Redman-Smith Trading Corp
In the Verge, money has proven a more unifying factor than politics. Here, corporations and giant syndicates have yet to take over the regulation Df trade,- independents and free traders still dominate the trading economy for Verge systems. These smaller merchants have formed guilds such as the Redman- Smith Trading Corporation. Originally, this trading company consisted of only a few dozen Rigunmors and Starmechs from Tendril and Oberon who united to shuttle heavy metals from Leen to Alaundril. The guild’s membership grew, adding systems and cargoes to its accepted list of sources and destinations.
The Corp spends a significant portion of its manpower and resources on the publication of its quarterly price index. Fulltime Corp employees wander the major systems, confirming the availability and current value of commodities. Corp members are expected to communicate the same information to the parent guild whenever possible. For free traders in the Verge, the manual becomes the bible by which to buy and sell items, or negotiate contracts. Of course, it’s no guarantee of success. In the tumultuous frontier economy, prices can change faster than even the most dedicated trading guilds can track. This quarterly index, and the strong reputation that Corp membership provides, are the primary reasons for joining Redman-Smith.
Requirements for membership have been formalized for decades. First, Redman-Smith performs a background check on the prospective applicant. It doesn’t want members who are known for piracy or other criminal activities-althaugh it’s well known that the group makes exceptions for wealthy candidates. In truth, the most significant requirement is an annual membership fee, now at §1,242. The trading group adjusts the fee each year for inflation and adds a surcharge (1% net profits after the first million Concord dollars earned in a year) for the most profitable Corp members.
At present, more than 70 years after its creation the Corp has become a bureaucracy of its own, with several thousand Employees spread over all the more populated planets. Recently, Redman-Smith has diversified in the services that it offers its members. In addition to its famous price indices, the guild offers loans and financing to members in good standing. Typically, it offers interest up to a full point below standard, making it a popular choice for its members.