A:

Before online brokers and personally-directed accounts, holding a physical stock certificate was a necessity, as this was the only way to authenticate stock ownership. This is not the case anymore. Although you may not need to hold a stock certificate, you may request one. The corporation you are holding stock in issues stock certificates, and you can get your certificate either directly from the issuing corporation, or by contacting your broker who may get the stock certificate on your behalf.

Detailed on the stock certificate itself will be your name, the company's name and the number of shares you own. There also will be a seal of authenticity, a signature from someone with assigning authority authenticating the certificate and either a CUSIP or CINS number. Currently, stock certificates are seen more as collectibles and souvenirs than actual records of ownership.

On the other hand, corporations may not have an interest in sending all shareholders stock certificates, although they are required to by law if requested. Issuing stock certificates increases clerical work. Moreover, corporations must record all persons who hold their stock at the end of the trading day in their computer systems. Although this information can be received from all brokerage houses, this is still something the corporation must keep track of.

Traders and short-term investors may find the issuing of stock certificates burdensome, as these stock holders may buy and sell this corporation's stock over a few days.

To learn more about what to do with old stock certificates, read Old Stock Certificates: Lost Treasure Or Wallpaper?

RELATED FAQS
  1. I hold stock certificates in a company that just had a stock split. What happens ...

    The short answer is that a stock split will have little effect on the holder of stock certificates. In most cases when an ... Read Answer >>
  2. I lost my share certificate. Do I still own the stock?

    Regardless of whether a shareholder loses his or her stock certificate, that person still owns the shares. However, in order ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Old Stock Certificates: Lost Treasure Or Wallpaper?

    What if you've discovered some old shares in bearer form? Follow our tips and find out what they're worth.
  2. Insights

    What Is a Silver Certificate Dollar Bill Worth Today?

    Although a silver-certificate dollar bill no longer can be exchanged for silver, the date, grade and unique features make certain certificates very valuable.
  3. Investing

    Old Stock Certificates: Lost Treasure?

    Today, most stocks reside electronically in a broker’s computer. But it is possible to stumble across a physical stock certificate.
  4. Managing Wealth

    Index-Linked Certificates Of Deposit: Upside Potential, Low Risk

    Index-linked CDs generate returns similar to indexes, without the potential for loss.
  5. Personal Finance

    Putting Your CFA Level I on Your Resume

    Learn techniques for emphasizing your CFA Level I status in the Skills and Certifications or Professional Development section of your resume.
  6. Investing

    What's an Incumbency Certificate?

    An incumbency certificate lists an organization’s incumbent directors and officers.
  7. Investing

    What’s The Difference Between Shares And Stocks?

    In today’s markets, the distinction between stocks and shares has become blurred.
  8. Personal Finance

    Finding The Right Accounting Certification

    An accounting certification may be the boost your career needs. Find out how to get the most bang for your buck.
  9. Investing

    The 4 Ways To Buy And Sell Securities

    Know the four main avenues of buying and selling investment instruments.
  10. Investing

    Finding The Right Accounting Certification

    The right accounting certification can open the doors of opportunity.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Share Certificate

    A share certificate is a written document signed on behalf of ...
  2. Push Out

    One of two ways to effect a stock split. In a push out, new share ...
  3. Certificated Stock

    The stock of a commodity that has been inspected by qualified ...
  4. Trust Certificate

    A bond or debt investment, usually in a public corporation, that ...
  5. Cage

    A term used to describe the department of a brokerage firm that ...
  6. Currency Certificate

    A note that grants the holder the right to convert a specific ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Quadruple Witching

    The expiration date of various stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures. All stock ...
  2. Co-pay

    A type of insurance policy where the insured pays a specified amount of out-of-pocket expenses for health-care services such ...
  3. Protectionism

    Government actions and policies that restrict or restrain international trade, often done with the intent of protecting local ...
  4. Fiduciary

    A fiduciary is a person who acts on behalf of another person, or persons to manage assets.
  5. Demonetization

    Demonetization is the act of stripping a currency unit of its status as legal tender and is necessary whenever there is a ...
  6. Investment

    An asset or item that is purchased with the hope that it will generate income or appreciate in the future. In an economic ...
Trading Center