Wall Street: Attack on the Snarl

The New York Stock Exchange last week phased into operation a sophisticated computerized system that it hopes will eventually eliminate much of the physical handling of stock certificates. Once in full swing, the scheme should go a long way toward reducing the glut of paper work now snarling Wall Street.

Called the Central Certificate Service, the $8,000,000-a-year system will act as a clearinghouse for transactions involving stocks held in "Street name" —those that investors leave with their brokers rather than hold in their own names. Although no more than 15% of all stock certificates are kept in Street name, these...