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Investing - Working with Transfer Agents Before you Send out RFP Request For Proposals

February 18th 2006

Investing - Working with Transfer Agents Before you Send out RFP Request For Proposals

Transfer Agents

A transfer agent is the lifeline between your company and its investors, but what happens when you are not happy with the services being provided by your transfer agent or you run into unexpected problems?

Rather than sending out RFPs (Request For Proposals) and seeking out another transfer agent, it is a much better idea to try and work things out with your current agent. This is the preferable route to take for most businesses, as it is much easier than the alternatives and should be chosen if at all possible. Seeking out another transfer agent and trying to make the switch might not be worth your while if you can remedy the situation with your current transfer agent.

To fix the situation, you will need to open discussions with your transfer agent. Before beginning the process, make a list of items that you would like your transfer agent to improve upon and specify what level of service you expect them to provide. Place these points in order of importance - what improvements are most important to you, your company and top management?


Schedule a meeting with the account manager (and his or her manager if applicable) to discuss in a clear and coherent manner what you expect of a transfer agent. Make sure he/she fully understands the implications of your expectations and can promise to firmly adhere to them.

Inform the transfer agent of your intention to tour their shop as a prospective client would. This ensures that you are serious about working well with the transfer agent and want to be treated as an important customer. Also, be sure to get all your expectations, agreements and the promises of the transfer agent in writing as soon as possible. You canít leave any room for future misunderstandings.

After the tour decide whether or not the account manager or any of the staff you observed are adequately qualified or equipped with the resources to carry out your specific expectations. All too often an account manager is the root cause of the problem, due to lack of experience, skill or training. Hiring a new account manager may be the solution you were looking for.


At this point in the game, if you are satisfied with the progress youíve made with the issue and feel that the transfer agent both understands your needs and can deliver on its new promises, there is no need to set a tight deadline for full compliance. On the other hand, if youíve reached the point at which you donít yet feel confident that the transfer agent will change its ways without further prodding, it might be a good idea to consider making a change.

Before sending out the usual RFP, however, make sure ahead of time that your potential new transfer agent truly understands what youíre looking for - in plain English.

Most importantly, when researching a new transfer agent, pay little heed to the often erroneous claims many agents make as to their abilities and successes. Stay focused on the needs specific to your company and stick to these expectations, making sure the transfer agent possesses the requisite resources and track record in the areas that are important to you. The transfer agent should outline these points in its RFP response and on the tour, but you should also look for feedback from other clients who are similar in size, complexity and goals to your company.

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Katerina Mitrou
This article was sponsored by http://www.firstamericanstock.com and written by Katerina Mitrou. First American Stock Transfer, Inc. is registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission as a Registrar and Transfer Agent. Reproductions of this article are encouraged but must include a link back to http://www.firstamericanstock.com.   Contact Katerina

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