What is a transfer agent?
A transfer agent is appointed by a company to keep track of who owns the organisation’s stock and bonds, and whether those financial assets are registered in the name of an individual investor or brokerage firm.
Where have you heard about transfer agents?
Most transfer agents are banks or trust companies, although some firms act as their own transfer agents. They're important behind-the-scenes operators because many companies have a large number of investors holding a small amount of equity.
What you need to know about transfer agents.
A transfer agent has four main jobs:
- To issue and cancel stock certificates, including when a company pays a stock dividend or has a stock split . Ownership records are mostly electronic these days, but a transfer agent may issue certificates to new owners if they request them.
- To exchange the company’s stock or bonds if a merger occurs, and tender shares where necessary.
- To ensure investors receive dividend or interest payments, and send out the company’s annual report to shareholders, which includes the firm’s audited financial statements.
- To troubleshoot and handle any shareholder queries.
Find out more about transfer agents.
Read our definition of registrar , which works closely alongside the transfer agent.