What is a Corporate Fiduciary?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Corporate fiduciaries are entities that are entrusted with the task of managing the financial assets of a given party, like a trust company or a bank. To carry out the various responsibilities associated with the management of the assets, a corporate fiduciary will often be granted the legal authority to make use of the assets in any manner that is anticipated to result in an advantage for the owner of the assets. In some cases, the fiduciary is selected by a party for personal or business reasons. At other times, fiduciaries are appointed by a court of law as a means of protecting the assets of an individual or corporation.

Corporate fiduciaries are entities that are entrusted with the task of managing the financial assets of a given party.
Corporate fiduciaries are entities that are entrusted with the task of managing the financial assets of a given party.

The corporate fiduciary may be referred to by various titles, depending on the exact nature of the powers and authority that are extended to the fiduciary. In situations where the entity is managing an estate, it may be known as an executor. Should it be necessary for the courts to temporarily award control of the assets of individuals with physical or mental issues, the bank or trust company may be identified as a guardian or a trustee. In all instances, the role of fiduciary is to make financial decisions that are in the best interests of the owner of the assets.

When a corporate fiduciary is appointed by a court, there are often specific guidelines put in place requiring the fiduciary to report the status of the assets on a regular basis. In some situations, the courts may require specific documents be provided on an annual or semiannual basis, to ensure that the corporate fiduciary is acting within the perimeters of the legal authority granted. When it is appointed by the owner of the assets, other arrangements regarding reporting measures may be implemented.

A corporate fiduciary may function in the role of trustee or executor for a short period of time, or be appointed for an indefinite period of time. It is not unusual for individuals to appoint such an entity to handle financial matters when he or she will be unable to manage the assets for a specific period. At the same time, a corporate fiduciary may be necessary if there is anticipation that the individual will be unable to manage assets properly due to ongoing health issues or other factors that impair the judgment of the individual.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

bluespirit

@speechie - I have seen some corporate litigation of a company's fiduciary duty as opposed to taking an actual corporate fiduciary to court; however, that does not mean it does not happen!

Also I believe corporate fiduciaries are also used for small businesses as well, but maybe we can have some more people weigh in with their experiences...

Speechie

When I think of corporate - I think of a larger corporation, of course, but I was wondering if this was a term also used for small companies. For example, if a small company's owner became mentally unstable, would a corporate fiduciary need to step in or would a "small business fiduciary" step in?

It sounds like if this were to occur to a corporation there would likely be some serious corporate litigation following any money that the corporation felt was being ill-used... does this happen often?

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