No. of Recommendations: 4

You wrote, For example, a Wells Trade account (yes, possibly a bad choice, but a good example of why I have this question) charges $150 per position, with the footnote of "Safekeeping fee is only charged on those securities eligible to be held in street name"

Before everyone jumps to conclusions here, I'd call Wells Trade and ask about this fee.

I think this safekeeping fee is only if you deposit certificates issued in your name with Wells Trade AND you want them kept in your name AND the issuer offers the option to hold them in street name. Street name is where the issuer's trustee just makes an accounting entry that records the holding broker's name and number of shares. No physical certificates are issued.

If I'm right, the safekeeping fee is an unusual fee designed to discourage the account holder from depositing physical shares for safe-keeping. Essentially they're charging the account holder a maintenance fee to physically store the certificates in a safe; but they're still offering it as a service.

Likely the reason other deep discount brokers don't list this fee is because they won't accept physical certificates unless you are willing to have them transferred to street name. In other words, they don't want to be physically responsible for your certificates.

Just my opinion...
- Joel
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