Unlike 99.9% of investors, most SD readers are aware (or should be) that unless you have physically taken possession of your equity shares, the actual owner is the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (DTCC).
CNN Money has reported that the DTCC vault holding trillions of dollars in equity certificates was breached in the Sandy flood-waters, and trillions in stock certificates and other paper securities may have suffered damage.
While the jokes relating to vaporization of assets from Hurricane Sandy were centered on the gold stored 60 feet below the NY Fed, it appears that in reality, Sandy may have destroyed portions of millions of Americans’ 401k’s, pensions, and stock accounts.
Up to $36.5 trillion in securities may be damaged according to the CNN report:
Trillions of dollars worth of stock certificates and other paper securities that were stored in a vault in lower Manhattan may have suffered water damage from Superstorm Sandy.
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., an industry-run clearing house for Wall Street, said the contents of its vault “are likely damaged,” after its building at 55 Water Street “sustained significant water damage” from the storm that battered New York City’s financial district earlier this week.
The vault contains certificates registered to Cede & Co., a subsidiary of DTCC, as well as “custody certificates” in sealed envelopes that belong to clients.
The DTCC provides “custody and asset servicing” for more than 3.6 million securities worth an estimated $36.5 trillion, according to its website.
The DTCC’s vault has apparently been flooded to such an extent that officials have not even regained access to the facility a week after Superstorm Sandy struck Manhattan:
“At this point, it is premature to make an accurate assessment as to the full impact of the water damage nor would it be helpful to project on what specific actions need to be taken with respect to our vault,” said DTCC Chief Executive Michael Bodson in a statement. “We are aggressively working on this situation to minimize disruption to our clients and will provide additional updates as more information becomes available.Bodson said the DTCC’s computer records are intact and that the corporation has “detailed inventory files of the contents of the vault.”
The building remains inaccessible, but the lower floors are believed to be flooded. The full extent of the damage cannot be assessed until power is restored and the building is deemed safe to enter.”