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Transfer agents maintain the records and documents related to shareholder accounts.

Transfer agents fill vital roles. Most publicly traded companies and mutual funds have multitudes of investors who can claim some amount of ownership in the organization. Transfer agents keep track of all pertinent information for each investor.

Say a company has issued 1 million shares of stock. Someone has to keep all of the information relevant to those 1 million shares in order. That’s where the transfer agent comes in.

The transfer agent will maintain accurate investors’ records and account balances, and it will manage transactions. It will cancel and issue all stock certificates. And it will process investor mailings and handle any problems that arise, such as lost or stolen certificates.

While some corporations choose to act as their own transfer agents, others are third parties, like a trust company, bank or similar financial institution. They receive fees for their services.

All shareholders, even those who own the smallest number of shares, are entitled to accurate information about their investments. Transfer agents handle a detailed and challenging job, especially for large corporations with many shareholders.

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