Obligations of a ACRA Registered Filing Agent (RFA)
A registered filing agent is the registered under ACRA as the qualified individual of a company secretarial firm or accounting firm in Singapore. The user is given the access to perform any transaction with the Registrar on behalf of the company/client in the course of the business.
Starting from June 2015, a registered filing agents (“RFA”) are required to comply by exercising due diligence measures on all its potential clients in order to deter or identify money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
RFA are required to comply with the anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing requirements which are set out as terms and conditions in the ACRA (Filing Agents and Qualified Individuals) Regulations 2015.
Prior to on-board a client, RFA are require to perform the following but not limited to:
- Customer due diligence and enhanced customer due diligence undertaken by the RFA;
- Risk assessments concerning money laundering and terrorism financing issues;
- Obtaining of beneficial ownership information by the RFA;
Besides the initial risk assessment of the client, RFA are required to perform ongoing compliance review such as the following:
- Making suspicious transaction reporting if any;
- Perform enhanced due diligence checks at a higher frequency (yearly) for high risk clients.
When conducting the client due diligence check, RFA are required to obtain the following:
- Details of the customer’s business;
- The identity and contact details of all the directors and shareholders in the company, such as photocopy of a certified true copy of the NRIC, Notarised Passport Copy and proof of address;
- Identify any foreign individual that is not present in Singapore by using video call to confirm the identity details.
- Identify and obtain the identity of the ultimate beneficial owner;
- The nature and purpose of the relationship between the customer and its beneficial owners;
- Identifying whether the individual or ultimate beneficial owner is a political exposed person and;
- Taking reasonable measures to establish the source of wealth and source of funds which are involved in the proposed business relationship.
Under the circumstances that the RFA is unable to perform or complete any client due diligence measures, such as collecting of supporting document or the identity of its client, then it must:
- not carry out any transaction with or for the customer;
- not establish a business relationship with the customer;
- terminate any existing business relationship with the customer; and
- Consider whether it is required to file a suspicious transaction report under section 39(1) of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, and section 8 or 10 of the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.
Any RFA that has been found to have breach the ACRA Act and the ACRA (Filing Agents and Qualified Individuals) Regulations 2015, will be dealt with the following:
- Cancel or suspend the registration of the registered filing agent;
- Restrict the registered filing agent’s use of the electronic transaction system to such extent as ACRA thinks fit;
- Require the registered filing agent’s to pay a financial penalty not exceeding $25,000 for each breach, within a specified period; or
- Issue a censure to the registered filing agent.
- If the registered filing agent fails to pay the stipulated financial penalty, ACRA may proceed against him according to (i) or (ii) above.
In today Accounting and corporate secretarial firm in Singapore, they are required to comply with ACRA to be part of the front line in preventing money laundering and terrorism financing. As a registered filing agent ourselves, we seek your understanding and full cooperation when going through the due diligence process with us. Thank you.