Views sought on debt restructuring role

The Government wants feedback on proposals to strengthen Singapore as an international centre for debt restructuring
The Government wants feedback on proposals to strengthen Singapore as an international centre for debt restructuringPHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

A committee set up to look into strengthening Singapore as an international centre for debt restructuring has made a slew of recommendations and is asking the public for their views on these proposals.

These recommendations focus on three main areas: enhancing Singapore's legal framework for debt restructuring, creating a restructuring-friendly ecosystem and addressing a perception gap of Singapore's debt restructuring services.

Some of the specific recommendations include creating bespoke rules and procedures for restructuring and increasing the use of alternative dispute resolution solutions such as mediation or arbitration.

The committee also suggested strengthening the quality of insolvency professionals and deepening the bench with specialist insolvency judges.

To raise Singapore's profile internationally, the committee proposed that Singapore-based professionals, judges and academics increase their involvement in international insolvency organisations, conferences and research.

These recommendations will mainly impact lawyers, accountants, insolvency practitioners, banks and funds, said the Ministry of Law in a statement yesterday.

The 17-member committee co-chaired by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance, and Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh, was formed in May last year, building on the work of the Insolvency Law Review Committee (ILRC).

The ILRC's recommendations for reforming Singapore's bankruptcy and corporate insolvency frameworks were broadly accepted by the Government in May 2014.

Top lawyers here have long called for Singapore to strengthen its legal framework in debt restructuring so as to boost the nation's attractiveness as a global business hub.

The committee's recommendations come amid a backdrop of rising global corporate defaults, which hit its highest level in seven years this year.

While law firms here may be facing headwinds, they have also reported more work in regional cross-border debt restructurings as companies face tough times.

The ministry is conducting a six- week public consultation, which began yesterday, to seek feedback on the committee's recommendations. The consultation period is scheduled to end on May 31.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2016, with the headline 'Views sought on debt restructuring role'. Print Edition | Subscribe