Q: Do joint shareholders have equal rights?
A: The simple and straightforward answer is “no”. Under s286 of the CA06 (previously regulation 55 of Table A) the first person named in the register of members (the senior holder) has the right to vote at meetings, appoint a proxy and sign a shareholders' written resolution whereas the remaining joint shareholders do not. So the person named first has more rights than the others. In all other respects, joint shareholders do have equal rights.
Q: So does it matter how joint shareholder names are listed on an application for shares or a transfer?
A: Names should be listed in the order you wish them to appear in the Register of Members so that the person you wish to be the senior holder is entered first.
Q: Should the company send notices and documents to all the joint shareholders?
A: The company can if it chooses to but it is not under any obligation to do so.
Q: Is there anything that requires all the joint shareholders to agree?
A: Yes, all of the joint shareholders will need to sign to transfer the share to someone else In addition, dividend mandates or agreements to receive documents via email will require all of them to sign (unless the articles provide otherwise).
Q: Is there a limit on how many joint holders there can be?
A: There is no particular limit as such, but usually four joint holders are allowed as a maximum. For example, the CREST system, used by many PLCs to hold shares, allows for between 2 and 4 joint shareholders.
Alternatively, you may find that a company’s articles set out the limit on how many joint shareholders can be registered.
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Author:Vistra Corporate Law
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