Euroclear Belgium, Belgium’s central securities depository, has switched over to a new electronic registration process that covers all Belgian bearer securities traded on a regulated market and held by investors. The conversion took place over the first weekend of the New Year. The company says transaction settlement is working seamlessly since the transition.
As of 1 January 2008, Belgian entities are no longer able to issue physical securities. “My colleagues and I are delighted to have successfully complied with the government’s first critical fixed deadline in the conversion to a paper-free capital market,” says Stéphane Bernard, CEO of Euroclear Belgium. “The education programmes organised by Belgium’s Dematerialisation Task Force for banks and about 200 exchange-listed companies, and dematerialisation monitoring tools such as Euroclear Belgium’s Capitrack, eased the transition process for all concerned.”
Euroclear Belgium has destroyed about 15 million paper securities, representing about 250 tons of paper, over the past three years as part of the dematerialisation process. More than 40 million securities, or 600 tons of paper, worth about Eu270 billion that are in Euroclear Belgium’s vaults, are targeted for destruction over the next six years. By 31 December 2013 all paper-based securities, including the Eu5-6 million of securities estimated to be owned by private investors, must be surrendered and converted into electronic registrations.