Can I Sell Shares Without a Certificate?

"Can I sell shares without a certificate?" is a question many shareholders end up asking themselves.3 min read

"Can I sell shares without a certificate?" is a question many shareholders end up asking themselves. The answer is no because the certificate needs to be endorsed to be sold, but you can get your paper certificate reissued.

Reissuing a Certificate

If you've misplaced your stock certificate, you can follow these steps to have it reissued:

  • Contact the company
  • Contact the transfer agency
  • Buy an indemnity bond
  • Pay a reissue fee

Contact the Company

Paper share certificates are important to possess because having one means your name is on the company's share register. Being included on it gives you the option to vote as a shareholder, and you will also receive correspondence and dividends directly from the company. Having those benefits is useful if you'd like to have a say in the future of the company.

If you've lost your certificate or never received one, reach out to the investor relations department of the company that issued your shares and ask them for the transfer agent that deals with their stock certificates; this information might be available online under the company's investor relations page. Transfer agents are simply the companies that keep track of the shareholders' information. Occasionally, large companies will be their own transfer agents, but generally the transfer agents are banks or trust companies. They'll have on record the number of shares issued to each shareholder, the stock certificate numbers, and the contact information for shareholders.

Contact the Transfer Agency

After you let the transfer agency know that your certificates need to be replaced, they will do the following:

  • Request an affidavit. The transfer agency will require that that you supply them with an affidavit that details the missing certificates and how you lost them. There are several ways certificates could have been lost, such as fraud, theft, or being misplaced during a move, so make sure you are very detailed in your description.
  • Issue a stop transfer. This works much like a stop payment does for a check. No one else will be able to cash the certificates as long as a stop transfer is active.