Your investments are not guaranteed; they can decrease in value as well as increase and you may not get back the full amount you put in.
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You might have share certificates you bought years ago or you might have paid extra for your physical share certificate to ensure you are named as the shareholder (if you buy electronically-held shares, the stockbroker is named instead).
Either way, it can now cost more to sell certificated shares because there's more admin and paperwork involved for the broker, so it's important to compare your options and find the cheapest.
The EU has discussed plans to scrap paper-based shares by 2020 in favour of recording them only in electronic form, but until then you can still buy or sell share certificates.
With most brokers, you'll need to open an account before you can buy or sell certified shares. You will be able to set this up either online or by phone.
If you're selling share certificates, you should still be able to arrange the sale straight away, although some brokers will need you to have the certificate to hand to confirm the information held on it.
Once the sale is completed, you'll need to send your certificates to the broker along with the paperwork they require - usually a form you have to complete. There will be a time limit, so make sure you get it to them in time, otherwise the sale may be cancelled at your own cost. For this reason, it's worth sending the paperwork by recorded delivery.
You won't receive any money until the brokers have received all the documents they require, so it could be up to ten working days after the sale that you get paid.
Alternatively, it can be easier to transfer your share certificates to the broker before you arrange their sale. That way you can get the paperwork sorted first, then hold and sell your shares electronically. It can be cheaper this way too, with lower trading commission.
It's important to find a broker that lets you trade in a way you're comfortable with, whether that's by phone or online. If you want to buy too, make sure each platform will give you access to the markets you want to trade in; for example, if you want to buy shares in the transport industry, only look for brokers that offer this.
You'll need to look into what fees are charged by each broker to make sure you get the best deal. There may be annual management fees and transfer costs as well as a charge per trade - these are usually either a fixed amount or a percentage of the deal amount.
Buying and selling certificated shares online rather than by phone will normally cost less, as will setting up an account to make trades regularly, rather than on a one-off basis.
Not all brokers allow certificated trading any more, often preferring to deal only in electronic shares. Our comparison only includes those that will buy and sell paper shares, as well as showing the different trading costs of each broker.
The best share dealing account can help you to trade in stocks and shares from the comfort of your own home.
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