Singapore’s variable capital company: a guide to VCC benefits and setup

Singapore’s variable capital company a guide to VCC benefits and setup

Singapore’s variable capital company: a guide to VCC benefits and setup

In the evolving landscape of Singapore’s financial sector, variable capital companies (VCCs) have emerged as a prominent and flexible solution for diverse investment needs.

Thanks to its innovative structure, the VCC has led an increase in investment flows into the city-state, and has helped to propel Singapore firmly onto the global stage as a destination of choice for fund managers and family offices. This has also led to opportunities for professionals through the creation of local jobs. In response to the high demand, the Singaporean government recently extended the Variable Capital Companies Grant Scheme to 15 January 2025.

This article provides an overview of the VCC to help you decide if it is the right investment vehicle for you. In consultation with multiple business experts, we explain what a variable capital company is and the benefits it offers. We will also explain the setup process and provide advice for giving your entity the best chance of success in the region.

The VCC structure and its unique benefits

The VCC is an innovative structure offering many benefits for investment managers in Singapore – particularly high-net-worth individuals and families.

“The introduction of the VCC Framework at the start of 2020 further strengthened Singapore’s value proposition as a leading full-service asset management hub,” explains Eunice Hooi, Head of Corporate Secretarial for BoardRoom Singapore.

Like private limited companies, VCCs are governed by a board of directors and have shareholders who own shares in the fund. They also offer limited liability for shareholders and directors, as they are considered a separate legal personality (this means that shareholders and directors are protected in cases of litigation against the company).

However, VCCs have unique benefits that may make them a preferred structure for investment managers. In contrast to other investment structures, VCCs offer:

  • operational flexibility;
  • tax efficiency, and
  • privacy.
The VCC structure and its unique benefits
Operational flexibility
VCCs offer investors and fund managers a high level of flexibility across different fund strategies, investor and asset classes.

Importantly, fund managers can use VCCs for both open- and close-ended funds. Open-ended funds allow investors to freely invest, redeem or withdraw shares without shareholder approval, empowering them to respond swiftly to market changes. “VCCs can also pay dividends out of capital, giving fund managers the flexibility to meet their dividend payment obligations,” says Zhan Aijuan, Senior Manager of Corporate Secretarial for BoardRoom Singapore.

In addition, VCCs can incorporate new funds and re-domicile existing funds to a new location.
Tax efficiency
VCCs can access a variety of beneficial tax treatments. Even VCCs with sub-funds are recognised as a single entity at tax time. Distributions from VCCs in Singapore are usually tax-exempt, and the VCC itself may qualify for tax-exemption schemes such as the Singapore Resident Fund Scheme and Enhanced-Tier Fund Scheme.

“VCCs can also enjoy the extensive tax treaty network that the Singapore government has with over 85 countries,” Eunice adds.
While VCCs must submit financial statements to regulatory authorities, they do not need to make these documents publicly available. They can also keep their list of shareholders confidential. This means they offer extra privacy and confidentiality for shareholders.

VCCs can be set up as:

  • a standalone fund or
  • an umbrella VCC with two or more sub-funds, each holding a portfolio of separate assets and liabilities.

Josephine Toh, Associate Director of Corporate Secretarial for BoardRoom Singapore, adds that umbrella VCCs can offer valuable economies of scale.

“VCCs need to appoint a variety of professionals, such as fund managers, company secretaries and auditors,” she says. “Umbrella VCCs enable investors to achieve economies of scale by splitting the cost of using the same professionals across all sub-funds.”

Further, the fund managers can claim a 30% reduction on qualifying VCC set-up costs paid to Singapore-based service providers through the Variable Capital Companies Grant Scheme.

Regulatory requirements for VCCs

Compliance requirements for VCCs encompass stringent reporting standards and governance mechanisms to promote transparency and accountability.

The Variable Capital Companies Act governing VCCs in Singapore is relatively new, and therefore will continue to develop. Fund managers must ensure their VCC complies with this legislation as it evolves.

