The Depository Trust Corporation:
In our continued effort to educate the investing public about various aspects of the securities markets, we are providing the below information. Because this information is being provided for educational purposes only, it should not be relied upon as providing legal or investment advice. Moreover, it is not intended to be complete in all material respects. If you have any questions concerning the information set forth below, you should contact a qualified professional.
What is the Depository Trust Corporation and what does it do?
The Depository Trust Corporation (“DTC”) was created by the securities industry to improve efficiencies and reduce risk in the clearance and settlement of securities transactions. Today, DTC is the largest securities depository in the world. Including securities issued in the U.S. and 121 other countries, DTC has on deposit 3.6 million securities worth about $35 trillion.
As a clearing agency registered with the SEC, DTC provides security custody and book-entry transfer services for securities transactions in the U.S. market involving equities, corporate and municipal debt, money market instruments, American depositary receipts, and exchange-traded funds. In accordance with its rules, DTC accepts deposits of securities from its participants (i.e., broker-dealers and banks), credits those securities to the depositing participants’ accounts, and effects book-entry movements of those securities.
Most large U.S. broker-dealers and banks are DTC participants, meaning that they deposit and hold securities at DTC. DTC appears in an issuer’s stock records as the sole registered owner of securities deposited at DTC. DTC holds the deposited securities in “fungible bulk,” meaning that there are no specifically identifiable shares directly owned by DTC participants. Rather, each participant owns a pro rata interest in the aggregate number of shares of a particular issuer held at DTC. Correspondingly, each customer of a DTC participant, such as an individual investor, owns a pro rata interest in the shares in which the DTC participant has an interest.
Because the securities held by DTC are for the benefit of its participants and their customers (i.e., investors holding their securities at a broker-dealer), frequently the issuer and its transfer agent must interact with DTC in order to facilitate the distribution of dividend payments to investors, to facilitate corporate actions (i.e., mergers, splits, etc.), to effect the transfer of securities, and to accurately record the number of shares actually owned by DTC at all times.