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Capital Markets Services (CMS) Licence

Updated: May 23, 2021

A company must hold a capital markets services (CMS) licence to conduct activities regulated under the Securities and Futures Act. Individuals representing CMS licensees or exempt financial institutions need to be appointed as representatives.

Who needs to apply?

If your company wishes to conduct regulated activities under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA), it must hold a CMS licence. Individuals conducting regulated activities on behalf of CMS licensees or exempt CMS entities (such as banks) need to be appointed as representatives.

These regulated activities are:

  • Dealing in capital markets products

  • Advising on corporate finance

  • Fund management

  • Real estate investment trust management

  • Product financing

  • Providing credit rating services

  • Providing custodial services for securities

Capital markets products include securities, units in a collective investment scheme (CIS), over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, exchange-traded derivatives and spot foreign exchange for the purposes of leveraged foreign exchange trading.

Companies which may be required to hold a CMS licence include broker-dealers, corporate finance advisers, credit rating agencies, real estate investment trust (REIT) managers, fund managers and securities-based crowdfunding (SCF) operators.

What are the admission criteria?

When assessing an application for a CMS licence, MAS takes into account factors such as:

  • Fitness and propriety of the applicant, its shareholders and directors.

  • Track record and management expertise of the applicant and its parent company or major shareholders.

  • Ability to meet the minimum financial requirements prescribed under the SFA.

  • Strength of internal risk management and compliance systems.

  • Business model/ plans and projections and the associated risks.

Your company will also need to appoint the following individuals:

  • Minimum of 2 directors, at least one is resident in Singapore.

  • Chief Executive Officer with least 10 years of relevant experience and is resident in Singapore.

  • Minimum of 2 full-time Singapore-based individuals for each regulated activity (except REIT management). Such individuals are required to be appointed as representatives under the SFA.

How do I apply for a CMS licence?

If your company is applying for a CMS licence, your company should submit Form 1 under the Securities and Futures (Licensing and Conduct of Business) Regulations (SF(LCB)R). If your company already holds a CMS licence for certain regulated activities and wishes to add another activity to the CMS licence, you should submit Form 5 under the SF(LCB)R.

In addition, if you hire or appoint individuals to conduct a regulated activity under your licence, you have to appoint these individuals as an appointed or provisional representative for that regulated activity.

How much is the application fee and how do I make payment?

A non-refundable application fee of $1,000 is required. A fee advice and instructions on the amount and manner of payment for the application fee will be e-mailed to your company.

What is the processing time required?

MAS expects to take not more than 4 months to review and process an application if the business model is straightforward, the applicant meets the relevant admission criteria fully, and the application is complete and clear. For more complex cases, or cases where information is assessed to be incomplete or inaccurate, MAS will need a longer time to review the application.

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