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Share Certificate


A share certificate is a legal document issued by a company to its shareholders, indicating ownership of an exact number of shares in the corporation. It contains important details such as the shareholder’s name, the number of shares owned, the date of issuance, and sometimes the percentage of overall company ownership. This certificate serves as official proof of share ownership until it is legally transferred or sold.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Share Certificate” would be: “shehr ser-tuh-fi-kit”.

Key Takeaways

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  1. A Share Certificate is a written document that serves as legal proof of ownership of shares in a company. It includes information such as the number of shares owned, the date of purchase, a unique certificate number, and the holder’s name.
  2. Share Certificates can be transferred from one person to another. However, the transfer must be documented and approved by the company’s board of directors. This is done through a process known as a share transfer.
  3. The value of Share Certificates may fluctuate depending on the financial performance of the company. If the company performs well and profits increase, the value of the shares may also increase (and vice versa).

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A Share Certificate is important in business and finance as it serves as legal proof of ownership of the specified number of shares in a corporation. It contains crucial details such as the shareholder’s name, the number of shares owned, the identification number of the share, issue date, and sometimes the details about the company’s incorporation. This document plays a pivotal role in documenting the investor’s rights in the business, making it critical for decision-making processes and corporate governance. Moreover, it is instrumental while selling or transferring shares and for determining the distribution of dividends, thereby profoundly impacting the shareholder’s financial planning and potential investment returns. Hence, the Share Certificate is a key instrument in the financial landscape, signifying authenticity and credibility of share ownership.


A Share Certificate serves as a legal document that certifies ownership of a specific number of shares or stock in a corporation. The primary purpose of this certificate is to authenticate and document an individual’s ownership interest in a company. It includes essential details such as the name of the shareholder, number and class of shares, the par value of the shares, and an identifying CUSIP or certificate number. This document constitutes proof that the person named is the legal owner of the specified number of shares in the corporation at issue, as of the issuance date stated on the certificate.In terms of its use, a Share Certificate plays a vital role in the buying and selling of shares. When a company issues shares, the Share Certificate confirms the transaction and assigns ownership to the buyer. In cases where shares are bought or sold, it’s crucial in verifying and documenting the transaction. Moreover, it aids in maintaining clear, legal records of ownership and simplifying the process for share transfers. Despite the emergence of electronic documentation, Share Certificates remain important in providing a physical, tangible record of share ownership.


1. Apple Inc.: Consider an individual who purchases 10 shares of Apple Inc. stock. This person would receive a share certificate (either physically or digitally) indicating they own 10 shares. This certificate is a legal document that confirms their ownership and is important if they ever decide to sell their shares, or in the event of a corporate action such as a stock split.2. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs):An REIT is a company that owns, operates, or finances income-generating real estate. When an individual buys shares in an REIT, they get a share certificate indicating their investment. This provides them with a stake in the income generated by the trust’s properties, allowing them to invest in real estate without having to actually buy, manage, or finance any properties themselves. 3. Private Businesses: When a person invests in private businesses, they usually receive a share certificate. For instance, if a person invests in a local startup company and in return gets a 20% stake in the business, they should be issued a share certificate. This certificate represents their portion of the ownership in the company and can be used to claim a portion of the company’s assets and profits proportional to the amount of shares owned.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Share Certificate?

A Share Certificate is a written document signed on behalf of a corporation that serves as legal proof of ownership of the number of shares indicated. It includes important details like the name of the company, shareholder’s name, number of shares owned, and sometimes the date of issuance and specifics of the class of shares.

What information is included on a Share Certificate?

A Share Certificate includes crucial information such as the name of the shareholder, number of shares owned, the class of shares, the certificate number, the corporate seal, and signatures from authorized company representatives.

Is a Share Certificate the same as a stock certificate?

Yes, a Share Certificate is also often referred to as a stock certificate in many jurisdictions. They both represent ownership in a company.

How important is a Share Certificate?

A Share Certificate is critical as it provides the shareholder with legal proof of ownership over the shares they hold in a company. It is necessary for the execution of various actions like transferring ownership of shares, establishing shareholder rights, and probating a will, among others.

Can a Share Certificate be transferred?

Yes, a Share Certificate can be transferred from one person to another during the sale of shares. The transfer needs to be registered with the company, upon which a new certificate under the name of the new owner is issued.

Can I own shares without a Share Certificate?

Yes, it’s possible to own shares without a physical Share Certificate. This is known as uncertificated or dematerialized shares where the details of ownership are held in an electronic format.

How can I replace a lost Share Certificate?

If a Share Certificate is lost, damaged, or stolen, you can get it replaced by contacting the company or the registrar and following their procedures which typically include proof of identity, signing an indemnity bond, and potentially paying a fee.

How is a Share Certificate authenticated?

Share Certificates are typically authenticated by the company’s corporate seal and the signatures of authorized company officers. Verification can be done through the issuing agency/company or a trusted third party.

Can a company refuse to issue a Share Certificate?

If a company is set up to issue shares, it cannot refuse to issue a Share Certificate unless the articles of the company specifically provide for uncertificated shares.

: Are Share Certificates required by law to be issued?

: The requirement for issuing Share Certificates varies by jurisdiction. Some require a physical share certificate as proof of ownership, while others have moved towards electronic recording of share ownership.

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