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The act of a brokerage holding a client's securities or other assets on his/her behalf. This reduces the risk of the client losing his/her assets or having them stolen. They are also available to the brokerage to sell at the client's demand. Like a bank, safekeeping provides an investor a place to store assets with little risk. Unlike a bank, brokerages are not allowed to use the items in safekeeping for their own ends. Assets in safekeeping are not fungible for the brokerage because they remain in the client's name; for this reason, brokerages normally require a fee for safekeeping services. See also: Street name safekeeping.


The keeping of assets, including securities, by a financial institution.


Safekeeping occurs when a broker-dealer holds securities that are registered in a client's name for the client.

The advantage from the client's perspective is that the securities are safe and the broker-dealer has them available to sell at the client's instruction.

The disadvantage from the broker-dealer's perspective is that securities held in a client's name are not fully negotiable or fungible, so they can't be used to settle trades, for example. Thus, it's a service for which many firms charge a fee.

Instead of being registered in their own names, clients' securities may be registered in the broker-dealer's name or in the name of a depository. That's known as being registered in street name or nominee name.

With this type of registration, the client's ownership rights are fully protected but the stock is fungible. The broker-dealer may use a limited portion of the holding to settle trades or for other purposes.