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Medallion Signature Guarantee

Definition

A Medallion Signature Guarantee is a certification provided by a financial institution validating the legitimacy of a signature and the signatory’s overall request, primarily used in securities transactions. It ensures that the person signing a document is indeed who they claim to be, and have the authority to make such a transaction. This protects against fraudulent activities and guarantees the bearer stands behind the signature and the transaction itself.

Phonetic

The phonetic pronunciation of “Medallion Signature Guarantee” is: muh-dal-ee-uhn sig-nuh-choor guh-ran-tee.

Key Takeaways

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  1. Medallion Signature Guarantee is a form of certification for the authenticity of an individual’s signature; it’s often used in sensitive financial transactions like trading or transferring securities to prevent fraudulent activities.
  2. This guarantee can only be granted by specially accredited institutions, such as banks, broker-dealers, or credit unions. These institutions must be members of a Medallion signature guarantee program, ensuring they’re qualified to provide this validation.
  3. When seeking a Medallion Signature Guarantee, one must provide appropriate identification, information about the securities involved, and a reason for the transfer of the asset. However, policies may vary slightly based on the institution.

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Importance

A Medallion Signature Guarantee is a critical financial tool used to ensure the authenticity of a signature on financial documents, thereby protecting against fraudulent transactions. It’s commonly required when transferring securities or selling securities like stocks and bonds. Importance stems from its role as a high-level security measure accepted and recognized by all financial institutions across the United States. It confirms not only that the signature is genuine but also represents a commitment that the guarantor or financial institution takes financial responsibility for any forgery. Thus, Medallion Signature Guarantee plays a crucial part in maintaining the stability and integrity of financial transactions.

Explanation

The primary purpose of a Medallion Signature Guarantee is to protect all parties involved in the transfer of securities and mitigate the risk of fraud. It serves as a warranty by a financial institution, such as a bank, credit union, or brokerage house, that the individual endorsing the transaction is, indeed, the rightful owner and has legal capacity to execute the transfer. The guarantee asserts the authenticity of the signature, not the accuracy of the transaction details. In the case of forgery or any form of fraud, the guarantor is held financially responsible, and therefore, is obliged to ensure diligent vigilance while issuing it.Typically, a Medallion Signature Guarantee is used during the selling, buying, or transferring of securities, whether that be stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other paper assets. It becomes critical during transactions involving a change in the registered owner’s name or when securities are being transferred to another account following the death of the registered owner. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules mandate the use of a Medallion Signature Guarantee to protect shareholders by preventing unauthorized transfers and possible investor losses. The use of this guarantee ensures that financial institutions accept liability for any forgery within the securities transfer process.

Examples

1. Stock Transfer: If you hold paper certificates for shares in a company and you want to transfer the ownership of these shares, your broker may require a medallion signature guarantee. This is to ensure that the transaction is legitimate and to protect all parties from fraudulent activity.2. Estate Settlement: If you are the executor of someone’s estate and there are securities or other significant assets that need to be transferred or sold, you may need to obtain a medallion guarantee. This provides an additional layer of protection and ensures that the transfer is being done under the authority of the executor.3. Selling Mutual Funds: If you’re looking to sell your mutual funds, the financial institution may require a medallion signature guarantee to ensure that you’re the true owner of the investment. This helps to prevent fraud and protect both you and the institution from unauthorized transactions.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Medallion Signature Guarantee?

A Medallion Signature Guarantee is a special certification stamp that ensures that the signature authorizing the transfer of securities is genuine. This guarantee is often required by transfer agents before the transfer of securities is approved.

Why would I need a Medallion Signature Guarantee?

A Medallion Signature Guarantee is required in instances where you are looking to sell or transfer securities, such as stocks or bonds.

Where can I get a Medallion Signature Guarantee?

Traditional financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and brokerage firms can provide Medallion Signature Guarantees to their customers. You usually need to have an account with them and they may charge a fee for the service.

Can I get a Medallion Signature Guarantee online?

Some online providers offer Medallion Signature Guarantees, but many financial institutions require physical presence. It’s best to check with each individual provider to see if online service is offered.

What information do I need to provide for a Medallion Signature Guarantee?

You need to provide a government-issued identification, as well as the original security certificate or transaction statement. Other information, such as account numbers, may be required depending on the financial institution.

How is a Medallion Signature Guarantee different from a Notary Stamp?

A Medallion Signature Guarantee protects against fraudulent transactions by providing a warranty for the recipient, whereas a Notary Stamp simply verifies the identity of the signer.

Can a Medallion Signature Guarantee expire?

Generally, a Medallion Signature Guarantee does not have an expiry date. However, transfer agents might have specific timing requirements and may not accept a guarantee stamp that is too old.

Is there a cost associated with getting a Medallion Signature Guarantee?

Many financial institutions provide this service for free to their account holders, while others may charge a small fee. It is best to check with your bank or financial institution for possible charges.

Related Finance Terms

  • Securities Transfer Agents Medallion Program (STAMP): A program under which participating financial institutions issue Medallion Signature Guarantees.
  • Transfer Agent: An important player in medallion signature guarantees, they are often banks, trust companies, or similar institutions responsible for verifying and guaranteeing the authenticity of signatures on securities transactions.
  • Signature Verification: The process by which the authenticity of a signature is confirmed, which is at the core of a Medallion Signature Guarantee.
  • Financial Liability: In the context of a Medallion Signature Guarantee, the guarantor institution assumes the financial liability for any potential fraud in the transaction.
  • Endorsement: This is what a Medallion Signature Guarantee validates – the legitimacy of an endorsement on a financial document or a request to change the ownership of an asset.

Sources for More Information

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