In the stock market, millions of shares of companies are bought and sold every minute. And every single trade leads to the change in the owners of the shares of companies. Even under such a tight environment, the respective listed companies are mandatorily required to maintain a list of the owners of its shares. This list is known as the shareholder register and is constantly updated on a regular basis. Continue reading to know more about the shareholder register and what it exactly contains.
What is a shareholder register?
As you’ve already seen above, the shareholder register is a list that clearly specifies the current owners of a company. In addition to the active owners, the register also contains the names of the people who have previously owned shares in the company.
The shareholder register is a valid legal document that every single company, whether private or public, that’s registered under the Companies Act is required to maintain. This includes companies that have listed their shares up in the stock exchanges as well. According to the provisions of the Companies Act, the shareholder register is a public document that can be inspected by both the investors of the company and the regular public.
Since the owners of the shares are constantly changing every single day in a listed company, the entity typically updates the shareholder register at the end of every day. And so, when inspecting the register, an investor can usually request the register as at the end of a particular day.
What information should a shareholder register include?
Now that you’re aware of the shareholder register definition, let’s now take a brief look at some of the information that’s included in it.
1. The name and the address of the shareholder.
2. The date on which the shareholder became a member of the company.
3. The number of shares held by the shareholder.
4. The share certificate number or the folio number of the shares held by the shareholder.
Any change in this information has to be updated by the company accordingly. In addition to these, the register would also contain the following details of the shares themselves.
1. The number of shares issued to the public.
2. The class of shares (equity or preference) issued to the public.
3. The date of issuance of the said class of shares.
4. The status of the shares (whether the shares are paid or unpaid).
Where is the shareholder register located?
The shareholder register of a company is typically located at its registered office address. However, the register can also be located at any other premises of the company’s choice as well. But in order to do so, the company has to seek the approval of the Registrar of Companies (ROC) and provide a valid reason for such a move.
Any person wishing to inspect the shareholder register has to do so from the company’s premises since moving the said register out of the premises is not permitted. That said, an investor can also request a copy of the register as on a particular date and have the company mail it to them as well.
What would happen if the shareholder register is not properly maintained by a company?
As you know by now, the shareholder register is a document that’s required by law. And so, in the case of any discrepancy with respect to the maintenance of the same, the company is liable for punishment under the relevant laws.
How does a listed company maintain a shareholder register?
Since the owners of the shares of a listed company are frequently changing, maintaining a shareholder register is an extremely tough task. This is primarily why listed companies typically tend to outsource the maintenance of such registers to dedicated registrar and share transfer agents (RTA).
A listed company may employ an RTA either permanently or temporarily. Such an agent acts as a sort of an intermediary between the investors and the company. The RTA is responsible for the transfer of shares and record keeping activities such as maintenance and updation of the shareholder register.
By outsourcing the work to a dedicated share transfer agent, a listed company gets to save a lot of time and resources which it otherwise would have had to spend.
As you’ve already seen, the shareholder register is a very important legal document that every company is required to maintain. Since it forms a part of regulatory compliance, contravening any provisions can attract unnecessary penalties and fines.