What is a 'Shareholder Register'

A shareholder register is a list of active owners of a company's shares, updated on an ongoing basis. The shareholder register requires that every current shareholder be recorded. The register includes each person's name, address and number of shares held. In addition the register can detail the holder's occupation and price paid. The shareholder register is fundamental to the examination of the ownership of a company.

BREAKING DOWN 'Shareholder Register'

The shareholder register differs from a shareholder list in that the shareholder list is updated only once per year, whereas the register keeps track of the current partial owners of a company. The origin of a shareholder register is a clear record of beneficial owners of shares (shareholders, who are entitled to and may exercise voting rights attached to the shares, along with other particular rights and powers, and receive dividends).

Access to the register is usually available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. every business day. Access is free for current shareholders and may require a small fee for non-shareholders. This will allow communication to, and between, shareholders of information such as the price per share in a takeover bid.

A shareholder register must note all shares, issued by a company. In addition it should detail any possible restrictions on transferring shares, along with relevant citation(s), if available. For each share class (e.g. BRK.A, BRK.B), the register must also list shareholders by name, in alphabetical order, and each party’s last known physical address. Some shareholder registers go as far as to detail all issues of shares to each individual shareholder in the last ten years, along with the date of any and all transfers of shares. This can also include the name of the party to whom shares have been transferred. The shareholder register should also include the purchase prices of these shares. If shares are not fully paid for, the register must note the unpaid amount.

Additional critical components of company record keeping include a current and projected capital structure. This document, often in Excel form, often details the financing of a company’s present operations and future goals for growth. Sources of funds can come from issuing equity (new shares of which would be noted in real-time in the shareholder register), along with raising debt. Equity can be in the form of common or preferred stock, while debt can be short-term or long-term in nature.

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