Selling UK and International Shares

Many estates include shares that were once listed on the London Stock Exchange and have delisted years ago. Often, the portfolio of shares has not been actively managed for some years. All kinds of corporate action, from listings and delistings to acquisition, stock splits, reverse stock splits, and takeovers might change the nature of the stock owned.

Meanwhile, many foreign share registrars or transfer agents will continue to send information about the shareholding to an address they have on file, which could be years out of date. We know it’s not uncommon for an elderly shareholder with failing health to go through multiple changes of address in the closing years of their life, so that by the time the estate representatives are involved, they have no chance of finding share statements as those are being sent to a property that was sold years ago.

This can lead to uncertainty, when a shareholder dies, about what exactly they did own.

Everything about dealing with foreign share registrars and transfer agents can be alien and frustrating. Starting from the language used (such as ‘decedent’ for the Deceased, and references to procedures largely unknown to UK Executors such as the Medallion Guarantee stamp and escheatment of assets), to the variable quantity and quality of information made available to “third parties”, due to the strict personal security and privacy restrictions to which registrars or agents are subject in their country of operation: the process can be draining to Executors unused to such involved processes, and unable to understand why they have been denied meaningful information about the nature of the assets, and what exactly to do about them.

Finders’ International Asset Service can step in here to offer help:

  • We can sort through old paper share certificates and statements, and contact transfer agents to help you identify value.
  • We can liaise with the transfer agent to sell or transfer listed shares in an estate for you, including obtaining Medallion Signature Guarantee stamps in the USA and Canada – a securities anti-fraud compliance measure that affects millions of UK-resident shareholders, and their estate representatives. We can obtain IRS tax clearance (a Federal Transfer Certificate) for the estate, where the US assets exceed the $60,000 USD tax exemption threshold at the date of death. We can dispose of shares in other countries, including Australia, Hong Kong and beyond, resealing Grants in Commonwealth countries and obtaining Grants in offshore jurisdictions like Jersey and the Isle of Man, preparatory to disposing of the shares.

To get a bespoke quote tailored to your requirements, please contact us

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