An American Depositary Receipt (ADR) is a certificate that lets investors invest in a foreign company on U.S. stock markets.
An American Depositary Receipt, ADR for short, is a certificate that represents a foreign stock that trades in the United States. Banks and brokerage firms in the U.S. issue or sponsor ADRs, and investors buy and sell them on U.S. stock markets, just like regular stocks. If you own an ADR, you have the right to obtain the foreign stock it represents. However, investors usually find it more convenient to continue holding ADRs.
One ADR may represent one or more shares of the foreign stock. But if the stock is expensive, the ADR may represent a fraction of a share. That way, the ADR will start trading at a moderate price, or be in range of similar stocks on the exchange where it trades. The price of an ADR usually stays close to the price of the foreign stock in its home market.
J.P. Morgan introduced ADRs in 1927 to make it easier for Americans to invest in Selfridge, the British retailer. ADRs have grown substantially since then. They make it practical for increasingly global-minded investors to invest in foreign companies, despite language barriers, shifting foreign exchange rates and the difficulty of trading on a foreign stock market.
Foreign firms benefit from ADRs in a number of ways: They let these companies offer dollar-denominated shares and raise capital in the U.S. Issuing ADRs also raises a non-U.S. firm’s liquidity and visibility, in the United States and around the world.
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How safe is it to invest in a American Depositary Receipt (ADR)?
ADRs make foreign investing much easier and safer for individual investors. The foreign company must provide detailed financial information to U.S. regulators, and to the sponsor, or “depositary,” bank or broker. Since ADRs trade on U.S. stock markets, you don’t have to worry about exchange rates, foreign stock-exchange rules, or the language barrier. Price information is readily available, and transaction costs are lower. Trades will clear and settle in U.S. dollars. As well, the depositary bank or broker will convert any dividends or other cash payments into U.S. dollars before it sends them on to you.
Depositary banks that issue ADRs sometimes charge fees for their services, and deduct these fees from the dividends and other distributions on the ADRs. The depositary bank also incurs expenses for services such as converting foreign currency into U.S. dollars, and passes these costs on to ADR holders. Sometimes, however, the foreign company pays the fees in return for the exposure to the U.S. market.
Although most foreign stocks that trade on U.S. markets do so through ADRs, other foreign stocks trade in the U.S. as stocks, just as they do on their local stock exchange. Canadian companies trade as stocks rather than ADRs in the U.S., for instance, just as they do on Canadian markets.
We believe most investors could benefit from holding some foreign investments in their portfolios for added diversification. Still, investing internationally remains riskier than investing in North America. With stocks markets around the globe, you may face, apart from language barriers, uncertain investor-protection laws, and in some cases a less pronounced commitment to openness, fairness and other qualities we tend to take for granted in established markets.
You’ll need to be highly selective with these investments. Yet they can help you cut risk, because American Depositary Receipts must follow some U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and New York Stock Exchange rules. Note that at the same time, if you want to buy or sell stock in a company that only trades on a foreign stock market, and does not trade as an ADR, your broker may be able to process your order for you.
Have you had a positive or negative experience with foreign companies that use American Depositary Receipts? Post a comment and we will get back to you directly!
This article was originally published in 2010 and has been updated.
The privacy of the site/store visitor is very important to TSI Network, and is respected at all times. The information we receive from customers helps us to personalize and continually improve your online experience at TSI Network.
We do not collect or disclose personal information, except when it is provided to us voluntarily by the site/store visitor with their consent.
We store subscriber and password files containing personal information securely. These files are stored in secure areas that are not accessible to the general public. We are always working to ensure the security of your personal information.
What personal information do we collect?
The information we receive from customers helps us personalize and continually improve your online experience at TSI Network. TSI Network may collect personal information online for all legal purposes, which include, but are not limited to:
Information You Give Us: We receive and store any information you enter on our website or give us in any other way through sign-up forms or ordering forms for publications and services. You can choose not to provide certain information, but then you might not be able to take advantage of many of our services and features. We use the information that you provide for such purposes as responding to your requests, customizing your web browsing experience for you, improving our website, and communicating with you.
