Paper share certificates: how to transfer them cheaply online

Paper share certificates: how to transfer them cheaply online

A reader is wants to know how to transfer paper share certificates onto a trading site. Mark Taylor of online investment platform Selftrade explains the process.

loveMONEY Expert Panel

Investing and pensions

loveMONEY Expert Panel
Updated on 8 May 2018

I’m the executor of my father’s estate and in his will, he has left me some paper share certificates, however, when going through his personal belongings we’ve found that not all of them are present.

I want to transfer the paper shares onto a trading site, and also track down the original versions of the missing shares. How do I go about doing this? How much will it cost me?

Help from the loveMONEY Expert Panel

Mark Taylor, chief customer officer at investment platform Selftrade and member of the loveMONEY Expert Panel, explains the process. Mark Taylor of Selftrade explains how to move paper share certificates online (Image: Selftrade)

I’m sorry for your loss. Being the executioner of a loved one’s will can be incredibly stressful, especially if they have not left their affairs in perfect order.

The good news is that once you have a record of what was on the paper shares, the process of getting a new certificate issued is quite straightforward.

Once you’ve established that the share certificates are definitely lost, the next step is to replace them by contacting your stock registrar.

You won’t be able to do any trading or sell your shares until you have a new copy. Information about where stocks are registered is readily available online.

It’s best to contact the Registrar by phone in the first instance, and they can talk you through the process, which can take up to two weeks.

The details of the registrar are usually noted on the share certificate and it is worth checking with them how many shares are held for that company

Unfortunately, there is a cost for replacement of a lost certificate, which depends upon the amount of money the shares are worth, so you won’t know how much it will cost you until you contact the registrar.

Once the shares have been reissued you can then take steps to digitise them.

The first step is to open an account with an online trading platform – there are many options available, so make sure you choose one that fits your level of experience and lifestyle needs.

Once you’ve opened a dealing account, you’ll need to complete a “CREST transfer form" for each holding.

However, if you have a number of certificates in the same company, you can put them all on the same CREST form.

The form/s should then be sent by registered post to your chosen dealing platform.

The process generally takes around 10 days, but this can vary from platform to platform. The good news is that this part of the process is free.

Once they’ve been uploaded you’re all set to buy and sell your shares.

If you’re not used to trading, I would take some time to get to know your platform and research the shares you are holding.

When you feel ready, I recommend investing small amounts regularly,  while you find your feet.

Mark Taylor is the chief customer officer at investment platform Selftrade and a member of the loveMONEY Expert Panel.  

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