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?

  1. 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 >>
  2. What protects an investor’s interest in the case of terrorist sabotage, or act of ...

    Currently, most stock ownership is done electronically thru the combined effort of the brokerage firms and the transfer agents ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Managing Wealth

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

    Index-linked CDs generate returns similar to indexes, without the potential for loss.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Investing

    The 4 Ways To Buy And Sell Securities

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

    7 Facts You Didn't Know About The Greenback

    There's more to that $10 bill in your pocket than you think - read on for some interesting facts about U.S. currency.
  6. 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.
  7. Personal Finance

    Easy Certifications To Add To Your Resume

    These courses and certificates are relatively cheap and non-intensive, and they can help you get hired or put you in a higher pay grade at your company.
  8. Personal Finance

    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.
  9. Financial Advisor

    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.
  1. Mutual Investment Certificate

    A certificate issued by a local or municipal authority for the ...
  2. One-Day Certificate

    A type of temporary financing used by the U.S. Treasury. One-day ...
  3. Stock Certificate

    The physical piece of paper representing ownership in a company. ...
  4. Certificate Of Indebtedness

    A short-term fixed income security once issued by the United ...
  5. Voting Trust Certificate

    A certificate issued by the limited-life trust of a corporation ...
  6. Clearance Certificate

    A certificate that verifies that an entity has paid all its tax ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Perkins Loan

    A loan program that provides low-interest student loans to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate exceptional ...
  2. Wealth Management

    A high-level professional service that combines financial/investment advice, accounting/tax services, retirement planning ...
  3. Assets Under Management - AUM

    The market value of assets that an investment company manages on behalf of investors. Assets under management (AUM) is looked ...
  4. Subprime Auto Loan

    A type of auto loan approved for people with substandard credit scores or limited credit histories. There is no official ...
  5. Racketeering

    A fraudulent service built to serve a problem that wouldn't otherwise exist without the influence of the enterprise offering ...
  6. Federal Debt

    The total amount of money that the United States federal government owes to creditors. The government's creditors include ...
Trading Center