Definition of ‘Transfer Agent’
A trust company, bank or similar financial institution assigned by a corporation to maintain records of investors and account balances and transactions, to cancel and issue certificates, to process investor mailings and to deal with any associated problems (i.e. lost or stolen certificates).
Because publicly-traded companies, mutual funds and similar entities often have many investors who own a small portion of the organization, require accurate records and have rights regarding information provision, the role of the transfer agent is an important one. Some corporations choose to act as their own transfer agents, but most choose a third-party financial institution to fill the role.