Share certificate (stock certificate) is a legal proof of ownership of certain number of shares. It is a formal document signed by authorized person in the company. Every shareholder receives a share certificate, which is a kind of receipt. The shareholder is also registered in shareholder register.
National legislation states how fast the share certificate should be issued after buying shares. As the document is issued to certain shareholder, it can be reissued in case of damage or theft.
More and more countries change legislation to allow electronic share certificate. Electronic version can be issued automatically, at no time, and almost no cost. It allows to quickly buy and sell shares.
- Shelton, J. P. (1965). The first printed share certificate: An important link in financial history. Business History Review, 39(3), 391-402.
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