Looking to transfer company shares that you or your company own? This can seem like a complex task, but this guide can help make the process easier to navigate.
A share is a unit of ownership in a company. When you buy a share of a company, you buy a part of that company, and are therefore entitled to a portion of that company’s profit (dividends).
Due to these company shares being literal pieces of the company, whoever holds the majority of these pieces ultimately owns the company. However, the company can place certain rights and restrictions on these company shares so as to protect the company’s interests — for example, some company shares will guarantee a dividend payment to shareholders; others will guarantee voting rights in the company.
Below is a simple 3 step guideline on how to successfully transfer your shares.
Who can transfer shares?
A simple answer to this question is — anyone can transfer shares if you own them! In terms of transferring shares:
- A company can transfer shares to employees or any buyers (individuals or other companies) on the stock market, or;
- An employee, individual or company can sell their shares back to the original share company, or;
- An employee, individual or company can sell their shares to other buyers.
Depending on who you are as stated above, you will proceed through a certain process to inform ASIC (Australian Securities Investment Commission) of this intended transfer.
What rights and restrictions do these shares have/ do I want them to have?
If you are a company that is willing to put forward an IPO (Initial Public Offering), you may want to split your shares into certain classes to protection your interests. These classes can be found on the see the ASIC Share Class Codes.
For a more detailed overview of these codes, see LawPath’s article on What Are the Different Types of Share Class Codes.
A valuable tool that can help secure the companies interests when allocating shares is an Employee Share Scheme. This is an offering of options to your employees to buy some of the shares of the company and/or give out shares as part of working with the company.
If you are interested in selling the company shares you own either as an individual or employee, it is crucial that you check the class of shares that you have. If you are a top executive of the company, it is important to check contract that came with the purchase/ retainment of the companies shares as they may not allow you to sell them.
If you are a company selling/distributing shares:
1. Establish a Shareholders Agreement that clarifies the type of share, value of stock etc.
2. Keep an Allotment Journal and a Transfer Journal to keep track of the ownership of shares.
3. Establish a Share Certificate that is signed by both respective parties to establish a legal proof of ownership over the indicated number of shares.
4. Fill in the Change an Existing Shareholder’s Shares document on your LawPath online account. Pay the relevant fee and submit it.
If you want to allocate shares amongst company employee’s, look towards using an ESS.
If you are an individual selling shares (off-market)
1. Obtain a Australian Standard Transfer Form by contacting the share registry of the company whose shares you wish to transfer.
2. Fill in the form and submit via CHESS sub-register.
1. Setup a trading account with an ASX StockBroker.
2. Transfer necessary funds to cover your share purchase and brokerage.
3. Buy and transfer shares when you need.
Accountability is the Key to Success
Knowing where your shares are ending up will help you keep track of your finances; this includes your possible future finances if you ever need to buy back your shares. If you want to apply to receive shares, you will need to complete an Application for Shares.
Have more questions? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to access customisable documents or obtain a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.