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What are the Different Types of Shareholder Services?

Article Details
  • Written By: Lea Miller
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 13 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Shareholder services are those functions that allow an owner of stock in a company or companies to receive timely updates of financial reports, review and vote for company officers and initiatives, and sign up for electronic communications and reports. Additional services can include the ability to buy or sell stock, request deposit or reinvestment of dividends, and obtain transfer or tax forms. Many larger businesses have a shareholder service department internally. Other companies use commercial shareholder services firms to provide these features to their shareholders.

Investors are concerned with the financial performance of companies in which they hold stock. Electronic posting of quarterly and annual reports to shareholders provides immediate access to this data. Links to press releases and recent SEC filings are other services that help investors stay informed.

Firms are required to send notices to all shareholders of record within a specified time frame regarding elections for company officers. Votes on decisions about mergers, acquisitions, and other major propositions also require notification. Shareholder services departments can set up options for shareholders to receive materials electronically and cast proxy votes by phone, online, by postal mail instead of requiring a physical presence at the corporate headquarters.

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Notification of annual meetings and other communications may be enhanced by giving investors the choice to receive information electronically. It can be difficult for individual investors to travel to the site of annual meetings. Teleconferencing is a shareholder service that keeps investors informed without necessitating any travel. Recordings can also be made available online to interested parties who missed the original meeting time.

Once an investor registers with a shareholder services company, he or she can also make additional stock purchases, sell shares, or request transfers. Through online account access, detailed information is available about a the investor's current holdings. The history of completed transactions can be viewed in the account. Historical data about specific company share performance and market analyses posted online can assist the decision-making process.

As a shareholder receives dividend payments, he or she can request direct deposit of the funds into a bank account. If the shareholder prefers to reinvest the dividends, he or she can choose from a variety of reinvestment plans explained on the Internet. Many questions can be answered by detailed data posted on the website for investors to use at any hour of the day or night.

The purchase and sale of stock creates the need for recordkeeping and certain legal documents. Comprehensive shareholder services include online access to a variety of transfer and tax forms. The service company can also provide tax forms to shareholders for prior periods.

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