Stock Certificates

Discussion of the Stock portion of the Permanent Portfolio

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Maddy
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Stock Certificates

Post by Maddy » Sun Nov 07, 2021 8:29 am

Is it possible to get paper stock certificates from an online broker such as Vanguard or Ameritrade? Has anyone actually tried it and had success?
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by murphy_p_t » Sun Nov 07, 2021 9:03 am

My understanding is that the brokers, such as vanguard, do not keep stock certificates.

If you need paper certificate, I suspect the process is to transfer shares from your broker to the transfer agent, who represents the issuer to the public. Computershare is a large transfer agent representing many issuers. You may wish to consider direct registration in lieu of holding the stock certificates. In direct registration system (DRS) your name is recorded with the transfer agent as the owner of the quantity of shares. You will receive a paper statement listing your ownership of shares, and future dividend checks indicating the number of shares you own.

I have transferred shares out of vanguard to several transfer agents. In my experience, vanguard has gone from bad to worse in terms of executing this transfer. My experience is that the agents you speak to have no training on this, so expect to be on hold for a long time. I even had in place an order to transfer which vanguard never executed. My experiences from within the last 12 months.
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by Maddy » Sun Nov 07, 2021 4:06 pm

Thanks, Murphy! Can you buy stocks with direct registration through Vanguard, or do you need to buy them through the transfer agent? Is there ordinarily a high dollar minimum to hold in this way, or is direct registration feasible for us "ordinary folk?'
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by murphy_p_t » Sun Nov 07, 2021 4:25 pm

My understanding is that to get started you need to own the shares at your broker, such as vanguard. I'm not aware of any transfer agents selling or purchasing shares... Only transferring them to and from a broker.

Before purchasing a specific stock for this purpose, I would verify on the company website who the transfer agent is and verify that you can complete this transaction into direct registration. The company website will list their transfer agent. For example, go to the website for newmont mining, Wheaton precious metals, SSR mining, Pan American silver, etc.

I believe the minimum size for direct registration is one share. There is no charge for the service. For the transactions vanguard completed, I think it takes about 2 weeks.
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by Maddy » Sun Nov 07, 2021 5:07 pm

Thank you. I'll have to look into this. I'm surmising that for purposes of minimizing counterparty risk, direct registration would be as good as certificates.
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by murphy_p_t » Sun Nov 07, 2021 5:56 pm

You might argue that it's better. Your ownership is not contingent upon holding a certificate, which is expensive to replace if lost or destroyed. The certificate is also expensive to transact with. Rather, your name is listed in their registry, which is confirmed by your statement (and deposited dividend checks!)
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by murphy_p_t » Sun Nov 07, 2021 6:01 pm

I think it's a great way to minimize counterparty risk for some of my precious metal equities. Also-

-pays dividend
-no storage fee
-geographic diversification for some (Canada)
-leverage to the price of underlying metal
-long-term capital gains rate rather than collectibles rate
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by Cortopassi » Thu Nov 18, 2021 3:31 pm

Related -- my wife's uncle died last year. We found First Chicago, real paper shares in his safe deposit box.

We contacted Computershare, the transfer agent for Chase (which is what First Chicago became after a couple name changes along the way) and gave them $300 to research the certs.

They said they have no record of his name, or the share certificates in their system. Yet these are genuine shares.

I have beaten this to death with a couple other knowledgeable people who seem to all be in agreement that whatever the final thing Computershare says is the end of the road.

1) How did he have real paper shares in his box, and no one can find records?
2) Even if they can't find records, they are real, with embossed seals, etc. Seems terrible that the history of these is just gone and they go to being worthless?
3) These shares, after calculating for the splits, dividends and company changes are technically worth several hundred thousand dollars.

Yet, I am at a dead end. Conspiracy theorist in me says this seems fishy. Any thoughts?
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by murphy_p_t » Thu Nov 18, 2021 4:29 pm

I own Kirkland lake. They are essentially being purchased by agnico. I received paperwork requiring a signature to indicate that I accept the offer of about 0.8 shares of AEM for each KL share. The AEM shares are offered as consideration to zero out the KL shares. Reading on the paperwork, there is some note that if this is not taken care of within 3 years that my existing shares of KL become worthless. I suspect this is consistent with how other corporate mergers and acquisitions occur. Sadly, this suggests that the paper certificates are now worthless.

