What is an Employee Stock Option Plan? (ESAS vs ESPP)

What is an Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP)?

What is an Employee Stock Option Plan? (ESAS vs ESPP)

Based on reports from a survey conducted by Workday and published on Human Resource Directors, Singapore’s job market currently has an expected turnover rate of 46% per annum, the highest across Asia Pacific. Given this alarming statistic, employment retention is key for companies to grow and maintain a competitive advantage with their best minds running the entity with in-depth, industry specific skills and experiences. To attack this issue effectively, we are seeing a surge in companies adopting an Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP). As a result, not only are employees retained, they are also incentivized to work towards company’s objectives and not of their own.

An Employee Stock Option Plan is essentially a remuneration package, where employees are rewarded with company’s ordinary shares, either by subsidy or free of charge, after certain performance criteria have been fulfilled. Some examples of an Employee Stock Option Plan include Employee Share Award Scheme (ESAS) and Employee Share Purchase Plan (ESPP). In this article we will discuss each in detail to demonstrate their differences.

Employee Share Award Scheme (ESAS)

This plan is usually given to directors or upper level management, where the employee is rewarded with ordinary shares of the company, if they fulfill certain criteria or performance metrics set forth by the company. Initially, the participant (director or senior manager) will be allotted X number of restricted shares. At each vesting period (usually annually), a proportion of the allotted shares will be vested and become unrestricted shares, where the participant can then enjoy the benefits of owning an actual share (i.e. Sell, Voting Right, Dividend Pay-out). The number of shares to be vested and turned into unrestricted shares, will depend on the participant’s performance during their evaluation period.

There are two types of ESAS, namely a Performance Share Plan (PSP) and a Restricted Share Plan (RSP). They can be summarized as follows:

 

Types of ESASPlan DurationVesting PeriodPerformance MetricParticipantTarget Companies
PSP3-5 YearsEnd of Plan (With Annual Evaluation)– Total Shareholder Return

– Return on Equity

– Return on Sales

– Market Ranking

– Directors

– Non-Executive Directors

– Senior Manager

– Head of Department

– Listed Companies (Including Mainboard and Catalist)
RSP3 YearsAnnually– EBITDA

– Economic Value Added

Case Study 1: Restricted Share Plan (RSP)

Jack Li (Employee of Jack Manufacturing Company) has recently joined the Jack Manufacturing Company Restricted Share Plan (RSP), where he was allotted 1,000,000 shares on 1st April 2020. The RSP plan spans across a 3-year duration with 2 vesting periods. The first vesting date is 2nd April 2022, where 50% of the allotted shares will be vested and become unrestricted shares, based on Mr. Li’s performance from 2nd April 2020 until 1st April 2022. The second vesting date is on 2nd April 2023, where the remaining 50% of the allotted shares will be vested, depending on his performance from 2nd April 2020 till 1st April 2023. His results are summarized as follows:

 

Vesting Period2nd April 20222nd April 2023
Performance Metrics95%100%
Vested450,000500,000
Unvested50,0000
Total Awarded450,000 + 500,00 = 950,000

 

Upon the first vesting period, Jack only managed to reach 95% of his pre-set target, therefore, the Remuneration Committee (RC) decided to vest only 450,000 shares, of the allotted 500,000 shares for that time period. The remaining 50,000 shares will either be placed back in Jack Manufacturing Company’s treasury account or to be evaluated again towards the second vesting period. For the purpose of this example we will assume that the unvested 50,000 shares are being placed back into Jack Manufacturing Company’s treasury account for simplicity.

Upon the second vesting period, Jack performed well and managed to reach his target, thereby having all 500,000 shares vested accordingly.

In conclusion, Jack has a total of 950,000 Jack Manufacturing Company’s ordinary shares by end of 2nd April 2023, that he can either sell it or keep. If he chooses to keep the shares, he will enjoy voting rights and receive dividend payment as and when due.

Companies who adopt such a plan usually aim to ensure that shorter term (i.e. Annual) goals are being met and satisfied. As opposed to PSP, where longer term goals are the focus, see below for this case study.

Note: As a rule, companies will only allot shares up to 15% of company’s current outstanding ordinary shares at any time, to all its eligible participants, to prevent overpowering of any form.

Case Study 2: Performance Share Plan

Sarah Perry (Employee of Jack Manufacturing Company) recently joined the Jack Manufacturing Company Performance Share Plan (PSP), where she was allotted with 1,000,000 shares on 1st April 2020. On an annual basis, she will be evaluated and will be given a score card. The average of all scores spanning across 3 years, will determine the final number of ordinary shares awarded. It is worth pointing out that the scores she receives in one particular year will not affect her scores of other years.

Her results are summarized as follows:

 

Evaluation Date (Annually)2nd April 20212nd April 20222nd April 2023
Score Card95%110%65%
Average score across 3 years(95% + 110% + 65%) / 3 = 90%
Total Awarded1,000,000 x 90% = 900,000 Ordinary Shares

 

In conclusion, Sarah has a total of 900,000 Jack Manufacturing Company’s ordinary shares by the end of 2nd April 2023, that she can either sell or keep.

Note that in some companies, a Claw-back Policy may be introduced. This policy will require the individual to return a certain number (if not, all) of the rewarded ordinary shares, should the performance achieved be deemed unsustainable, for a set number of years post the PSP Plan.

Companies who adopt such plans usually aim to ensure that longer term goals are being materialised, as opposed to RSP, where shorter term goals are the focus. In addition, such policy will incentivise the individual to constantly reflect and improve on the strategies adopted, to ensure sustainable performance for the long haul.

Employee Share Purchase Scheme (ESAS)

This plan is offered to all employees of the company. The company will effectively subsidize employees in purchasing ordinary shares of the company.

On a monthly basis, a portion of the participant’s (employee) gross income will be automatically deducted and placed in a separate account (sitting with the company) for a minimum period of one year. By end of the year, the participant either has the option to use those funds to purchase ordinary shares, or have it transferred back to participant’s own account. To incentivize participants to partake in this scheme, companies would offer an advantageous interest rate, for the funds being set aside. Therefore, there is benefit to the employee even if they don’t proceed with purchasing the company’s ordinary shares. There are also other cases where companies will subsidize 25% of the total cost spent by the participants when making the share purchase. Some companies would even use their own funds to purchase x ordinary shares, for every x number of ordinary shares purchased by the participants.

