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It's Time to Digitize the US' $780B in Physical Stock Certificates

By Michael C. Bodson, DTCC President & CEO | Feb 12, 2021

It's Time to Digitize the US' $780B in Physical Stock Certificates
Michael C. Bodson, DTCC President & CEO.

As the financial services industry gazes toward the future, with intense debates about digitized securities, paperless currencies, and no-contact payment systems, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has refocused attention on an antiquated, often overlooked and paper-intensive practice in our industry: the physical processing of securities certificates.

It's extraordinary but true. In 2020, as automation permeates every aspect of our industry, we still manually process thousands of transactions — handling certificates, stamping and signing documents, receiving checks and moving certificates to vaults for safekeeping.

Calling this practice a holdover from a bygone era is akin to comparing a Tesla to a covered wagon. It's clear that dematerialization — eliminating all paper securities and converting existing physical certificates to electronic records while working with industry stakeholders and regulators to revise practices and regulations—is an idea whose time is long overdue.

Read Mike’s article in Business Insider magazine.