WHY CUSTOMERS CHANGE REGISTERED AGENT TO CSC
Changes to work environments nationwide continue to raise a number of important questions when it comes to the security and reliability of registered agent service providers, and how the service of process (SOP), legal documents, and entities they represent are being handled.
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CSC takes pride in offering an unparalleled breadth of compliance solutions and integrations, in addition to our relentless commitment to going above and beyond for our registered agent customers with our award-winning service. Our philosophy is simple: no shortcuts, no surprises—just comprehensive, expert service.
Join us as we dive into the current compliance management climate, including what the rest of 2021 might bring and how to prepare. We’ll then review the leading reasons so many customers change their agent to CSC and share insight into what you can expect when you partner with us, including a demonstration of CSCNavigatorSM, our online legal and compliance portfolio management system.
Annie: Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, "Why Customers Change Registered Agent to CSC." My name is Annie Triboletti, and I will be your moderator.
Joining us today are David Jefferis and Ciela McDevitt. David is a senior director of product management for Global Compliance at CSC in the Wilmington, Delaware office. With CSC for over 14 years, he has significant experience providing training, implementation, and consultative services to clients of CSC entity management and consults with those evaluating CSC matter management solutions. Ciela is a corporate solutions manager for the Corporate Legal Solutions Division of CSC and has over 16 years of experience. She is responsible for customer satisfaction, technology training, and new services. And with that, let's welcome Ciela and David.
Ciela: Annie, thank you. And thank you to all of the attendees for joining us today. Here's what you can expect out of this session. New challenges presented to legal and finance teams given the current compliance management climate, and throughout the session, we'll provide resources to help. We'll discuss the role of a registered agent and how that has evolved to be much more than just service of process delivery. We'll present what it means to us to be your registered agent and how we add value to other activities such as secretary of state filing, document, and entity management. We'll discuss data security, how organizations can change their registered agent in an easy and effective way. And then we'll wrap up with a demonstration of our CSC Navigator technology, and we'll also leave some time for Q&A at the end.
Working in a corporate legal department or for the finance team was already a challenging career, but 2020 brought with it many new problems. So we'd like to take the opportunity to acknowledge you and all you've had to juggle and are still juggling. So I will pass it to my colleague, David, to dig in more on that topic.
David: So I think at this point in the year, we would love to stop talking about 2020, but I feel like there's still a hangover effect from just the struggle that was last year. And so some of the content that you're seeing on the slide comes from a survey that Thomson Reuters did recently around some of the challenges and then sort of how organizations are adapting as a result of the pandemic. And so there's essentially what they're describing as four workstreams that have come out as a result. The first one being just adapting to sort of the regulations and the requirements, which obviously has been challenging where if you are an organization where you have entities in multiple jurisdictions, you know, nothing is sort of consistent from one state to another. So that certainly has created some challenges.
And then I think the biggest impact of all for all organizations really has been the need to pivot to a remote work environment. And so I'm going to actually have Ciela kind of chime in here in just a moment.
But another part of the study, which I found fascinating — it's not represented on the slide here — is that 58% of the surveyed corporate legal departments indicated that, as a consequence of the pandemic, their workload actually increased, which is not surprising given all the change and disruption. But interestingly, only 6% said that their budgets increased, whereas I think it was about 29% said their budgets actually decreased.
So it's sort of even before the pandemic, there was this sort of unfair mandate on the corporate legal department to somehow do more with less. And that was never more the case than last year.
But with that Ciela, do you want to kind of talk a little bit about kind of some of the experiences that you've had with customers that you've worked with through this experience?
Ciela: Yes, definitely. Because at first, when I was looking at the Workstream 1, in particular, I thought to myself, "Well, how is it a strong position to be a single state operation if you're a single state operation and you're maybe let's say a restaurant in a state that was completely shut down?" I'm thinking, "Well, that's not a strong position." But then I realized that what this was indicating is that how it affected the corporate law department.
