Logo of the Dutch governmentGo to homepage

Government information for entrepreneurs

Bearer shares discontinued

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)

If your company issues shares, they have to be registered in the name of the recipient. If your public limited company (NV) has issued bearer shares in the past, or if you own bearer shares. Then you have to convert them into registered shares, as the use of bearer shares is being discontinued.

Bearer shares can be issued anonymously because they are not always registered to a name. To prevent them being used for money laundering, funding terrorism and evading tax, existing ones have to be converted into registered shares.

Securities account

In future shares can only be traded via a securities account through an intemediary, for example a bank or investment company. This means that the shareholders can be identified via their securities account.

Ammending statutes

If your company has issued bearer shares which are not traded through an account, then they have to be converted into registered shares. If the articles of your statutes do not allow for the conversion of bearer shares into registered shares, then you have until 31 December 2019 to amend your statutes. Otherwise these shares will be turned into registered shares by law on 1 January 2020.

Converting shares

Physical bearer certificates, which shareholders have in their possession, are being discontinued. This will prevent shares from being passed on anonymously. Owners of bearer shares have until 1 January 2021 to hand in their bearer shares to the company which issued them and to register themselves as a shareholder. If you do not do so, these shares will become void.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)