Conclusion

Different types of plans will serve companies of different sizes and nature. But the core purpose remains the same, which is to retain the best minds, drive long term growth and be the market’s next game changer.

Find out more on the key benefits of having an Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP) or learn about the challenges of ESOP implementation and how to conquer them.

Looking For A Trusted Employee Share Plan Firm In Singapore?

We have designed an all-rounded encompassing solution comprising of an experienced Share Plan team of practitioners and a digital solution to help you manage your strategic initiative.

01 Learn more about EmployeeServe - our Employee Plan Services platform!

Contact us today to find out more about our class-leading solution.

Or you can also learn more about our Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) services here.

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Outsourcing Payroll in China – Understanding your Payroll Duties

Outsourcing Payroll in China

Outsourcing Payroll in China – Understanding your Payroll Duties

Employment Considerations

One of the biggest risks employers face with executing payroll in China is not fully complying with the country’s labour laws. Employees are generally required to have proof of residence in the city in which they apply for employment, and employers must file the appropriate social insurance paperwork.

Employees may be hired on a permanent or temporary basis; a temporary contract can be for a fixed period of time or until the occurrence of a certain event. Workers from abroad can be employed only with special permission from the local authorities and after obtaining an employment certificate for the employee.

Wages and Compensation Considerations

Minimum wages are set by local government agencies across China, and the country’s labour bureaus set standard minimum wages for certain types of jobs. China has an eight-hour work day with an average working week no more than 44 hours long and (generally) two days off per week. Salaries and payroll-run in China are generally paid monthly.

An employee may terminate employment with 30 days’ written notice. Employers must provide 30-day advance notice to an employee to part ways with mutual consent and must pay severance unless the employee failed to satisfy the conditions of his or her employment contract and/or violated any laws or company policies.

Taxes, Social Society & Withholdings

Required tax deductions vary from region to region (and even city to city) across China, but they usually total around 40 percent of an employee’s salary. Since all employees pay income tax, China mandates that employers withhold around 15 percent of employees’ wages for individual income taxes and pay, paying them to China’s tax bureau before the 15th of each month. Employers are also required to withhold and pay a shares tax, bonus tax, or severance tax when applicable.

Employers and employees are required to contribute to China’s mandatory social insurance schemes – pension insurance, medical insurance, industrial injury insurance, unemployment insurance, and maternity insurance – as well as to its Housing Fund which allows the employees to save money towards purchasing their own home.

The amount of social insurance and Housing Fund contributions are adjusted each year for every city or region, with the amount determined using the average salary in each city. Respective government officials often implement the changes at different times, placing an important administrative burden on employers to stay abreast of all required payroll compliance guidelines.

The required withholdings must also be paid to the Bureau of Labour Insurance, National Health Insurance Council, and the Employee Pension Board before the 15th of the following month.

Leave, Vacations & Holidays

As in most other Asian countries, workers in China receive about 10 paid holidays per year. These generally include the first three days of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, three days for International Labour Day on May 1-3, and three days for National Day from October 1-3. They also receive a paid holiday for January First on the Western calendar and China’s government occasionally establishes special holidays on short notice.

Employees are entitled to between 5 and 15 days of paid annual leave at a sliding scale based on their length of service to the employer. Employees can also apply for sick leave, marriage leave, and funeral leave, when applicable.

Women are generally entitled to 98 days of maternity leave, paid by the employer, though certain provincial regulations extend the amount of leave available (in some instances, by as many as three months). Fathers are entitled to 7-20 days of paternity leave, with some extensions permissible.

China Payroll Outsourcing

Most companies operating in China have engaged a regional payroll services provider to take care of China’s complex payroll considerations and tax requirements. To ensure all employer’s liabilities are complied with according to the local regulations, consider outsourcing your payroll operations in China to a trusted managed services provider like BoardRoom.

BoardRoom has extensive experience operating in China with a local team and a new cloud-based HRMS solution, Ignite, that delivers a superior user interface and an intuitive mobile application.

Looking For An Established Payroll Partner In China?

At Boardroom, we are experts in helping companies, from corporations to fast-growing SMEs, with their payroll, allowing them to focus on what matters – growth and profitability.

From local payroll services handling to managing substantial payroll obligations for bigger companies spread across Asia-Pacific, we help companies comply with local statutory regulations while ensuring their most valuable asset, the employees, are paid on time.

Contact us today and empower your organisation with greater freedom through our payroll solutions.

Or you can also learn more about our payroll solutions here.

This article is for informational purposes only and not intended to convey or constitute legal or any other advice. It is not a substitute for advice from a qualified professional.

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Singapore Budget 2020 – What different enterprises need to take note of for easier long-term planning

Singapore Budget 2020 – What different enterprises need to take note of for easier long-term planning

On 18th February 2020, Finance Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat delivered the Singapore 2020 Budget Statement.

One of the main goals of the strategic financial plan is to grow the economy and transform Singapore’s enterprises through various packages and increased support for businesses, especially those significantly impacted by the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Overall, the Singapore Budget for 2020 aims at long term economic growth through extensive support of SMEs & start-ups. Detailed in this article are some of the changes to take note of and key government initiatives that impact SMEs to listed companies.

If you have any questions relating to any of the information contained in this 16-page infographic report, please contact our tax advisors via email or call us at +65 6230 9788.

What All Enterprises Should Know

Tax Benefits All Enterprises Should Be Aware Of

What MNCs & Listed Companies Should Know

What SMEs Should Know

Useful information for Start-ups

Download the Full 16-page Singapore Budget 2020 Infographic Report






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Top 5 key benefits of having an Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP)

Top 5 key benefits of having an Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP)

In today’s marketplace, attracting and retaining top talent poses constant challenges. Gone are the days of your traditional 9-5 job and with it your 9-5 employee. Technology has meant we’re now more connected than ever and we are always ‘on’ regardless of whether we’re physically in the office or on holidays. These changes have created a whole new generation of employees that demand more from their organisations and not just in the form of benefits but through an alignment of personal goals and values. This shift in mental state has also created a highly competitive marketplace where retaining top talent is key to a healthy P&L.

