There is a busy little private company you probably never have heard about, but which you should. Its name is the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation. See their website. Looks pretty boring. Some kind of financial service thing, with a positive slogan and out there to make a little business. You can even get a job there. It turns out that this company holds 23 trillion dollars in assets, and had 917 trillion dollars worth of transactions in 2002 alone. That’s trillions, as in thousands of thousands of millions. 23,000,000,000,000 dollars in assets. Since this story was first published it appears the huge numbers have been changed to make the company look smaller in the public eyes. The vast amout of financial transactions they are controlling is mind boggling.
As it so turns out, it is not because DTCC has a nice website and says good things about saving their customers money that they are trusted with that kind of resources. Rather it is because they seem to have a monopoly on what they do. In brief, they process the vast majority of all stock transactions in the United States as well as for many other countries. And – and that’s the real interesting part – 99% of all stocks in the U.S. appear to be legally owned by them.
How did this happen?
And why is this mega-monopolizer so hidden from public scrutiny? It turns out it’s part of the Federal Reserve Bank. Big surprise. These same owners and players mandated that all transactions have to go through their subsidiary. And not just go through it for all the profits and asset holding interest the transaction will bring, but they are given ownership of everyone’s assets in the process!
In the old days, when you owned stocks you would have the stock certificates lying in your safe. And if you needed to trade them, you needed to get them shipped off to a broker. Nowadays that would be considered very cumbersome, and it would be impractical to invest via computer or over the phone. So the shortcut was invented that the broker would hold your stocks instead of you. And in order for him to legally be able to trade them for you, the stocks were placed under their “street name”. I.e. they’re in the name of the brokerage, but they’re just holding them in trust and trading them for you. And you’re in reality the beneficiary rather than the owner.
Which is all fine and dandy if everything goes right. Now, it appears the rules were then changed so the brokers are not allowed any longer to put the stocks in their own name. Instead, what they typically do is to put the stocks into the name of “Cede and Company” or “Cede & Co” or some such variation. And the broker might tell you that it is just a fictitious name, and will explain why it is really more practical to do that than to put it in your name.
The problem with that is that it appears that Cede isn’t just some dummy name, but an actual corporation that DTCC controls. And, well, if you ask anybody about this, who actually knows about it, they will naturally tell you that it is all a formality. To serve you better, of course. And, well, maybe it is. DTCC seems like a nice and friendly company. It is a private company, owned by the same people (major U.S. banks) who own the Federal Reserve Bank. And if they all stick to their job, and just keep the money and your stocks flowing smoothly, I’m sure that is all well and good. But if somebody at some point should decide otherwise, and there’s a national U.S. emergency and/or the U.S. government becomes unable to pay its debts, well, they might just not give you your stocks back. Because legally they own them. Something to think about. (source)
Here’s an explanation from another researcher:
The reason the public doesn’t know about DTC is that they’re a privately owned depository bank for institutional and brokerage firms only. They process all of their book entry settlement transactions. Jim McNeff (Director of Training for the DTC at the time) said “There’s no need for the public to know about us… it’s required by the Federal Reserve that DTC handle all transactions”.
The Federal Reserve Corporation, a/k/a The Federal Reserve System, is also a private company and is not an agency or department of our federal government. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors is listed, but they are not the owners. The Federal Reserve Board, headed by Mr. Alan Greenspan [now Bernanke], is nothing more than a liaison advisory panel between the owners and the Federal Government. The FED, as they are more commonly called, mandates that the DTC process every securities transaction in the US.
How convenient. Talk about inside job.
It’s no wonder that the DTC (including the Participants Trust Company, now the Mortgage-Backed Securities Division of the DTC) is owned by the same stockholders as the Federal Reserve System. In other words, the Depository Trust Company is really just a ‘front’ or a division of the Federal Reserve System.
“DTC is 35.1% owned by the New York Stock Exchange on behalf of the Exchange’s members. It is operated by a separate management and has an independent board of directors. It is a limited purpose trust company and is a unit of the Federal Reserve.” -New York Stock Exchange, Inc.