Speech by Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister, Prime Minister's Office And Second Minister For Finance at the Official Launch of Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority, Wed 12 May 2004, 1105 Hours at IRAS Auditorium12 May 2004
1. I am delighted to join you all here this morning. Today marks the official launch of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority or ACRA for short.
Formation of ACRA
2. The formation of ACRA marks a significant milestone in the Government's efforts to develop a sound and conducive business environment in Singapore. ACRA's mission is to provide a responsive and forward looking regulatory environment for companies, businesses and public accountants, that will be conducive to enterprise and growth in Singapore.
3. The new ACRA brings together in one entity the two key agencies having regulatory oversight of business - the former Registry of Companies and Businesses and the former Public Accountants Board. The merger of the 2 agencies will create synergies in the oversight of businesses. ACRA will combine the function of monitoring and ensuring that companies comply with the prescribed accounting standards, with the function of ensuring that company auditors comply with professional standards. These are complementary functions and the merger will allow better utilization of resources to carry out these tasks. It will also help provide a more integrated and coordinated approach to developing business standards and monitoring their observance.
4. ACRA's role, however, is not merely to regulate companies, businesses and public accountants, but also to promote a business - friendly environment. It will build on our existing regulatory and governance framework to respond to changing business needs. ACRA will work with the private sector to maintain a proper regulatory environment that is conducive to business, while maintaining high standards of governance. It will support the Council on Corporate Disclosure and Governance to ensure that our codes and practices on corporate governance are up to date. It will consult and work with other Government and professional organisations to put in place international best practices of disclosure and corporate governance.
5. One of ACRA's immediate goals is to raise awareness and knowledge amongst the business community of the regulatory requirements. ACRA will conduct public education exercises for directors and the business community and formalise the practice monitoring programme and the financial surveillance programme. ACRA will work closely with the private sector in running these programmes.
Board of Directors
6. ACRA will be guided by a Board of Directors comprising persons from the public and private sectors, the academia and various professional sectors, who are eminent in their respective fields. Their insights will help keep ACRA in tune with the changing needs of businesses.
7. On that note, may I congratulate ACRA as it embarks on its new journey. With the commitment of management and staff, I am confident that ACRA will be able to take on the exciting challenges that lie in the future and will achieve every success in its mission.