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. Is this stock certificate worthless?

    I bought 50,000 shares of restricted common stock from a company in December 2015 and received a stock certificate. I then ... Read Answer >>
  3. Can I pass on the stock certificates to my son in my will?

    I was told I could get stock certificates from the company that I retired from. Will my son get the st... Read Answer >>
  4. What should I do with my suspended security?

    A stock in my brokerage account has been suspended from trading. Consequently it also has a 'frozen' relationship ... Read Answer >>
  5. I have not received my Series 7 exam certificate. Where can I obtain it?

    The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) does not provide candidates with any physical certificate signifying ... Read Answer >>
  6. What licenses and certifications do you need for a career in portfolio management?

    See what it normally takes to begin a career in investment portfolio management, including education, experience, licenses ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing Basics

    What’s The Difference Between Shares And Stocks?

    In today’s markets, the distinction between stocks and shares has become blurred.
  2. Professionals

    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.
  3. Options & Futures

    The 4 Ways To Buy And Sell Securities

    Know the four main avenues of buying and selling investment instruments.
  4. Retirement

    7 Certifications to Get After You Retire

    Your schedule opens up significantly in retirement. Pursuing any of these seven certifications will keep you busy as you gain a great new skill.
  5. Career Education & Resources

    Financial Planner: Career Path & Qualifications

    Learn what education and certifications you need to become a financial planner, as well as the future prospects and earnings potential for financial planners.
  6. Home & Auto

    Certifications For Estate Planning

    These certifications can lead to a promising career, but is estate planning for you?
  7. Investing

    Advising FAs: How To Explaining Stocks to a Client

    Without a doubt, common stocks are one of the greatest tools ever invented for building wealth.
  8. Professionals

    Guide To Financial Certifications

    To find the right financial professional, you have to sift through an alphabet soup of certifications. Here’s a quick guide to six of the most common.
  9. Savings

    A 529 Plan Fit For An Ivy League Education

    The Independent 529 plan offers a unique investment for those wanting to send their kids to the best colleges in the U.S.
  10. Budgeting

    How To Give A Stock For Christmas

    If you're looking for a gift that can hold its value, and teach your kid about finances, a stock might be the best thing to get.
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. Mutual Investment Certificate

    A certificate issued by a local or municipal authority for the ...
  6. Voting Trust Certificate

    A certificate issued by the limited-life trust of a corporation ...
Hot Definitions
  1. MACD Technical Indicator

    Moving Average Convergence Divergence (or MACD) is a trend-following momentum indicator that shows the relationship between ...
  2. Over-The-Counter - OTC

    Over-The-Counter (or OTC) is a security traded in some context other than on a formal exchange such as the NYSE, TSX, AMEX, ...
  3. Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

    A three-month period on a financial calendar that acts as a basis for the reporting of earnings and the paying of dividends.
  4. Weighted Average Cost Of Capital - WACC

    Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is a calculation of a firm's cost of capital in which each category of capital is ...
  5. Basis Point (BPS)

    A unit that is equal to 1/100th of 1%, and is used to denote the change in a financial instrument. The basis point is commonly ...
  6. Sharing Economy

    An economic model in which individuals are able to borrow or rent assets owned by someone else.
Trading Center