Financial advisers

Financial advisers are licensed and governed under the Financial Advisers Act 2001 (FAA)  and its subsidiary legislation, including the regulations notices guidelines  and circulars  issued under the FAA .

If you wish to find out if a company is a licensed financial adviser and the types of financial advisory activities an existing financial adviser is permitted to conduct, please refer to MAS’ Financial Institutions Directory, which contains an exhaustive list of financial institutions licensed or regulated by MAS. 

When is licensing required?

A company which conducts one or more of the following activities is required to be licensed as a financial adviser, unless an exemption applies:

  • Advising others concerning any investment product, other than advising on corporate finance.
  • Advising others by issuing or promulgating research analyses or research reports concerning any investment product.
  • Arranging of life policies.

Investment products include all capital market products such as securities, collective investment schemes and leveraged foreign exchange contracts, as well as life policies and structured deposits.

Individuals who conduct the above activities on behalf of a financial adviser in Singapore are required to be appointed as representatives.

Details on how to apply for a corporate licence and be registered as an appointed representative can be found on the Financial Adviser (FA) Licence page and Appointing a Representative for FA Licensees or Exempt Financial Institutions page respectively.

What licensing exemptions are available?

Different exemptions are available depending on the scope and nature of the financial adviser’s business activities. Examples of exemptions are as follows:


  • If the financial adviser only gives advice or provides research analysis on bonds to accredited investors, expert investors or institutional investors.
  • If the financial adviser only gives advice or provides research analysis to not more than 30 accredited investors. The company is required to submit Form 20 within 14 days after the commencement of business.
  • If the financial adviser is already licensed by MAS as a bank, merchant bank, finance company, insurance company, insurance broker, or capital markets services licence holder. It will however be required to comply with the representative notification, and applicable business conduct requirements under the FAA. The company is required to submit Form 26 within 14 days prior to commencing business to notify MAS of its commencement of business activity under the FAA.

More information on licensing exemptions can be found in section 20(1) of the FAA  and Part VI of the FAR .


What are the business conduct requirements?

A financial adviser is required to put in place policies, procedures and controls which are commensurate with its nature, scale and complexity of business, including an independent compliance function in Singapore. It is also required to adhere to conduct requirements such as making proper disclosure of product information, not making false and misleading statements, having a reasonable basis for making an investment product recommendation, and dealing fairly with customers. A financial adviser must also ensure compliance with MAS’ requirements on anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing.


For more information on the conduct and other requirements, please refer to Part 3 of the FAA Part IV of the FAR  and the applicable Notices and Guidelines .

What if a financial adviser wants to conduct insurance broking activities under the Insurance Act 1966 (IA)?

A financial adviser may also carry out insurance broking activities. For more information on lodging a notification to commence insurance broking activities, please refer to the Insurance Broker Registration page.