Are you one of those people with dozens of share certificates and dividend warrants stashed in a drawer or safe in your house? Perhaps it was handed to you by your father or grandfather, or maybe it is even yours and you don’t know what to do with it? Maybe you are currently based outside Nigeria and wondering what has become of all the shares you bought during the stock market boom and how you can track it considering that it may have had a rebound following the ensuing crash?
On today’s article, we will attempt to explore what to do with share certificates and how you can track stocks you may have lost years ago.
What are share certificates?
Share certificates are physical evidence of your ownership of shares in a private, public or quoted company. For quoted companies, they are typically issued during Initial Public Offerings (IPO’s) or Public Offerings. Until recently, such offerings were strictly accompanied with share certificates which often arrive months after the offers are closed.
Share certificates can be used in several ways. You can use it as a collateral for a loan of the underlying shares is worth a lot. You can also monetize it by selling part or all of the shares listed in the top right or left corner of the share certificate
To monetize your share certificate, you will have to open a stock brokerage account if you do not already have one. You hand over the certificates’ to your stockbroker and instruct them to convert the shares into tradable stocks, a process called Dematerialization. Once the share certificates are dematerialized, it enters the database of the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) and you can now sell it.
This is not an uncommon phenomenon, seeing as people sometimes buy shares in the name of their children or loved ones. In that instance, if the person is a minor then you will have to open an account for the person which you will manage on their behalf. If the person is above 18 then you may have to obtain their consent to manage the shares on their behalf. If you bought the shares in a family name, then there will have to be a joint account opened or a trustee mandated to manage the shares.
That is a possibility. However, some companies may no longer exist in their previous forms because they have transformed into other companies either through name changes, mergers, or a takeover. If that is the case, then all you need to do is go online do a search in order to locate the name of the registrars of the company.
If the company no longer exists because it has been liquidated, then you can also contact the registrar who will link you up to the liquidator in the event that they were able to recover some funds for shareholders.
Quoted Shares, provided they exist have a market value. To determine the value of quoted shares you can go to the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and download daily stock prices. You can also get that in the website of the CSCS. Once you determine the price, multiply it by the number of shares on your share certificate and you can easily determine the value.
A lot of people loose share certificates either through post or undelivered mails. It could also be that it was stolen or just missing. Some could also have gotten a bonus issue but are unaware of this. Whatever, the case it you can recover these lost shares by going to the registrar of the company. You can also mandate your stockbroker to check with the CSCS as the shares may have been lodged with them especially if it was an e-bonus or is already dematerialized.
I don’t know what happened to all my shares since the crash?
Don’t worry you are not alone in this. The first thing you should do is try to locate your CSCS number which is given to everyone who trades in shares. You can also then contact your stockbroker and ask that they give you your statement from inception till date. If you do not remember who your stockbroker is then approach a new one with your CSCS number and ask that they locate your portfolio. You may have to register with them as well before this service is rendered.
If you are living abroad and don’t have access to a stockbroker, just go to the website of the CSCS and click on their contact to get their details and give them a call, you can also click on their product and services portal and follow the prompts. Once you register with them after paying some fees, you will be able to view all stocks bought in your name irrespective of the stockbrokers including their current value.