- Why is my company a member of SBF?
The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Act was passed by Parliament and became law on 5 Oct 2001. SBF was established on 1 April 2002 as the apex business chamber to champion the interests of the Singapore business community in the areas of trade, investment and industrial relations both locally and overseas. Under the Act, all Singapore-registered companies with paid up capital or authorised share capital of $0.5 million and above will be SBF statutory members.
The SBF Act can be accessed via the SBF website under “About Us”.
- How can members benefit from the SBF membership?
SBF organises a variety of activities for their members. This includes briefings on Government policies and changes, seminars, dialogues, surveys, overseas business missions, networking and business matching sessions with incoming delegations. We encourage businesses to actively participate in the activities organised by SBF. You may find out more about the activities here.
- How do I become a SBF member?
All companies with paid up capital of $0.5 million or more are statutory members of the SBF. Smaller companies with paid capital of less than $0.5 million may still join as Associate members. For fees and payment details, please refer to the SBF website.
- Why is the SBF membership not voluntary?
Membership of SBF is compulsory for companies with paid up capital of $0.5 million and above, to ensure that the SBF has a strong membership base and the support of the business community. At the same time, the Government has ensured that this requirement will not be unduly onerous on our companies, and have exempted small companies (with paid up capital of less than $0.5 million) and sole proprietorships from having to join the SBF.
Compulsory membership of business chambers is not without precedence. In France and Germany for example, Chambers of Commerce have legislative rights to collect fees from businesses; in return, the collected funds help the chambers establish and operate facilities that will further the interests of trade and industry and benefit them.
- Why was the criterion of paid-up capital chosen?
There is a good correlation between paid-up share capital, profits and employment size. In general, companies with larger paid-up capital have higher profits and employ more workers per company. It is therefore a good proxy to company size.
In addition, using paid-up capital provides greater stability for SBF's membership base as companies' profits may vary significantly from year to year. Profit figures are also confidential for non-public companies. Companies' paid-up capital, however, tend to remain steady despite business conditions. Employment figures, while more stable than profits, are difficult to track.
- Why are companies required to pay subscription fees to be SBF members?
The SBF needs adequate resources to be effective. Some of these come from membership fees of business associations and chambers as well as revenue from other activities. Fees collected through companies' subscriptions make up the rest. The SBF has put in place different tiers of fees based on a company's paid up capital. As prescribed by the Act, the schedule of subscription fees has to be approved by the Minister, and is also subject to a cap of $1,500.
- Why is compulsory membership only legislated for large companies? Why are small businesses and sole proprietorships excluded?
As the apex chamber in Singapore, SBF will address major business concerns, including trade and investment, labour management and wages. Larger companies tend to have higher stakes in such issues as they employ more workers and export a greater value of goods. They also are involved in more overseas markets. Moreover, they generally have higher equity and greater profits and this have a greater presence in the business community. The interests of smaller businesses and sole proprietorships in Singapore are primarily represented through their respective ethnic chambers or professional associations. However, they can still join the SBF as Associate members.