Definition of stock certificates

Definition

Stock ownership is often formalized on stock certificates, which are fancy pieces of paper that prove who owns the stock.

Related terms

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Fundamentals of Stock Corporations › Stock and shares

Sometimes you have stock but don’t have the physical certificate, as it may be held for you at a law office.

Some companies now manage their ownership through online services called ownership management platforms, such as Carta. If the company you work for uses an ownership management platform, you will be able to view your stock certificates and stock values online.

Younger companies may also choose to keep their stock uncertificated, which means your sole evidence of ownership is your contracts with the company, and your spot on the company’s cap table, without having a separate certificate for it.

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The Holloway Guide to Equity Compensation
Joshua Levy, Joe Wallin, and over 35 contributors
Over 3 hours and 300 linked resources

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