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A shareholder register is a listing of the current investors who own shares of stock issued by a particular company. A listing of this type is typically updated continually, as shares are purchased and sold in the marketplace. Specific information regarding each investor is maintained in the register, including the name of each investor and the number of shares he or she currently holds. Depending on the practices of the company and any requirements set in place by local laws and regulations, additional information may also be maintained in the shareholder register.
While the scope of information within a shareholder register will vary somewhat from one country to the next, most will contain current contact information on each investor. This includes the full legal name of the investor, a physical address, and a mailing address. The number of shares each investor currently holds is also part of the basic detail. In some instances, the occupation of the investor is noted in the register, as well as the price paid for each of the shares currently in the possession of each investor. With the advent of online communications, it is not unusual for the data on a shareholder register to also include information like an email address and a cell phone number, although many companies consider this type of data optional rather than required.
In many nations, some type of regulatory agency sets basic criteria for the information contained in a shareholder register. For example, the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States requires certain data be maintained in the register for any stocks that are traded on exchanges in that country. Businesses are not limited to only including the data required by a regulatory agency. This means that if the agency does not require inclusion of shareholder mailing addresses but the bylaws of the company do require this information to be included, the mailing addresses will be included along with any information necessary to comply with regulatory agency standards.
Since shares of stock are traded daily, the process of keeping a shareholder register current can be a daunting task. Thanks to electronic communication technology, the process is much simpler than in years past. While the updating does not occur in real time in many instances, companies typically do update registers to capture any purchases or sales executed within the last twenty-four hours, although regulatory agencies in some countries may require the updates to occur at other intervals, such as weekly or monthly.