How You Can Help Your Stock Transfer Agent Help You

No relationship is a one-way street, even where just one party (you) is paying the bills.   True relationships are based on trust, fairness, agreements (written and unwritten)…and on good communication channels.   Shareholder Service Solutions® offers the following suggestions relating to this last element:

  • Have a half-hour to an hour meeting with your stock transfer account relationship manager (“RM”) every three months — certainly no less than every six — regardless of how good or bad you think the relationship is
  • In that meeting ensure your RM knows what you do not find totally satisfactory about the agent’s service to the company, as well as what you particularly like about them
  • In conjunction with these regular “relationship status” meetings, every two months log on to the agent’s web site and scroll through its various sections, to see if there is anything the agent is doing or offering that you hadn’t seen before (if there is, contact your RM for more information)
  • In this process of finding out what new services the agent has that might help the company, ask the agent to provide a three-year forward projection of quantifiable costs versus benefits in opting for a new service (for example, if the company implements a direct stock purchase plan, what is a likely scenario of costs to establish and maintain the plan for three years, compared to a likely amount of dollars invested in company stock by shareholders over the same period)
  • Every few months talk to one or two other clients of your transfer agent to see if they have had any problems with the agent or, just as important, if they have adopted a “best practice” suggested by the agent, of which you were unaware and which you could also implement to improve your stock transfer relationship
  • When you speak with sales people from competitor transfer agents (who will inevitably call you from time to time – or seek you out at industry association meetings), ask them to tell you what they are promoting these days as a best practice.   If it is something new and different, and it is not being shared with you confidentially by the sales person, mention it to your current agent to see if it has the service also, or can put it in its new product pipeline
  • Ask your RM every six months if you can see a copy of the minutes of your agent’s last “Client Advisory Board” meeting, in case the agent has such a “CAB” and you are not a member (of course, if you are a large or complex client and you are not a member of the CAB, and would like to join, ask to be signed up!)
  • Every three to six months ask the RM to tell you how to be a better client!   As crazy as it sounds, since you are paying the bills, such a question may give you important feed-back that will make your relationship with your agent more efficient and effective, both procedurally and financially