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Get your "Ducks in a Row"

Far too often we find people can't buy or sell on the share market as quickly as they'd like to because their paperwork isn't in order.

A few weeks ago I wrote Are NZ Electricity Generators Share Prices Expensive? suggesting you might consider selling some of them.

shockedfaceYesterday I finally got around to acting on my own advice. I found that I wasn't able to sell my Mighty River Power shares immediately as they were on a different CSN (Common Shareholder Number) to that connected to my broking account. I was not a happy budgy.

There are various ways around this but the best solution is to consolidate them onto my main CSN. That means I needed to complete a form and send it to the share registar (in this case Computershare). I was able to email it off to them thereby eliminating the time delays of posting but I still expect that will take a few business days to process, and in the meantime I have to hope the shares don't fall further in price.

If I'd been diligent and checked the CSN when the shares were first issued. I wouldn't be in this position. I could have sorted out the issue earlier and I could have sold them yesterday. Instead I'm worrying that they will do what I expect and the price will fall further. Costing me money.

Last week we had a gentleman call who wanted to buy some shares at a given price, there and then. He was sure this share was going to go up, and indeed it subsequently has. But he didn't have a broking account anywhere and by the time we'd opened one for him, (that afternoon) the share price had already gone up. Costing him money.

So if you have shares, or think you might want to buy some shares, make sure that you are in a position to buy or sell immediately you wish to do so.

The laws have become stricter, and the penalties for breaking them harsher, so they are being strictly enforced. Just because you could do something two or three years ago doesn't mean you can now.

If any of the details at the register are different to those on your account with your broker there will be delays whilst they are checked and co-ordinated. Those delays could cost you money.

Some common discrepancies leading to delays in listed security transactions are:


  • Changes of address not being advised to broker and/or registry.
  • One having a PO Box but the other a residential address

Common Shareholder Number (and Holder Numbers):

  • Your shares are on a Holder Number not a CSN number, thse days you have to have a CSN before you can trade, it can take a day or two to move a share from a holder number to a CSN
  • Duplicate CSN numbers (CSN). There are reasons why you might want more than one but for most of you only want one for each legal entity.


  • Missing second names on one or the other
  • Even the order the names are listed can be a problem (usually means you have more than one CSN)
  • You think they are in a Trusts name but the registry thinks that are in joint names, a subtle but important difference
  •  Retired trustees still listed with one party or the other.

No Broking Account:

  • Well thats obvious, but is it? You may have used a broker in the past who no longer exists or your account may no longer be compliant. If you're not sure check.
  • Did you know you can have broking accounts with more than one broker? You can open one for no charge with Bay Financial Partners by following the instructions here >>> Share Buying and Selling Services
  • We can usually open an account within a day or two once we have all your documentation. But sometimes it can take weeks. Particularly of you have to track down trustees for signatures.

If you're unsure whether your documentation is in order or how to go about checking give us a call on 07 578 3863, we'll be happy to point you in the right direction. We can even do it for you for a small fee.

  • Last updated on .