VCCs also have obligations to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), such as the implementation of processes for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.

Key requirements for the setting up of VCCs include:

  • at least one ordinarily resident director in Singapore;
  • one qualified MAS licensee as a fund manager (this can be the same person as the local resident director);
  • a registered office in Singapore;
  • a Singapore-based company secretary; and
  • an auditor and annual audits.

Setting up a Singapore VCC

A prominent feature of the VCC framework is the option for fund managers to either set up a new VCC or re-domicile their existing investment funds with comparable structures to Singapore. This flexibility offers a range of advantages and can significantly enhance the fund manager’s operations. Below are the steps in incorporating a new VCC or re-domiciling existing investment funds.

Incorporating a new VCC

Companies seeking to expand their presence in Singapore or tap into the benefits of the VCC structure can set up a new VCC. Here are the key steps involved:


Register a name

Register a VCC name via the VCC Portal. Once approved, the VCC must be incorporated within 120 days and adhere to any potential reviews by Referral Authorities.

Determine the VCC type

Decide between establishing a non-umbrella VCC or an umbrella VCC that contains multiple sub-funds with segregated assets and liabilities.

Appoint key personnel

Appoint VCC officers, including director, company secretary, auditor and fund manager. At this point, you will also need to decide on the VCC's first financial year end (FYE) and determine the accounting period length.

Register the office address and constitution

Provide a publicly accessible registered office address for the VCC and submit a constitution detailing the VCC's governance, operations and key stakeholder rights and responsibilities.

Incorporate the new VCC

This can be done directly through the VCC Portal or via a registered filing agent or corporate service provider. The processing time can range from 14 to 60 days, depending on any additional governmental reviews.

Register any sub-funds for an umbrella VCC

Register individual sub-funds under an umbrella structure of a VCC.

Re-domiciling existing investment funds

Re-domiciling existing investment funds

For fund managers with existing overseas investment funds that align with the VCC framework’s criteria, the option to re-domicile these funds to Singapore can be an efficient and cost-effective strategy. This process involves transferring the registration and legal domicile of an existing fund to Singapore while retaining its existing structure. Here are the key requirements needed for re-domiciling existing investment funds:

Eligibility assessment: Fund managers must first determine whether their existing investment funds meet the criteria for re-domiciliation to a Singapore VCC. The existing fund should have a similar structure and characteristics to that of a VCC, making it a suitable candidate for re-domiciliation.

Approval from shareholders: In most cases, the existing fund’s shareholders must approve the re-domiciliation. This process may require a special resolution or a majority vote, per the fund’s existing legal structure.

Regulatory compliance: Fund managers should ensure that the re-domiciliation process aligns with the regulatory requirements of both the fund’s current jurisdiction and Singapore.

Transfer of assets and liabilities: As part of the re-domiciliation process, assets and liabilities of the existing fund must be appropriately transferred to the newly incorporated Singapore VCC. If applicable, this transfer process should ensure the segregation of assets and liabilities for each sub-fund.

Appointment of local service providers: Engage local service providers, including a permissible fund manager, company secretary, and auditor, to ensure compliance with the VCC Act’s requirements. The engagement of these professionals is crucial for ongoing compliance.

Re-domiciliation application: Submit the necessary documentation to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for approval of the re-domiciliation. The application should include details of the existing fund, the proposed Singapore VCC structure, and other relevant information.

Tax implications: Consider the tax implications of re-domiciling the fund to Singapore. Collaborate with tax advisors to maximise the benefits available under Singapore’s tax incentive schemes, such as the Singapore Resident Fund Scheme or the Enhanced-Tier Fund Scheme.

A trusted partner in Singapore VCC incorporation

A trusted partner in Singapore VCC incorporation

The VCC in Singapore is transforming the investment landscape, offering flexibility, tax benefits and privacy. It attracts wealth, creates jobs and solidifies Singapore’s position as a global financial hub. Setting up a VCC in Singapore involves navigating a complex landscape of legal, financial, and regulatory requirements.

