least two years of experience working in a private security outfit.
- Holding Singapore’s Private Security Act certification as a manager.
- Have completed and passed PLRD’s Management Security training module.
- Have completed and passed PLRD’s Management Security Emergencies training module.
All licenses or permits for operating any business in Singapore are not issued once-and-for-all. You need to renew them on or before their expiry dates to keep the status of your company. In addition, the directors and secretaries must stay abreast of rules and regulations to ensure they are not ignorant of any change made to them.
Other Important Considerations When Opening a Security Agency in Singapore
Since security outfits are uniformed agencies, PLRD requires that newly-registered ones must not issue any resembling that of the nation’s Armed Forces, Police, or other security agencies. This requirement demands that you get to know all existing private security agencies in the country and their uniforms in order for you to comply.
Also, while you can employ anyone who is qualified, even if they are 60 years old or above, you must arrange a detailed medical check-up to ensure they are physically fit for the job. That aside, all employees must undergo requisite training for their roles before you deploy them.
Workers’ wages are also guaranteed under the Private Security Law. As such, it’s compulsory to pay your employees as and when due so you can avoid penalties.
Opening a security agency as a branch of a foreign company in Singapore is possible. However, one must comply with all laws and regulations, especially the requirement for an issued share capital of at least SGD300,000 SGD. The process is similar to opening any type of branch in Singapore, and security entrepreneurs can register and incorporate the company themselves or contract it to an expert corporate service provider.
Based on statistical estimates, the private security sector in Singapore is expected to rake in SGD20 million in 2023. There are, therefore, good prospects for experts and interested stakeholders to at least break and maybe gain a profit even while contributing to the growth of this Asian giant.