So, for the law department, they only had to deal with the restrictions in one state, whereas think about a restaurant chain that has restaurants all over the U.S. and they're dealing with the restrictions that are different in every state, but also maybe even different amongst the counties where they're doing business. And there must have been so much to deal with in terms of, you know, states shutting down and reopening. So I think that's what it meant is that not a strong or weak position from the business perspective, but, you know, how it really affected the corporate law department.
David: On the next slide, you can see the other Workstreams 3 and 4 that were identified in the Thomson Reuters survey. I think the big thing, honestly, to pull from this is that, you know, we talked about the mandate to somehow do more with less, and I think what we've seen is that corporate legal departments are finding creative ways to sort of lean on providers to add expertise, outsource where possible. And then technology is really kind of a silver bullet where, you know, having solutions that allow you to have collaboration, again in that remote kind of work environment, is critical as well.
And so I think the other thing that this study talks about is there's this expectation, I think we've already seen it where litigation, once again, is on the rise by virtue of disputes and sort of again the disruption of the year ago.
And then also, you know, M&A, which was really hot, hot, hot in 2019, things seemed like it was going to be the same in 2020, and then everything sort of came to a standstill. I think what we're already seeing is a rapid sort of reinvigoration of M&A and deals, and for folks in the corporate legal department, you know what that means in terms of mergers and acquisitions and all the work that goes into the due diligence and the fallout. And so we expect these teams to, again, just be incredibly called upon to just deliver for the organizations, and more and more they're expected to be kind of advisors to their organization as well. So I think we see that coming out as a result.
So, again, what is 2021 going to bring sort of for the remainder of the year? So I think we have seen some things, as I mentioned, just on the prior slide, where, again, litigation is on the rise. M&A is on the rise. There's, again, new legislative developments, for example, sort of the one that I think is sort of, you know, front and center on everyone's mind right now is the Corporate Transparency Act, where there's a requirement now to start disclosing ownership or what's sometimes called beneficial ownership, which is something that we've seen in other parts of the world. And it's sort of come home so to speak if you're based here in the States. And that's something that we've seen previously, where, for example, GDPR was the sort of game changer over the pond. And then, you know, in California, you know, there's a privacy act.
And so it's just sort of I hate to say the new normal, but it's just, you know, more and more regulation over time is something that we expect to see, that we are seeing. And so I think what corporate legal departments are starting to do is to, again, leverage technology where possible, partner with organizations, like a CSC, to kind of streamline operations and to be able to sort of free yourself up to work on things that are more critical to the organization. So sort of, again, outsourcing where it makes sense and working on things that are more strategic for the direction of the organization for your business.
And now, that we've talked a little bit about some of the challenges that organizations are facing and how they're adapting, we really want to go into how CSC can help organizations. But to level set, we want to define what is the role of a registered agent. So this is where I'm going to bring my colleague, Ciela, back into the conversation.
Ciela: What does a registered agent do? A registered agent is an individual or third party responsible for accepting court paperwork or other legal documents on behalf of a company. So those documents could be service of process or maybe wage garnishment. That registered agent does have to have an address within the jurisdiction that's being served. So that's an important part of it as well. And then most organizations are leaning on their registered agent for additional things, like helping them stay in good standing, mostly because tracking secretary of state duties can be a bear, mostly because every state is different and even how they do the due dates is different. You know, sometimes it's based on anniversary date or standard by entity type, and some are every 2 years or every 10 years. So it's a bit all over the place. So most organizations use their registered agent for a calendar of due dates or email reminders. And that's where they can provide that insight for the company to stay in good standing.
The registered agent may also store and send legal documents. So primarily that's going to be the service of process. But it may be more than that. Sometimes there are other documents, such as legalization, business licenses. There's all kinds of things that we can get involved with, and we'll cover that today.
