However, if you hold your shares in your own name, as investors used to do, it’s a different matter. In this case, you probably have physical paper certificates that show the shares you own — and to sell those shares, you’ll have to mail that certificate back, signed, to your brokerage. That can take a little while even in the best circumstances, but with a widespread mail slowdown, it can take much longer. If you’re selling because you think the shares will tank after an upcoming earnings report, you might end up selling them after they do tank. See the problem?
Meanwhile, many of us investors enjoy (or simply prefer) receiving and perusing our brokerage statements and annual reports from companies in paper format. If they arrive late, though, that can delay some actions we might take based on them. If, for example, a statement shows that your stake in Buzzy’s Broccoli Beer (ticker: BRRRP) has swelled to 30% of your portfolio, you might reasonably want to pare that position down by selling some shares, to get back to your desired mix and/or asset allocation.
Being late to sell those shares, though, leaves you too concentrated for longer, and may result in your getting a lower price when you sell, if the shares have been dropping in value. Similarly, you might read about some developments in Buzzy’s annual report that have you losing confidence in the company. Again, it’s best to sell sooner rather than later in such a situation.