A goal for DTCC has always been to do away with paper stock and bond certificates, and replace them with fully electronic representation, in a process called “dematerialisation”. (Something Dr Who performs regularly).
It looks like a Black Swan called Sandy has moved things in that direction more quickly than expected, the vault in the basement of 55 Water St (DTCC’s main office) is flooded, and remains inaccessible, as reported by the FT below.
They do reassure by saying that the inventory of paper certificates is held electronically, it seems unlikely there will be any going back to paper as a result.
(Subscription): Stock certificates feared ruined by Sandy – FT.com.