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How is a Certificate of Incumbency related to a Corporate Bank Account?

3 min read|Last Updated: July 18, 2022|
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Banks are making it difficult for companies to open new corporate bank accounts due to tightened anti-money laundering compliance brought on by recent cases of high-profile fraud. One of the documents most requested by officers are the certificate of incumbency. In a separate article, The Ultimate Guide To Bank Account Opening In Singapore, we tackle the following questions:

  • Why are banks making it so difficult to open bank accounts?
  • What do banks look for to approve your bank account opening?

What is a Certificate of Incumbency?

A Certificate of Incumbency contains the names of all current directors of a company. It may also contain the names of the most important shareholders of the company. The primary use of a Certificate of Incumbency is to verify the identity of an individual who has been performing legally binding transactions in the name of the company.

Purpose of a Certificate of Incumbency

All Singapore companies are to obtain a Certificate of Incumbency through the proper means as determined by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Certificates of Incumbency can be used by Singapore companies for any of various purposes.

Common uses include:

  • If verification of any important documents with government authorities of other countries is required, a Certificate of Incumbency may be supplied if it has already been either notarized or legalized.
  • Should the owner of a Singapore business have any plans to apply for permits or licenses which are required for the business to conduct any business operations, the Certificate of Incumbency will once again prove to be useful.
  • However, by far the most common and best-known use of a Certificate of Incumbency in Singapore is related to the opening of a corporate bank account.

It could be the case that you might require assistance with the opening of a corporate bank account in Singapore. If such is the case, we at Paul Hype Page & Co will provide services which will allow you to do so. We will help you determine which bank in Singapore provides services and benefits which best suit the needs of your business. We will also enable you to better understand why opening an account with certain banks will provide your business with more benefits than opening one with others.

How Certificates of Incumbency Can Be Used to Open a Corporate Bank Account

Certificates of Incumbency are particularly useful for those who plan to open a Singapore corporate bank account from abroad and are either unable or unwilling to personally go to Singapore in order to open such an account.

Other documents required for a bank account opening:

  • Certificate of Incorporation as well as the
  • company’s constitution.

In most cases, the company’s signatories are to have signed an official document from either the Registrar of Companies or the government in the presence of the bank’s staff members before the bank account can be opened. If such did not happen, all signatures are to be duly approved by a notary public, a High Commissioner or Ambassador of Singapore, or an external authorized signatory of one of the bank’s branches in a country other than Singapore.

Certificates of Incumbency and Offshore Bank Accounts

Many look to Singapore for offshore company registration and bank accounts for the management of their finances which may be kept in bank accounts spanning multiple countries. However, in order to ensure that the person who is opening the offshore bank account is not doing so for any illicit purposes, the authorities require certain documents to be presented. One such document is the Certificate of Incumbency.

Another important document to be submitted for the opening of an offshore bank account is the Certificate of Good Standing. The Certificate of Good Standing provides the authorities with ample verification that a particular company has been authorized to conduct business activities and has been legally incorporated in a particular jurisdiction. When used and submitted in conjunction with a Certificate of Incumbency, it is possible for the owner of a company based in Singapore to open an offshore bank account without facing any notable difficulties. Thus, Certificates of Incumbency assist in the opening of bank accounts of all types.


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