BoardRoom, as a trusted partner with more than 50 years of experience in corporate services, can guide you through each step of the process, from registering your company to corporate secretarial services and setting up an efficient tax structure. BoardRoom can also ensure your accounting and tax compliance meet local and APAC-wide standards for your VCC in Singapore.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help set up your VCC and optimise the tax incentives.


Contact BoardRoom for more information:

Eunice Hooi

Managing Director Asia, Tax

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

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Startup companies in Singapore: where are the opportunities?

Startup companies in Singapore where are the opportunities

Startup companies in Singapore: where are the opportunities?

In an increasingly unpredictable global business landscape, Singapore stands out thanks to its economic resilience and stability. Renowned for its robust economy, Singapore has strategically cultivated a welcoming environment for startups and businesses alike, offering a unique blend of security, consistent growth and government initiatives that foster innovation.

A straightforward regulatory framework, low corporate tax rate and a strong rule of law underscore the country’s business-friendly atmosphere. For startup companies, Singapore’s appeal extends beyond its economic prowess, as it has positioned itself as a dynamic hub for new ventures ready to capitalise on opportunities and join a vibrant business community.

In this article, we delve into the landscape created for startups and new businesses, the reasons entrepreneurs should consider establishing their startups in Singapore, and the factors business owners need to consider when registering a startup in Singapore.

Why choose to establish your startup in Singapore?

The Singapore Government actively promotes a business-friendly environment through open policies and initiatives, a relatively uncomplicated regulatory framework, a resilient free market economy, low taxes and tax incentives. It also provides a range of attractive grants for startups.

The government’s strong focus on economic development has created an environment where startups in Singapore can thrive and where foreign investors are welcome. Startups and entrepreneurs will find a supportive and innovation-led business community. As a result, Singapore has built a global reputation as a top location for international expansion. Here are just a few other reasons why it is a great place to do business:

  • Singapore has a stable economy with world-class transportation, communication and technology networks and other infrastructure.
  • Thanks to its diversified economy, it offers opportunities in a range of industries.
  • Singapore is a global financial hub with a well-regulated and stable financial system.
  • The Singapore Government has implemented incentives and policies to streamline administration and create a pro-business environment.
  • Its efficient regulatory framework makes establishing a business in Singapore easy. For example, an application to incorporate a private limited company in Singapore can be approved within a day through the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
  • Singapore has low corporate tax rates and a transparent legal system. The tax system is straightforward to navigate, with tax incentives offered to many businesses.
  • Situated at the crossroads of major shipping routes, Singapore serves as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Its multicultural environment has created diverse markets for businesses to tap into.
Establish your startup in Singapore

What is the startup scene in Singapore?

The government has proactively encouraged an environment of innovation and supports this in a range of ways. For example, the Economic Development Board provides resources and assistance to support overseas companies and individuals starting businesses in Singapore. The government has also invested in the Startup SG program, providing various services and grants to Singapore’s startups. Some sectors offering an array of opportunities that startups could consider include:

Substantial investment in the tech sector has created a rich ecosystem for innovation in areas such as robotics, blockchain and AI.
Supply chain management
Singapore’s logistics sector provides vital support to other industries, with a range of opportunities open to entrepreneurs in the areas of trade and ecommerce.
The Singapore Government has invested heavily in the healthcare sector, and healthcare tech entrepreneurs will find plenty of opportunities to improve health outcomes for people in Singapore and around the globe.
Singapore’s fintech sector presents significant opportunities for startups, with strong venture capital support and a favourable and supportive climate for innovation and collaboration.
Startups and entrepreneurs with innovative offerings will find the tourism sector also rich with growth opportunities.
Startup scene in Singapore

A supportive community is a hallmark of the startup scene in Singapore

Along with a variety of government-led assistance programs to support entrepreneurs and innovators, Singapore’s thriving business community has also created initiatives to foster growth. The Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) helps to promote entrepreneurship, catalyse new growth opportunities, scale startups and build champion enterprises. For example, ACE’s Start-up Mentorship Program connects entrepreneurs with experienced business leaders who offer their expertise and guidance without charge.

