Do public companies actually know where their issued stock is and who holds it?


Are public companies able to see how much of their stock is held within each trading platform and who owns it?

In: Economics

Yes – they have to know who hold each share of stock for various reasons. If you are going to issue a dividend, you need to know where to send that money, and if you are putting something before a vote of the shareholders, you have to know who is allowed to have a say (and how much of a say they get to have).

Sort of. The person who benefits from the stock is rarely the one holding it directly. For example, I might own shares of a mutual fund that holds the stock. But actually I don’t own part of the mutual fund directly, either, it is held “in street name,” which is to say my broker owns it for me. In this way there can be many layers between the corporation and investor. The corporation knows who formally owns the stocks, but not who the beneficial owners are who actually get the dividends and other benefits in the end.

Yes, as other responses have indicated if you own the stock directly, in the case of a Fund, the fund actually owns the stock, you own a share of the fund.

However, sometimes they only know a name and some outdated information. In that case they attempt to contact, but if no response, there are provisions for them to act as a Proxy for the shares and your investment and any proceeds are held in trust.

In today’s market from the perspective of the average Joe, no. Companies know who are the big institutions who own their stock, but if you have your stock in a brokerage account then the company only knows that the broker owns it, not you individually.

The only exception to this rule (sometimes, maybe always but I am not sure, I took my series exams a while ago…) is if you own the physical stock certificate. Then you actually own the stock (it’s not in an account you own, I know it’s subtle but it makes all the difference here). So since you actually own it the company needs to know who you are so that they can send you information.