You are not required to appoint a local company secretary in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, or BVI, but it is highly suggested. You might be wondering what functions is this secretary required to perform? And why can’t you just do it yourself? Especially if you are a cash-strapped startup. Here’s everything you need to know, including how to choose the right secretary for your new business.
The 3 Primary Roles Of Your Company Secretary
While secretaries in your home country may perform catch-all job duties, in the Bahamas your secretary’s duties are divided into 3 primary roles.
The company secretary will be your main point of contact with The Government of the Bahamas. They are responsible for preparing the minutes for the Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and the Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM). They ensure your business registration is up to date and file all required documents with the Government of the Bahamas and all local authorities.
Your secretary will keep you apprised of all current and changing legal and compliance measures for your business and industry. They will also advise the director on the next steps and best practices. This is especially important for those grandfathered into the old regulations, which will expire December 31, 2021.
Your secretary will be a primary point of contact for shareholders to ensure your practices are aligned with their interests. This includes preparing and disseminating financial statements to ensure shareholders are apprised and can weigh in on the decisions up for discussion at the next EGM or AGM.
Can’t I Just Do This All Myself? Or In-House?
As an entrepreneur you have a DIY mentality, but your formal secretarial duties are not something you should attempt to take on in-house. If you are based overseas or are the sole director of your company, the secretarial duties mentioned above are best left in the hands of a professional.
While there is an administrative aspect to this role, there are essential tasks that may fall through the cracks as they aren’t your highest priority—or because you are not aware that they need to be completed. Also, a professional secretary is proficient and knows how to perform their duties with efficiency. Your time is best invested in growing your business, not taking on tasks that can and should be delegated.
Selecting The Right Corporate Secretary
Just like every other position you fill you must ensure your company secretary is the right fit. They must understand the importance of choosing your year-end date, maximize your tax advantages, stay on top of your license and regulatory expiration dates, and communicate clearly with your directors and shareholders before filing new documents. If these items slip through the cracks, they can be detrimental to your business. The tips below will help you choose someone with the skills you require.
Ensure They Specialize In Startups
Startup secretarial needs vary greatly from that of a preexisting company, primarily in the amount of paperwork required for incorporation, licensing, and regulatory compliance.
In addition, startups tend to grow rapidly during their first few investment rounds and you need someone who can keep up, and someone who comprehends the different classes of shareholders and investors. You may even offer your secretary an employee share option plan (ESOP).
You must ensure your secretary is available for your demanding schedule, rapid in their response, and technically savvy. You need someone who appreciates your sense of urgency and responds rapidly when scheduling meetings, in addressing processing delays, negotiating courier fees, and more. They should be proficient in your preferred communication tools and digital technology, or willing to learn. For example, how to arrange for digital signatures, which are legal in the Bahamas.
Are All Fees Upfront?
You are likely to be one of your secretaries many clients, so once you agree on a fee schedule, you must ensure that you have confirmed any hidden costs. Are you capped at a set number of emails per month? Billed extra for talking on the phone? Do they charge for each completed registration or license? Some secretaries have an a-la-carte list, which can really add up. Even if they advertise a one-time annual fee, ensure you have a clear list of what is included, and what costs extra.
Ready To Hire Your Bahamas Corporate Secretary?
SCGIBC was created by entrepreneurs who grew tired of the common pitfalls of hiring a second-rate secretary. We worked together to create a corporate service company that is tech-savvy, innovative, transparent, and efficient. Reach out today to learn more!