Employee Share Plans have long been seen as a way to align your business goals with employee values in addition to driving productivity and aiding retention. In this article we will explore the top 5 benefits of having an Employee Share Plan in place and how it can benefit your business and retain talents within your company.

1. Promotes employee Involvement

The first benefit is perhaps one of the most important but also one of the most misunderstood values of implementing an Employee Share Plan. Simply put, if you align your workforce and your organisation with a common goal it promotes engagement, invites innovation and drives productivity and profitability. All due to ensuring your employees have a sense of ownership. The implementation of an Employee Share Plan ensures that your employees don’t feel like a cog in a machine, but feel they play a fundamental role in business success. That success then becomes tangible when they see the impact to their Employee Share Plan when the company’s stock price improves.

2. Improved recruitment and retention

Companies that adopt an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”) have seen much better retention rates due to the long-term benefits associated with having an ESOP. Employee Stock Ownership Plans provide employees with ownership interest in the company. Typically, the longer they stay with the company the greater the benefits which is why they can be used in the facilitation of succession planning.

ESOPs can often have tax benefits for employees and company alike so are typically implemented as part of a corporate finance strategy. This makes ESOPs a desirable piece of any employee package and as a result aide in retention of employees. In addition to this with the right Employee Stock ownership Plan a business can create desire within top talent, ultimately benefiting your business.

3. Ability to generate liquidity while maintaining control

If you want to generate liquidity for your business but are concerned about losing the operating control that comes along with selling to a third party then an Employee Share Plan might be a viable solution. With an Employee Share plan in place, owners can choose to sell a minority interest, as little as 20 percent, which will generate the liquidity needed.

The benefits associated are not just for the business owner in this scenario, in the case of employees, it enables investment opportunities that might not otherwise have been viable. Many employees do not have the cash to buy shares, a business who implements an Employee Share Plan changes this through the setup of a trust and selling to their employees. Employee’s will then receive shares over time as a retirement benefit.

4. Flexible and tax savings

Employee Share Plans are often used as a part of a corporate finance strategy for their obvious tax deduction benefits. Many regimes around the world today provides a tax-deductible status for company stock contributions, dividends and cash contributions. Their inception was driven by a need to give employees an opportunity to reap rewards from an increase in the value of the company they work for. In doing so, it also encourages loyalty to a company as well as a vested interest in delivering good work which will grow the company.

5. Differentiation from competitors

It is to be expected that a major benefit of having an Employee Share Plan in place long term is the impact on corporate culture. If you have successfully implemented an Employee Share Plan, strategically aligning your employee and shareholder values, you are bound to see dividends in output due to the sense of ownership. All business operations and interactions will be conducted by a team who is engaged and truly cares about the business beyond their personal monthly paycheck.

This shift in mindset will have long term benefits for the company, fundamentally shifting their corporate culture and creating differentiation in the marketplace. Not only will you become a desirable place to work but your productivity, profits and employee engagement will all increase. Over time, this can become a significant competitive advantage.

Looking For A Trusted Employee Share Plan Firm In Singapore?

We have designed an all-rounded encompassing solution comprising of an experienced Share Plan team of practitioners and a digital solution to help you manage your strategic initiative.

01 Learn more about EmployeeServe - our Employee Plan Services platform!

Contact us today to find out more about our class-leading solution.

Or you can also learn more about our Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP) services here.

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5 Questions To Ask When Choosing Any Corporate Secretarial Services

5 Questions To Ask When Choosing Any Corporate Secretarial Services

When you incorporate a company in Singapore, you are required by the Singapore Companies Act to appoint a corporate secretary within six months from the date of incorporation. The office of the corporate secretary shall not be left vacant for more than 6 months at any one time.

A corporate secretary fulfills a range of compulsory duties including: maintaining company records and statutory registers; arranging board meetings; as well as filing and updating documents with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”). As the company grows this role increases in complexity, so while companies may opt to get a director to fulfill this role or to hire an independent corporate secretary, this certainly isn’t the best option.

It is important to realise that the requirements for the corporate secretary of a private company are much simpler than those of a public company. For a private company your corporate secretary simply needs to be an ordinary resident of Singapore and hold the requisite knowledge and experience to fulfil the duties. However, the requirements for the corporate secretary of a public company are much more stringent and complex, which is why a lot of public companies look to outsource this role to a corporate secretarial company.

With such an extensive list of corporate secretarial companies in Singapore, it can be rather hard to decide on the right one to suit your needs. We’ve created this article to show you the 5 key questions to ask when determining the best corporate secretarial services company to outsource to and how to determine the specific services you require.

Question 1: Does The Firm Have Staff That Have The Required Qualifications?

Whether you are a startup or a company looking to go public, it is always wise to engage a company with the best qualifications possible.

In Singapore, a corporate secretary of a public company must be suitably qualified, and satisfy one of the following criteria, at the very minimum:

  • Been a secretary of a company for at least 3 of the 5 years immediately before his/her appointment as secretary of the public company
  • Qualified person under the Legal Profession Act
  • Public Accountant registered under the Accountants Act
  • Member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants
  • Member of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries Singapore
  • Member of the Association of International Accountants (Singapore Branch)
  • Member of the Institute of Company Accountants, Singapore

If the company you are considering has staff who can meet all these requirements, then you can be assured it is fully capable of handling the corporate secretarial services of both public and private firms.

Question 2: Do They Understand All The Local Rules And Regulations?

It is especially important to choose a reputable secretarial services firm that is aware of all the local rules and regulations, including any extensions or modifications.

They have to be able to handle the arrangement of AGMs, tax filing as well as the maintenance and filing of company records within the time stipulated by the authorities. Further to this, a great secretarial services provider should ensure that your business is well organised and in effect ensuring you save costs in the long run.