For that kind of money involved, I would expect that they put this in writing to you? Did they provide original notifications of any actions required by the shareholder? Such as that the certificates needed to be submitted by a certain date to be replaced with a new certificate. Regarding the claim that they have no record of the shareholders name... I don't know that they would necessarily be expected to. A stock certificate is kind of like a title of ownership, in my understanding. Can't stock certificates be transferred without being reported back to the corporation or their agent?
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by Xan » Thu Nov 18, 2021 4:37 pm

murphy_p_t wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 4:29 pm
Can't stock certificates be transferred without being reported back to the corporation or their agent?
I would have thought so, but your harrowing story above about how they might need to contact you or your stock becomes worthless kind of belies that.
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by Cortopassi » Thu Nov 18, 2021 5:57 pm

murphy_p_t wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 4:29 pm
I own Kirkland lake. They are essentially being purchased by agnico. I received paperwork requiring a signature to indicate that I accept the offer of about 0.8 shares of AEM for each KL share. The AEM shares are offered as consideration to zero out the KL shares. Reading on the paperwork, there is some note that if this is not taken care of within 3 years that my existing shares of KL become worthless. I suspect this is consistent with how other corporate mergers and acquisitions occur. Sadly, this suggests that the paper certificates are now worthless.

For that kind of money involved, I would expect that they put this in writing to you? Did they provide original notifications of any actions required by the shareholder? Such as that the certificates needed to be submitted by a certain date to be replaced with a new certificate. Regarding the claim that they have no record of the shareholders name... I don't know that they would necessarily be expected to. A stock certificate is kind of like a title of ownership, in my understanding. Can't stock certificates be transferred without being reported back to the corporation or their agent?
That's gotta be it. First Chicago merged with NBD and then Bank One then Chase. All in the 90s and early 2000s. They were unable to find any records either by the name on the certificate, nor the certificate number.

Given his history, I can certainly see how he completely missed needing to accept offers to convert over the years. I am going to guess if I could talk to him now he'd verify that he put them in there in the 70s and never gave them another thought. I suppose if he did, he probably would have sold them a long time ago anyway, so thinking they could be worth all that money isn't really real.

The only other option was at some point the companies are supposed to say we can't get a hold of this person and turn it over to the state. I was unable to find anything at the state's iCash search either. Sigh.

I will ping them once again about the zeroing out and if that happened. Thanks.
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by vnatale » Fri Nov 19, 2021 12:33 am

Cortopassi wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 3:31 pm

Related -- my wife's uncle died last year. We found First Chicago, real paper shares in his safe deposit box.

We contacted Computershare, the transfer agent for Chase (which is what First Chicago became after a couple name changes along the way) and gave them $300 to research the certs.

They said they have no record of his name, or the share certificates in their system. Yet these are genuine shares.

I have beaten this to death with a couple other knowledgeable people who seem to all be in agreement that whatever the final thing Computershare says is the end of the road.

1) How did he have real paper shares in his box, and no one can find records?
2) Even if they can't find records, they are real, with embossed seals, etc. Seems terrible that the history of these is just gone and they go to being worthless?
3) These shares, after calculating for the splits, dividends and company changes are technically worth several hundred thousand dollars.

Yet, I am at a dead end. Conspiracy theorist in me says this seems fishy. Any thoughts?


If this is true....would it not make sense to contact some securities attorney? I'm sure there'd be no charge for the initial consultation just to describe the issue. Then the attorney could tell you the probabilities are of turning them into anything of value and what the attorney's fees would range to do so.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats."
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Re: Stock Certificates

Post by Cortopassi » Fri Nov 19, 2021 8:17 am

vnatale wrote:
Fri Nov 19, 2021 12:33 am

If this is true....would it not make sense to contact some securities attorney? I'm sure there'd be no charge for the initial consultation just to describe the issue. Then the attorney could tell you the probabilities are of turning them into anything of value and what the attorney's fees would range to do so.
I talked about it with a probate attorney, who only offered the same transfer agent route. But this has renewed my interest and I will try that route!
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