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In #2 above, perhaps you're referring to the Direct Registration System (DRS, available only for some companies -- is OSTK among them?) offerred by the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. (see It is indeed another way of holding (some) securities in your name instead of in street name (your broker's name).

thanks for your reply. this takes us right back to the DTCC now. Can I trust them not to lend my shares out, or is it simply irrelevant EVEN if they do, because my name is there and that's it?

second thing: this is not evidence of anything, but that russian hedge fund that had its stuff with Refco and can't get their assets back were registered under Refco's name. Why did they get screwed? Were the assets being lent out or something?? If the answer is no, "street name" is probably dangerous anyway...

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