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Securities Transfer Agents Medallion Program STAMP: How It Works and FAQs

Last updated 03/28/2024 by

Silas Bamigbola

Edited by

Fact checked by

Securities transfer agents medallion program (STAMP) is a vital verification system utilized by various institutions to guarantee individual signatures on physical certificates of securities during transfers. STAMP, a non-profit entity, ensures compliance with SEC regulations and enhances the efficiency and security of the security transfer process.

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Understanding securities transfer agents medallion program

The securities transfer agents medallion program (STAMP) plays a crucial role in facilitating the transfer of securities by verifying the signatures on physical certificates. STAMP is one of the three major signature guarantee programs, along with the stock exchanges medallion program (SEMP) and the New York Stock Exchange medallion signature program (MSP).

What is STAMP?

STAMP is a non-profit entity jointly owned and operated by various financial institutions, including commercial banks, credit unions, savings banks, and broker-dealers. Its primary function is to provide a reliable signature guarantee service endorsed by the Securities Transfer Association.

How does STAMP work?

According to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations, transfer agents must verify a person’s signature on a physical certificate of security before accepting the transfer. STAMP members, equipped with Medallion imprinting equipment and surety bond coverage, imprint or stamp certificates to indicate that the signature is guaranteed by a trustworthy financial institution.
This signature guarantee is crucial for transfer agents, as it mitigates the risk of accepting forged signatures, which could result in financial loss or liability. While STAMP members typically offer the imprint service as a courtesy to their customers, it is an essential aspect of maintaining the integrity of the securities transfer process.

Benefits of STAMP

STAMP offers several benefits to both financial institutions and investors:
  • Enhanced Security: By verifying signatures, STAMP reduces the risk of fraudulent transfers and protects investors’ assets.
  • Efficient Transfer Process: The use of Medallion imprinting equipment streamlines the transfer process, reducing administrative delays.
  • Compliance with Regulations: STAMP ensures compliance with SEC Rule 17Ad-15, which mandates the verification of signatures on physical certificates.

Comprehensive examples of signature guarantee programs

While STAMP is one of the prominent signature guarantee programs, there are others that serve similar functions:
  • Stock Exchanges Medallion Program (SEMP): Similar to STAMP, SEMP is another widely recognized signature guarantee program endorsed by various stock exchanges. It provides assurance to transfer agents regarding the authenticity of signatures on securities certificates.
  • New York Stock Exchange Medallion Signature Program (MSP): MSP, operated by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), offers signature guarantee services to investors and financial institutions. It ensures compliance with SEC regulations and facilitates the smooth transfer of securities.
  • Bank Medallion Signature Guarantee: Offered by banks and financial institutions, this program provides signature guarantees for various financial transactions, including the transfer of securities. It is often required for transactions involving large sums of money or valuable assets.

Understanding the importance of signature guarantee

The signature guarantee process is integral to the security and integrity of securities transactions. Without proper verification of signatures, there is a risk of fraud and unauthorized transfers. By requiring a signature guarantee, transfer agents can ensure that transactions are conducted securely and in accordance with regulatory requirements.

Pros and cons of digital signature solutions

Weigh the risks and benefits
Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks of digital signature solutions.


  • Convenience: Digital signatures can be applied remotely, eliminating the need for physical presence.
  • Security: Encryption techniques ensure the integrity and authenticity of digital signatures.
  • Efficiency: Digital solutions streamline the signature verification process, reducing administrative delays.


  • Accessibility: Some investors may not have access to the technology required for digital signatures.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Digital signature solutions must comply with relevant regulations, which can vary by jurisdiction.

Enhancing security through digital solutions

In addition to traditional signature guarantee programs, advancements in technology have led to the development of digital solutions for verifying signatures and facilitating securities transfers. Digital signature platforms use encryption and authentication methods to securely validate signatures, offering convenience and efficiency to investors and financial institutions.

