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Finance Glossary

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Registered Form


When a security is issued, it can take one of two forms: registered or bearer.

With a registered form, there's a paper trail that notes who bought the security and when. Each time that the security changes hands in trade, information about the new owners is added. Most securities today are registered. 

Bearer forms mean that whoever has the paperwork for the security owns the security—they can walk into a bank and cash it in, no ID usually required and no questions asked. These forms are less popular today because terrorists and other shady types can use the anonymity of bearer forms to raise money for their projects.