How much do you pay a company secretary in Malaysia?
Getting into a new business by starting a company is a risky journey as you will have to juggle limited resources to ensure every sen is well spent. Company secretarial fees may be viewed as a mandatory cost to a company, with the Companies Act 2016 requiring all Sdn Bhd to appoint a company secretary, but their value is often overlooked by business owners. As a result, most business owners settle for the less expensive option because the company secretary does not appear to play a crucial role in day-to-day business operations. Let’s take a look at how company secretarial fees are charged in Malaysia.
Retainer fee versus subscription fee
In Malaysia, monthly retainer fees for company secretarial services range from RM60 to RM600. Aside from being compliant with the Companies Act 2016, this fee generally does not include any services provided by the company secretary of your company. Any other company secretarial services requested, like the filing of annual returns, would require additional payment to the company secretarial firm.
Another pricing model of a company secretarial firm is based on a monthly subscription, where clients pay a higher fixed fee each month, but enjoy a range of services which are included in the subscription fee. However, this pricing model is rarely used in Malaysia, as business owners prefer to be charged a low monthly secretarial retainer fee, and charged for any activities requested for on an ad-hoc basis.
The norm of hidden fees
If you think that secretarial firms with low monthly retainer fees are the way to go, think again. Most company secretarial firms with a low monthly retainer fee have to charge a higher fee for each service provided upon request, such as preparing company resolutions, providing certified true copies of statutory documents for the purposes of loan applications and opening business bank accounts, etc. Most company secretarial firms even include charges for emails, phone calls, and even for each document printed in the invoice issued.
There is a fee payable to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) for lodgements made with them. Usually, company secretarial firms have to charge a service fee on top of the fee payable to the SSM, as stated in the official Table of Fees, to cover expenses and make up for the low monthly retainer fee.
Comparison of company secretarial fee in a year
A company secretary should be paid for their liability, not services
Whether or not business owners prefer the retainer-fee pricing model or the subscription fee pricing model, it is important to understand why these fees are charged to begin with.
The Company Secretary is someone who the business appoints as an officer of the company. Being appointed as a company secretary implies that this person is now responsible for ensuring that Malaysian laws and regulations are followed at all times. The Company Secretary is available for consultation when you have questions regarding the statutory compliance of your company, and are equally as liable as the Directors of the company in most cases. Actions of the Directors, and how the Directors manage the affairs of their company, will directly affect the Company Secretary. Hence, a company secretary should be paid not just for ad hoc service they provide, but for their role in providing good corporate governance and ensuring the statutory compliance of your company.