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Information from Other Sources: For reasons such as improving personalization of our service (for example, providing better product recommendations or special offers that we think will interest you), we might receive information about you from other sources and add it to our account information. We also sometimes receive updated delivery and address information from our shippers or other sources so that we can correct our records and deliver your next purchase or communication more easily.
We do reserve the right, however, to collect and perform statistical analyses of the internet traffic to our website for our internal use. However, information collected does not allow us to identify any individual, and will not collect any personal information of the visitor. Furthermore, we do not sell, rent or loan to any outside parties the information collected and analyzed.
Although you may be able to access some of our websites without being required to register or provide personal information, certain websites and sections of our websites may require registration. In addition, if you choose to contact us to ask a question, we will collect your personal information so that we can respond to your question.
To make the visitor’s experience on our website easier, we may use per-session “cookies” (session identifiers) to track the state of the visitor session. This “cookie” is destroyed when your session with our website is over.
Cookies are alphanumeric identifiers that we transfer to your computer's hard drive through your web browser to enable our systems to recognize your browser and to provide features like "Remember Me" for our paying subscribers. Cookies are also used during the ordering process to help ensure your order is handled correctly. We do not extract any information about individual users or their computers as a part of this process.
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Does TSI Network Use the Information It Receives?
"Contact Us" and Comment Features: TSI Network encourages visitors to its websites to contact us with questions and comments. Email addresses and other information of persons using these features may be collected in order to facilitate our responses to those inquiries.
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Agents: We employ other companies and individuals to perform functions on our behalf. Examples include fulfilling orders, delivering packages, sending postal mail and email, removing repetitive information from customer lists, analyzing data, providing marketing assistance, processing credit card payments and providing customer service. They have access to personal information needed to perform their functions, but may not use it for other purposes.
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In addition to these limited disclosures of personal information, TSI Network may provide its affiliates or unaffiliated third parties with aggregate information about visitors to our sites. For example, we might disclose the median ages of visitors to our websites, or the numbers of visitors to our websites that come from different geographic areas. Such aggregate information will not include information of any individual visitors to our websites.
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Except as provided herein, TSI Network will not sell or rent personal information about you to unaffiliated third parties.
We may disclose personal information you have provided through our websites, for the above purposes, to persons or companies that we retain to carry out and other activities for which you have registered or in which you have otherwise asked to participate. In particular, we may for these purposes transfer information to any country (including the USA and other countries which may not offer the same level of data protection as Canada). We also will disclose personal information if required by law, including compliance with warrants, subpoenas or other legal processes.
TSI Network requires persons and companies to which it discloses personal information to restrict their use of such information to the purposes for which it has been provided by TSI Network, to adequately protect the information, and not to disclose that information to others. TSI Network cannot be responsible, however, for any damages caused by the failure of unaffiliated third parties to honour their privacy obligations to TSI Network. Similarly, TSI Network is not responsible for the privacy policies and practices of other websites that are linked to our websites.
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To make sure users get the most out of the site’s comments function, we’ve provided a few guidelines:
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Do not post information that you know to be confidential or sensitive or otherwise in breach of the law.
TSI Network will not accept responsibility for information posted in the comments.
Please note that we reserve the right to delete or edit all comments. As well, we may close posts to further comments at our discretion. If a user repeatedly abuses our comment policy, we may also revoke that user’s access to our comments section.
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TSI Network does everything possible to prevent unauthorized intrusion to its websites and the alteration, acquisition or misuse of personal information by unauthorized persons. Notably passwords submitted by users of our websites are encrypted using encryption mechanisms. However, TSI Network cautions visitors to its websites that no network, including the Internet, is entirely secure. Accordingly, we cannot be responsible for loss, corruption or unauthorized acquisition of personal information provided to our websites, or for any damages resulting from such loss, corruption or unauthorized acquisition.
How do we maintain the integrity of your personal information?
TSI Network has procedures in place to keep your personal information accurate, complete and current for the purposes for which it is collected and used. You may review the information that you have provided to us and where appropriate you may request that it be corrected. If you wish to review your personal information please send a request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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What Choices Do I Have?
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You can add or update certain information as explained in the section "How Can I Change My Information?"
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Changes to this Policy
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TSI Network may revise this Policy from time to time.
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