Emerging companies looking to IPO typically lack the in-house experience and sophistication required to successfully handle the increasingly complex nuances of the overall process and are turning in ever greater numbers to the services provided by stock transfer agents to navigate the choppy seas of an initial public offering in today’s markets. Established public companies are also increasingly seeking out the services of stock transfer agents in order to handle the tedious and equally complex aspects of ongoing stock accounting requirements, like stock ownership verification and signature guarantee tracking. Transfer agents have become an indisputably vital part of success for emerging public companies when it comes to handling the aforementioned tasks and oftentimes seemingly herculean amount of clerical activities required, which range from registrations and handling EDGAR/XBRL filings, to organizing annual meetings and election processes.
While most stock transfer agents generally offer the same suites of services, what differentiates operators in this space is a powerful mix of industry experience, highly-trained personnel and the kind of always-on customer service required to really handle the evolving daily needs of a given company. Particularly for SME class companies, the amount of work required to manage the various aspects of an IPO or ongoing record keeping and shareholder information maintenance, is often much better/more cost-effectively handled by a third party stock transfer agent, which specializes in the practice and knows all the tricks of the trade.
One of the stock transfer agent firms which has successfully differentiated itself over the years is Continental Stock Transfer & Trust. Continental not only provides clients with 24/7 access to their deep bench of senior-level experts, but something the big transfer agent shops simply cannot provide, custom-tailored solutions. Not just any customized solutions either; Continental Stock Transfer & Trust just rang the bell on their 50th year in the game and they have the track record of customized service, as well as industry accolades, to back up that enviable milestone.
Continental Stock Transfer & Trust just pulled down the prestigious TALON Award (Transfer Agent Leader Overall North America) for the fourth year in a row, clearly evincing the company’s status as the top dog transfer agent in North America when it comes to customer satisfaction. The TALON Award, which is the industry’s only performance survey the spans the entire gamut, also clearly signifies Continental Stock Transfer & Trust’s value proposition, with the most reasonable fees, as well as controls on out-of-pocket expenses, to be had anywhere.
Music to the ears of SMEs looking to up their own game and the award also indicates to potential clients that Continental’s technology is second to none. The company’s online, client-based issuer tool, ControlBook Reporting for instance, allows on-demand access to share controls, irrespective of stock class and provides real-time situational awareness, as well as operability, whether day or night. The company’s embracing of crowdfunding and their partnership with numerous crowdfunding portals like 99 Funding (www.99funding.com), highlighted by their extensive comment letter to the SEC commending them for their JOBS Act and crowdfunding exemption (SA1933 Section 4[a]) rules (designed to reduce associated regulatory costs for raising capital, while preserving key investor protections), further shows how far ahead of the curve Continental is.
Of particular note is the company’s guidance in their comment letter to the SEC on how essential a registered transfer agent for Title II and III issuers is, in order to protect investors. Similarly, their suggestion that transfer agents lower their pricing models in order to accommodate fledgling companies, in light of the simplified record keeping, is trend-setting in its conception. Such trend-setting industry guidance helps clear the way for crowdfunding issuers who want to maximize their business models and still afford rigorous record keeping.
The comprehensive services provided by Continental have been instrumental for companies like Energy XXI (NASDAQ:EXXI), an independent oil and gas E&P with primary operations in the Gulf of Mexico/Gulf Coast. Given EXXI’s dual listing on the London Stock Exchange’s international market for smaller growing companies, AIM (which requires monthly reconciliations), as well as tasks like employee stock-based compensation stock issuances and preferred stock conversions, it has been essential to have a company like Continental on board to “keep everything straight,” according to EXXI’s Senior VP, Hugh Menown.
These same service capabilities, delivered by an exceptionally experienced, deep bench of experts who are at the beck and call of clients, has helped companies like Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PCD), one of the most active drillers in the Permian/Eagle Ford’s Spraberry/Wolfcamp oil field in Texas, handle all their daily transfer agent needs. PCD’s Manager, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Sam Hicks, has even gone on record thanking Continental for their exemplary transfer agent service to Pioneer. Continental’s relationship with Pioneer stretches back to PCD’s inception in1997 and Hicks has been keen to point out how out how the tailored servicing, with additional special services provided on an ad hoc basis (without a bunch of costly add-ons as would be the case with most other transfer agents), has really been a high value addition to the company’s overall business model, allowing them to prosper and continue gaining momentum with each passing year.
Visit the Continental Stock Transfer & Trust for more information: www.ContinentalStock.com