Deposit at Custodian

The transfer of new shares or share certificates to and from the Depository Trust Company (DTC)

What is Deposit at Custodian?

Deposit at custodian is an electronic method that involves the transfer of new shares or share certificates to and from the Depository Trust Company (DTC) through service at the distribution point called Fast Automated Securities Transfer (FAST).

Deposit at Custodian

The deposit at custodian is one of the methods to transfer information between brokers/dealers, with the other method being the Direct Registry System (DRS). The two methods allow investors to own stocks in a registered form on the accounts of the transfer agent, rather than physical form.


A deposit at custodian involves the transfer of new shares or share certificates to and from the Depository Trust Company (DTC) through service at the distribution point called Fast Automated Securities Transfer (FAST).

  • The benefits of DTC include lower risk, saving time, and cost-saving. 
  • A transaction is completed by either increasing or decreasing the balance on the DTC’s books, and the agent is given until 5:30 p.m. ET every day to process a transaction. 

Benefits of Deposit at Custodian

The deposit of custodian provides many benefits to investors compared to other methods. The benefits include lower risk, time-saving, and cost-saving. It is because an electronic system like a deposit at custodian allows the transfer of stocks and money to and from the broker’s account immediately.

Hence, the settlement process is expediated and efficient. No physical transfer is involved, which reduces the chance of damage and loss during the transfer process. For the entire process to be successful, there are several requirements for the broker, and they do not concern the investors. The main requirements are that shares need to be trading and qualified for restriction removal, the broker needs to possess a DTC license, and the issuer must be DWAC eligible.

Apart from a FAST transfer, using a deposit at custodian, a DTC can transfer using PTS/PBS. Once a transfer request is approved, the DTC completes the transaction – either a deposit or withdrawal – by increasing or decreasing the custodian’s balance on the DTC’s books, respectively.

Each day, participants are given until 5:15 p.m. ET to deposit or withdraw, and the custodian is given until 5:30 p.m. ET to either approve or reject the transaction. A reason must be given by the custodian when a transfer is approved or rejected, and requests that are not approved or rejected by the custodian at the end of the day will need to be followed up the next day. If the PEND feature is activated on the request, it will be open for the next 72 hours.

Deposits or withdrawals associated with secondary offering Delivery Orders (DOs) must contact the underwriting department of the DTC immediately.

What is the  Fast Automated Securities Transfer Program?

The Fast Automated Securities Transfer Program (FAST) is a program that eliminates the movement of physical securities, as it is a contract between the transfer agent and the DTC, where the FAST agent acts as the guardian for the DTC. The FAST Program was introduced in 1975, and today, around 1.1 million issues are circulating the market with 100 agents and a total value of $41 trillion.

The FAST Program is an important program that dematerializes and reduces costs associated with shipping between agents and processing share certificates. FAST agents can access DTC-eligible systems through PTS/PBS or ANIRA. It will allow FAST agents to balance daily accounts and keep track of transactions made through the DTC’s FAST balance.

Deposit at Custodian Agreement

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that each of the DTC’s DWAC custodians is registered as a transfer agent to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. To register, the following information must be provided:

  • The name of the transfer agent
  • Transfer agent number
  • CDWC contact person
  • SEC registration number
  • Phone number
  • Authorized signature
  • User sign-ons
  • Print name
  • Title
  • Date

Related Readings

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