• Current through October 23, 2012

(a) A person signing a security certificate as authenticating trustee, registrar, transfer agent, or the like, warrants to a purchaser for value of the certificated security, if the purchaser is without notice of a particular defect, that:

(1) The certificate is genuine;

(2) The person's own participation in the issue of the security is within the person's capacity and within the scope of the authority received by the person from the issuer; and

(3) The person has reasonable grounds to believe that the certificated security is in the form and within the amount the issuer is authorized to issue.

(b) Unless otherwise agreed, a person signing under subsection (a) of this section does not assume responsibility for the validity of the security in other respects.

(Dec. 30, 1963, 77 Stat. 736, Pub. L. 88-243, § 1; Mar. 16, 1993, D.C. Law 9-196, § 4, 39 DCR 9165; Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-240, § 2, 44 DCR 1087.)



1. The warranties here stated express the current understanding and prevailing case law as to the effect of the signatures of authenticating trustees, transfer agents, and registrars. See Jarvis v. Manhattan Beach Co., 148 N.Y. 652, 43 N.E. 68, 31 L.R.A. 776, 51 Am.St.Rep. 727 (1896). Although it has generally been regarded as the particular obligation of the transfer agent to determine whether securities are in proper form as provided by the by-laws and Articles of Incorporation, neither a registrar nor an authenticating trustee should properly place a signature upon a certificate without determining whether it is at least regular on its face. The obligations of these parties in this respect have therefore been made explicit in terms of due care. See Feldmeier v. Mortgage Securities, Inc., 34 Cal.App.2d 201, 93 P.2d 593 (1939).

2. Those cases which hold that an authenticating trustee is not liable for any defect in the mortgage or property which secures the bond or for any fraudulent misrepresentations made by the issuer are not here affected since these matters do not involve the genuineness or proper form of the security. Ainsa v. Mercantile Trust Co., 174 Cal. 504, 163 P. 898 (1917); Tschetinian v. City Trust Co., 186 N.Y. 432, 79 N.E. 401 (1906); Davidge v. Guardian Trust Co. of New York, 203 N.Y. 331, 96 N.E. 751 (1911).

3. The charter or an applicable statute may affect the capacity of a bank or other corporation undertaking to act as an authenticating trustee, registrar, or transfer agent. See, for example, the Federal Reserve Act (U.S.C.A., Title 12, Banks and Banking, Section 248) under which the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank is authorized to grant special permits to National Banks permitting them to act as trustees. Such corporations are therefore held to certify as to their legal capacity to act as well as to their authority.

4. Authenticating trustees, registrars, and transfer agents have normally been held liable for an issue in excess of the authorized amount. Jarvis v. Manhattan Beach Co., supra; Mullen v. Eastern Trust & Banking Co., 108 Me. 498, 81 A. 948 (1911). In imposing upon these parties a duty of due care with respect to the amount they are authorized to help issue, this section does not necessarily validate the security, but merely holds persons responsible for the excess issue liable in damages for any loss suffered by the purchaser.

5. Aside from questions of genuineness and excess issue, these parties are not held to certify as to the validity of the security unless they specifically undertake to do so. The case law which has recognized a unique responsibility on the transfer agent's part to testify as to the validity of any security which it countersigns is rejected.

6. This provision does not prevent a transfer agent or issuer from agreeing with a registrar of stock to protect the registrar in respect of the genuineness and proper form of a security certificate signed by the issuer or the transfer agent or both. Nor does it interfere with proper indemnity arrangements between the issuer and trustees, transfer agents, registrars, and the like.

7. An unauthorized signature is a signature for purposes of this section if and only if it is made effective by Section 8-205.

Definitional Cross References

"Certificated security". Section 8-102(a)(4).

"Genuine". Section 1-201(18).

"Issuer". Section 8-201.

"Notice". Section 1-201(25).

"Purchaser". Sections 1-201(33) and 8-116.

"Security". Section 8-102(a)(15).

"Security certificate". Section 8-102(a)(16).

"Uncertificated security". Section 8-102(a)(18).

"Value". Sections 1-201(44) and 8-116.

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 28:8-208.

1973 Ed., § 28:8-208.

Legislative History of Laws

For legislative history of D.C. Law 9-196, see Historical and Statutory Notes following § 28:8-101.

For legislative history of D.C. Law 11-240, see Historical and Statutory Notes following § 28:8-201.