Definitions for "Bearer Shares"
A negotiable share made out in the name of the bearer and not in the name of a particular person or organization. The shares in the capital of a company, which are transferable by delivery of the certificate. Unlike registered shares, which are transferred by an instrument of transfer, the name of the holder is not registered in the books of the company.
Any corporation is owned by its shareholders. In most countries, every share that is issued by a company needs to be registered with a government agency, so the government and other agencies know who owns each share in a company, and how much each share was traded for. Offshore companies generally issue bearer shares. These shares belong to the person who holds them, the bearer, and are not registered with a central authority. As such bearer shares may be bought and sold without records of who owns the share or how much was paid for the share.
When a company is up, the details of the shareholders are normally registered with the local registrar. In certain jurisdictions, the shares are issued in bearer form. This would mean that the bearer of the share certificate would be the owner of the company. The jurisdictions which allow this type of share to exist have received tremendous pressure to eradicate such practice as it is deemed as an easy way of money laundering. As a result, certain countries have now passed laws to disallow these shares.