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Below is an excerpt from the article Can Stocks Be Traded on More Than One Exchange?

A depositary receipt can be issued on a foreign exchange by the bank holding the shares with or without the endorsement of the company being traded.

There may be many banks holding the shares. Is it correct to use "the bank" here (instead of "a bank")?

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  • Stylistically speaking, I'd say that if you "downgrade" the definite article before bank to an indefinite article, it would be better to discard the article before shares as well: ...by a bank holding shares, with or without the endorsement of the company... (the second article is never "necessary"; it's just that I think the case for dropping it is stronger if the first one is indefinite). But all those variants are perfectly okay, and they mean exactly the same thing in this context. Jan 22 at 15:40

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It is correct. This is because "holding the shares" acts to identify which bank you are speaking about.

In the context of a transaction described there is only one set of shares (those that are being traded) and only one bank holding these shares. So this phrase serves to fully determine the identity of the bank in the mind of the hearer.

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  • From one perspective, holding the shares explicitly refers to the specific shares that are to be transacted, but that doesn't necessarily mean the bank holds only those shares (the bank might own 1000 shares, but only be trading 100 of them on this occasion). But since the "depositary receipt" (and hence the transaction itself) are only "hypothetical postulates", I can't see it really makes much difference if we discard the article before shares. Then it's just saying the bank owns shares, some or all of which may be transacted. Jan 22 at 15:56

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