A stock register is a database maintained by a company to track the history of its stock issues. This database contains detailed information about the company's stock and is used to record information about shareholders in the company. For publicly traded companies, maintaining an accurate and complete stock register is critical to ensure that the company has accurate information available at all times about its stock and stock holders.
The stock register includes data about stock issues, buybacks, and retirements so the company knows how many shares outstanding it has at any given time. For every share held by a stockholder, the entry has a unique number to identify the share, and it contains information about the owner including name, address, and par value of the share at the time it was purchased. Dates indicating when issues were made and when stock was purchased are also included in the stock register to allow the company to track its stock over time.
When someone who holds stock experiences a theft or loss that requires replacement of a stock certificate, the stock register is used to verify the claim and information about the replacement is noted. Likewise, when stock is sold, it must be re-registered with information about the new owner and the transfer. Personnel in charge of managing the stock register are charged with keeping it up to date and as complete as possible.
People who hold stock are responsible for ensuring that the information in the register is correct. If people move or change their names, this information must be recorded to ensure that they receive dividends and are allowed to vote on issues that are put to a stockholder vote. Failure to keep records accurate can become a problem if stocks are transferred or other issues develop. In the event of a loss, for example, if the register has outdated information, verifying ownership of stock may require substantial paperwork.
The stock register shows who holds shares in a company, describes the voting rights associated with certain types of shares, and provides other information about the ownership of a company and the history of the company's stock. In addition to being important for conducting business, it can also be a valuable historical resource. Historians may be interested in reviewing old stock registers and share certificates to learn more about the history of a company or industry or to collect information about a particular period in time.