If you are administering an estate with shares traded on the US or Canadian Stock Exchanges, it’s very likely you’ll need a Medallion Signature Guarantee before the shares can be transferred or sold. This blog post explores what a Medallion Signature Guarantee is, when it’s required and how you can get one.
What is a Medallion Signature Guarantee?
Medallion Signature Guarantee stamps are a statutory requirement for the transfer of securities in North America and the programme is overseen by the American Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). The stamp is intended to prevent unauthorised transfers and features a special security ink.
The Medallion Signature Guarantee stamp verifies the validity and authority of the person initiating the transfer. The stamp must be placed on the Transfer Request Form to prove to the transfer agent that the signature is genuine, and the signatory is legally authorised to sign. The transfer agent is then able to proceed with their instruction to transfer or sell the stock.
When is a Medallion Signature Guarantee required?
Generally, a Medallion Signature Guarantee is required when an owner wants to sell or transfer securities held in physical certificate form, including stocks or bonds. If the securities are held through a broker, the owner will not need to obtain a Medallion Signature Guarantee.
How do I get a Medallion Signature Guarantee?
If you’re located outside of North America, it can be a challenge to obtain a Medallion Signature Guarantee stamp. Only those who are members of a Medallion Signature Guarantee programme can provide a signature guarantee and overseas members are limited.
In North America, it’s certainly easier to get a Medallion Signature Guarantee as they can be obtained from a financial institution that you do business with, such as a bank, savings bank, credit union or broker dealer. Over 7,000 North American financial institutions can offer signature guarantees.
At Title Research, we often come across cases where UK stock has become North American stock due to company acquisitions and mergers. This can mean that UK residents are unaware that they’ll need a Medallion Signature Guarantee to sell or transfer their US or Canadian shareholdings.
How Title Research can help
Title Research are experts in dealing with North American assets which means we can navigate the often-complex process of selling or transferring shareholdings for you. If you need to obtain tax clearance from the Internal Revenue Service, reclaim escheated funds or get a Medallion Signature Guarantee, Title Research can help deal with all these challenges.
If you’d like to discuss how Title Research can help you administer foreign shares or funds, call our Client Services Team on 0345 87 27 600, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to get in touch.