The term agency is used in various ways in German-speaking countries , primarily in the area of private or state services , most often in the corporate area in connection with business mediation activities. A more recent form of use can be found in the area of authorities in Germany and the European Union . It is merely a matter of renaming or renaming a state institution with a more contemporary or modern name. Agency is not used holistically for all forms of authorities, but only sporadically.
A very widespread form of agency in the corporate sector describes a business activity within the framework of an intermediary service. The core feature of this activity is bringing two partners together, e.g. B. with the aim of concluding a contract or establishing some other connection between two or more people .
The entrepreneur or intermediary acting in this way is also called an agent in economic terms. He always acts in the name of someone else and also for someone else's account, as he does not broker his own products , but only third-party products on behalf of the product owner. In this respect, the activity is not a purchase , but a pure service .
Under company law, this type of company is a so-called commercial agent . The remuneration for the agency service provided is usually paid in the form of an agency commission . This is a percentage usually in the form of cash amount calculated by the value of the mediated product. A classic example of this is e.g. B. the commission of the petrol station operator in the field of the oil industry , the commission of the insurance agents in the insurance industry or the remuneration for the services of brokers in the financial industry as well as in the field of housing brokerage .
In particular in Germany widespread forms of a usually commercially operated agency are z. B. the insurance agency , the artist agency , the model agency , the picture agency , the dating agency , the real estate broker , the stockbroker , the petrol station operator and the ride-sharing agency (MFZ) .
There are also other forms of agency in the area of interest groups .
Furthermore, in many port cities there are often shipping agencies that are commissioned by the shipping companies to look after their ships. In addition, these agencies also act as service providers between authorities , stevedores and loading companies.
Other service agencies
The agency term is also used in the corporate sector for certain other activities or companies in the service sector. Especially in the economic sector of the media and advertising , the term agency is often used, for example in the advertising agency , the web agency , the PR agency , the press agency , the promotion agency , the trade fair agency and media agency .
Officially operated agencies
In Germany, the term has been used to rename public institutions since the 2000s. As a result, the names that are perceived as outdated, such as B. Office , institution or authority be replaced by a modern-sounding name. In this area, the word agency can linguistically be classified as a so-called neologism and, as a result of its derivation from the English term “agency” (German: “authority”), at the same time as anglicism .
A striking example of this is the former Federal Employment Agency , which was renamed the Federal Employment Agency in 2002, also in connection with an organizational restructuring . In addition, in 2005 the former regulatory authority for telecommunications and post was transferred to the new Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railways ("Federal Network Agency" for short).
At the supranational level, too, there are other agencies with different specialist responsibilities and competencies, such as the agencies of the European Union . B. in the segments environment ( European Environment Agency ), safety and health protection at work and flight safety. Furthermore, the national representations of EU funding programs (“EU programs” for short) are also referred to as agencies . B. is the case with the German and Austrian agency Jugend in Aktion .
Entrepreneurial and also officially operated agencies
Another widely known use of the term can also be found at the news agency . This is usually an institution that disseminates current information as news to the public, usually free of charge or for money . The news agency can, however, be operated as an entrepreneur as well as by the state or under public law. A very well-known example of a company in this segment is e.g. B. the German Press Agency (DPA) . An example of a government news agency is e.g. B. the Russian news agency TASS .