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In 1999, I purchased shares of the company I was working for, through an employee stock purchase plan. Sometime after 2003, my wife opened on online brokerage account and put the stock there for management. And, to the best of anyone's recollection, there it sat. I would receive the shareholder's pamphlet describing things to be voted on multiple times over the years. The email address she was using at that time has been shut off for 5+ years at this point, so any online brokerage emails aren't coming to her.

Fast-forward to 2017. My wife has long forgotten what account she had put it in; she stopped handling financial matters in 2007 and that particular account didn't get handed over to me at that time. And last week we got divorced. As part of the divorce settlement, if we can find the shares, we'll sell them and split the proceeds. But first we have to find them.

How can I track down these shares? If the company knows that I'm a shareholder enough that they could mail me documents from time to time, do they also know which brokerage is holding the stocks?

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    BTW, clearly I know next to nothing about stocks, so if I'm using the wrong terms or totally confused about the way things work, please redirect or ask for clarification, I'll do the best I can.
    – gowenfawr
    Jul 21, 2017 at 12:36
  • do they also know which brokerage is holding the stocks Yes they can find out which brokerage s holding the stocks. But it may take some effort from their side to fish it out.
    – DumbCoder
    Jul 21, 2017 at 13:16
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    Are the occasional documents you're getting from the company itself? I would have expected them to come from the brokerage. Maybe you could write a letter to whatever company is on the return address for the documents?
    – user42405
    Jul 22, 2017 at 16:07
  • Adding to what @PeterCooperJr said, not long ago I had electronic delivery fail because of a mistake and after a few retries they switched me back to paper delivery, which for street-name holdings is an envelope or wrapper from the broker containing the materials forwarded from the issuer. In this case the issuer does not know you are the real (beneficial) shareholder, only that brokerage X has N customers with such holdings. Jul 23, 2017 at 7:12

2 Answers 2

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There's two possibilities.

One is that the broker declared your account abandoned and turned over your account to the state. If that happened, it should turn up here: http://missingmoney.com

The second is that the broker is still holding your stock. I'd start by contacting the company's transfer agent.

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    If a security is held by the broker, aka 'in street name', the transfer agent (aka regstrar) does not know the names of the real individual holders. Jul 23, 2017 at 7:14
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My best answer is to simply fish out that old email account. DumbCoder makes a good point - the company whose shares you own can probably figure out what brokerage firm is holding the shares, but it'd take a lot on their end. Honestly you're better off just hitting up random brokerage firms until you find the right one than going to the company and asking them where your shares are. Good luck.

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