Though fully online trading is a popular means of buying and selling stock, many stockholders still choose to buy stock directly and retain their stock certificates. If the stock certificates are lost, stolen or destroyed, however, they need to be replaced so that the stockholder can prove his stock ownership. Replacing lost stock certificates is a fairly straightforward process, requiring little more than paperwork and the purchase of a bond to protect the company that replaces the certificates from fraud or loss.
Contact the transfer agent or brokerage you purchased your stocks from and request a stop-transfer order for your shares. The stop-transfer order will prevent anyone else from trading with your shares or transferring them to another account. After placing the order, the transfer agent or broker will report to the Securities and Exchange Commission that your stock certificates are missing.
Request replacement forms for your stock certificates from the transfer agent or brokerage. You may be directed to an online form. Fill out the replacement form and an affidavit explaining the circumstances under which the original stock certificates were lost, destroyed or stolen.
Purchase an indemnity bond according to the requirements of the company that issued the stock. Some companies require that a separate bond be purchased before they will replace lost stock certificates, while others charge for replacement and use that amount to purchase the indemnity bond. Indemnity bonds generally cost between 1 percent and 2 percent of the value of the stock certificate being replaced, though some companies may charge more.
Mail your replacement form, affidavit and proof of bonding to the address provided with the form. If you fill out the form online and purchase your bond from the company that issued the stock certificate, you may have the option to pay and file without having to send in paperwork. Once your forms are processed, new stock certificates will be mailed to you.
Contact your broker or transfer agent if your new certificates have not arrived within two weeks of the day you sent in your paperwork or filed it online.
- If you find your stock certificates after you've started the replacement process, tell your broker or transfer agent as soon as possible. He will get the stop-transfer order removed and will cancel the replacement order so that your original stock certificates remain valid.
Born in West Virginia, Jack Gerard now lives in Kentucky. A writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience, he has written both articles and poetry for publication in magazines and online. A former nationally ranked sport fencer, Gerard also spent several years as a fencing coach and trainer.