For those working in public capital markets, you might have come across the term Medallion Guarantee at some point when assisting an investor with a transfer of securities. These two words can elicit some strong reactions, from confusion over what it is and why it’s needed, to frustration over where to get one.
What is a Medallion Guarantee?
A Medallion Guarantee is a stamp that is used to guarantee the endorsement of a securityholder when transferring securities. This guarantee warrants that, at the time of signing:
- the signature was genuine;
- the signer was an appropriate person to endorse; and
- the signer had legal capacity to sign.
There are three acceptable Medallion Programs in North America: the Securities Transfer Agents Medallion Program (STAMP), the Stock Exchanges Medallion Program (SEMP) and the New York Stock Exchange Medallion Signature Program (MSP). Most major brokerage firms, banks and credit unions will be a member of a recognized Medallion Program.
Why is a Medallion Guarantee required?
Although a transfer agent maintains the official securityholder register for an issuer, they do not have a client/account relationship with the securityholders and therefore cannot verify if an endorsement on a transfer form is legitimate or valid. For this reason, transfer agents must rely on a member of a Medallion Program to provide a Medallion Guarantee.
Financial institutions that become members of a Medallion Program must obtain a surety bond to provide coverage for the value of their specific stamp, which can have a limit ranging from $100,000 to $10,000,000. In other words, the Medallion Guarantee protects both the transfer agent and the issuer in the event of a fraudulent transfer.
Where can a securityholder get a Medallion Guarantee?
As mentioned above, most major brokerage firms, banks and credit unions will be a member of a Medallion Program. The STAMP program, which is the most widely used, provides a database which can be searched by City to see which local institutions can provide a Medallion Guarantee: www.msglookup.com.
At Olympia Trust, we recognize the challenges that some individuals face when trying to obtain a Medallion Guarantee. We work closely with our clients and their investors to provide Medallion Guarantee solutions when these challenges arise to help facilitate the transfer of securities.
THE OLYMPIA ADVANTAGE
When choosing a transfer agent, it’s important to ensure they have the knowledge and experience to provide your company with the support you need. Olympia Trust has proudly supported the Canadian capital markets for over 20 years and is an approved transfer agent of all Canadian stock exchanges, the OTC Markets, the Canadian Depository for Securities (CDS) and the Depository Trust Company (DTC). In addition, Olympia Trust is an active member of the Securities Transfer Associations in Canada and the United States and is a registered transfer agent with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.