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Understanding the shareholder register: A vital component of corporate governance

The public companies keep a list of all the shareholders that are active with details about how many shares they hold. The compilation of this list is known as the shareholder register. It is an important list to maintain for all companies. It helps a company know all about their ownership and thus, it is an important document for them. 

All companies are mandated to have a shareholders list and keep it continuously updated. In this article, let us look at what is a shareholder register, how it works and what are its primary requirements. 

What is a shareholder register? 

A shareholder register refers to a clear list that emphasises all the shareholders of the company. It does not include only the active owners but also people who held certain shares in the past. It is an important legal company that all companies, whether public or private, who are registered under the Companies Act are required to maintain. 

The documents also contain the occupation of the shareholder and the price paid by them at the time of purchase of the share. The document can be used for several purposes such as taxation, dividend payments and proxy materials. 

Other important details present on the share register are the class of shares, share certificate number, date of share issued, date at which the shareholders cease being shareholders and also the payment status of the shares. 

As per the Companies Act, the shareholder register is a public document which can be accessed by both the company investors as well as the public. Since the changes in the shareholders keep happening, the shareholder register is updated once at the end of the day. The company investors can request the document at the end of the day. 

The company’s director is responsible for having the shareholder register book updated every day. The list is also used by businesses to directly connect with the shareholders instead of reaching them through the custodian bank. 

How does the shareholder register work? 

The format of shareholder register consists of the names of all the shareholders in alphabetic order along with their last known residence address. The document also lists the relevant citations as well such as the restriction on transferring shares. 

Certain companies have shareholder registers that detail the shareholder details for about a decade and also mention the share transfers along with the dates. The list then also includes the name of the new shareholder along with their address and contact details. In case there has been a partial payment, the register mentions the amount due from the shareholder. 

Usually, an Excel file stores details about the company’s current operations as well as their planned future goals. 

The companies can raise funds in two ways, equity and debt. The equity fund is the new shares issued by the company and purchased by the shareholders. These funds are immediately entered into the shareholder register. There are two common forms of equity including common and preferred stock. On the other hand, debt can either be short-term or long-term. 

Companies usually tie up with third-party services for the maintenance of their shareholder register at an agreed-upon fee. This list can then be accessed by anyone publicly. 

What are the requirements of the shareholder register?

The shares might make the shareholders eligible to exercise their voting rights or be entitled to dividends. There is a need for open communication between the company and the shareholders. 

The shareholders can get the list free of cost while non-shareholders might have to pay a nominal fee to access it. The price per share in a takeover bid and between distinct shareholders all becomes clear from this list itself. 

The regulators mandate that all companies must provide information regarding other shareholders to every shareholder under two conditions. The first case is proxy solicitations and the other is a tender offer. Under a proxy solicitation, the shareholder information must be forwarded to all the shareholders in advance of the meeting. 

The solicitation can be any copy-related information or simply a critical agenda on which the shareholder votes are necessary. The proxy solicitation must be accompanied by a proxy statement to make the shareholders thoroughly aware of the critical information necessary to make decisions on a specific agenda. 

The second is a tender offer regarding a bid or a public offer for purchasing either some or all shares of the company. The shareholder information is necessary to allow shareholders to contact them for setting the price to buy their shares. 

The last point of consideration now is how to get shareholder register. The companies can send the shareholder register examples to the different shareholders by mail or present them on request. 


The shareholder register is a mandatory document that all public companies must have and provide to the shareholders and the public. Irrespective of beneficial shareholder vs registered shareholders, both can get access to the shareholder register. 

It is a valuable document with integral details of all the people who have certain ownership in the company. It can be used either as a means of directory or for taxation and dividend purposes.  To learn more about such concepts, read StockGro blogs. 


What is a shareholder register?

The shareholder register is the document that contains the names, addresses and ownership details of all the shareholders of a company. 

What is the purpose of a shareholder register? 

The purpose of the shareholder register is to have the details of all the shareholders in case it is needed and to also use it for taxation and dividend purposes. 

Is it mandatory to have a shareholder register? 

Yes, it is mandated by the Companies Act that all public and private companies must maintain the shareholder register and update it every day. 

What details are present in the shareholder register? 

The details in the shareholder register include the name and address of the shareholder, the date on which the shareholder bought the shares, the number of shares held, the share certificate number, and the class, status and number of shares. 

Can non-shareholders also access the shareholder register? 

Yes, the shareholder register is open to the public. The non-shareholders can also access the register at a nominal fee.

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