Agents: Vital intermediaries

Agents are self-employed entrepreneurs. They act as intermediaries or conclude sales on their customer’s behalf.

In principle, agents can work in all sectors. The most popular are no doubt self-employed insurance brokers and financial advisers. They negotiate business deals for one or more principals (negotiating agents) or conclude transactions for and on their behalf (agents with power to enter into contracts).

The relationship between customer and agent is regulated by the Code of Obligations and by a detailed written contract. Agents earn fixed payments for the negotiation or making of contracts. As a general rule, the customer assigns the agent a certain sales sector or a certain group of customers.

Unlike commercial travelers, agents do not have an employment contract. In practice, the differentiation between commercial traveler and agent is often problematic. The decisive characteristic is the level of independence. For example, a company address, a company’s own publicity, registration with the trade register, the absence of any obligation to report on visits to customers’ premises, the absence of any instructions about where to travel or working hours and also a company’s own accounts are indicators of self-employment, and therefore of an agent’s mandate.

Last modification 09.04.2021

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