The rise of globalisation and digitisation in recent years has brought the world together, making business ventures across the globe much easier and convenient. This has thus encouraged many high-net-worth individuals and businesses to begin venturing into overseas investments and business expansion.
Nonetheless, whether it is an investment or business expansion, opening a bank account is the first and the most fundamental step to all business developments. It not only helps establish the physical presence of a company but also brings about great convenience to the monetary transactions process for both personal and professional uses.
Yet, to fully enjoy all the benefits and services that a bank account can provide, the location of the bank account is essential as different countries offer different banking services. Among the Southeast Asia region, Singapore ranks high with its strategic location and preferential banking policies. Acting as a bridge between East and West, Singapore offers a variety of investment opportunities as well as financial incentives for both individuals and companies, making it to be an ideal location for investment and bank account opening.
Introduction to Banks in Singapore
As one of the financial hubs of Asia, Singapore is house to over 100 different local and foreign banks. Among them is the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), the three prominent local banks in Singapore. Whereas, Standard Chartered and Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) are the two prominent foreign banks in Singapore.
Development Bank of Singapore (DBS)
Established in 1968, DBS is both a stated-owned and a private commercial bank in Singapore and has the largest distribution of branches globally. Interestingly, DBS also provides comprehensive financial services for both personal and corporate banking as well as a broad range of financial services such as bank investment, asset management, and securities services.
As one of the banks with the highest credit rating in the Asia Pacific, DBS has also attained great achievements beyond the banking services, such as retail, bank investments, and enterprise business development.
United Overseas Bank (UOB)
Established in 1935, UOB has become one of the leading banks in Singapore as well as globally. In recent years, they have built up a strong presence in the Asia-Pacific region through a series of acquisitions. They provide a wide and diverse range of services that includes personal banking, enterprise financing, foreign exchange funding, brokerage, asset management, insurance and stock brokerage services, and even offer travel and rental services that are not common within banking services.
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC)
Established in 1912, OCBC is the second-largest finance service corporation in Southeast Asia in terms of its asset size, and one of the most highly-rated banks in the world, attesting its financial strength and stability. Similar to DBS and UOB, OCBC offers a range of comprehensive financial services that include investments, transaction banking, personal banking, funding, insurance, asset management, and stock brokerage services.
Standard Chartered Singapore
Began its operation in 1859, Standard Chartered Singapore has the largest branch network (20) among international banks in Singapore. Moreover, they are also the largest custodian bank in Singapore for foreign institutions, having rated top for the past seven years in Global Custodian’s Agent Bank Survey. As the Group’s second-largest consumer serving branch, Standard Chartered Singapore provides a series of financial services for both personal and corporate banking, which includes investments, transaction banking, insurance, loan and mortgage services, and brokerage services.
Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)
Began operation in 1993, ICBC Singapore Branch is the earliest overseas subsidiary of ICBC. Over more than a decade of effort, ICBC Singapore Branch leverages the geographical advantage and commercial environment of Singapore as the international financial and trade center to expand its business horizon and product offering. The services they provide include personal banking, remittance services, multi-currency exchange, and personal FX trading. ICBC Singapore Branch also offers a series of exclusive, butler-like financial services for Chinese students coming to Singapore for study and their parents
Advantages of having a Singapore Bank Account
As one of the most foreign-friendly countries in the world, there are many benefits that a bank account in Singapore can provide, and they are as follow:
Singapore’s vibrant economic landscape, coupled with the stable political scene, has attracted many foreign financial institutions from all around the world to set up branches and offices in Singapore. Renowned banks such as Citibank, HSBC and Bank of China are among the examples.
While foreign financial institutions are joining the local financial landscape, Singapore’s three main local banks are actively expanding their business overseas, providing high quality and diversified services that help individuals and companies with high-net-worth to be more globalised and efficient. Thus, making Singapore an ideal location to invest and open a bank account in.
Low Tax Rate
Compared to other developed countries, Singapore is known to have favourable tax conditions, with zero Inheritance Tax, Capital Gain Tax, and Dividend Tax. Singapore has also signed the Double Taxation Agreements with various countries and regions, to reduce imposing double taxation on investors, thus maximising the benefits of income generation.
As economic and personal wealth management gears towards globalisation, global asset allocation and tax planning have become an emerging trend within the banking industry. This has resulted in an increasing number of entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals inclined towards registering and carrying out financial activities in low tax or tax-free countries, such as Singapore.
Yet, it is important to note that financial activities such as global asset allocation and tax management require the expertise of professional tax accountants to assist in reconstructing its account and company structure into an offshore company and account.
Safety, Confidentiality and Convenience
Lastly, it is widely known that the Singapore government exercises strict supervision and administration towards banks and financial institutions, resulting in banks in Singapore is well versed in risk control, receiving high accolades internationally.
Singapore bank account opening is praised for its convenience as they support various transaction services, such as multi-currency exchange and online transactions. There is no condition to purchase additional financial products just to open a bank account in Singapore.
As such, the secure and safe environment curated by the Singapore government, coupled with the convenience of banking services provided by the banks, have made Singapore an ideal place to open a bank account.
How to Open a Bank Account in Singapore As Foreigner or Foreign Business
As the bank account opening policies continue to tighten globally, it is becoming more difficult for an individual to open a bank account in Singapore. The government has placed restrictions on individuals and businesses in certain regions and the Know Your Clients (KYC) requirement, one of the fundamental requirements to open a bank account, has also been raised.
Documents Required for Account Opening
The image below summarises the basic requirements of opening a personal and business bank account respectively in Singapore：
In all, Singapore’s bank account offers both individual and business owners enormous investment benefits and incentives. However, from documentation requirements to appointment setting with various banks, the process of opening a bank account can be tedious and overwhelming.
As such, it is best to engage specialists to simplify the complicated processes so you can be assured to take on the other aspects of your business. Having helped our clients establish their businesses for over a decade, Desfran’s expertise in payment solutions will provide your business with an effective solution in bank account opening, especially in these unprecedented times.
The Bottom Line
We are spearheaded by one of the world’s leading management teams, our team of seasoned experts stationed in more than five cities across the globe, dedicated to offering customised bank account opening services with much ease and grace.
As a partner who grows with your business, Desfran provides a suite of business solutions which includes new market entry consultancy services, new market requirements like business incorporation and registration, bank account opening, marketing and branding services, and regulatory compliance, all of which can all be fulfilled through Desfran’s bespoke solutions. We continuously stay on top of trends and movements in the financial industry to help your business grow by identifying, maximising your business potential while providing comprehensive customised solutions.
Contact Desfran today.