Euroclear Belgium has met a key objective in the transition to a paper-free securities market in Belgium. The conversion to a new electronic registration process covering all Belgian bearer securities traded on a regulated market and held by investors took place at Belgium’s central securities depository – Euroclear Belgium – over the first weekend of 2008. Transaction settlement has been reported as working seamlessly since the transition, according to Euroclear. As of 1 January 2008, all Belgian entities are only able to issue new securities in dematerialised or registered form, meaning that it is no longer possible for Belgian issuers to issue securities in physical form. Euroclear Belgium has destroyed about 15 million paper securities, representing about 250 tons of paper, over the past three years as part of the dematerialisation process. More than 40 million securities, or 600 tons of paper, worth about €270bn that are currently in Euroclear Belgium’s vaults, are targeted for destruction over the next six years. By 31 December 2013, all paper-based securities, including the €5-6m of securities estimated to be in circulation by private investors, must be surrendered and converted into electronic registrations.
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