Time Flies! We are in the final day of Lunar New Year. I have decided that I should be writing the firm’s annual newsletter after Chinese New Year, when everyone is more settled and it will not be snowed under by the rounds of e-greetings.
As we enter into our 3rd year, we transition from creating a tradition of change to establishing one!
REPORT CARD FOR 2014
“Change is the only constant in life.” In 2014, we relocated to Tanjong Pagar, just outside of Singapore’s business district. From our humble beginnings, we now have a dedicated team of trainee solicitors and admin support. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team, friends and clients for their unwavering support.
Last year, there were plentiful opportunities for George Hwang LL.C, for which I am grateful. Notable events include successfully defending our client, James M. Dorsey, a journalist and blogger, at the Singapore Court of Appeal; being invited to give a presentation at FLA Singapore’s Franchising Asia Show; and being appointed by Action for AIDS to draw up its Personal Data Protection Compliance Programme. This gives us the privilege of boasting that we have advised on one of the most sensitive personal data in Singapore.
2014 ended with a bang when the firm was awarded by Corporate INTL as the Boutique Entertainment and Media Law Firm in Singapore for 2015!
WINDS OF CHANGE FOR 2015
As always, we take this opportunity to write on the changes happening in the legal sphere. Two major areas which are likely to affect businesses are:
2. Amendments to Companies Act
2015 heralds the launch of the ASEAN economic integration. The ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint envisages a single market with freedom of movement of goods and services for regional growth. This enlarged market will benefit businesses for years to come.
2. Amendments to Company Act
The Companies (Amendment) Bill (passed on 8 October 2014) is expected to come into effect in the second quarter of 2015.
The proposed changes are set to reduce the regulatory burden on companies. It is also introducing new concepts such as the removal of one vote per share for public companies. To move with the times, electronic transmission of notices and documents to shareholders shall be allowed. CEOs or general managers who are not directors will now have to declare conflicts of interest.
Rounding up, we envisage the EU-Singapore FTA being ratified in 2015. Major amendments to Intellectual Property laws are already in place to meet Singapore’s obligations under this treaty.
2015 will see the introduction of bills for which the Intellectual Property Office sought feedback in October 2014. This will include the introduction of a new right, the right to equitable remuneration, for owners of sound recordings. Restaurants, pubs and other businesses which play music on premises visited by the public will have to factor in an additional cost – that for playing sound recording.
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