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I'm currently a resident of an EU country. I have a brokerage account open with my local bank, allowing me to buy international stocks directly on the NASDAQ/NYSE/LSE and other int'l exchanges. Am I right in thinking that my stocks (or, rather, records of ownership) are stored somewhere in a central repository in the USA/UK rather then with my local broker?

What I am concerned with is a hypotethical (but not unlikely) situation when Vladimir Vladimirovich will come here a-rolling on his tanks and my local bank would be reduced to a pile of rubble (quite literally). Assuming that I escape to, say, Argentina, would I be able to contact the US repository and tell them "Hi, it's me, I've owned such and such equities, could I have them back?.."

  • Chances are (if the rest of the EU is like the UK) that "your" stocks will be held in a Nominee Account... see perhaps my answer to a related question. – TripeHound May 15 '18 at 15:34
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You shares and of other customers of your broker are held in a nominee account.

Pooled nominee accounts, also known as omnibus accounts. The shares are usually held in electronic form, but the name that appears in the records as the legal owner is a nominee company, which is usually owned by your stock broker. Many different investments held by clients of your stock broker are bundled together in the name of the same nominee and the stock broker records which client then has the rights over which shares. Stocks held in this way are referred to as being held ‘in nominee’ or ‘in street name’, depending on the country. Your name does not appear on the register of shareholders.

So your shares are safe.

"Hi, it's me, I've owned such and such equities, could I have them back?

This might depend quite heavily on the jurisdiction of the place you want to claim your shares in. As your name isn't on the shareholder registry it willn't be so straightforward as going to a bank and withdrawing your money.

SOURCE

  • Thanks @DumbCoder, that makes sense for me now! I was right to open two separate brokerage accounts after all, even though some people told me it's an overkill :) Now I'll open a third account, specifically for int'l investments. A comment though: you say "So your shares are safe". Well, it depends heavily on with whom the nominee account is held... If that broker is in the same country as me - there's no redundancy. In my case the middle-man is in another EU country, so that gives some diversification... – Alexander May 17 '18 at 10:43

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