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Ok..Ive purchased shares in several RM companies and want to know...seeing as im in it for the long haul, why not switch the shares to my name and get the benefits? Does this seem as obvious to you, or am I missing something?

krispykreme,

I am a bit behind on the boards, so I apologize if I end up repeating any advice that you have already been given. In any event, let's take a look at the pros and cons of registering the shares in your name:

PROS

1) Since the shares are in your name, you are eligible for joining the company's dividend reinvestment plan, assuming that they pay dividends. This will then allow you to make additional purchases of the company's stock directly from the company, often times with little or no commissions. As a Foolish investor, this is a very good thing. However, there are now services available like MoneyPaper.com and FirstShare.com that allow you to enroll in a dividend reinvestment plan without having the stock certificate sent directly to you.

2) Assuming that there is something unique about the company or the certificate, you could publicly display it as a conversation starter. I did this with the one share of stock I bought several months back in the Cleveland Indians Baseball Club (CLEV), and it makes a nice addition to the other baseball paraphenalia in my office. However, I doubt that many stocks really would fall into this same category.


CONS

1) Certificates are valuable, so it is advisable to place them in a safe place like a safety deposit box (extra expense). Also, if you lose them you end up having to pay a fee to get them replaced/restored.

2) Most brokers charge a fee, anywhere from $5 to $40, to register the shares in your name and deliver them to you. Therefore, why bother?

3) Holding the shares in the street name with the broker entitles you to all privledges (proxy votes, annual meetings, dividend payments, etc.) accorded to a normal stockholder.

4) If and when you decide to sell, you can't sell a stock certificate online through your broker. You would probably have to either send it back to the broker by registered mail (additional fee here), wait several days or weeks for the certificate to show as received in your account, and then make the transaction. A second option would be to go to a discount broker like Schwab that has local offices in your area, open an account, and then sell those shares through the broker (higher transaction fee here). In either case, you end up paying more money and expending more time and energy to make the sale ... which I guess some folks might almost view as a good thing.


All things considered, I just find it very difficult to make a good case for having the shares transfered to your name. Just leave them in your brokerage account and you should do just fine.

Hope this helps.

the LanceMan
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