A stock transfer agent or share registry is a company, usually a third party unrelated to stock transactions, which cancels the name and certificate of the shareholder who sold the shares of stock, and substitutes the new owner’s name on the official master shareholder listing.
Transfer agents perform three main functions:
- Issue and cancel certificates to reflect changes in ownership. For example, when a company declares a stock dividend or stock split, the transfer agent issues new shares. Transfer agents keep records of who owns a company’s stocks and how those stocks are held – whether by the owner in certificate form, by the company in book-entry form, or by the investor’s brokerage firm in street name. They also keep records of how many shares each investor owns.
- Act as an intermediary for the company. A transfer agent may also serve as the company’s paying agent to pay out interest, cash and stock dividends, or other distributions to stockholders. In addition, transfer agents act as proxy agent (sending out proxy materials), exchange agent (exchanging a company’s stock in a merger), tender agent (tendering shares in a tender offer), and mailing agent (mailing the company’s quarterly, annual, and other reports).
- Handle lost, destroyed, or stolen certificates. Transfer agents help shareholders when a stock certificate has been lost, destroyed, or stolen. Also in most cases a medallion signature stamp officer is the transfer agent.
Integral Stock Transfer Agency Inc.
100 Queen street east, suite 203, Toronto, Ontario, M5C 1S6