Also, just to mention with the store and sending legal documents, later in the presentation, we're going to get into security, and that's because although service of process is public record, and in the court system, the aggregate for organizations that have many companies, it is not. So security is very important as everyone knows, but why it relates to this session today. And also sometimes registered agents are handling documents like business licenses that may include personal information for the officers. So that'll come into play later in the session today.
And sometimes the registered agent is also used to provide expertise in other jurisdictions. So maybe not just the secretary of state, but also sometimes county offices.
First and foremost, it's the registered agent's job to be available Monday through Friday during normal business hours to receive service of process, and that could be any type of legal action. It also can include things like wage garnishments, subpoenas, bankruptcy, or foreclosure notices depending on the serving party. They will often send that to the registered agent. So the registered agent has to always be available to receive that service of process.
Many companies will also use their registered agent's technology for entity management. And that can be one reason why organizations decide to evaluate a registered agent is because they want to get all of their entities together with one provider so that they have somewhere that they can log in, see all of their companies in one place and all of their key details, and then also those good standing dates, those annual reports, and secretary of state renewals that I mentioned. And with CSC, we'll show this in the technology demonstration, it's also tracking the status for any changes to the name or falling out of good standing for the entities that we represent. So a registered agent can really add value to the entity management process as well.
David: So now that we've talked about the fundamental role that a registered agent provides around service of process and around helping organizations have transparency around their entities, we do want to sort of transition now into talking more specifically about CSC as a company, and then we'll get into why organizations ultimately select CSC as their registered agent.
CSC is the largest U.S.-owned registered agent, and we're very proud of that distinction. And again, certainly our presentation today is going to focus largely around their services. We're proud to say that we can trace our roots back to 1899. So we've been in this registered agent compliance business for over a century, but certainly our services go beyond that. A little bit towards the end of the presentation, we'll provide a quick overview of kind of the breadth of our services, but you'll see some of the sort of notable facts here that we service over 180,000 corporate clients. We represent some of the world's largest domains in terms of trademarks and intellectual property protection. We service thousands of organizations in the financial market. And we're also very proud to say that over 90% of the Fortune 500 utilize CSC for at least one of the services that we offer.
So, Ciela, you mentioned earlier that we were going to talk about some of the resources that CSC offers our customers. So did you want to talk a little bit about this slide?
Ciela: Yes. So this is a really great example of how a registered agent support can go past just service of process. CSC launched this Resource Center last year because there were a lot of state offices that had to close during the pandemic. Some of them closed, reopened, and then closed again. And for clients that needed to get documents filed, we wanted to provide a way for them to know the status. So we have here the web address, and I'd like to invite everyone to maybe copy and paste that and bookmark it, or you can get it from the Resource Center.
There is a ton of information here that I find really helpful in my day-to-day. So the state closures are available and they're reopening plan. Because we also work with over 1,900 business license local jurisdictions, we also have their current status and how to submit documents. Same thing for the county offices where real estate documents get recorded.
Last year, and I'm sure most of the legal folks on the phone know this, one of the big challenges was getting documents signed because some states were still requiring a wet ink signature. But folks were working from home. State offices weren't accepting actual physical documents in their hand. So what happened was the states started enacting legislation to take different forms of signatures, and they also started to take different forms of notarization. And with that, we saw a lot of new states start to accept remote online notarization, which was really pretty cool. So, if you go to the Resource Center and you click on that remote online notarization, it gives you a breakdown of every state and what they accept and then the statutes that you can reference.
So there's a lot of great stuff here, and I hope you'd take a minute to check it out.
David: And again, we do want to thank our audience for participating in the polls. Now, we're getting into what I'll call the meat of the presentation. You know, why is it that organizations change registered agent to CSC? We think there are a range of answers to that question, but we really want to focus on the ones that we think are most relevant that we hear most often. So, Ciela, I'm going to turn things over to you to kind of get this section off the ground and running.
Ciela: Thank you, David. So we've broken down the reason organizations use CSC into four main categories — expert service, like you saw in our bios, you know, David has worked here over a decade, so have I, and that's pretty common because CSC is a wonderful place to work. So we can brag a little bit and say that the average tenure of our customer service team is over 10 years. So that's what really allows us to be experts is people stay working here and they learn as they go.
