In a world of same-day-delivery of just about anything, and omnipresent real-time information, we’ve been trained to seek instant gratification. This is increasingly true in the corporate setting as well, where internal and external stakeholders expect you to provide near-instantaneous updates.
The desire for instant gratification continues to be facilitated by the explosion of electronic information and data. Long gone are the days of our own predecessor transfer agent, when we had a vault just for storing ceiling-high stacks and stacks of paper certificates! Most American companies have stopped issuing paper certificates as a matter of course, some of which have even become collectors’ items. While the rise of electronic positions was driven through public companies, largely by the rise of online brokers, private companies are increasingly making the switch as well. Reduced cost, instant availability, and elimination of the dreaded “lost” certificate replacement process are reasons why this transition largely makes sense.
With the rise of electronic positions, however, there has also been push-back. California responded with a set of rules about minimum information that needs to be made available to private company shareholders, which scared some companies away from electronic-only positions. There are concerns about the security and permanence of electronic-only records, and yes, as you know, there are still people who want a piece of paper that that they can hold in their hands to show that they own shares in your company.
So how do you meet the demands for both instant information and the security and comfort provided by more physical representations of shares?
This is the thinking that drove us to create the new OptionTrax® electronic pdf certificate functionality that allows private companies to register electronic positions and automatically produce a pdf share certificate for shareholders. This pdf certificate is available to your shareholders via the OptionTrax® shareholder portal. You, as administrator, can use the existing default certificate template or upload your own, and include restrictions and corporate officer signatures to create a valid share document. Once you set up the style and format you want, you’re ready—instant gratification! Your shareholders who want that sacred certificate will walk away happy, you comply with California requirements, and you still don’t have to mess with the purchasing, printing and mailing of traditional certificates. You become the superhero!!
As both the benefits and risks associated with our electronic reality continue to grow, we’re likely to see stakeholders on both ends of the spectrum – those who embrace change and those who are suspicious of these changes. Companies need to be able to satisfy both kinds of stakeholders, and this is how OptionTrax® helps you to meet that need. You can always issue electronic positions in OptionTrax®. But isn’t it good to know that when your stakeholder wants to hold some symbol of ownership in their hands, rather than just seeing a line item on an electronic statement, you can make them happy with just a click?