Thursday, October 02, 2008

Charles Schwab Brokerage Accounts - Is Schwab Safe?

In recent days, I have been following both the Senate and House Bailout Bill hearings. During this time, I wondered, "how safe is online broker Charles Schwab & Co.?" Today, I received an email from Benjamin L. Bingeman, Executive Vice President Investor Services with a subject line: Schwab's stability and ways we can help.

The most important items in his letter:
So who is SIPC ? How much does it cover and if Schwab brokerage accounts are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation? Can I then surmise that it is likely my brokerage accounts are safe with Charles Schwab & Co. I looked through SPIC's member database and noticed that all of the brokerage firms in the recent news were in their database.

Here is some info on SIPC from Wikipedia.

The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) is a federally mandated non-profit corporation in the United States that protects securities investors from harm if a broker/dealer defaults. Investors are not insured for any potential loss while invested in the market.

SIPC was created by the 1970 Securities Investor Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78aaa et seq, but it is not a government agency; rather, it is a membership corporation funded by its members.

SIPC serves two primary roles in the event that a broker-dealer fails. First, SIPC acts to organize the distribution of customer cash and securities to investors. Second, to the extent a customer's cash and/or securities are unavailable, SIPC provides insurance coverage up to $500,000 of the customer's net equity balance including up to $100,000 in cash.

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