The next is robust technology. I sometimes kid that we're the tech nerds of the registered agent industry. It's very important to us that we're providing the best technology out there and the best security.
CSC does go through a third-party audit every year, and we maintain that SOC 2 Type 2 certification. And that's really our commitment to maintaining the highest levels of client service, confidence, and data security.
And then the last category here is seamless transition. So sometimes it may seem like too much of a project to change your agent or consolidate registered agents, but we have the process down to a science and make it really easy. And it's not only as easy, but also provides a really great cleaning house opportunity because we do a full audit of the company to find all their registrations. And I will later in the presentation break that down exactly how that works.
The relentless commitment to customer service is part of the culture here. So we tailor an account team based on the needs of the clients. We always provide ongoing training and support, and there are never any fees for training and support. Our customer service team is available coast to coast business hours. So if you're on the East Coast, West Coast, we're always available 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. We have a full-time team that is dedicated just to the change of agent. So if you're thinking I'd like to maybe consider a change of agent, please know that we have a team that'll do that for you and they make it very streamlined and efficient. And in terms of our Net Promoter Score, so NPS being how likely others would be to recommend CSC, we align with world-class organizations, like Apple, Chick-fil-A, and even Disney.
As I mentioned, a registered agent's role can be much more than just receiving and delivering service of process. CSC is a complete partner for compliance management throughout the life cycle of your entities. We form all different types of companies all over the world, corporations, LLCs, non-profit organizations, international entities in over 140 jurisdictions. We also create and administer special purpose vehicles.
Once an entity is formed, there is maintenance to it. And we are also a trusted partner through this stage of an entity from our award-winning entity management technology that allows you to track officers, directors, ownership, and build org charts. For many organizations, we prepare and file their annual reports because they want that risk clearly with the experts. We service annual report preparation and filing in all the U.S. states and D.C. Even for clients that don't have us file, we provide the email reminders for when they're due.
We work with business licenses, which vary depending on the business activity or where the business has locations, and so we can research requirements. We can audit locations to make sure they have the right licenses. And then, of course, we prepare, file, and track their due dates.
And then for organizations that are managing a lot of contracts or leases, agreements, or other legal documents, they may rely on CSC for matter management technology as a way to collaborate and track key dates around those matters.
As your business grows, we can help with expansion. Internationally, we can help by forming entities, providing a corporate health check on maybe an acquired entity to ensure that it has all the right documents and officers and directors in place as it should. We also support transactional filings all over the world. So not just formation, but we also do certificate of authority or qualifications to do business in a new state. We can file amendments, withdrawals, and dissolutions. We do the publishing and recording that comes with that. If we're talking about local filings, like with business licenses, maybe there's an acquired entity and you want to get the business licenses transferred over to the new owner's name, that's another type of research and expansion service that we help with. Also, address changes. If you're going through an address change, we're a great partner. We have resources that provide you with instructions on how to change the address for an entity in every state specific to an entity type.
I may have already mentioned this, but to complete the life cycle, we can also help with winding entities down. So in a domestic state, that would be a dissolution, or in a qualified state, that would be a withdrawal. We can help in many ways. So maybe you rely on us to prepare and file the documents and do all the work for you. Even for our clients that want to do that work on their own, we provide a great resource. Through our web portal, that David will show you here in a bit, we have all of the forms available for dissolutions and withdrawals, and actually all the different state filings are always converted to a fillable PDF. So when you pull the form with CSC, you'll be able to type right into it. And we also provide instructions. And that's really helpful, especially with the withdrawals and dissolutions. They can be some of the more challenging filings because they may have side steps, like you may need to get tax clearance first. And then after the fact, you may need to publish or record the filing. So we provide all the forms and instructions to our clients at no charge. And if you want us to do the work for you, we can do free estimates.
