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Bearer Securities

A bearer security is one that is NOT registered in the books and records of the issuing entity.  Because there are no records of ownership, possession of the security is the sole evidence of ownership.  Put another way, whoever holds the security is regarded as being its owner.

The 1988 movie “Die Hard” perfectly demonstrates the risks associated with holding bearer securities.  Had it not been for New York City police detective John McClane (played by Bruce Willis) the villain, Hans Gruber (played by Alan Rickman) would have been able to steal USD 640 million of bearer bonds from the Nakatomi Corporation.  As no ownership register existed, there would have been no way to identifying the rightful owners of the bonds.

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