Do US public companies know who owns their shares? If so:

  • How do they know it?
  • How much do they know? Do they know their shareholders' names, number of shares owned, address, phone number, email address, SSN/passport number, and other personal information? Is it different when shares are held using direct registration versus held in street name?
  • Can they use the information for purposes other than corporate communications? e.g. sell the data to advertising firms, create an advertisement newsletter/mailing list, etc.

1 Answer 1


If you directly own stock shares (i.e. not through ETFs or mutual funds) then they (or their transfer agent, who is the outsourcer for “investors services”) MUST know at minimum your name and address in order to mail you things like dividend checks, notices of shareholder meetings and votes for the board of directors.

SSN, too, so they can file a form 1099.

And — being a part owner — they won’t/can’t sell the list of names to people if for no other reason than that the Board of Directors would have to vote on it. Besides, there’s probably SEC rules regarding it. I’m sure Google would know.

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