Medallion signature guarantee

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Sample of a Medallion signature guarantee stamp

In the United States and Canada, a medallion signature guarantee is a special signature guarantee for the transfer of securities. It is a guarantee by the transferring financial institution that the signature is genuine and the financial institution accepts liability for any forgery. Signature guarantees protect shareholders by preventing unauthorized transfers and possible investor losses. They also limit the liability of the transfer agent who accepts the certificates.

Different institutions have different policies as to what type of identification they require to provide the guarantee and whether they charge a fee for such service (usually nominal if any). Most institutions will not guarantee a signature of someone who has not already been their customer.

A medallion signature guarantee is not the same as an acknowledgment by a notary public, in the sense that a "signature guarantee" is a certification by the institution that the signature is authentic, and an acknowledgment is a certification by a notary public attesting that the signer signed a document voluntarily, signed the document in the presence of the notary and provided proof of identity.

Some banks may no longer provide this service, however, many still do as well as other financial institutions such as a Savings and loan association (a thrift) and Credit Unions. At their sole discretion these institutions may provide the medallion signature guarantee stamp. These institutions would be able to provide clarification on their requirements for providing the stamp. Keep in mind that each of these institutions are different and may have different requirements for documentation necessary from one to the next; fees may apply.

When US citizens are abroad and unable to obtain a medallion signature guarantee stamp, with prior notice of the substitution some financial institutions may accept a United States embassy seal in its place. Financial institutions outside the United States and Canada which have a correspondence relationship with a US or Canadian bank may be able to offer a medallion signature guarantee to existing customers.

Many people who live in the United Kingdom come across the Medallion Guarantee for the first time when they come to sell or transfer shares that they hold in US companies. It may be that the shares were purchased in an English company but now that the original company has been bought by an American company such as Cadbury's or Schweppes the share registrar will require the signature be guaranteed by a Medallion Signature guarantee. The main supplier for the Medallion Signature in the UK is now IWC Estate Planning and Management Ltd.

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References[edit]

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1. "Signature Guarantees: Preventing the Unauthorized Transfer of Securities". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 2009-11-17.