In the rapidly evolving landscape of financial markets, dematerialization has emerged as a transformative force, reshaping the traditional concept of share ownership. Dematerialization refers to the conversion of physical share certificates into electronic or digital form. This article explores the significance of dematerialization, its advantages and the impact it has on the modern investment landscape.
Ban on physical shares
Regulations on mandatory dematerialization of physical shares was introduced by SEBI in July, 2018. The rules were effective from December, 2018, after which time all requests for share transfers must be submitted only in Demat format. Sale / purchase of shares can only take place once the shares are converted into electronic form. This does not mean the physical share certificates become worthless. Rather, the Government has only streamlined the process to buy/sell shares through stock exchanges via a demat account.
The Evolution of Dematerialization
Traditionally, investors held physical share certificates as tangible proof of ownership in a company. However, the advent of technology and the need for more efficient and secure trading processes led to the development of dematerialization. This process involves the elimination of physical certificates, replacing them with electronic records held in a central depository.
What is a demat account?
Demat account acts as a repository for electronic shares, allowing investors to hold, buy, and sell securities in digital form. Opening a demat account is a straightforward process, usually facilitated by depository participants (DPs), such as banks or brokerage firms.
Advantages of Dematerialization
1. Reduced Risk of Loss or Theft
One of the primary advantages of dematerialization is the elimination of the risk associated with physical share certificates. In the digital realm, shares are stored electronically, reducing the likelihood of loss, theft, or damage that physical documents may incur.
2. Efficient and Quick Transactions
Dematerialization facilitates swift and seamless trading processes. Electronic shares can be bought or sold with greater speed and efficiency, eliminating the time-consuming and cumbersome procedures associated with physical share transfers.
3. Eliminates middle-men & cost attached with it
Earlier for a retail investor sale purchase of shares used to happen through a broker. Now with the concept of demat account, this process has reduced to a click of a button on mobile apps. This reduces dependency on middle men/ brokers & reduces costs attached to it.
4. Convenience for Investors & Simplified Record-Keeping
Investors benefit from the convenience of managing their investment portfolio in electronic form. They can easily monitor holdings, track transactions, and receive corporate benefits, such as dividends, directly into their demat (dematerialized) accounts. Dematerialization streamlines the record-keeping process. Investors no longer need to maintain physical files and records of their share certificates. All transactions, holdings, and corporate actions are digitally recorded and easily accessible through the demat account.
5. Enhanced Security
Digital shares are stored in secure electronic form, reducing the risk of forgery or fraudulent activities associated with physical certificates. The demat system employs advanced security measures to protect investors’ interests.