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CDSL and NSDL are two electronic depositories for holding securities in India. National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) is the first depository in India. It was established in 1996.  Central Depositories Services India Ltd. (CDSL) was founded in 1999. Both the securities are based out of Mumbai, Maharashtra. NSDL and CDSL are the depository for National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) respectively. Both depositories are government-registered and hold securities e.g. stocks, bonds, ETFs, MFs, and shares, etc in electronic form. But there are some points of difference. Let’s look at a comparison of CDSL vs NSDL.

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What is Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL)?

Central Depository Services Limited is India’s second securities depository institution. CDSL was founded in 1999 and it holds various securities like shares, bonds, and more in an electronic form. It is primarily a depository for the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Major banks of India such as State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, and Axis Bank are their promoters. Other popular banks like HDFC Bank, Bank of Baroda, and Standard Chartered Bank also hold shares in them. It is also the first depository to cross 4 crore investor accounts. It has around 588 Depository Participants. The primary goal of CDSL is to provide Convenient, Dependable, and Secure depository services. It works just like a bank. The only difference is that CDSL has securities from investors in electronic form whereas the bank has depositors money.

What are the Roles and Responsibilities of CDSL?

Following are the roles and responsibilities of CDSL. 

  • Demat account maintenance
  • Dematerialization and Rematerialisation
  • Settlement of trades
  • Market and off-market transfers
  • Account opening
  • Transfer of shares
  • Transmission/ Nomination
  • Distribution of non-cash corporate actions
  • Statement of accounts
  • Changing of account details
  • Sharing of shareholder details with companies
  • Details sharing for dividend payouts

What is National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL)?

Founded in August 1996, the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) is India’s oldest depository institution. It is an electronic securities depository and holds securities such as shares, bonds, etc in electronic form. The management is relatively hassle-free because of electronic securities. In addition, NSDL is comparable with banks. The key difference, in comparison with banks, is that NSDL has securities while banks have depositors’ money. National Stock Exchange (NSE), Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), and Unit Trust of India (UTI) are its promoters. NSDL also provides several share-related services. Click here to avail the services provided by the NSDL.

Function of NSDL

Following are the functions of NSDL:

  • Enable surrender and withdrawal of securities (Dematerialization and Rematerialisation)
  • Maintains investors holding in electronic form
  • Engaged in stock lending and borrowings
  • Facilitates securities transfer
  • Settlement of securities
  • Facilitates in mortgaging the securities for loan
  • Facilitates credits of shares in public offerings electronically

Key Differences Between CDSL and NSDL

Although CDSL and NSDL are vastly similar, here are some points of difference between CDSL Vs NSDL:

  • Promoters – One of the key differences in their promoters. BSE is the main promoter of CDSL whereas IDBI Bank, UTI, and NSE are promoters of NSDL.
  • Stock Exchange – NSDL works for NSE and CDSL works for BSE. Exchanges can use either depository for settlement and trading of securities.
  • Establishment – NSDL was established in 1996. It was the first depository of India. While CDSL was established in 1999.
  • Demat Account Format – CDSL Demat account numbers are of 16 numeric digits. NSDL Demat account numbers are alphanumeric and start with ‘IN’ and then 14 digit numeric digits.
  • Registered Depository Participants – CDSL has 599 registered DPs. But 278 DPs are participants of NSDL.
  • Investor Accounts – NSDL has 2.25 crore investor accounts. Whereas, CDSL has 3.96 crore active investor accounts as of 30th June 2021.


CDSL and NSDL have very little difference from one another. They both work in the same way, offer equivalent services governed by SEBI to its customers. They also share some minor distinctions like their account numbers or establishment years of operation.

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