Ask yourself these questions when looking for a registered agent in the US
Article 3 minute read

Ask yourself these questions when looking for a registered agent in the US

21 November 2014

An expert commercial registered agent could remove the burden of needing to know every detail of compliance yourself – but how do you know who to trust?

Working with a registered agent can free your team to focus on your core business, But the field of available choices ranges from full-service national or international providers to small formation vendors who also market themselves as registered agents.

To accurately assess the agent’s capabilities, it’s necessary to “look under the hood.”

Fulfilling the full duties of a commercial registered agent requires advanced, robust compliance capabilities to protect your company against traps and pitfalls. Asking the following questions will reveal the registered agent’s capabilities, infrastructure, adherence to quality standards, and commitment to customer-centred values.

Does the agent have the right resources deployed in the right places?

The ability to be responsive to a range of compliance situations requires an experienced, highly educated workforce that’s physically located near the jurisdictions where customers do business, whether it’s one state or all 50. This helps ensure that the work is personally being handled by service representatives who are experienced with the local requirements and nuances of doing business, and who have long-term relationships with the staff in the Secretaries of State and other local officials.

Is the agent an expert in navigating the complex laws and nuances of each individual state jurisdiction?

Organisational indicators of an agent’s expertise include the service personnel’s cumulative years of experience. Their ongoing experience should also include internally certified training and testing. This documented expertise in managing risk provides a measure of assurance that customers’ compliance issues will be handled accurately. It also removes the burden from customers of needing to know every detail themselves. Even businesses with local or regional geographic operations will benefit from a registered agent with high levels of expertise.

What is the agent’s track record for accuracy and timeliness?

Matters such as managing service of process and legal filings require absolute accuracy and timeliness. A registered agent that has implemented Six Sigma operational disciplines and /or is Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70 (SAS70)-certified can provide customers with documented adherence to quality standards. This is an indicator that compliance tasks will be completed accurately, reliably and consistently.

How responsive can the agent be to urgent, complex or unexpected situations?

This is a crucial area where these factors come together – relationships, experience and processes. A competent registered agent’s performance should be virtually invisible to a client on a day-to-day basis. It’s the urgent or crisis situations that differentiate a responsive, expert registered agent. This experience will eliminate concerns that a company’s legal right to do business could be in jeopardy during critical times.

Is the agent proactively looking after the interests of your business?

A commercial registered agent should have a dedicated legal staff to monitor on your behalf new legislation as it’s happening. The agent should have processes in place to interpret and immediately alert customers to the nature of the changes, the key points and actions to be taken. An expert commercial registered agent will even lobby government agencies on behalf of their entire client base for pro-business legislation.

Does the agent reduce the time you personally need to spend on managing compliance?

A commercial registered agent’s expertise should be apparent in both its people and in intelligent tools and processes. This combination empowers customers to manage their compliance work with greater speed and quality. This frees the legal team to focus on strategic legal issues, rather than on the tactical necessities of compliance.

Read more about doing business in the USA

Read more about entity management

Written by

Dan Kragt

Former Interim Regional Head and Subregional Director

Insights and updates delivered to your inbox.

Sign up now