Why the £58 fee to merge shares?

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - READERS’ LETTERS -

I in­quired about merg­ing my two Aviva share­hold­ings on 15 sep­a­rate cer­tifi­cates and found this would cost £58. Surely the ex­er­cise would help the reg­is­trar, Com­put­er­share, so why am I having to pay so much?

Please find a copy of the form I re­ceived. PC, LANCS

The “Merge Hold­ing Re­quest Form” from Com­put­er­share was very puz­zling. It stated it may be used to merge only those holdings that are seg­re­gated be­cause of mi­nor dif­fer­ences in the name or address.

Then there were two sec­tions that looked and, from the lay­out of the form, im­plied they were in­ter­linked. One part re­ferred to holdings to be merged and the other mul­ti­ple share cer­tifi­cates.

In fact, one process is not de­pen­dent on the other. You can merge your holdings in the same com­pany and still have sev­eral share cer­tifi­cates.

Com­put­er­share said it is ne­c­es­sary to dis­tin­guish be­tween merg­ing a num­ber of in­di­vid­ual share cer­tifi­cates that rep­re­sent an in­vestor’s share­hold­ings and merg­ing the holdings. The for­mer in­volves ex­chang­ing a num­ber of in­di­vid­ual share cer­tifi­cates for a con­sol­i­dated cer­tifi­cate.

This ex­er­cise car­ries, Com­put­er­share said, only a lit­tle ad­min­is­tra­tive ben­e­fit. Such a con­sol­i­da­tion re­quires the reg­is­trar to un­der­take ver­i­fi­ca­tion work on the cer­tifi­cates sup­plied, up­date its records to re­flect the can­cel­la­tion of the cer­tifi­cates, and to issue a new cer­tifi­cate rep­re­sent­ing the over­all bal­ance. This is why an ad­min­is­tra­tive fee is charged when this ser­vice is re­quested.

On the other hand, merg­ing holdings en­ables the share­holder to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion on the whole of his or her hold­ing in that com­pany in one place. It has the ben­e­fits of sim­pli­fy­ing both the pay­ments and the ad­min­is­tra­tion and Com­put­er­share, the reg­is­trar con­cerned here, will fa­cil­i­tate this free of charge.

You were un­der­stand­ably

baf­fled by what struck me as a lu­di­crous form that Com­put­er­share, af­ter a lot of con­ver­sa­tion with me, now ad­mits was very dif­fi­cult to make sense of.

It has there­fore abol­ished it. No re­place­ment is be­ing is­sued. Any­one wish­ing to merge their holdings or cer­tifi­cates should ap­proach Com­put­er­share to find out how to pro­ceed. It sug­gested that cus­tomers go to Ask Penny on com­put­er­share.com/uk.

The search ter­mi­nol­ogy has been broad­ened on this af­ter fur­ther com­ments from me. The address is Com­put­er­share In­vestor Ser­vices, The Pav­il­ions, Bridg­wa­ter Road, Bris­tol, BS99 6ZZ.

This has been a long and drawn out query with a lot

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