How to choose your company secretarial provider firm
Reduce costs by choosing a company secretarial firm with competitive pricing that suits your business needs
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WHAT DO YOU PAY YOUR COMPANY SECRETARY FOR?
A company secretary must be well versed in company law, be able to update and maintain statutory registers in a timely manner, prepare reports and resolutions, ensure good corporate governance, and effective administration; ensure compliance with legislation, laws and regulations that govern the business and industry of their clients. A company secretarial service firm will offer services that cover reporting, disclosure and strict compliance obligations, for monitoring, and ensuring compliance with relevant legal requirements, particularly under the Companies Act. You will be regularly notified of compliance updates, as well as your responsibilities as a director.
Hence the role of a company secretary is an important and vital one in any business, regardless of the size or its structure. All companies established in Malaysia are required to have at least one company secretary who must be a natural person; be a resident in Malaysia and be a member of any one of the prescribed professional bodies or licensed by the SSM. All company secretaries must have valid practising certificates issued by the SSM.
Unlike lawyers and auditors, company secretarial firms are not regulated by a structure of fees set by any professional body. Hence, the fee structure will vary from firm to firm. Below, is a comparison of 2 types of secretarial fees that you may find in the market. Incorporation fees can vary from RM1000 to RM3000 depending on the firm and type of services included. Monthly retainer fees could start at RM 40 per month to RM 300 or Rm400 per month. Professional fee, on the other hand, is charged when you require a service to be done. Some firms build in their fees into their retainer fees and some firms charge for everything you want to be done. Then there are firms that are reasonable and charge a professional fee for a few types of services that are not considered 'standard'.
HOW DO COMPANY SECRETARIAL FIRMS CHARGE ?
Most company secretarial firms will bill their clients monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually. But it is not the frequency or infrequency of the billing that matters but the charges that are billed. Here is a look at the types of fees you may be charged :
SECRETARIAL FEES / RETAINER FEES
This is a monthly recurring charge. The fees can vary from firm to firm from as low as RM40 per month to as high as RM500 per month. The client is billed either on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. The charges includes being named as a Company Secretary, the provision of Registered Office address, preparation of standard resolutions, updating and maintenance of the statutory books, records and files, and perhaps includes advisory & consultancy fees.
These charges are incurred when specific services are rendered upon a request by the Board of Directors or the Company. For example, if your company want to increase their share capital or amend the constitution, your Company Secretary would charge you a fee on 'professional fee' on top of the monthly retainer fee that you already pay. These are services that are not usually rendered in the daily course of business and involves some form of change to the structure of the business. Usually these services requires a trained professional, as the processes could be tedious and the compliance is stricter.
Some assignments that could incur professional fees would include :
(1) Removal of Directors
(2) Removal of Auditors
(3) Increase (Allotment of Shares ) of Share Capital - Bonus/Preference Shares
(4) Reduction of Share Capital
(5) Transfer of Shares
(6) Amendment, Adoption or Abolishment of the Constitution
(7) Change of Company Name
(8) Attendance at Board or Member Meetings (usually charged by the hour)
OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES
These are expenses that are incurred while carrying out requests for the services as required by the client. These will include submission fees payable to the SSM or other governmental agencies such as the Stamping Office etc. Most firms charge their clients for photocopies, printing and stationery used. The client is also charged for the travelling and courier charges that are incurred during the course of the work for that assignment.
Secretarial fees can add up substantially if you do not know what you are being charged for. Look for a firm that offers a transparent pricing policy or one that has an all-inclusive fees. But do be aware that firms with an all inclusive pricing charge a higher fees as the professional and out of pocket fees are included and built into your retainer fees.
For example a firm offering an all inclusive fees of RM200 per month would certainly seem more reasonable in the long run, but if you are a new start up or a dormant company would you want to pay for services that you would not be using initially? Wouldn't it make more sense to engage a firm that charges you RM60 a month and then charge you for services that you require if and when you do?
Before settling on one secretarial firm, do a price comparison. SHOP AROUND. Consider your needs. If you are an active company that requires a variety of secretarial services, then engaging one that has an all inclusive, albeit higher fees (it can be up to 3 times higher than a conventional firm) makes more sense. But if you are a dormant company or hardly make any structural changes throughout, consider engaging a firm that can cater to your need. Why pay for services you do not need? The quality of service you get from your company secretarial firm should not depend on the quantum of fees you are being charged or the size of your secretarial firm. A boutique firm with a small clientele would be able to offer a more responsive and timely service as opposed to a large firm.
Speak to us. We will be happy to customise a package that is affordable and suitable for your company needs and budget.