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Shares certificates explained for South Africa

Analyst Team trader
Updated 1 Oct 2022

You will need a share certificate that has been signed on behalf of the firm if you want to be able to demonstrate that you are the legitimate owner of a specific number of shares in a corporation.

Share certificates are another name for the certificates that signify ownership of shares of stock. Share certificates are issued by publicly traded companies.

In this article, we take a more in-depth look at the operation of share certificates in South Africa and discuss the benefits as well as the drawbacks of using share certificates.

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Shares certificates explained for South Africa

How share certificates work

When purchasing newly issued shares of stock, investors receive a certificate evidencing their ownership in the company. The share certificate functions as a receipt for the acquisition and ownership of corporation shares.

Beginning on a certain date, this document demonstrates that the holder has registered ownership of the shares.

Historically, dividend claims were validated by submitting a stock certificate. Upon each presentation, the dividend payment receipt was endorsed on the reverse of the certificate. Using this strategy, all dividend payment documentation might be stored in a single location.

The corporation is obligated to furnish a certificate representing the shares within two months of their issuance or transfer. A corporation may issue a single certificate for all shares issued or transferred at a given time, unless a shareholder requests differently.

By executing a proxy, a stockholder can occasionally permit another individual to vote on his or her behalf.

Shareholders who lack physical certificates may nevertheless appoint proxies to vote at shareholder meetings on their behalf. Corporate law and the company's charter determine the voting parameters.

If your share certificate has been lost, stolen, or irreparably destroyed, you can obtain a replacement certificate for the same number of shares. Before a replacement may be provided, the shareholder must return the damaged original to the corporation.

Currently, the shareholder may request either a single certificate or many certificates.

Share certificates in South Africa

Share certificates around the world and in South Africa

Investors rarely need to physically hold their share certificates in today's electronic financial markets. Some nations, such as Sweden, have eliminated paper share certificates in favour of computerized registration of shareholders, which is more efficient.

In the United States, the Central Securities Depository (CSD) is responsible for the electronic safekeeping of certificates and uncertificated (dematerialized) shares to ease the transfer of ownership through a book entry rather than the physical transfer of certificates.

The holder of a stock certificate has the option of submitting it to the corporation in registered or bearer form.

The holder of a bearer share certificate has all the rights of a shareholder, but a registered share certificate just demonstrates that the individual is the stock's legal owner.

Due to its historical significance or aesthetic worth, it is not uncommon for people to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single share certificate today. A share certificate's value is determined by its age and quality, similar to a stamp or banknote.

A share certificate is the official evidence of stock ownership in South Africa. This document, which has been signed by the company's directors, contains details such as the shareholder's name and surname, identification number, home address, number of shares owned, and real share numbers.

The share registry is a collection of records that should accurately reflect the current holders of share certificates, as well as those that have been cancelled and are still valid.

Notably, CIPC, the business registrar, does not issue share certificates and does not maintain a record of your company's present ownership.

Directors, who are appointed by shareholders and are legally liable for the company, are documented. Directors are expected to keep track of all certificates and records for the company's shares in the company register.

Special requirements for share certificates in South Africa

  • The register must be kept in the registered office of the firm.
  • Certificates representing shares of stock in a corporation must be signed by two authorized signatories, with the company secretary typically being one of them. A signed copy of the original certificate replaces the original.
  • Section 50 of the Act requires a company to maintain a share register (securities register).
  • The original stock certificate must be kept in a safe location.
  • At any given moment, only one signed original certificate of shares may be on file.
  • When it comes to the various types of shares that the company has issued, the register must have the corresponding information.

Advantages of share certificates

Shares certificates South Africa

The usage of share certificates has advantages and disadvantages. If you have a considerable sum of money, are interested in investing, and want to make substantial dividends, some recommend stock certificates (the amount your firm provides to shareholders from its monthly earnings).

A certificate of deposit account is interchangeable with a stock certificate account for investment purposes (CD). However, it is issued by a credit union and not a bank.

Certificates of stock ownership are an effective investment mechanism for earning dividends and constructing wealth. In contrast to other solutions, you will not have access to your assets without incurring a fee, but you should earn a higher rate of interest. Here are some other advantages:

  • Extensive duration: sustained investment returns are guaranteed. Knowing the rate at which your account balance increases simplifies financial planning even further.
  • Productivity is outstanding: Stock certificates, among the various forms of savings products, offer large returns while staying a stable investment option over time. Choose the option where the higher time investment is justified by the improved earnings.
  • Returns on investment for the certificate: The annual rate of return on a stock certificate represents the prospective dividend or profit. This interest rate includes the period during which compound interest will be calculated, or the duration during which your account will be credited with earnings. Financial cooperatives may set rates annually, quarterly, monthly, or even daily.
  • Certificates are more valuable to banks than traditional savings accounts due to certificate holders' restricted access to their funds. Consequently, the certificate's interest rate is more important than that of a traditional savings account. This could increase your return on investment.

Disadvantages of share certificates

The issue of share certificates has several disadvantages.

The business's most significant financial and time commitments are underlined. Producing real stock certificates is a costly and time-consuming endeavour. In fact, the majority of businesses require an entire department whose main purpose is to manage share certificates.

Maintenance of a stock certificate system requires a substantial amount of time-consuming documentation. Before any transaction, including a merger or spinoff, can be consummated, certificates must be signed and provided to the company. In addition, it becomes far more difficult to manage compliance.

It is also especially difficult to keep track of ownership because shareholders may transfer certificates to other parties without alerting the company. Confirming names and obtaining signatures for the transfer of ownership entails extensive administrative effort.

In other words, the firm must regularly monitor the ownership of its shares. Typically, a computer serves this function.

Lastly, if a shareholder's paper certificate is lost or stolen, the corporation will incur a substantial amount of additional effort. To issue new paper certificates, the company must first identify the old ones, authenticate ownership, “stop” the old certificates, and then issue new ones.

During this operation, the shareholder will inevitably feel some level of inconvenience. In conclusion, it is incredibly difficult to monitor and authenticate paper deals and to record and monitor them.


A share certificate is a document that is signed on behalf of a firm and attests to the ownership of a specified number of shares in a company. The document is called a share certificate. There are situations when stock certificates are used interchangeably with certificates of ownership.

The corporate charter and applicable laws both detail voting rights for shareholders and other stakeholders. A new stock certificate for the equal number of shares will be issued in the event that the original stock certificate is damaged beyond repair, misplaced, or stolen.

In the event that this occurs, shareholders are required to return the ripped copy to the corporation before the corporation can issue a new one. Right now is also the time for shareholders to exercise their choice to either issue a combined certificate or several individual ones.

Shareholders who are in actual possession of the certificates representing their shares are granted a greater degree of voting power. In a similar vein, shareholders who do not possess a certificate may be permitted to cast votes for shares that are tied to other parties.

In the event that a stock certificate is lost, destroyed, or stolen, a request to “halt transfer” must be submitted to the transfer agent as soon as possible. The transfer agent must be contacted promptly.

Because of this, it is not feasible to transfer the stock certificate to another individual. In relation to the issue at hand, you may also seek assistance from your stock broker if you so desire.

The AskTraders Analyst Team features experts in technical and fundamental analysis, as well as traders specializing in stocks, forex, and cryptocurrency.