Medallion Signature Guarantees: Preventing the Unauthorized Transfer of Securities

If you hold securities in physical certificate form and want to transfer or sell them, you will need to sign the certificates and securities powers--a legal document, separate from a securities certificate that investors use to transfer or assign ownership to another person or entity. You will need to get your signature guaranteed on all documents before a transfer agent will accept the transaction instructions. The Medallion Signature Guarantee Program protects you by making it harder for people to steal your securities by forging your signature on your securities certificates and related documents. Transfer agents insist on medallion signature guarantees because they limit their liability and losses if a signature turns out to be forged.

An investor can obtain a medallion signature guarantee from a financial institution – such as a commercial bank, savings bank, credit union, or broker dealer – that participates in one of the Medallion Signature Guarantee Programs. The three Medallion Signature Guarantee Programs are the:


Securities Transfer Agents Medallion Program (STAMP) whose participants include more than 7,000 U.S. and Canadian financial institutions.


Stock Exchanges Medallion Program (SEMP) whose participants include the regional stock exchange member firms, and clearing and trust companies.


New York Stock Exchange Medallion Signature Program (MSP) whose participants include NYSE member firms.

If a financial institution is not a member of a recognized Medallion Signature Guarantee Program, it will not be able to provide medallion signature guarantees. Also, if you are not a customer of a participating financial institution, it is likely the financial institution will not guarantee your signature. Therefore, the best source of a medallion signature guarantee is a bank, savings and loan association, brokerage firm, or credit union with which you do business.

If you have questions about the documents required to affect your transfer, do not hesitate to contact the transfer agent for the issuer or the issuer itself.  In some cases, the issuer acts as its own transfer agent.  Most of the time, the name of the transfer agent can be found on the issuer’s website under “Investor Relations.”

Note to Overseas Investors – You may be able to obtain a medallion signature guarantee from an overseas branch of a U.S. or Canadian bank, broker, or credit union with whom you do business. If you have been unable to obtain a medallion guarantee, you should contact the transfer agent or issuer corporation requiring the medallion signature for assistance.