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How do i sell my shares?

How do I sell my shares without a broker?

The practical answer to this is you can’t. Selling shares always has to involve a broker, directly or indirectly.

Of course I am referring to shares in a “listed” company. That is a company whose shares are listed, or quoted, on a Stock Exchange as opposed to a private company.

Private Treaty

You could sell shares by Private Treaty, that is from one individual to another, avoiding any use of a broker.

But the two parties (seller and buyer) would have to find each other. This may be possible for one or two different specific stocks but impossible for all of them. Of course for a broker this is simple as a broker has access to all of the market, and is exactly why there are brokers!

Selling non-certificated shares

 These are shares that are held electronically by an Authorised Depository.. They may have been purchased in this form so should be easy enough to sell through the same place where you bought them.

They may have been issued as employee benefits or from a takeover and they could very well be overseas companies and are likely to be held in a foreign Depository.

In all cases you should be receiving some sort of regular notification of the number of shares you own.

Options for shares held electronically

This depends on where they are held but one of the following will apply.

Transfer the shares from the current Depository to your own broker’s Depository (or your new broker if you are going that route) and sell them

Establish the company’s Registrar and see if they will sell them for you (this is most likely)>

Share certificates

It is more difficult to sell certificated shares.

If you hold shares in certificated form then they will have to be de-materialised (held electronically by an authorised depository) before you can sell them.

A broker will do this for you but you will need to set up an account with them and there will almost definitely be a charge.

Selling certificated shares without having a brokerage account

There is a way to sell shares in certificated form without having to register with a broker (not the same as selling shares without a broker). This seems to be little known by those shareholders for whom it would be most suitable.

There is a small drawback with this:

The service is provided by Shareview which is run by Equiniti, the company registrars for many listed stocks.

The snag is they will only sell shares for whom they act as company registrars. However they are registrars to well over 500 companies, including many of the FTSE100 companies so it is worth checking with them first.

In the UK there are three major registrars covering the majority of UK listed stocks.

They are Equiniti (already mentioned), Capita and Computershare.

Capita, I believe, run Link Asset Services and have a service the same as Equiniti. With Computershare I think you have to register before being able to sell.

They may be easier to use than a Stockbroker directly. Stockbrokers will usually require a minimum sized account and will invariably charge for ‘inactivity’.

If you are trying to sell a few hundred pounds worth of shares as a one-off trade a broker probably will not be interested. If you are selling £10,000+ and possibly going to reinvest the proceeds then one of the Execution Only (no frills) brokers would be worth contacting. Or possibly one of the small retail brokers.

I would recommend looking at Hargreaves Lansdowne.

High Street bank

If you have a bank account with one of the High Street banks you could try them:

Lloyds Bank

Barclays Bank (Barclays Smart Investor)

NatWest (TD Direct Investing)

Situation not getting easier

Selling small numbers of shares has always been difficult (and/or expensive) but the situation has got a lot worse since MIFIDII and the excessive compliance burden that has brought.

We hope you may find our suggestions useful.

Additional information

All Australian shares are electronically held. If you hold Australian shares you need a Shareholder Reference Number (SRN)

American shares are mostly electronically held. US Registrars are called Stock Transfer Agents.

You may find the UK Registrars I have previously mentioned will help you with some overseas stocks, especially if the share holdings originated from a US takeover of a UK stock (such as Kraft acquisition of Cadbury).

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