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How to track down share records

The first step is to check with your broker, writes George Cochrane.

The first step is to check with your broker, writes George Cochrane.

THROUGHOUT the years, I have purchased shares in many companies but have not kept records. Some of the companies are now not listed on the stock exchange (Coles, for example). How can I get the necessary details to avoid passing this problem on to my children? W.J.

What do they say about bright lights in the harbour? If you bought the shares through a broker, the easiest approach is to ask the firm if it can supply you with records of purchases of your stocks. If the broking firms have long merged, or otherwise disappeared, contact the share registrar of your particular stocks. If you have been using dividend reinvestment plans, then each dividend reinvested has a "cost base" for capital gains tax calculations, so you will need the cost and number of those shares and the date they were bought.

Coles was taken over by Wesfarmers in 2007 in a share swap and the latter's share registrar is Computershare. You can contact this company online with your shareholder reference number (SRN) if those shares were "issuer sponsored" or with your "holder identification number" (HIN) if they were "broker sponsored". Or you can call Computershare on 1300 557 010.

From pence to cents

With regard to transferring funds from Britain to Australia: as British expats, we recently encountered a dilemma after I inherited #65,000. I was shocked at the charges banks impose on transactions. My sister in Britain recommended HiFX with offices in Britain, New Zealand and Australia. We contacted them and got a transfer quote some $3000 better than anything the banks were prepared to offer me. We moved the money in sterling from NatWest to Barclays on advice from HiFX not to convert the currency first in Britain. This was the opposite advice from that given by the banks, which told us to convert in Britain to Australian dollars and then bring it over. A.B.

Thank you for that. Yes, I understand HiFX has a Barclays account, as does OzForex (I believe they are not associated companies), and all transactions are channelled through their Barclays account. A website, britishexpats.com, has numerous users' comments on forex matters. Has no one had a negative experience with a forex broker, as a lesson to prospective users?

If you have a question for George Cochrane, send it to Personal Investment, PO Box 3001, Tamarama, NSW, 2026. Helplines: Banking Ombudsman, 1300 780 808 Pensions, 13 23 00.


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