David: So getting into some detail around the technology that we offer, I want to talk about information that flows automatically into our Navigator platform when CSC is acting as a registered agent around your entity specifically.
So when CSC is named as agent, when we're acting in that capacity, we're going to know the names of those companies, where they're formed and qualified, statuses, dates of authorization. And it builds out this amazing foundational set of information that you can start to build and manage from. Our compliance counter also automatically provides insight into when the next set of annual filings are coming due anytime you engage CSC for a filing. So if you have us form a new entity, you know, qualify in a new state, or withdraw from an old state, do a name change, or dissolve an entity as just a few examples, the data changes associated with those filings and then the supporting documents, we often call that the evidence of the filing that comes back from the filing registry, which in many cases would be a secretary of state, those documents actually flow into our platform as well. And that again is just complimentary with CSC acting as your registered agent. And it really speaks to one of our great strengths, which is that it's really the blending and the marriage so to speak of the services that we offer and the technology that supports that.
If you as an organization have an entity management needs that extend beyond sort of those foundational basics and perhaps you want to be able to track directors and officers and have a secure portal for uploading minute books, looking at potentially, you know, tracking ownership and wanting to create visual org charts of how your entities come together from a structural standpoint, we also offer an award-winning Entity Management solution that does all those things and more.
So having talked a little bit about the role that CSC plays in terms of giving you transparency to your entities, let's get right back to service of process. It's that other key thing, that key foundational responsibility that a registered agent has. And so let's talk specifically about how CSC handles service of process documents.
Fundamentally, I think the biggest thing that I want to talk about on this slide is the fact that CSC takes complete ownership and responsibility for the intake and delivery of your SOP documents. We do not outsource this function to a third party. We don't offer this to another part of the world. Only vetted US-based CSC employees have the responsibility to process SOP documents. Something that we'll talk about in more detail on just a slide or two.
So a lot of times when organizations think about the role of registration around SOP, you think of it as just, you know, receiving and delivering. And really what this slide looks to do is try to create some visibility to the fact that it really goes beyond that. So, yes, absolutely, the registered agent has that key critical role of receiving service of process, making sure that it's available electronically, delivering it so to speak, but there's so much more to it, so, for example, distribution. We work with a lot of organizations that have what we'll call routing rules or where they will say that, you know, based on the type of service of process, there are different individuals within the organization that would be responsible for receiving them. So, for example, there might be a team responsible for garnishments. There might be a different set of individuals responsible for subpoenas. There might be certain types of SOP documents that go right to a risk team within the organization. And so, CSC has technology where we effectively can electronically notify and distribute those documents to the right set of individuals in a very efficient fashion.
Also kind of building around this continuum, we have really powerful technology not just to give you oversight around your SOP, but also advanced searching, reporting, and some analytics that give you controls and just sort of a complete picture of your service of process.
So now let's get into even a little bit more detail in terms of how CSC handles SOP. This is the stuff that I'm really interested in, so we're calling this our SOP logistics.
So, first and foremost, we do have a presence throughout the U.S., where we have offices that are responsible for the physical receipt and intake of SOP documents. We ensure that every single document that we receive goes through a type of scanning known as OCR, which stands for Optical Character Recognition, which ensures that your SOP documents are fully text searchable. We also put tremendous effort into ensuring that we're delivering what I would describe as a consistent work product so that the images not only are clean and clear and crisp, which is a function of the scanning technology that we use, but also pages are right set up, they're in the proper sequential order so that you have a working document that is easy to digest and make a part of your SOP sort of response process so to speak.
Also, again, we highlighted this before and I mentioned it before, but only CSC employees are making decisions about your SOP. So the individuals that are receiving the service of process are quickly getting those documents into our SOP network. We have a team that quickly triages documents to ensure that any document that is incredibly time-sensitive is processed as quickly as possible. We do, of course, recognize that all documents have an answer date so they are all ticking clocks in that sense. However, some documents have incredibly short turnaround and response time. So those documents are prioritized so that they are more efficiently delivered to customers electronically through our technology, which we'll see a little bit further on in the demo.
