Subject: Stocks - Replacing Lost Certificates

Last-Revised: 14 Mar 2010
Contributed-By: Richard Sauers (rsauers at, Bob Grumbine (rgrumbin at, Chris Lott (contact me), C. Constantmn Poindexter

If a person loses a stock, bond or other certificate through fire, theft, or whatever, shares registered in the stock holder's name (as opposed to so-called "street name") can be replaced fairly quickly and easily.

To replace a lost certificate, begin by contacting the appropriate transfer agent. Stock transfer agents are often listed on a company's web site. If you don't know the transfer agent, contact the company to find out. The Value Line or Standard & Poor's Corporation Records (probably available at your friendly local library) are good sources for the company's contact address. You will need to know the approximate date the certificate was issued.

The transfer agent will require you to post a surety bond, often called a lost instrument bond or a lost security bond. A surety bond indemnifies the issuer from any loss that it might incur as a result

of the reissuance. The cost of a surety bond ranges from 2% to 3% of the value of the lost certificate. The process to issue a surety bond requires a simple application and an affidavit of loss. Up to certain monetary amounts, lost instrument bonds are written quite freely. A review of the applicant's personal financial statement and consumer credit report are not necessary for very small denomination instruments. If a surety bond must be issued for a large instrument such as a bond certificate with a face value above $10,000, or if an "open penalty" surety bond must be issued, then a credit review is required. An underwriter knowledgeable about lost instrument bonds can often approve and issue a surety bond within hours of receiving an application and premium payment. Once the bond is posted, the transfer agent should be able to reissue the missing certificate with no further ado.

If you hold securities in your name (i.e., you have the certificates instead of depositing them with a broker), you might consider preparing yourself for the possibility of a loss by keeping a copy of every certificate separate from the original. The certificate shows show the security number, transfer agent, etc.

The Securities Transfer Association is a trade organization that provides some information about transfer agents:
The following companies provide surety bonds in the United States:

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