If you want to buy or sell paper share certificates, you need to use a certificated share dealing broker.
This comparison shows brokers that can sell your share certificates, but it can be expensive so shop around for the cheapest deal.
How to find out what shares you have
There are two type of shares you can buy and sell:
Certificated: The shares are in your name, and you get a certificate as proof of the number of shares you own.
Electronically held: The shares are held electronically in the name of your broker, and you are the beneficial owner.
It is cheaper and faster to sell electronically held shares, as there is less paperwork your broker needs to do to transfer them.
How do you sell them?
To buy or sell certified shares though a broker, you need to open an account with them.
You then need to:
Complete an application confirming your personal details
Give the information on your certificate as proof of ownership
Send your certificate and printed application to the broker to confirm the sale
There is usually a time limit given when you sell certified shares, such as five working days.
If a broker asks you to send the certificate to them faster, think about using a recorded delivery service, but include this when you compare costs between brokers.
How much does it cost?
Most brokers charge you for every certificate you sell, but how much depends on the value of your shares.
For example, if you sell shares worth £10,000 you may get charged 1% (£100) to sell them, but if you sell another £10,000 the charge may reduce to 0.5% (£50).
Some brokers also charge a fee to cover the administration costs of transferring your certified shares into another name; this is usually around £20.
Certificated share dealing FAQs
Can I transfer my share certificates into electronic shares?
Yes, request a CREST transfer form from your broker, then complete and send it back to them with your certificates. This process is usually free.
Is it cheaper to keep my shares electronically?
No, you may need to pay a broker fee to hold your shares electronically, but it will be cheaper to trade them when you decide to sell.
How do I know if I can still sell my old certified shares?
If the company is still in existence you can ask them to confirm your shares are still valid. Once validated, you can sell your certificates.
Will I pay tax if I sell my share certificates?
Yes, any profits are subject to Capital Gains Tax and you also must pay 0.5% Stamp Duty. Here is more on investment tax.
How can I cut the cost of share dealing?
If you plan to make several trades each month a frequent trader account could reduce your cost per trade. Check the terms with each company.
Can I buy shares in any company?
No, only companies that are listed on stock exchanges, like the London Stock Exchange (LSE) or the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).