Holding Your Securities

Get the Facts

As an individual investor, you have up to three choices when it comes to holding your securities:
  • Physical Certificate - The security is registered in your name on the issuer's books, and you receive an actual, hard copy stock or bond certificate representing your ownership of the security.
  • "Street Name" Registration - The security is registered in the name of your brokerage firm on the issuer's books, and your brokerage firm holds the security for you in "book-entry" form. "Book-entry" simply means that you do not receive a certificate. Instead, your broker keeps a record in its books that you own that particular security.
  • "Direct" Registration - The security is registered in your name on the issuer's books, and either the company or its transfer agent holds the security for you in book-entry form. The "Direct Registration System" (also known as "DRS") allows investors to transfer securities held this way. For more information about DRS, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.
Advertiser Links for Holding Your Securities
[what's this?]

Depending on the type of security and where you purchase it, you may or may not have all these choices about how your securities are held. For example, not all companies offer direct registration, and some no longer issue physical certificates. You should ask your broker or the company what options you have.