What Is Register?

Register has several different definitions. In finance, the term often pertains to the recording of a financial event, an aggregation of stored data, or a record of charges.

Understanding Register

While the word "register" can convey many different meanings, in the finance industry, it usually refers to the process of inputting information into a record, or an official list, that creates a document of various useful data in an organized fashion.

In most cases, register refers to the act of recording an event, transaction, name, or other information, or an aggregation of stored data, usually containing past events, transactions, names or other information. Alternatively, the term can denote a record of all charges to a debit account.

Key Takeaways

  • Register has several different definitions, including the recording of a financial event, an aggregation of event data, or a record of charges to a debit account.
  • Registering occurs any time information is filed from one party to another, including when public traded companies submit financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • A register can also be an authoritative list of one kind of information, such as a shareholder register, loan register, or register of deeds.

Types of Registers

Filing Information

Registering occurs any time information is filed from one party to another. This includes registering for a membership, applying for a type of license, or filing a tax return with the government. Publicly traded companies are required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and periodically file forms such as the 10-Q, 10-K, and 8-K.

Aggregation of Stored Data

A register can also be an authoritative list of one kind of information. One of the more common usages involves a shareholder register—a regularly updated list of active owners of a company's shares. This particular register includes each person's name, address, and the number of shares held. In addition, the register can detail the holder's occupation and the price they paid. 

Examples of Register

Shareholder Register

The shareholder register is fundamental to the examination of the ownership of a company, enabling investors to keep tabs on who is buying into and selling out of a stock, as well as determine the size of each stake held. The shareholder register differs from a shareholder list. The former is updated only once per year, while the latter is tasked with keeping regular track of the current partial owners of a company.

Some shareholder registers even detail all issues of shares to each individual shareholder in the last 10 years, along with the date of any and all transfers of shares.

Loan Register

Registers are also commonly used by lenders. The loan register or maturity ticker, an internal database of maturity dates on loans belonging to a servicer, shows when the loans are due and lists them in chronological order, by maturity date

In-house loan officers use this important tool to create follow-up leads. Most loan servicers have dedicated teams for retention business, and use loan registers to determine which borrowers to target in mass mailings or phone campaigns.

Register of Deeds

Another prevalent and significant kind of register is the register of deeds. A local government–generally at the county, town or state level–maintains a list of all real estate deeds and other land titles. The register of deeds will be used in conjunction with a grantor-grantee index that lists the owner of record and any transfers of property.

While the register of deeds is available for public viewing, it generally requires some time and government assistance to access particular mortgage records or deeds. In the U.S., the register of deeds will usually be maintained on the county, town, or state level. In this case, the term "register of deeds" also refers to an individual, sometimes publicly elected, who oversees the records, or the register, itself.