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7Professional Services Firm (S.P.)

Pursuant to Professional Services Firms Law 2/2007, of March 15, 2007 (partially amended by Law 25/2009, of December 22, 2009, amending various laws to bring them into line with the Law on Free Access to, and Pursuit of, Service Activities), the regulations governing a type of company known as a Professional Services Firm (S.P.) entered into force. The purpose of the above Law is to set in place a regulatory framework governing the common pursuit by several members of a professional activity under a specific corporate form.

Thus, professional services firms are characterized by three specific general features:

Corporate purpose
Their corporate purpose can only be the common pursuit by various members of a professional activity (meaning an activity the pursuit of which requires an official university or professional qualification and registration with a professional association). This feature also implies that all firms that have such purpose must necessarily be formed as professional services firms.
Professional membersThe professional members must have a stake in the company's capital ("professional members" meaning individuals or other professional services firms that meet the requirements necessary to engage in the professional activity).
Corporate formsProfessional services firms may be formed in accordance with any of the forms provided for in the law, provided that they meet the specific requirements included in the Professional Services Firms Law.
Specific requirements
  • Three quarters of the capital and of the voting rights, or three quarters of the firm’s assets and of the number of members at non-corporate enterprises, must belong to professional members.
  • Three quarters of the members of the managing body must be professional members. Where the managing body has a single member or there are managing directors, such duties must necessarily be performed by a professional member. In any event, the resolutions of collective managing bodies will require the affirmative vote of the majority of the professional members, regardless of the number of the members present.
  • The professional activity will be pursued in accordance with the code of ethics and disciplinary rules specific to the professional activity in question, with the grounds for incompatibility or disqualification of the members affecting the company itself. A professional services firm may also be fined on the terms established in the disciplinary rules that apply under its professional code.
  • Broadly speaking, to transfer the status of professional member, it is necessary to have the consent of all of the professional members, unless the firm's bylaws permit transfers by an agreement of the majority of the members.
  • Must be registered at the Commercial Registry and the Registry of Professional Services Firms of the relevant professional association.
  • The distribution of income or allocation of loss may be based on or modified according to the contribution made by each member to the sound running of the firm.
  • Professional services firms must arrange for an insurance policy that covers the liability they may incur in the course of the activity or activities that make up their corporate purpose.