What Are the SEC Rules for Obtaining a List of Shareholders?

There are only two situations in which a list of shareholders may be requested from the Securities and Exchange Commission, and those are during proxy solicitations and tender offers. The SEC does not maintain the list of shareholders, so people interested in getting these lists need to contact the company whose shareholders list they are wishing to obtain, states SEC.gov.

The first option to obtain a shareholders list, known as a proxy solicitation, involves other shareholders trying to gather votes for or against a proposal put forward by the company, notes SEC.gov. Some shareholders reach out to others in order to garner support for whichever side of the proposal they are on. Companies can refuse to send out the list to the shareholders, instead offering to send the shareholder's information out to the other members. This occurs at the shareholder's expense.

The second option, a tender offer, works in a very similar way. Shareholders can request information about other shareholders who hold the type or amount of stock they are looking to bid on or buy. The company has two days after the request to let the bidders know if they are going to give them the list or send out a packet of information to the selected shareholders on the bidders' behalf. If the company sends out the information to shareholders, it is once again at the bidder's expense and must be done within three days of the initial request for information, reveals SEC.gov.