The Singapore Women Entrepreneurs Network (SG-WEN) provides an important platform for women in business to unite, network and share experiences and insights.

The Youth Co:Lab is an example of an initiative designed for young people in business. It offers a collaborative and creative workspace for entrepreneurs to cultivate their ideas and support their business growth.

Best practices when registering your startup in Singapore

While Singapore has created a welcoming environment for new businesses, there are many compliance factors that startups and entrepreneurs must consider when incorporating a business in Singapore.

Eunice Hooi, Head of Corporate Secretarial, BoardRoom Singapore, says it is important to seek advice from an experienced, professional advisor when launching a business. “They will guide business owners through every stage of the incorporation process. They will also provide specialty advice on the different types of business structures available, and which one is best suited to the business needs. They will also take into consideration the legal and the tax implications of business ownership.”

Eunice says business owners need to consider the answers to several questions. What is the nature of your business? Are you establishing a branch i.e. an extension of your head office in another country? Or do you want to test the market by registering a representative office before you set up a permanent structure in the foreign country? A professional advisor can help you answer these questions and provide advice on the types of company structures in Singapore. They will also help you fulfil your obligations and avoid the pitfalls of inadequate planning.

Three critical aspects when establishing a business in Singapore are tax, corporate secretarial and payroll.

The type of business structure you choose will dictate how much tax you pay. Eunice explains. “A sole proprietorship and partnership are not taxable at the business level, but rather each business owner is taxed separately on his share of income at the owner’s level. An individual owner who is a sole proprietor or a partner would be taxed based on the progressive tax rates ranging from 0% to 24%, depending on the income level. On the other hand, a corporate partner of a partnership is subject to tax at corporate tax rate at 17% on its share of income from the partnership.”

A professional can help you understand the tax implications of your business and decide on a structure that takes advantage of tax incentives.
Corporate secretarial
Corporate secretarial is another consideration for entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Singapore, as corporate governance and company compliance can be complex and time-consuming. A service provider such as BoardRoom can support businesses in a range of ways, including ensuring a company complies with local Singapore requirements, ensuring accurate and timely submission of annual returns and providing expert advice on corporate governance matters.
It’s vital that businesses meet their payroll obligations. While Singapore has streamlined and simplified payroll requirements for businesses compared to other countries, staying up to date with payroll needs can be a challenge for new and established businesses. This includes ensuring compliance with salary disbursements and mandatory contributions, maintaining salary records, providing itemised payslips and adhering to leave entitlements, meaning there is no room for error.

Singapore also has cultural nuances and sensitivities that those unfamiliar with the business landscape might find challenging. It is important to understand and respect the cultural norms of your workforce. Ken Wong, Managing Director Asia, Payroll at BoardRoom, highlights some of these nuances: “Singapore is so diverse and there are times when you actually will need to make salary payments earlier so employees can enjoy festive holidays with salaries being paid to them in advance,” says Ken. “Singapore also has a prevalent ‘bonus culture’, with employees often expecting to receive some form of bonus at the end of the year, this is often not written in an employment contract.”
A supportive community

How BoardRoom supports your startup

Singapore is a politically safe, business-friendly country. Businesses and startup companies in Singapore enjoy an array of incentives and support to help them thrive. For entrepreneurs and business owners venturing into the Singapore market, understanding and respecting the local business landscape is crucial. This includes being well-versed in areas such as tax regulations, business structures, corporate regulatory requirements and payroll compliance.

Offering a range of corporate services, BoardRoom has proven itself to be a trusted partner of established and startup businesses in Singapore. We guide your business at every step and offer a range of corporate services, including corporate secretarial, payroll, tax compliance, company incorporation, accounting and bookkeeping and ESG advisory services.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you establish your startup today.

