Smith On Stocks, 1 July 2019
ost investors when they buy a publicly traded stock believe that they own a part of some company. They think that somewhere there is a stock certificate or some indication of ownership that has their name on it, but this is not the case. When you buy a “stock” you are actually purchasing a security that affords certain entitlement rights related to registered stock which actual owners hold. The registered shares of a private company are directly owned by shareholders. In contrast, the registered shares of nearly all publicly traded equities are owned by Cede & Co., which is the nominee of the Depository Trust Company (DTC). (A nominee is a company whose name is given as having title to a stock, but does not receive the financial benefits of ownership.) Cede is a subsidiary of the Depository Trust Company (DTC) which is a subsidiary of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and the DTCC is a private company owned by elite Wall Street firms and money center banks. If you need background or a refresher on DTC and DTCC, click on this link. Effectively, elite Wall Street firms and money center banks, not institutions and individual investors, own almost all of the registered shares of publicly traded companies in the US.