The final piece to consider when asking this question is in relation to international law. If your company operates internationally your company secretary will need to have knowledge of the local laws in different countries which may affect local proceedings, not just your domicile region. International law is vastly complex with rules about taxes, trade, currency conversion, and that contracts vary from region to region so it’s important you ask this question when considering not only the company but also the services you require for your corporate secretary.

Question 3: Do They Provide A Comprehensive Suite Of Solutions?

As your business grows, it can be beneficial to outsource the non-core functions to a single provider so your time and resources are free to focus on core functions and strategic opportunities. Non-core functions include: financial accounting (recording and preparing the income statement, the balance sheet and the statement of cash flows); tax filing; and company payroll (processing payment instructions, generating salaries and statutory reports, filing bank payments, and creating electronic pay slips).

Having all these services under one roof makes it easier for you in the short term as you don’t need to spend time hunting for individual providers, but also in the long term with the efficiencies created through having a single provider manage your non-core business operations.

Moreover, it is likely that your provider will be able to customise a specific package which encompasses all your business needs, allowing you to also enjoy significant cost savings.

Question 4: Does Your Firm Provide A Dedicated Corporate Secretary Or Account Manager For Your Company?

Having a single point of contact allows for excellent communication. Such an individual will be familiar with the history and operations of your company.

This allows for a long-term partnership and for your corporate secretary to grow with your business, providing personalised customer care.

There is a specific time-frame during which annual returns should be filed, and an Annual General Meeting should be held. Having a dedicated corporate secretary will ensure that all these details will be attended to promptly as non-compliance of any of these regulations could result in penalties.

Question 5: Am I About Go Public With My Company Or Am I Evolving My Corporate Structure?

As with any decision, you need to think about the future of your business and what direction you’re heading. If you’re considering going public or even evolving your corporate structure you will need a firm that goes beyond providing the basic corporate secretarial services. You’ll have to look for a provider that has a track record of handling not only regional but also multinational firms.

In addition to this, you will need to consider the services you may require pending the direction your company takes. As an example this could include any, or even all, of the following services: compliance; employee care; expansion (expat services and payroll); employee plan services; and shareholder support services like poll-voting and share registry.

If you are considering taking your company public there are further considerations required for the setup process, enlisting the support of a secretarial firm to manage this can ensure they manage the gruelling administrative work, saving you time and guaranteeing the process runs as smoothly as possible.

Looking For Corporate Secretarial Services In Singapore?

At BoardRoom, we are a top corporate services firm in Singapore with a 50 + year track record of success serving over 7,300 clients regionally. We are experts in helping companies, from multinational corporations to fast-growing SMEs, allowing them to focus on what matters – growing their business. From handling tax accounting to managing secretarial duties for companies across Asia-Pacific, our full suite of corporate services allow our clients to stay compliant, maximise savings and stay organised for better decision making.

Contact us today and empower your organisation with greater freedom through our range of corporate solutions.

Or you can also learn more about our corporate secretarial solutions here.

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State of the Market: Singapore (2019) AGM Landscape Trends Report

State of the Market: Singapore (2019) AGM Landscape Trends Report

Delivering 151 meetings across the month of April, our dedicated Share Registry team had access to more meeting data than any other organisation in Singapore. This report delivers key insights into the current state of the AGM market, the impact of technology and regulation changes as well as prevailing trends in a digestible 10-page report.

BoardRoom First Annual AGM Thought Leadership Paper FY2019

In FY2019, our dedicated Share Registry Team successfully delivered 151 meetings in Singapore notably for the April peak season, including AGMs, General and Scheme meetings. As a market leader in the Meeting Services space today, we have significant access to more meeting data than any other organisation in Singapore, which offers the opportunity to provide an in depth analysis of AGM activities, combining detailed voting and attendance outcomes across SGX listed entities.

This paper aims to deliver insights by decoding the following key questions:

  1. What are some of the prevailing trends at AGMs today?
  2. How is technology impacting the way we deliver our AGMs today?
  3. How is the evolving regulation and its landscape shaping our AGM environment today?
About the Data

This section sets out the breadth and scope of our paper. The insights and analysis provided here were acquired through BoardRoom's coverage of our clients where we provided AGM meetings and Electronic Polling services.

AGM Key Highlights
AGM Logistics

Logistics continue to be a key consideration when it comes to AGMs today. The needs and requirements largely vary across different companies but still driven by expected interest in attendance by shareholders and the Board of Directors ('BOD') attitude towards its AGM as a communication event. Hotel's continue to be the preferred choice of venue for the majority of companies to enable the facilitation of large shareholder crowds. However, we have observed an emerging trend towards simple venue layouts with minimal refreshments to ensure full participation and engagement on pertinent issues.

AGM Logistics
AGM Shareholder Engagement
AGM Shareholder Engagement

Download the Full Singapore (2019) AGM Landscape Trends Report






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Interview Series: A Day In The Life of a Share Registry Officer

Interview Series: A Day In The Life of a Share Registry Officer

Interview Series

A Day In The Life of an SRO

1. Describe myself in a sentence or collection of words?

I’m a small-town boy, who is sport obsessed, a proud Manchester United fan, avid sneakerhead aka collector with an undeniable sweet tooth and Netflix and chill is life.

 

2. What’s your best dad joke?

What do you call an elephant that doesn’t matter? Irrelephant. (Full disclosure, I had to Google this lol)

 

3. How do you explain to people what you do?

I’d say that I work in a very niche service role that not a lot of people know. Basically, I do client servicing for listed and un-listed companies. They could be publicly listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange or elsewhere. From a client servicing standpoint, I do a whole range of things but one of which is answering shareholder enquires – as an example someone has enquired about any upcoming meetings or dividends (money issued to shareholders), or a change in the shareholders particulars e.g. name, address etc.