And then we also make sure that our customers have great tools around acknowledging SOP, so effectively confirming that yes, we have received it. And if the acknowledgement is not occurring in a proper time frame, we have safeguards in place to have the technology remind you or CSC also can play a role in reaching out to, again, ensure that you have received and you are again in a timely fashion responding to SOP documents.
So a few slides back, when we were talking a bit about, you know, managing entities with CSC, we talked about the fact that there are sort of, you know, scalable options depending on your needs, right? We have our kind of our standard offering. And then we have that advanced solution that we call CSC Entity Management.
And really, in fact, it is a very similar story when it comes to managing SOP. All clients have access to a platform we call MySOP, which is a part of our Navigator solution. But certainly, we also work with a number of organizations that have complexity and advanced needs, I would say, around managing a high volume of SOP and litigation. So we have enhanced technology tools in the form of a platform we call SOP Manager, as well as a solution that we call CSC Matter Management, where there are just advanced capabilities around searching, reporting, collaboration, and analytics so that, again, if you're dealing with more than just a handful of SOP here and there and you're talking about, you know, hundreds or thousands of SOP documents in the course of the year, we have advanced technology tools that help you manage that.
But also we're not looking to necessarily lock you into our technology. A very popular solution that we offer is the ability to actually integrate SOP documents into other systems. So, in some cases, it might be we want to send, you know, HR garnishments to, you know, an ADP system for processing, or maybe you're using a third-party, enterprise legal management/matter management solution. We absolutely can feed the SOP documents that we receive into a third-party matter management solution, where, again, it can be a part of your broader enterprise legal management strategy.
So when you talk about all the benefits of technology in terms of collaboration and transparency, giving you that central source of truth for entities and SOP, obviously security is paramount, right? If we can't keep this information secure and private, it all falls apart immediately, right? So we put incredible investment time and effort into ensuring that our technology solutions have the highest degrees of security possible. And so you'll see some bullet points here on the slide.
I think Ciela mentioned this a little bit earlier, but one of the sort of accreditations I'll call it that we go through on an annual basis is that we have third parties come in and audit our controls and procedures around security. And so that's what's known as the SOC 2 Type 2. We also use world-class data centers that have kind of attestations around what's called ISO 27001.
We also work with some of the largest financial institutions in the world, and it is not uncommon that we go through detailed security audits. So, certainly, we have some resources in the resource widget that at a high level speak to how CSC handles security and disaster recovery and continuity business planning, but also we welcome the scrutiny that can come along with this. And so we absolutely with, you know, an NDA in place can provide great amounts of detail in terms of how we keep our customers' information secure and private.
Ciela: Thank you, David. So, hopefully, we have sparked some interest in using CSC as your partner for registered agent service, and you may be thinking, "How can I do that in a way that's budget-friendly and not a burden to my team?" And I can tell you, we have it down to a science. So we have a very specific process for this. You're never without a registered agent. And we do an audit so that we find all of your registrations in every state.
So the first thing we'll do is we'll assign a dedicated person to handle the transition. We'll get a list of your entities, and we'll research them in every single state. So we do your whole portfolio in all states to find their registrations, their file dates, file number, status, and current registered agent. We'll deliver the results of that audit to you in an Excel report to review. You can decide which registrations you want to change to CSC. And because we find so much, you may even find some that you don't want any more. So it's a really great opportunity to clean up the entities.
From there, depending on how you want to do it, the fastest way is we can have you fill out a limited power of attorney. It has to be signed and notarized by an officer of your parent company. And that allows us just the one benefit of we can file the change of agent for you, so it makes it really fast. We can do all the paperwork. But if you want, we can also send you the change of agent forms. They would be fully prepared. You'll just need to sign them and send them back. Either way, we file all the documents, and we also cover all the state filing fees with those change of agents.