What Is the Depository Trust Company (DTC)?

What Is the Depository Trust Company (DTC)?

4 Min.

The Depository Trust Company, established in 1973, is a major securities depository globally. Its automated system helps reduce expenses and enhance precision. The DTC also offers direct registration, underwriting, reorganization, and proxy and dividend services. As of 2023, the DTC holds over 1.4 million existing securities issues worth $87 trillion, originating from the U.S. and 131 other countries and territories.


The Depository Trust Company (DTC) is a large depository for securities on a global scale. This trust company was established in 1973 in New York City and specializes in secure electronic record-keeping of securities balances. Besides its custodial duties, DTC also acts as a clearinghouse, efficiently processing trades and settlements for corporate and municipal securities.

How Does the Depository Trust Company (DTC) Work?

The Depository Trust Company operates under the aegis of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and boasts membership within the U.S. Federal Reserve System. Its primary mission revolves around cost reduction and the enhancement of clearing and settlement processes through the immobilization of securities and the implementation of "book-entry" modifications to security ownership.

Prominent broker-dealers and financial institutions across the United States actively participate in the DTC ecosystem. They entrust the DTC with the custody and maintenance of securities, which subsequently become the exclusive registered holdings within issuer stock records.

A DTC clearing number serves as a pivotal component in streamlining transactions among financial institutions. This unique identifier is commonly linked to the clearing firm employed by your IRA custodian. To ascertain your custodian's specific DTC number, kindly reach out to your existing IRA custodial provider for confirmation.

Each day's financial dealings in equity, debt, and money market instruments culminate in the DTC furnishing financial institutions with a comprehensive summary of net settlement commitments. As of 2023, the DTC assumed stewardship over an impressive portfolio, encompassing over 1.4 million existing securities issues valued at a staggering $87 trillion. These securities are disseminated across the U.S. and 131 international territories and nations.

The Evolution of DTC

In 1968, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), grappling with the burgeoning paperwork accompanying its soaring trade volume, introduced the Daily Transaction Service (DTS) via its Central Certificate Service (CCS), an entity dedicated to assisting NYSE member firms. Fast forward to early 1973, the birth of the Depository Trust Company took place, orchestrated to acquire the operational reins of CCS and to expand the depository model's advantages to various financial sectors, particularly the banking industry.

The Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC) now claims ownership of the DTC, whereas it was previously an autonomous entity. This transformation occurred in 1999, when the DTC merged with several other securities-clearing organizations, solidifying its place as a subsidiary within the DTCC umbrella. One notable outcome of DTC's involvement has been the remarkable increase in the New York Stock Exchange's daily trade volume, surging into the billions.

The DTCC, along with its affiliated entities, including subsidiary DTC, is essential to the post-trade market infrastructure. Its core mission revolves around the automation, centralization, standardization, and optimization of processes pivotal to the safety and security of financial markets.

To monitor money laundering, DTCC and its subsidiary DTC implement a KYC Program. This program operates on a risk-centric basis, ensuring the thorough gathering of requisite information and documentation to ascertain the identity of customers, as mandated by both U.S. and international anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

Key Functions of the DTC

The Depository Trust Company manages an immense portfolio, safeguarding trillions of dollars in various securities categories, spanning corporate stocks, bonds, municipal bonds, and money market instruments. It's essential to note that DTC's dealings primarily involve financial industry entities such as securities brokers, dealers, institutional investors, depository institutions, issuing and paying agents, and settling banks.

As a consortium of financial enterprises, with the New York Stock Exchange among its prominent stakeholders, DTC offers a comprehensive suite of services, including:

  1. Daily fund settlement via the National Settlement Service.
  2. Rigorous safekeeping practices combined with robust record-keeping services.
  3. Facilitation of direct registration, underwriting, reorganization, proxy services, and dividend-related functions.
  4. Timely announcement and distribution of dividend payments from issuers, along with comprehensive reporting to shareholders.
  5. Global tax service support.
  6. Vigilant monitoring of market irregularities, accompanied by the potential imposition of "chill" (limited services) or "freeze" (complete restriction) measures on a company's securities.


Under the DTCC, the Depository Trust Company is an electronic record-keeping trust company that securely stores securities balances. Additionally, it plays a pivotal role as a clearinghouse, facilitating the efficient processing and settlement of transactions involving corporate and municipal securities.

Depository Trust Company (DTC)
Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC)
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