Medallion Stamps and Medallion Signature Guarantees
Signature guarantees are similar to notary stamps in that they verify that signers of financial documents are who they say they are. Furthermore, signature guarantees accept liability for any unlawful transfers up to an established surety limit.
Financial institutions usually provide these to existing customers free of charge.
It’s a stamp
Medallion stamps issued by financial institutions to verify the authenticity of signatures used when transferring securities or other assets can serve as guarantees that limit liability in case of forgeries; similar to notary stamps but only available from certified banks or financial institutions. They come in bright green color and contain barcode and special code reading capability allowing only scanners designated to recognize it to read it properly. Medallion stamps differ from notary stamps by providing more protection.
Due to their cost and liability concerns, financial institutions do not make medallion signature guarantees available to everyone; typically they only offer them to existing customers at a fee. If you’re administrating an estate with shares traded on US or Canadian stock exchanges, obtaining one may be necessary – this can be obtained either from your bank or using an online search tool such as those provided by websites like Search Stamp.
It’s a seal
Medallion Signature Guarantee stamps are an essential tool when it comes to the transfer of securities and can be found at banks, credit unions, transfer agents and broker-dealers; additionally they may also be needed when transferring shares of publicly traded companies and some mutual funds. They feature imprints with invisible security barcodes and green high-security ink for verification by Stamp 2000 Plus scanners used by transfer agents.
Stamps are provided by an eligible guarantor institution such as a bank or credit union registered in the Medallion Signature Guarantee Program, such as banks or credit unions that belong. You can find one by calling your bank or searching online; many foreign banks also provide signature guarantees to existing customers who correspond with US banks; each stamp bears an identifier that indicates how much of a transaction it can cover with its guarantee.
It’s a certificate
Medallion Signature Guarantee (MSG) stamps are used to verify that documents have been signed by particular people. Their procurement can be similar to that of notary stamps; however, certain institutions won’t give out MSGs to people who aren’t already customers and they may require proof that an individual is authorized to sign documents.
MSGs are generally required when transferring securities that are held physically as certificates. MSGs may also be necessary when gifting securities or transferring assets after death of an owner, though only banks and financial institutions participating in the Medallion Signature Guarantee Program can issue them; their staff must undergo extensive staff training and implement safeguarding measures in order to issue one; therefore making its acquisition very costly and time consuming – plus banks will bear liability in the case of fraudulent transactions that lead to losses for which an MSG cannot compensate.
It’s a guarantee
Transfer agents require medallion signature guarantee stamps when transferring securities or investments. The stamp verifies the identity of signatures on transfer forms, and limits liability should any signature prove fraudulent. Banks, credit unions, savings associations, broker dealers that participate in the Medallion Signature Guarantee Program offer such guarantees, with each stamp bearing an ink stamp bearing a coded prefix which specifies its maximum guaranteed monetary value.
Most banks will only grant you a medallion stamp if you’re already their customer. Some institutions verify authenticity by reviewing bank statements or tax returns; other may need additional documentation depending on what kind of transaction it is you want to complete. A reader recently posted on a forum that his local Citibank, Wells Fargo and HSBC branches all refused him a medallion signature guarantee since they did not already hold accounts with them.