 

4. Walk me through a typical day in the office at Boardroom.

I usually get to the office around 8am or 8:15am (I know it sounds early!) but I like to have my breakfast here (honeydew melon, 2 pieces every day), and read the news, basically ease into my day. Then I’d start my work, clearing emails transferring of shares, issuing of cheques to shareholders. I also work with someone on my team to help the newcomers with training each day. At about 11:00 or 11:30 (to beat the Raffles rush!) we usually go out for lunch, there’s loads around thankfully as we’re a bit too lazy to walk too far 😉 after lunch I continue with my work and also train new team members. Then late in the afternoon I’ll plan for the following day or any peak upcoming meeting seasons.

 

5. What’s your favourite element of the job?

There’s two elements to this for me, the professional piece and the personal. I’ll start with the professional which would be the completion of a successful meeting. It’s difficult to describe the sense of accomplishment when you’re involved in the whole process and the meeting goes off without a hitch and you have a very happy client. I just feel a huge sense of achievement. The other element that I love about my job is the people – they’re awesome! Especially in Share Reg, I don’t see them as colleagues, I genuinely see them as friends. We hang out during work, after work and on the weekends!

 

6. Did you know what an AGM was before you started work here?

I was aware of the term, but I had no real idea of what the proceedings were and what the purpose was.

 

7. What are you looking forward to right now?

Pay day! Kidding (sort of haha). In all seriousness, meeting my clients. Our clients typically have their meetings once a year, so I love putting a face to the name I’ve been seeing in my inbox all year!

 

8. What was your first AGM experience like?

I was soo nervous, especially because this happened in my first few days on the job! I was part of the registration team, it felt very formal, but I had a very supportive senior manager who walked me through the entire process. It made me feel more relaxed and settle into the job. Once the meeting started I went into the meeting room to take down questions, it was a bit daunting at first as there was a lot of technical terms flying around where shareholders were quizzing the board on decisions but I feel that overall it was an awesome experience sitting inside the meeting as it gave me a great overview of the company, how they’re doing and where they’re headed.

 

9. Why do you love working with your team?

They’re all a friendly and fun bunch of people. Plus, my manager is super knowledgeable and supportive, I’ve learnt a lot from her.

 

10. What’s your biggest takeaway from your experience here at Boardroom Share Registry Services?

Our clients that we deal with are all high-level management, as a result I’ve learnt best-practicing client servicing such as speaking professionally, managing expectations and building relationships. I’ve also learnt a lot about the industry. Most importantly, I’ve made some lifelong friends – everyone in the team is around my age and we all just get along so well.

1. Describe myself in a sentence or collection of words?

I’m a massive foodie, friendly, outgoing, I could talk to people all day, easily adaptable, very organised except for at home with my clothes, I love travelling for the food and people. I listen to all types of music and am definitely prefer dogs to cats

 

2. What’s your best dad joke?

Ok I’ve got one – what do you call it when a short person waves? A microWAVE! Get it??

 

3. How do you explain to people what you do?

It’s very difficult to explain, I usually start off with I’m a Share Registry Officer and end at Client Services Officer, which certainly doesn’t do justice to the job but it’s really hard to explain to people, especially if they themselves don’t invest as they don’t understand the language we use or the parties we work with like SGX.

 

4. Walk me through a typical day in the office at Boardroom.

A day in BoardRoom varies according to the month we’re in. So, in April you walk into the office and it will be empty as we’re all out for AGMs during the day but at night the office will be filled with people as we’re all back preparing for the next day’s AGM. It’s such a crazy month! Then on the months with distribution (about 4 months), we’re busy with tax declaration forms and preparing of cheques, it’s a fun time because we all sit around opening mail together laughing and chatting. In December we enjoy taking long lunches and feasting on the Christmas buffets, so we take a breather and reset for the next year. We also get a lot of gifts from clients during this time of the year like hampers and cookies.

 

5. What’s your favourite element of the job?

Definitely gaining new knowledge every day. For me it’s always interesting because for every client the corporate action is completely different, so as a result I learn a lot of stuff that I would never have learnt if it weren’t for the role I’m in. You learn soo much here! Sometimes I think it’s too much for my brain

 

6. Did you know what an AGM was before you started work here?

No, not really. Fun fact, I actually started out here as a temp staff to just help out with the AGMs, I’d just graduated from school and I had no idea what AGM, financial year-end, etc meant! I’ve come a long way since then!

 

7. What are you looking forward to right now?

I’m looking forward to my next lunch buffet! Kidding! There is one of our clients who always put on the BEST spread at their AGMs. I look forward to it every year and the team always fights over who gets to attend. And sometimes seeing and meeting cute guys aka young lawyers!

 

8. What was your first AGM experience like?

Oh my gosh, that was 5 years ago so I barely remember! There was no polling then, so it was a little simpler than today. My first experience when I was fronting the AGM, i.e. when you need to read the procedures was quite nerve-wracking as everyone is staring at you, the Chairman, the Board, the Shareholders. But it’s a huge sense of accomplishment when everything goes smoothly.

 

9. Why do you love working with your team?

My team is awesome!! For me I think I have great managers and colleagues that always help one another. There’s a real ‘no man left behind’ mentality so we share everything 😊 and we laugh a lot! We’re like a family, we hang out outside of work and have gone on trips together. Working here has really bonded us.

 

10. What’s your biggest takeaway from your experience here at Boardroom Share Registry Services?

There’re too many things! I’ve learnt how to be calm under pressure. To also be able to adapt in a lot of different scenarios and deal with things professionally. I’ve made a lot of connections too. Sorry! I can’t just limit it to one!

1. Describe myself in a sentence or collection of words?

I come from the city of smiles, am coffee and rice obsessed, a sunset chaser and dog lover with a weird obsession for gory shows (Game of Thrones anyone?). I love my friends, but I also love ‘me time’. Oh, and most importantly I’m a karaoke tragic and can sing Mariah Carey until the sun rises!

 

2. What’s your best dad joke?

My dad is actually very funny, and this is his joke that I can never forget…
One day he told us what our baby’s name should be based on a combination of our partners’ name and our name! Some of them were hilarious!

