Law 2396/1996, which introduced the dematerialization of securities listed on ATHEX, commissioned CSD for the registration and monitoring, in its records, of securities owned by investors. As part of its role as a securities registry, the CSD is the only organization that certifies shareholder quality against the issuer and provides the relevant certificates to the shareholder.
Every investor engaging in Greek capital market, whether natural or legal person, domestic or foreign, must have an Investor Share and Securities Account in the DSS.
The Investor Share and the Securities Account are used to identify the investor in the DSS. The Investor Share contains the investor's reference data and the Securities Account contains the domestic and foreign securities owned by the Investor. The investor is only allowed one Investor Share and one Securities Account in the DSS except in special cases of institutional investors (mutual funds) that are precisely defined in the DSS Regulation.
The Investor Share and the Securities Account are opened/created by the Operator. The investor may appoint more than one Operator who have access and manage a portion of the investor's portfolio of securities (those recorded only in the respective Operator's Account). In no case may Operators be regarded as owners of the securities recorded in their respective Operator Accounts. Each and every action on such securities is deemed to be performed solely between the Operator Accounts of the principal investors.
A Special Account corresponds to each Investor Share and records securities for which the investor has not designated an Operator. For such securities, the CSD shall be considered as the Operator. In order to sell the securities that are recorded in the Special Account, the investor must first contact the Investor Services Department of the CSD to request the securities transferred into a designated Operator Account of the investor's Securities Account under the management of the relevant Operator.
In case of co-ownership of securities, and provided that each of the co-owners holds a separate Investor Share, a co-owners Investor Share is created. The Co-owners Investor Share is identified by the co-owners and the percentage of co-ownership into the securities. The Co-owners Investor Share is used to record all securities that belong to the same group of co-owners along with the co-ownership percentages, based on which the Co-owners Investor Share was initially created.
Under Law 3461/2006 (Article 31(8)), the provisions of Law 5638/1932 on deposits in joint deposit accounts also apply to dematerialized (transferable) securities registered in the DSS. The Joint Investor Share may be created at the request of two or more natural persons, each of which has opened a separate Investor Share. The Joint Account is identified by the joint owners who jointly own the securities recorded in it.
According to clarifications by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission, keeping positions on foreign securities in Joint Accounts in the DSS in the context of Foreign Securities Transaction Services is inconsistent with the philosophy and legislation regarding Joint Investor Share framework and is, therefore, not allowed.
The Issuer Account and Securities Account are created by the CSD when recording securities of the issuer in the DSS. The issuer appoints an Operator to manage its Account.
Simultaneously with the creation of the Issuer Account, a Transitory Account is created through in order to implement corporate actions performed by the issuer. CSD is the sole Operator of the Transitory Account.
The Member Account and the Securities Account are created by the CSD when a Member is accepted as DSS Operator. The Member manages its Account in the capacity of the Operator.
A Member acting as a Market Maker, is entitled to open a separate Investor Share and Securities Account for market making operations.
Account structure matrix
The account structure desocribed above may be shown as a multidimensional matrix, with each participant in the Greek capital market having access to the various components, pursuant to appropriate authorizations granted to them by law and the DSS Regulation. This structure allows the CSD to provide services to investors, issuers, operators and supervisory authorities.
- Operators, through the DSS, have access to, and manage the securities of their clients in their respective Operator Accounts.
- Investors can access and monitor the securities recorded in their Securities and Special Accounts either using the online application AxIAweb, available from the CSD, or through the CSD's Investor Services Department.
- Issuers have access to the details of their shareholders by retrieving information on the Securities Accounts their securities are registered.
- Supervisory Authorities have access to all information in the DSS to perform their supervisory duties.
The above account structure offers unique advantages:
- increased protection of investors with legal certainty about their rights and reduced custodial risk;
- minimized custodial cost;
- effective risk management which reduces settlement risk;
- market claim free clearing and settlement;
- fast and reliable issuance procedure directly into the accounts of beneficiary investors without the intervention of intermediaries;
- automated management of corporate actions;
- low-cost services to issuers, operators, investors and supervisory authorities;
- transparency throughout the transaction chain;
- increased supervisory review capabilities;
- effectiveness of control procedures against money laundering.
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