While there is no requirement that any security be held at DTC to trade, many brokerage firms and issuers want to take advantage of the efficiencies and costs benefits that DTC offers. Also, many stock exchanges require DTC-eligibility prior to listing of a security.
Throughout the lifecycle of a security, DTC helps boost efficiencies, reduce risk and lower costs for participants, issuers and investors. The benefits begin with the eligibility/underwriting process, which enables the initial distribution of a security offering to be made electronically to financial institutions that are DTC participants and ultimately to investors. Once a security becomes eligible, DTC, through its nominee Cede & Co., is the registered holder of the securities, routinely processing dividend and interest payments and managing the electronic “book-entry” transfer of interests in securities among participants. These participants are often holding and transferring interests in the securities at the direction of their customers, including ultimate beneficial owners. If a reorganization such as a corporate merger or tender offer occurs, DTC handles the transfer of cash and stock to the appropriate investment bank or broker/dealer, which then passes it on to their investors. By maintaining custody of eligible securities, DTC eliminates the risk of a missed election on a corporate action, or a missed dividend payment.