So, for my sister Hannah whose boyfriend was Robel; their baby should be named Harob. For my sister Nissi who’s boyfriend was Paul – the baby’s name should be Nipaul (haha). And mine was the least ugly, I was with this guy named Carlo, and he said our baby should be named Loren (not so bad right haha)

 

3. How do you explain to people what you do?

To be honest I’m really struggling with explaining to people what I do because people don’t know what Share Registry is so most of the time I tell them I do an operational job in this company called BoardRoom. If they want to know more, I will then explain what BoardRoom does and say as an example if a company wanted to list on the Singapore Stock Exchange they would need to approach a Share Registrar to manage their shares, that’s where we come in. I would then say day to day we process tax forms for clients so that their investors won’t be taxed internationally. Amongst other things of course.

 

4. Walk me through a typical day in the office at Boardroom.

I’m a sunset chaser who struggles to wake with the sun. When I get into the office I start by checking emails and thinking about when I can go and get a coffee. (lol) After that I spend a lot of time completing tax forms, replying to emails, answering phone calls. I usually go out for lunch with a few of my team around 11:30 (we don’t really eat breakfast so are starving by this time!) we usually to a great local Indian restaurant. I then go back to the office and drink a lot of tea and continue with any ad-hoc requirements or jobs that are outstanding from the morning. I’m also studying part-time, so I usually have classes after work.

 

5. What’s your favourite element of the job?

I actually work really closely with senior staff in the company assisting their projects. I take a huge amount of pride in what I do and ensuring I’ve done a good job, so I love when I am recognised for that.

 

6. Did you know what an AGM was before you started work here?

I had no idea what an AGM was before I started here! My background before this was customer relations in a hotel so this is a whole new world for me!

 

7. What are you looking forward to right now?

I’m really looking forward to finishing my studies, it’s just around the corner. From a working standpoint, we’ve just had a new boss come in so I’m excited to get to know him and see how the team and my career develops under his management, especially once I finish my studies.

 

8. What was your first AGM experience like?

I started working at BoardRoom at the end of September and October is a peak season for AGMs so on my second week I attended my first AGM and helped with registration. I was worried about wanting to look professional and ensure I could answer client questions, but the team was really supportive and assured me that I wouldn’t be put on the spot like that and to just watch and learn which made me feel really comforted. It was a great learning experience seeing the teamwork through the AGM and interact with clients.

 

9. Why do you love working with your team?

We really treat everyone as a family and not just my team but the wider Share Registry team. We’re always happy to help one another out no matter how busy we all are. I genuinely feel like we’re all part of a family.

 

10. What’s your biggest takeaway from your experience here at Boardroom Share Registry Services?

Working here has really built my confidence because the team is so supportive and encouraging. In addition to this, I can see how much I’ve learnt since starting here and this continues every day, so it makes me feel like I’m continually growing and developing in myself.

1. Describe myself in a sentence or collection of words?

I’m all about a slow pace of life, brunches, binge-watching Korean drama & Marvel movies on Netflix (yep my tastes are diverse)! I love travelling, mostly to Australia as they’re just so chill! I also have an upcoming epic collection of statues and figurines, the biggest addition to my collection will be Optimus Prime!

 

2. What’s your best dad joke?

I don’t really have one, as I’m not good at remembering jokes sorry! I’m sure I’ve heard some good ones though.

 

3. How do you explain to people what you do?

It’s tough as most people don’t really understand what we do unless they are very into the stock market. So, I basically say that we help listed companies on SGX with things like corporate action (share transfer etc.) and help clients to manage and plan for their general meetings (AGM, SGM, EGM etc.).

 

4. Walk me through a typical day in the office at Boardroom.

For the most part I spend my days checking emails, replying to shareholder queries and calls with my clients. There’s also a lot of ad hoc activities to do so it’s a good change of pace and keeps things interesting. For me the best part of my days are the people I work with. We have such a great team and spend a lot of time together, sometimes too much time when I think about some of the conversations we’ve had over lunch, nothing is off-limits, including bowel movements and bad dates! haha

 

5. What’s your favourite element of the job?

Even though we work in an office job there are times where we are able to leave the office for AGMs and site visits which are really exciting and different.

 

6. Did you know what an AGM was before you started work here?

I only had a vague idea of what an AGM was i.e. it was an annual meeting with shareholders, but I had no idea what was discussed and how they work.

 

7. What are you looking forward to right now?

5:30? (haha, kidding!) I have an AGM coming up tomorrow so I’m looking forward to that.

 

8. What was your first AGM experience like?

Slightly nerve-wracking as I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to register shareholders properly. My first AGM was a big one and I was actually supporting another team who were really busy. The team I was assisting were so helpful and really supportive as they knew it was my first time – the teamed me up with a buddy who was able to assist me and help with my confidence on the day.

 

9. Why do you love working with your team?

They’re fun, young, helpful and energetic.

 

10. What’s your biggest takeaway from your experience here at Boardroom Share Registry Services?

I’ve been able to learn more about how the stock market and listing company works, I’ve actually found it to be really interesting – more than I originally expected which has been great!

Looking For Share Registry & Meeting Services In Singapore?

BoardRoom is the market leader in share registry services, helping to guide companies through their IPOs, from executing shareholder meetings, running proxy votes, scrutineering to serving as a share registrar.

With a 50 + year track record of success serving over 7,300 clients regionally, we are the experts in helping companies, from multinational corporations to fast-growing SMEs, allowing them to focus on what matters – growing their business.

Contact us today and empower your organisation with our range of corporate solutions.

Or you can also learn more about our share registry and meeting solutions here.

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Starting A Company? 3 Key Corporate Secretarial Services You Will Need

Corporate Secretarial Services

Starting A Company? 3 Key Corporate Secretarial Services You Will Need

Whether you are starting a new company or expanding your presence to Singapore with a new office, there are certain sets of rules and regulations that need to be followed.

One of the key requirements of new companies in Singapore is the need to appoint a qualified corporate secretary within 6 months of registration with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

What Does A Corporate Secretary Do?

The role of a corporate secretary is to handle all the corporate secretarial activities of your company such as preparation and lodgement of annual return and statutory returns to the local authority within the prescribed deadline, and ensure your company is compliant in the eyes of the law.

