Sunday, April 18, 2010



An American Depositary Receipt (or ADR) represents ownership in the shares of a non-U.S. company and trades in U.S. financial markets. The stock of many non-US companies trade on US stock exchanges through the use of ADRs. ADRs enable U.S. investors to buy shares in foreign companies without the hazards or inconveniences of cross-border & cross-currency transactions. ADRs carry prices in US dollars, pay dividends in US dollars, and can be traded like the shares of US-based companies.

Each ADR is issued by a U.S. depositary bank and can represent a fraction of a share, a single share, or multiple shares of the foreign stock. An owner of an ADR has the right to obtain the foreign stock it represents, but US investors usually find it more convenient simply to own the ADR. The price of an ADR often tracks the price of the foreign stock in its home market, adjusted for the ratio of ADRs to foreign company shares. In the case of companies incorporated in the United Kingdom, creation of ADRs attracts a 1.5% stamp duty reserve tax (SDRT) charge by the UK government.

Depositary banks have various responsibilities to an ADR shareholder and to the non-US company the ADR represents. The first ADR was introduced by JPMorgan in 1927, for the British retailer Selfridges&Co. There are currently four major commercial banks that provide depositary bank services - JPMorgan, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and the Bank of New York Mellon.

Individual shares of a foreign corporation represented by an ADR are called American Depositary Shares (ADS).

One can either source new ADRs by depositing the corresponding domestic shares of the company with the depositary bank that administers the ADR program or, instead, one can obtain existing ADRs in the secondary market. The latter can be achieved either by purchasing the ADRs on a US stock exchange or via purchasing the underlying domestic shares of the company on their primary exchange and then swapping them for ADRs; these swaps are called crossbook swaps and on many occasions account for the bulk of ADR secondary trading. This is especially true in the case of trading in ADRs of UK companies where creation of new ADRs attracts a 1.5% stamp duty reserve tax (SDRT) charge by the UK government; sourcing existing ADRs in the secondary market (either via crossbook swaps or on exchange) instead is not subject to SDRT.

Most ADR programs are subject to possible termination. Termination of the ADR agreement will result in cancellation of all the depositary receipts, and a subsequent delisting from all exchanges where they trade. The termination can be at the discretion of the foreign issuer or the depositary bank, but is typically at the request of the issuer. There may be a number of reasons why ADRs terminate, but in most cases the foreign issuer is undergoing some type of reorganization or merger.

Owners of ADRs are typically notified in writing at least thirty days prior to a termination. Once notified, an owner can surrender their ADRs and take delivery of the foreign securities represented by the Receipt, or do nothing. If an ADR holder elects to take possession of the underlying foreign shares, there is no guarantee the shares will trade on any US exchange. The holder of the foreign shares would have to find a broker who has trading authority in the foreign market where those shares trade. If the owner continues to hold the ADR past the effective date of termination, the depositary bank will continue to hold the foreign deposited securities and collect dividends, but will cease distributions to ADR owners.

Usually up to one year after the effective date of the termination, the depositary bank will liquidate and allocate the proceeds to those respective clients. Many US brokerages can continue to hold foreign stock, but may lack the ability to trade it overseas. A Global Depository Receipt or Global Depositary Receipt (GDR) is a certificate issued by a depository bank, which purchases shares of foreign companies and deposits it on the account. GDRs represent ownership of an underlying number of shares.


Global Depository Receipts facilitate trade of shares, and are commonly used to invest in companies from developing or emerging markets.

Prices of GDRs are often close to values of related shares, but they are traded & settled independently of the underlying share.Several international banks issue GDRs, such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Bank of New York. GDRs are often listed in the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and in the London Stock Exchange, where they are traded on the International Order Book (IOB).

Normally 1 GDR = 10 Shares, but not always.