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Setting up a company in Singapore: what you need to know

Setting up a company in Singapore - what you need to know

Setting up a company in Singapore: what you need to know

In the heart of Southeast Asia’s thriving markets, Singapore’s growing economy and political stability continue to attract multinational corporations and startups. Eager to build on the country’s reputation as an economic powerhouse, the Singapore Government’s policies and regulations have created a favourable environment for businesses to thrive in.

If you are a business owner or investor considering setting up a company in Singapore, you are not alone. Every month, thousands of businesses are registered in Singapore.

In this article, we explore the various benefits of establishing a business in Singapore, the different types of business structures and important considerations when embarking on the process of company registration.

Seven benefits of setting up a company in Singapore

There are many reasons investors, entrepreneurs and company directors choose to form a company in Singapore. Here are some salient factors:

  • There is no minimum shareholder requirement.
  • There is no minimum requirement for paid-up capital when incorporating a private limited company.
  • There is no foreign exchange control.
  • Singapore is close to Asia’s thriving markets.
  • Singapore offers favourable tax incentives and low corporate tax rates.
  • Singapore’s workforce is highly educated and skilled.
  • Singapore is politically stable.
  • Singapore has a sound legal system and a mature financial infrastructure.
Benefits of setting up a company in Singapore


There is no minimum shareholder requirement

Singapore maintains a relatively open investment environment and imposes no minimum shareholder requirement on businesses.

“Because there are no restrictions on foreign ownership, a foreign entity can own the Singapore subsidiary or fully own a Singaporean company, either as a corporate or individual investor,” says Eunice Hooi, Head of Corporate Secretarial, BoardRoom Singapore.

There is no minimum requirement for paid-up capital when incorporating a private limited company

Singapore has a robust free-market economy and generous investment policies. It also has no minimum requirement for paid-up capital when incorporating a private limited company (PLC). Because of this, a PLC, which is one of the most common business types in Singapore, can be incorporated with just SGD 1.

There is no foreign exchange control

Generally, Singapore has no restriction on foreign exchange transactions and capital movements. “From an investment perspective, this means that it is easy to remit or repatriate capital and/or profits in and out of Singapore,” says Eunice.

Singapore is close to Asia's thriving markets

Singapore’s location is also very attractive to investors. It is in a strategic location close to the massive economies of both China and India.

With well-established infrastructure, including one of the busiest airports in the world and one of the largest ports in Asia, the country is well-placed to do business with other thriving economies.

Singapore offers favourable tax incentives and low corporate tax rates

Singapore has a range of tax incentives that are attractive to investors and boasts one of Asia’s lowest corporate tax rates of just 17%.

Singapore has also implemented the one-tier tax system, which means businesses pay corporate tax at the corporate level just once. Therefore, no additional taxes are imposed on the income, and shareholders are exempt from taxation on any dividends distributed by the company.

There is a highly skilled workforce in Singapore

Singapore boasts numerous corporate service providers, offering entrepreneurs a wide array of options when setting up a business.

The country is also home to a highly educated and literate workforce. That is reassuring for foreign investors who are setting up a company in Singapore and are looking for local talent to hire.

Singapore is politically stable

For business owners looking to establish a business in a country they have never operated in before, stability and security are paramount. Singapore is politically stable, with nations around the world recognising Singapore’s business-friendly regulations, reliable policies and high governance. This makes it an attractive and low-risk location for businesses.

Types of company registration in Singapore

There are several ways to structure a business in Singapore. These include:

  • sole proprietorships;
  • partnerships;
  • private limited companies (PLC);
  • limited liability partnerships (LLP); and
  • variable capital companies (VCC).
Sole proprietorships
This structure consists of one business owner who is personally responsible for any of the business’s debts and losses as the business owner is subject to unlimited liability.
Consisting of two to 20 owners, in a partnership, the owners also take on unlimited liability. They are, therefore, personally responsible for any of the business’s debts and losses.
Private limited companies (PLC)
In this structure, the business is established with its own legal identity. As it is separate from shareholders and directors, their liability is limited to the sum of what they have funded as capital.