There are restrictions however when it comes to appointing your corporate secretary – they cannot be the company’s sole director, nor can they be a shareholder. While you might be considering getting one of your employees or even another director to be the corporate secretary, it is highly recommended that you engage a professional firm to act as your corporate secretary in delivering optimal results for your company.

Why You Should Engage A Professional Corporate Secretarial Service For Your Company

A professional corporate secretarial service should not only help you with the regulatory compliance requirements but also provide advisory services before you even incorporate a company to ensure your business is set-up for success.

This is doubly important if you are a foreign entity looking to establish a presence in Singapore to tap into the Asian market’s as well as enjoy low corporate taxes in the city-state. A professional service provider would go the extra mile and ensure you structure your organisation in such a way that will allow you to maximise your benefits such as tax breaks and incentives.

In this article, we will be bringing you through the 3 types of corporate secretarial services you will need from your service provider.

1. Advisory Service On An Appropriate Business Structure

From Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) to Private Limited Companies (Pte Ltd) and Public Companies, deciding on your business structure requires ample consideration and planning.

While an LLP might be easier and cheaper to start, it doesn’t give the founders or partners the same level of liability protection compared to a Pte Ltd company.

Your service provider will be able to analyse which business structure makes the most sense and help you with the entire registration process of your company or representative office (if you are a foreign entity). This will also include advice on and application of employment and residency passes as well as permanent residency and dependent passes if there is a need for relocation to Singapore.

2. Regulatory Compliance Service

Your corporate secretary is a key position that ensures your organisation is compliant with statutory obligations and will have to be constantly up-to-date with the rules and regulations set down by ACRA. This is one of the core reasons why entrepreneurs and big companies are starting to outsource this responsibility to experienced firms with the requisite knowledge and track-record to save time and stay compliant.

 At BoardRoom, we provide our clients will the full suite of regulatory compliance services needed. These include:

  • Annual statutory and regulatory compliance in Singapore (as well as in Australia, Hong Kong, China, and Malaysia)
  • The provision of named corporate secretary, nominee director and nominee authorised representative
  • Serving as acting process agents
  • Proper maintenance of statutory registers and records
  • Effective reporting to relevant statutory authorities of any alterations to corporate structures or memberships
  • Advice and assistance with reporting and compliance requirements relating to the stock exchanges of Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, and Australia
  • Preparation of board and shareholders’ resolutions
  • Attendance and minutes-recording at board and shareholder meetings 

In addition, as a full accounting and advisory company, we also help customise solutions for our customers that include payroll and tax accounting.

Together with corporate secretarial services, we synergise the various back-office functions of a company so that you not only save time but also reap a number of benefits that include cost savings and tax savings.

3. Restructuring & Cessation of Companies

In the event you decide to restructure your organisation or cease doing business, there will be rules that have to be followed to ensure a smooth transition without the risk of penalties.

At BoardRoom, should your business decide to evolve into a public company or cease operations, we can advise and assist with the striking-off and members’ voluntary liquidation of companies.

Looking For Corporate Secretarial Services In Singapore?

At BoardRoom, we are a top corporate services firm in Singapore with a 50 + year track record of success serving over 7,300 clients regionally.

We are experts in helping companies, from multinational corporations to fast-growing SMEs, allowing them to focus on what matters – growing their business.

From handling tax accounting to managing secretarial duties for companies across Asia-Pacific, our full suite of corporate services allow our clients to stay compliant, maximise savings and stay organised for better decision making.

Contact us today and empower your organisation with our range of corporate solutions.

Or you can also learn more about our corporate secretarial solutions here.

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Top 5 challenges with Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP) Implementation and how to conquer them

Top 5 challenges with Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP) Implementation and how to conquer them

Employee Share Option Plans or Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) are gaining popularity in today’s market. The driving force behind this is a competition for top talent and the need to incentivise and or boost productivity among our workforce, not to mention incentivise and reward staff for staying with your company long term. In addition to this the traditional methods of employing one-off short-term financial rewards have been under scrutiny in the past decade (financial crisis 2008 anyone?) as they have been proven to promote short term & high-risk decision-making behavioral tendencies.

So, Employee Share Plans seems like a win-win for companies and as a result it’s not surprising that companies continue to find alternative avenues under the Employee Engagement framework to hire and retain staff in the longer term and help promote specific behavioral traits in line with company culture through the implementation of an Employee Share Plan.

Whilst we have seen an increased uptake of this emerging trend, many still struggle to optimise and reap the intended benefits of an Employee Share Option Plan program largely due to concerns over several perceived challenges.

#1 - Mobile participants due to the emergence of a Global Workforce

With the world becoming ever more globalized it’s not surprising that our workforce has followed the trend. This globalization of the workforce has posed challenges for companies deploying global Employee Share Option Plans for a variety of reasons. Currently, global participants need to go through tedious administration processes with HR to set up their Central Depository (CDP) account, receive physical offer letters and have near zero visibility on their equity plan information in real time.

As a result, we have seen some global participants go as far as taking leave to travel to the respective equity issuing country to open their share depository accounts with the local exchanges to enable transmission of shares in their name. This process is not only tedious it’s completely impractical and unnecessary with the right partner.

#2 – Manual Administration and Management of Employee Share Option Plans

Believe it or not, in this digital age most companies still manage their Employee Share Option Plans on a spreadsheet. Whilst spreadsheets are known to be robust and “excel” (*pun intended) in capturing static information for operational purposes they have a drastic impact on ease and efficiency of implementation and administration of Employee Share Option Plans.

User expectations are shifting drastically, we all demand “relevant and insightful” access to information “anytime and anywhere” at our convenience. In answer to this, it is imperative to find a dynamic solution to capture, process and report information in real-time to enable participant visibility and reach without creating a manual resource drain.

#3 – Misalignment on Perception of Employee Share Value

Whilst many companies and employees have seen the benefit of adopting an Employee Share Plan, uptake across ASEAN is slower as employees continue to value cash reward as a variable incentive plan.

