In the financial world there are several methods of holding financial assets. A common method frequently used throughout the financial world is to hold assets on so-called omnibus accounts. This is a type of account on which many different items can be held at the same time, instead of needing a lot of different and separate accounts. These accounts are generally held by a custodian: a bank or other financial institution that holds and keeps (records of) their client's assets.
If you trade financial instruments via DEGIRO, you trade via this omnibus structure. The omnibus accounts that are used to hold your assets are held at our custodian(s) and are kept in the name of 4 different special legal entities, called Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV's). These SPVs have the sole purpose of safeguarding and administering your assets. All the shares bought and sold by our clients are debited or credited to the related SPV's account. Our SPV's are incorporated as foundations (called a 'stichting' in Dutch) under Dutch law. Foundations have what is called "legal personality" which means that they can own assets – including (bank) accounts – and accumulate debts. However, foundations have no members or shareholders meaning they are completely (bankruptcy) remote from DEGIRO. More details about these SPV's can be found in our Client Agreement (most notably Articles 1, 17, and 18) and the ISI - Investment Services.
What does this mean for me?
One of the most important consequences of this method of holding financial assets is that an omnibus account can greatly reduce the transaction costs involved in trading on the financial markets. Whereas a structure whereby all the assets are kept on separate accounts would involve many different transactions, and thus more transaction costs, by using the omnibus account all the various transactions made can be aggregated to keep the costs low.
Moreover, because your shares are held by our SPVs, they are segregated from DEGIRO. This means that the foundations - and their assets - cannot be touched by DEGIRO's creditors, should anything happen to DEGIRO.