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Corporate Services Blog

UK Abolishes Bearer Shares

24/07/2015

The UK is one of the last jurisdictions to abolish bearer shares with all UK shareholders having had to surrender their bearer shares by the 26 June for conversion into registered shares.  Any bearer shares that remained unconverted will effectively become worthless as of 26 December 2015 and will no longer be able to be transferred.

Any bearer shares that were not surrendered for conversion within the specified period will need to apply to court to cancel these and will be required to pay into court the amount of the share capital as well as any unpaid dividends.  These monies can be claimed for up to three years following cancellation, but only where it can be shown that the reason for failing to surrender these shares was due to exceptional circumstances.  Unclaimed monies will go to the Government.

The amendments to the Companies Act came about via the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 which the government introduced last year which has included criminal sanctions for both the company and its officers for failing to comply with the new regulations.

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