The current behaviors from a cultural standpoint are more aligned towards short term instant gratification due to a lack of understanding of how equity is a form of reward and recognition for their efforts. The “cash is king” mentality still reigns supreme, and we all know the risks associated with this mindset.

#4 – Lack of Internal Resources & Capability to Manage Strategic Imperative

This is potentially the Achilles heel of successful implementation and administration of Employee Share Option Plans, a mindset that this is a box ticking exercise and no different to periodic transaction activities like payroll.

This can be due to any number of factors, a lack of cultural acceptance within the organisation of equity plans or it’s seen as a cumbersome task. Typical management of Employee Share Option Plans on a spreadsheet can be extremely tedious and, in the more complex cases, a full-time job for 1 full time equivalent. There is a wealth of time-consuming administrative processes that need to happen; the offer management process, vesting management, record keeping of participant information, liaising with participants on plan mechanism, leaver management, regulatory reporting, the list goes on. Many HR Practitioners don’t realise there is an alternative solution to the manual labour currently associated with administrating equity plans.

#5 – Traditional Record Keeping Solution

Most solutions in the marketplace today are designed for functional purposes only, they provide static data and are table driven. This is not surprising given most were designed with the sole aim of record keeping and generating reports for Financial Reporting, Payroll Tax Computation & Reporting.

What is surprising is that there is a global push in nearly every industry sector to focus on user experience. Especially in relation to employee engagement strategies, employees just demand more today, for Share Plans participants need to have real-time information access, share price movement, a one-stop integrated trading platform, and historical information for individual income tax declaration purposes. We live in a digital era and any solution that doesn’t embrace this is considered obsolete very quickly.

Looking For A Trusted Employee Share Plan Firm In Singapore?

We have designed an all-rounded encompassing solution comprising of an experienced Share Plan team of practitioners and a digital solution to help you manage your strategic initiative.

01 Learn more about EmployeeServe - our Employee Plan Services platform!

Contact us today to find out more about our class-leading solution.

Or you can also learn more about our Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP) services here.

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5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Accounting Services

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Accounting Services

Accounting is one of the essential functions your business requires for robust financial management. However, many business owners still opt to handle their accounts in-house. This not only takes up their valuable time but also heightens the risk of compliance issues that could cost their business in the long run. 30% of Singapore start-ups fail within the first three years, and poor financial management is one of the principal causes.

A professional accountant goes beyond just bookkeeping. They help facilitate the financial operations and planning of your company, allowing for better management and cash flow.

While looking to outsource your accounting in Singapore, ensure that your accounting company has a team of Certified Chartered Accountants, experienced in serving businesses of your niche and size, and can provide a dedicated account manager to service your account.

In this article, we will take you through the top 5 reasons why you require accounting services (and why it is best to outsource it!).

Reason 1 – Enjoy Cost & Time Savings

Hiring an experienced full-time accountant could set you back not only thousands of dollars a month but also substantial training time and costs to get them up to speed.

You can eliminate these concerns by engaging a professional accounting firm. By paying a monthly service fee, you gain access to the expertise of a team of accountants proficient in various areas of accounting, be it tax management or bookkeeping. This allows you to save hiring costs as well as recruitment training time. Moreover, you will be able to avoid costly errors or employee turnover.

Reason 2 - Fosters Better Business Growth

When your accounting is done right, you will have a clearer picture of your company’s financial health. This allows you to make informed decisions to support your business growth. You will also gain greater insight into the feasibility of critical decisions. These include deciding if the time could be ripe for the opening of another local or overseas branch or maybe to hire a new employee.

A credible accounting firm helps you understand your receivables and collections and paints a clear picture of your company’s cash flow and business seasonality. When you engage a regional accounting firm, you gain access to their advisory services and market analysts.

Through sound accounting practices, you can begin to understand your company’s performance and start to make strategically sound decisions, setting your business up for success.

Reason 3 – Staying Compliant with Statutory Requirements & Regulations

Running a business itself is time-consuming and costly. The last thing you want to happen is to run afoul with the Singapore tax authority (IRAS) and be hit by a potential audit or even worse, suffer financial penalties.

As your company grows, organising the paperwork for tax reporting becomes increasingly complex and tedious as it encompasses many things including payroll and Profit & Loss Statement.

A professional accounting firm is well-versed in tax laws and procedures, helping you avoid potential pitfalls. They can quickly spot any irregularities and ensure your accounting records are faultless, allowing you to stay compliant and enjoy peace of mind.

Reason 4 - Maximise Your Savings & Deductions

While staying compliant is of critical importance, outsourcing to a professional accounting service in Singapore allows you to enjoy tax breaks and exemptions that you might have been unaware of.

To claim these tax rebates and business expense deductions, you must meet a set of qualifying conditions. Many nuances are involved in obtaining these deductions successfully and legally.

Moreover, if you conduct business overseas, there are numerous tax treaties that you may be unfamiliar with. This could lead to double taxation, causing you to pay more taxes than you need to.

A professional accounting firm can advise you on all the tax benefits you are entitled to along with helping you obtain them so that you minimise costs and keep profits high.

Reason 5 - Establish an Organised & Automated Accounting Flow

As we move towards a technological age, it is important that your accounting records are stored in a digital format so that they are well organised and easily retrieved for reference or financial analysis.

A professional accounting service can set up a secure platform with advanced software for your company. Other aspects such as payroll and claims submission can also be integrated into the platform so that the company’s confidential information and records are kept electronically in a secure location.

They can also create digital analytical reports which help you identify the most profitable areas of your business to drive growth.

Looking For A Trusted Accounting Firm In Singapore?

At BoardRoom, we are a regional accounting firm in Singapore and are experts in helping companies, from corporations to fast-growing SMEs, allowing them to focus on what matters – growing their business.

From handling tax accounting to managing statutory compliance reporting for companies across Asia-Pacific, we help companies with our full suite of accounting services, allowing them to stay compliant, maximise their tax benefits and stay organised for better decision making.

Contact us today and empower your organisation with greater freedom through our accounting solutions.

Or you can also learn more about our accounting solutions here.

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