Types of signature guarantees

Signature guarantee programs can vary based on the institutions offering them and the level of coverage provided. Some common types include:
  • Full Medallion Guarantee: This type of guarantee is typically required for high-value transactions and is provided by banks, brokerage firms, and other financial institutions participating in recognized signature guarantee programs like STAMP.
  • Restricted Medallion Guarantee: This guarantee is limited in scope and may be offered by certain financial institutions for specific types of transactions, such as transfers within retirement accounts or other restricted scenarios.
  • Non-Medallion Guarantee: Some smaller institutions or non-traditional financial service providers may offer signature guarantees that do not conform to the standards of recognized medallion programs. While these guarantees may still be accepted in certain situations, they may carry higher risk.

Challenges in signature guarantee process

Despite the benefits of signature guarantee programs, there are challenges that can arise during the process:
  • Documentation Requirements: Transfer agents may have strict requirements regarding the documentation needed to obtain a signature guarantee, which can pose challenges for investors, particularly if they are dealing with physical certificates.
  • Availability of Guarantors: In some regions or for certain types of transactions, finding a qualified guarantor who participates in recognized signature guarantee programs may be difficult, leading to delays or complications.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Financial institutions offering signature guarantees must ensure compliance with relevant regulations, which may require ongoing training and adherence to specific procedures.


The Securities Transfer Agents Medallion Program (STAMP) and other signature guarantee programs play a crucial role in ensuring the security and efficiency of securities transfers. By verifying signatures, these programs protect investors from fraud and unauthorized transactions, while also facilitating compliance with regulatory requirements. As technology continues to evolve, digital signature solutions offer additional convenience and security, further enhancing the transfer process. However, challenges such as documentation requirements and regulatory compliance remain important considerations for both investors and financial institutions involved in securities transactions.

Frequently asked questions

What are the requirements for obtaining a signature guarantee through STAMP?

To obtain a signature guarantee through STAMP, individuals typically need to present valid identification and the physical certificates of securities requiring transfer. Additionally, they may be required to provide proof of ownership or other supporting documentation, depending on the policies of the financial institution providing the guarantee.

Can individuals without a bank account still obtain a signature guarantee?

Yes, some financial institutions offer signature guarantee services to non-account holders for a fee. However, the availability of this service may vary depending on the institution’s policies and requirements.

What should investors do if they encounter difficulties in obtaining a signature guarantee?

If investors encounter difficulties in obtaining a signature guarantee, they should first inquire with their financial institution or broker-dealer to understand the specific requirements and procedures. If necessary, they may explore alternative options, such as seeking assistance from a different institution or consulting with a financial advisor.

Are there alternatives to physical certificates for transferring securities?

Yes, electronic transfer methods, such as book-entry transfers and digital securities, have become increasingly popular alternatives to physical certificates for transferring securities. These methods offer convenience, efficiency, and reduced risk compared to traditional paper-based transfers.

What happens if a signature guarantee is rejected by a transfer agent?

If a signature guarantee is rejected by a transfer agent, investors should follow up with the guarantor to understand the reason for the rejection and address any discrepancies. In some cases, additional documentation or verification may be required to satisfy the transfer agent’s requirements.

Can individuals transfer securities internationally using STAMP?

STAMP primarily facilitates the transfer of securities within the United States. For international transfers, individuals may need to comply with additional regulations and requirements imposed by foreign jurisdictions. It is advisable to consult with legal and financial professionals familiar with international securities transactions.

Is signature guarantee required for all securities transfers?

While signature guarantee is generally required for the transfer of physical certificates of securities, certain types of transfers, such as electronic transfers within brokerage accounts or retirement plans, may not always necessitate a signature guarantee. However, it is essential to confirm the specific requirements with the transfer agent or financial institution involved.

Key takeaways

  • STAMP provides a reliable signature guarantee service for the transfer of securities.
  • Membership in STAMP is open to various financial institutions, including commercial banks and broker-dealers.
  • The use of Medallion imprinting equipment enhances the efficiency and security of the transfer process.
  • STAMP helps ensure compliance with SEC regulations regarding signature verification.

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