What Is In Street Name?
When a brokerage holds a security on a client's behalf, it is referred to as being held in "street name." While the broker's name appears on the certificate, the purchaser retains ownership rights. This electronic holding method enhances trading speed and cost-efficiency. Street name-held securities are backed by substantial SIPC insurance, offering up to $500,000 coverage at most U.S. broker-dealers. However, there might be delays in receiving dividends, interest payments, and corporate communications with this arrangement.
"Street name" refers to the practice of a brokerage holding securities on behalf of a client, with the broker's name listed on the certificate. Despite this, ownership rights are retained by the individual who purchased the securities. This approach offers enhanced convenience for regular investors engaged in stock trading and guarantees compliance with regulatory standards in terms of bookkeeping and accounting responsibilities.
How Does Street Name Work?
Securities transactions with brokers rarely involve your direct name on certificates. These firms commonly utilize the street name method, registering investments under their name for your convenience. Yet, this formality doesn't negate your ownership of the acquired securities. The broker will transfer full ownership rights to you by designating you as the beneficial owner. Regular updates on investment performance are also provided, typically monthly or quarterly.
While opting for personal name registration is possible, it's generally unwise due to the complexities and costs associated with paper certificates. Brokerages charge extra fees for these inconveniences, even though the beneficial owner's rights remain unchanged.
Furthermore, investors without margin loans are safeguarded; their securities held in street names cannot be borrowed or loaned without explicit consent. The SEC regulation (Rule 15c3-3) ensures segregation for such activities. In the street name arrangement, the brokerage might allocate existing inventory to fulfill your market purchases, streamlining the trading process.
Benefits of Street Name Securities
Visualize the logistical challenge if your broker held stocks under your name. Every sale would entail locating your specific stocks and transferring them to the buyer. Afterward, shares must be returned to the company for certificate name alteration. This laborious process involves time and effort, delaying payment until stocks are physically received. Holding street-name securities circumvents these obstacles, enabling swift, cost-effective trades. Cost savings from street name registration can significantly enhance investment returns.
Physical certificates expose securities to damage, loss, and theft. Street name holding preserves securities digitally, mitigating potential catastrophes. This security extends to prompt transaction deliveries. The broker ensures swift securities delivery during trades, eliminating uncertainty if clients have to provide security each time.
Most U.S. broker-dealers are Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) members, granting up to $500,000 SIPC insurance per legal account, including $250,000 for brokerage account cash. Bankruptcy won't leave you empty-handed for street-name-held securities.
Despite street name registration, securities remain collateral for broker margin loans and bank borrowing. It is crucial to ensure that both your broker and assets are covered by SIPC insurance.
Drawbacks of Street Name Securities
Investors may encounter dividend or interest payment delays, as certain brokers forward these payments weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
Corporate communications bypass you due to absent registration on company books. Rely on your broker for crucial updates. Broker-dealers fulfill communication duties, minimizing disparity between third-party broker updates and direct corporate communications. Street name securities serve as versatile collateral for loans and credit. Broker-dealers require consent to borrow or lend non-margin clients' securities to short sellers.
Stock ownership often involves registration under your broker's name, which doesn't alter your ownership status. Your broker maintains a record of your ownership, enabling seamless buy and sell actions. Your investments are unequivocally yours, supported by substantial evidence.
Street name registration favors investors. Broker-held stocks lead to reduced fees and swift order execution. Although possible to decline, rejecting this setup is unwise. The loss of substantial benefits outweighs the minimal additional rights gained.