When you consider a working relationship with a transfer agent, the obvious considerations are the company’s experience, efficiency and ability to align its services with your workflow and business goals. You will look for an SEC-registered transfer agent, one with SOC 1 audited processes that adheres to Securities Transfer Association (STA) guidelines. But when you consider the intimate position of a transfer agent within the operations of your fund it is worth investigating the ways in which the firm you choose is able or inclined to go beyond the transfer agent function. There are many ways a transfer agent may be able to help in other areas of your fund operations.
Range of Services
Now or in the future you may need additional back-office services only full-service transfer agent firm can provide:
- Fund Accounting
- Financial Reporting
- Tax Services
- Printing & Fulfillment
Your current needs may be limited to transfer agent services but over time your business or investments strategies may change and your needs may grow. When that time comes, managing multiple vendors or converting from one transfer agent to another to get all the services you need will be a major disruption. You can avoid this possibility by choosing a full-service transfer agent now.
An experienced transfer agent will have experience, technologies and relationships in the industry that can help your fundraising. Multiple clients and a long history give a transfer agent perspective on what fundraising strategies are most effective, what technologies streamline the process and save on costs and which partners may be able to help with your particular strategy. A transfer agent with working relationships with fundraising partners can make valuable introductions.
- Managing Broker-Dealers
- Specialized Marketing Firms
- Distribution Specialists
If a transfer agent has preexisting data connections with industry entities that are key to your fundraising, you will save on the time and expense of establishing those connections yourself.
- NFS, Ameriprise, LPL, Pershing
- Broker-Dealer Back Offices
- DTCC AIP platform
- Family Offices
New investor onboarding requires transfer agent precision either in processing of subscription documents or transfer agent system integration with electronic subscription technologies. Only some transfer agents have existing integrations and streamlined procedures with all of them.
- Straight-Through Processing
- API connections to electronic forms
- Specialized document processing technology
New investments come from your most reliable investors and your most productive advisors. A transfer agent’s investor management system, with advanced features that you can access for reference, reporting and relationship management, helps you make the most of the sales success you have already achieved. A transfer agent’s technology can enhance your relationship with investors and advisors to a significant degree.
Your transfer agent partner should give you the benefit their multiple clients to provide you savings in a number of ways.
- Operational Economies of Scale
- Discounted pricing for Custodian services
- Savings on Bundled Services
- Vendor integrations – No need for set up charges.
Also, a transfer agents’ ability to handle the success of your funds, to support your back office regardless of how much it grows, ensures that a costly and time-consuming conversion to a another transfer agent capable of scale will never be necessary.
The experience of a transfer agent puts them in the position to advise you on ways to avoid potentially costly operational mistakes and conduct back-office functions in the most efficient ways. A transfer agent that is focused on every aspect of compliance and willing to confer with you on what has worked best for similar transfer agent clients gives you an informed perspective when making important operational decisions. A transfer agent can foresee the downstream effects of doing things a certain way and can advise you on alternatives. Often there is more than one way to accomplish a given set of tasks and your transfer agent can advise you on cost-saving options.
A transfer agent is in a position to be an important partner in your business but not every transfer agent is qualified or sufficiently engaged to be all the partner they could be. The ability and the willingness to go above and beyond the transfer agent role to support the success of your fund in these key ways are important qualities to look for in a transfer agent partner.