Business readiness

Shareholder Register

What is a Shareholder Register?

Part of your company documentation, a shareholder register is a list of individuals and or corporate entities that own your company’s shares. It lists each holder of an equity interest in the company along with their important details; for example:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact details
  • Shares held 
  • Amount paid to acquire the shares
  • Date of first entry to the register
  • Capital calls outstanding
  • Dividend payments owing

A shareholder register is also called a Capitalization Table, or Cap Table, if your company is a start-up or an early-stage venture.

How to create a shareholder register

Your shareholder register should include:

  • The name and contact details of shareholders
  • The number and category of shares held by respective shareholders
  • The amount paid to acquire the shares
  • Important dates, such as purchase of shares, cancellation of shares and transfer of shares

The shareholder register contains information required as per the by-laws of your company, local as well as potentially offshore jurisdictions. It is considered a proprietary document, accessible only to certified employees of your company, other shareholders, or third-party vendors who manage the register.


Why are Shareholder Registers important for business today?

Having an up-to-date shareholder register provides benefits for your company including:

  • The ability to track the number, owners and value of the total shares issued
  • The ability to monitor share splits, consolidations, redemptions, cancellations, conversions and issuance of new shares
  • The ability to provide an accurate picture of the company in formal presentations
  • The ability to meet regulatory requirements for disclosing information about your company’s ownership

Why are Shareholder Register important for an event tomorrow?

A compliant and updated shareholder register is key for your company, especially while conducting transactions with other businesses because it:

  • Acts as a go-to document providing information on the current status of share ownership
  • Accelerates decision-making for various events, such as new investments, by assessing information on availability and value of shares
  • Provides a rational valuation of your company in a concise document, which is essential for investments

Pros of addressing Shareholder Register

  • Accelerates decision-making for transactions
  • Ensures regulatory compliance and prevents legal penalties
  • Provides transparency for the tracking of share ownership and transfer

Cons of not addressing this topic

  • Leads to delays in deal closures due to the lack or absence of share ownership information
  • Makes it difficult to track share ownership, transfer or equity scenarios in the case of management changes or M&A
  • Adds significant compliance and regulatory burdens


Who keeps a shareholder register?

A shareholder register, also known as a stock register or share register, is typically maintained by the company or its designated transfer agent. The responsibility for keeping a shareholder register lies with the company itself or an authorized third-party registrar or transfer agent appointed by the company. 

Who can access a share register?

Access to a share register is typically restricted to authorized individuals or entities, such as:

  • Company officials
  • Shareholders
  • Regulatory authorities
  • Legal professionals

What is the difference between a shareholder register and a ledger?

The main difference between the two is that the shareholder register specifically focuses on maintaining a list of shareholders and their details, while a ledger refers to a broader record-keeping system. The shareholder register is a component of the overall ledger system.

Who maintains the register of shareholders?

The register of shareholders is typically maintained by the company itself or by a registrar or transfer agent appointed by the company. Some companies choose to outsource the maintenance of the shareholder register to a professional registrar or transfer agent who specializes in managing shareholder records and related services.

How do you prove you are a shareholder?

To prove that you are a shareholder, you typically need to provide relevant documentation or information that confirms your ownership of shares in a company. The specific requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the company's policies, but here are some common methods to prove your shareholder status:

  • Shareholder certificate
  • Brokerage or custodial statements
  • Shareholder register or database
  • Transaction records
  • Proof of dividend payments

Learn more about company documentation

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