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In the past, investors received physical certificates, referred to as in bearer form, when they bought stock.The problem of old stock certificates doesn't arise very often anymore because most stocks are kept in electronic form in your broker's computer system, which is known as in street name.
Generally, incorporation goes through the Secretary of State, and the name of the business will be documented in those databases.
You should be able to contact the Secretary of State's office and find out more about your certificate. The main reason you need to go to a transfer agent is companies rarely handle their own securities in-house.
Start by looking at a few things on the certificate.
Look for the company name and location of incorporation, a CUSIP number, and the name of the person with whom the security is registered.
Academic research on sources of corporate finance shows that, compared with other sources of funds, stock markets in advanced countries have been insignificant suppliers of capital for corporations. In fact, the functions of the stock market go well beyond “cash” to include four other functions, which can be summarized as “control,” “creation,” “combination,” and “compensation.” In this paper, I argue, based on historical evidence, that in the growth of the U. economy the key function of the stock market was control.
The purpose of this essay is to build a rigorous and relevant conception of the evolving role of the stock market in the U. Specifically, the stock market enabled the separation of managerial control over the allocation of corporate resources from the ownership of the company’s shares.It is possible, however, that the functions of the stock market may undermine the types of strategic control, organizational integration, and financial commitment that the innovation process requires.In this paper, I provide a brief overview of the role of the control function of the stock market in supporting innovative enterprise in the historical rise to dominance of U. managerial capitalism from the early decades of the twentieth century.If the company has, in fact, changed names, merged, split, reversed split, reorganized, restructured, or undergone any combination of these, you might have something to work with.If you are inheriting securities, ensure the individual whose name is on the certificate has bequeathed it to you.Yet, assuming that the key function of the stock market is cash, economists known as agency theorists see this separation of control from ownership as the “original sin” of American capitalism, and argue that the evils of managerial control can be overcome by compelling corporate managers as “agents” to maximize the value of corporate shareholders as “principals.” What is missing from the agency-theory argument is a theory of the value-creating firm, or what I call a “theory of innovative enterprise.” The value-creation process requires three social conditions of innovative enterprise: strategic control, organizational integration, and financial commitment.The functions of the stock market may support the types of strategic control, organizational integration, and financial commitment that can result in the generation of high-quality products at low unit costs—the economic definition of innovative enterprise.So, if you find an old certificate, it's important to know where to start looking to see if your discovery is merely wallpaper from a bankrupt company or a lost treasure.Rather than throwing away the piece of paper that might be your lottery ticket, take some time to do the research.This number provides a vital piece of information for searching out a security; it's like stock DNA.Each security has a unique number, and changes and splits are recorded accordingly.