How to Get a Medallion Signature Guarantee
Medallion signature guarantee stamps can be obtained at banks, brokerage firms and credit unions that participate in the Medallion program; however, if you’re new or have limited banking relations they are unlikely to provide one without knowing more about you first.
If you need an MSG, call ahead and inquire if they offer them and the maximum value limit they cover.
Why are Medallion Stamps So Hard to Get?
When selling or transferring stocks and securities, transfer agents require a medallion signature guarantee stamp as part of their verification procedure. To get one of these stamps, visit a bank, credit union, savings and loan association or brokerage firm affiliated with their program.
These institutions are wary to issue medallion signature guarantees to just anyone; otherwise they face potential financial liabilities that are far-reaching. Therefore, a medallion stamp will only be provided if someone has been reliable customer over an extended period of time.
Cost of medallion stamps vary between banks and are determined by their alpha prefix and coverage limit. On average, it costs approximately $100 to guarantee securities transfers worth $250,000 or more and this fee does not include brokerage or institution charges.
Banks Are Reluctant to Provide Medallion Stamps
Medallion Signature Guarantees, also known as MSGs, provide stamp and certification that verifies that signatures on documents for transfer of securities or investment assets are genuine. Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions often offer this service at a fee and must adhere to one or more medallion programs’ rules to become eligible to provide this service. MSGs are particularly helpful for investors when gifting shares or assets or moving them after death of original owner(s).
MSGs expose financial institutions to significant liability risks; therefore, most banks only provide these services to known members with existing accounts. Individuals seeking MSGs should research institutions that offer this service and be prepared to pay a substantial fee. Furthermore, be mindful of how long it will take before documents can be approved.
They Are a Security Measure
As their name implies, medallion stamps serve as an extra safeguard to safeguard transfer agents and financial institutions that handle securities against fraud. By verifying who signed forms with stamps on it, these security stamps give institutions confidence that those signing them have authority.
A medallion stamp may only be issued by a financial institution such as banks, credit unions and brokerage firms due to being secured by bank assets and performing comprehensive screening of clients; while notary stamps do not have this protection.
Medallion signature guarantees can be hard to obtain from smaller institutions like local banks and credit unions; according to one reader in an online forum, his local branches of Citibank, Wells Fargo and HSBC only provided this service to existing customers.
They Are a Liability Issue
As identity theft and fraud continue to rise, medallion stamps provide assurances that your signature is authentic and that it matches up with who you claim to be. Furthermore, financial institutions offering this stamp also guarantee they will accept liability should any forgery occur.
These stamps feature an invisible security compound and barcode that can only be read by special Stamp 2000 Plus scanners used by transfer agents – making them far harder to counterfeit than regular notary stamps that verify your signature and identity.
Medallion signature guarantees can be obtained through banks, credit unions and brokers offering this service as well as various websites and directories that list medallion stamp providers. Many are part of Kemark Financial Services’ STAMP program while those not participating may charge a fee to cover paperwork and overhead costs as well as having minimum or maximum dollar guarantees available to them.