Euroclear Nederland has called time on a 400-year tradition of paper securities certificates as it closes its vaults in Amsterdam and moves all share ownership documentation to an electronic register.
The Dutch central securities depository recently completed the full-scale dematerialisation process of all Dutch securities classes (bonds, equities and depository receipts) for the Dutch capital market.
The final securities certificate to be entered into the CSD's electronic registration system marks the end of an era in the use of physical certificates to connote investment ownership.
Valerie Urbain, chief executive officer of Euroclear Nederland, states: "Today, we have consigned the last listed paper certificate in the Dutch giro system to history. The Netherlands has always had a strong affinity with stock certificates. We can trace the world's oldest share certificate to that of the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie's issue of 1606, the first public share offering anywhere."
The dematerialisation process was started by Necigef in the 1990s following a market-wide call to modernise and make the Dutch capital market safer and more efficient.
Subsequent changes to Dutch securities law in 2000 enabled Euroclear Nederland to use a single global certificate to represent an entire issue, instead of printing an individual piece of paper for each certificate. Changes to laws which took effect on 1 January 2011, meant that as of 31 December 2012, all securities held in custody with the CSD have been converted into either electronic book-entries or a global note.
At its height in the early 1990s, Euroclear Nederland's vaults in Amsterdam held over eight million pieces of paper representing client assets worth EUR800 billion.