This gives entrepreneurs peace of mind when setting up a company. It also means they can raise capital relatively easily. They can do this by increasing the number of shareholders or by issuing more shares to current shareholders.
Limited liability partnerships (LLP)
This structure is similar to that of a PLC. While a privately limited company can have one to 50 shareholders, in a limited liability partnership, there must be a minimum of partners with up to 20 partners.

In a business with this type of structure, the partners will not be held personally liable for any business debts incurred by the LLP. However, an individual partner may be held personally liable for claims from losses resulting from their own wrongful act or omission.
Variable capital companies (VCC)
A variable capital company is another type of corporate structure in Singapore. This structure allows a company to be established as a single, standalone fund for a single entity or as an umbrella fund for multiple funds.

The flexibility of this structure allows the investors to either incorporate a new VCC in Singapore or redomicile their existing offshore investment fund to Singapore as a VCC.

The structure also offers flexibility in how shares are issued and redeemed.
Choosing a company structure

How to choose a company structure

Entrepreneurs and investors are advised to have a carefully considered business plan and decide whether the business will be a short-term or long-term venture when starting a company. Those factors will affect the best kind of business structure they should set up in the establishment phase.

When it comes to ending the business, Eunice says there are several options. “It can be done through liquidation. Another way is through a simple process called striking off, when the company has a clean balance sheet. A third option would be to sell the business through an asset divestment or a share divestment.”

Kevin Cho, Director of Corporate Secretarial, BoardRoom Singapore, highlights the importance of considering the benefits specific to Singapore when choosing a business entity. “For example, Singapore offers tax benefits to startups established as private limited companies. These businesses are entitled to a new startup tax exemption for its first three consecutive tax years I.e. 75% exemption on the first SGD 100,000 of normal chargeable income* and a further 50% exemption on the next SGD 100,000 of normal chargeable income*.”

*Normal chargeable income refers to taxable income that is subject to tax at the prevailing Corporate Income Tax rate of 17%.

Steps to setting up a company in Singapore

Business owners and investors exploring business registration in Singapore should engage with a professional corporate service provider who can guide them on the processes of setting up a business. This includes making sure the company name is available and suitable for registration, deciding on the entity structure, and ensuring compliance with local and regional regulatory requirements at all times.

Once the business is formally registered with the local authority, namely the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), it may purchase its certificate of registration and business profile which contains the necessary corporate information from ACRA. The business will also be assigned a unique entity number then.

The business also has to determine its share capital and be sure to abide by the rules governing shareholders and directors. For example, a minimum of one local resident director must be appointed. It is noteworthy that foreign individuals can serve as directors if they meet specific criteria. Additionally, the company should consider engaging a qualified company secretary.

It can also be helpful to engage a professional corporate service provider as the tax treatment of companies set up in Singapore varies and depends on the type of business being set up.

“PLCs are taxed as separate entities at the corporate tax rate of 17% on the business profits,” explains Eunice. “On the other hand, LLPs are given a tax-transparency treatment, meaning they are not taxed at the LLP level. So the owners or the partners will be taxed on their share of income from LLP based on the relevant tax rates that are applicable to corporate partner and individual partner.”

Steps to setting up a company in Singapore

The right advice for your move into Singapore

Singapore offers attractive incentives for foreign investment and is a politically stable, easily accessible and talent-rich country in which to set up business. If you’re considering a move into Singapore as a business owner, director or investor, BoardRoom can help with all aspects of the business lifecycle.

BoardRoom offers a range of services including corporate secretarial, accounting, tax, payroll and ESG advisory services.

For help establishing your business in Singapore, please contact us today.

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