SIPC - History and Track Record (2024)

The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) had its origins in the difficult years of 1968-70, when the paperwork crunch, brought on by unexpectedly high trading volume, was followed by a very severe decline in stock prices. Hundreds of broker-dealers were merged, acquired or simply went out of business. Some were unable to meet their obligations to customers and went bankrupt. Public confidence in the U.S. securities markets was in jeopardy.

Congress acted swiftly, passing the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970, 15 U.S.C. § 78aaa et seq. (SIPA). SIPA's purpose is to protect customers against certain types of loss resulting from broker-dealer failure and, thereby, to promote investor confidence in the nation’s securities markets.

  • Now

    Present Day

    Without SIPC, investors at financially troubled brokerage firms might lose their securities or money forever. Although not every investor or transaction is protected by SIPC, no fewer than 99 percent of persons who are eligible get their investments back with the help of SIPC. From its creation by Congress in 1970, SIPC advanced $3.1 billion in order to make possible the recovery of $141.8 billion in assets for an estimated 773,000 investors.

  • 2023

    The Trustee for the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC liquidation had recovered $14.556 billion, and distributed nearly $14.33 billion. Any customer with a net asset value of up to approximately $1.705 million was made whole. Customers with larger claims have received over 70.704% of the net amount entrusted to the Madoff firm.

  • 2022

    By the closing of Lehman Brothers, Inc., the Trustee achieved a 100% distribution to LBI’s customers consisting of $105.7 billion distributed to more than 111,000 customers through the account transfer and customer claims processes. The Trustee also recovered and distributed $9.7 billion to general unsecured claimants representing a recovery rate of approximately 41% on general unsecured claims.

  • 2020

    SIPC Marks 50th Anniversary with Special Report and Video

    Read The Anniversary Report

    Watch The Anniversary Video

  • 2018

    SIPC announces the availability of an electronic filing system for customers and other claimants in the event of a brokerage firm failure.

  • 2016

    The Trustee for the MF Global Inc. liquidation closes the case with a 100% distribution to customers and commodities claimants, and a 95% distribution to general creditors.

  • 2014

    The Trustee for the Lehman Brothers Inc. liquidation completes a 100% distribution to customers, and the Trustee for the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC liquidation surpasses $10.5 billion in recoveries.

  • 2011

    October 2011

    MF Global Inc. fails, beginning the 8th largest bankruptcy in history. SIPC steps in to protect securities customers.

  • 2010

    Cash Protection Increased

    The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passes. It increases SIPC’s line of credit with the Treasury to $2.5 billion and increases the protection of cash in a customer’s account to $250,000, with a possible adjustment for inflation.

  • 2009

    SIPC Board of Directors raises the target balance of the SIPC fund to $2.5 billion.

  • 2008

    September 2008

    Lehman Brothers Inc. fails as part of the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. SIPC steps in to protect customers. The Trustee transfers more than 110,000 customer accounts, containing more than $92 billion in customer assets, within weeks.

    December 2008

    Bernard L. Madoff confesses to the largest Ponzi scheme in history. SIPC steps in to protect customers of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

  • 2007

    For the first time in SIPC history, SIPC is not called upon to initiate a customer protection proceeding during a calendar year.

  • 2001

    In the liquidation of MJK Clearing, Inc., the largest at the time, SIPC transfers nearly 175,000 customer accounts, involving customer assets exceeding $10 billion, in approximately one week.

  • 2000

    291 Proceedings in 30 Years

    SIPC celebrates its 30th anniversary. In its first 30 years, SIPC protects customers in 291 customer protection proceedings.

  • 1996

    The SIPC Fund reaches a $1 billion balance, ahead of schedule.

  • 1995

    The liquidation of Adler, Coleman Clearing Corp. is initiated, creating, at the time, the largest SIPA liquidation in number of accounts and value of customer assets. SIPC rapidly transfers accounts of over 50,000 customers to other broker-dealers.

  • 1992

    Fund Target Raised

    The SIPC Board of Directors raises the target balance of the SIPC fund to $1 billion on the advice of an industry task force.

  • 1983

    SIPC advances over $42 million to the Trustee in the Bell & Beckwith liquidation, the most costly SIPC case up to this point.

  • 1980

    Protection Increased

    The level of protection is raised to $500,000, including up to $100,000 for cash.

  • 1978

    The first substantive amendments to SIPA are passed. Customers are protected up to $100,000, with a ceiling of up to $40,000 for cash.

  • 1975

    SIPC celebrates its fifth anniversary. In SIPC's first 5 years, SIPC protects customers in 117 customer protection proceedings.

  • 1973

    Weis Securities, Inc. is the first liquidation involving a New York Stock Exchange member.

  • 1971

    Initial SIPC Fund totals $77.6 million, comprised of member assessments of $9.6 million, the transfer of $3 million from the American Stock Exchange, Inc. trust fund, and confirmed lines of credit totaling $65 million.

  • 1970

    SIPC Is Created

    Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) passes and SIPC is created. Each customer is protected up to $50,000, including a ceiling of $20,000 for cash claims.

SIPC - History and Track Record (2024)


Is SIPC as safe as FDIC? ›

Unlike the FDIC, SIPC does not provide blanket coverage. Instead, SIPC protects customers of SIPC-member broker-dealers if the firm fails financially.

Has SIPC insurance ever been used? ›

Although not every investor or transaction is protected by SIPC, no fewer than 99 percent of persons who are eligible get their investments back with the help of SIPC.

Is SIPC backed by the US government? ›

SIPC was not chartered by Congress to combat fraud. Although created under a federal law, SIPC is not an agency or establishment of the United States Government, and it has no authority to investigate or regulate its member broker-dealers.

Is it safe to keep more than $500000 in a brokerage account? ›

They must also have a certain amount of liquidity on hand, thus allowing them to cover funds in these cases. What this means is that even if you have more than $500,000 in one brokerage account, chances are high that you won't lose any of your money even if the broker is forced into liquidation.

Is Charles Schwab in financial trouble? ›

From August 2022 through March 2023, Charles Schwab lost deposits due to client cash sorting at a pace of $5.6 billion per month as yields on savings accounts or other safe short-term assets like certificates of deposits rose. These deposit outflow pressures slowed significantly following the regional banking crisis.

What is the safest brokerage firm? ›

Summary: Best Online Brokerage
CompanyForbes Advisor RatingLearn more CTA below text
Interactive Brokers4.4Via InteractiveBrokers' Secure Website
TD Ameritrade4.4Read Our Full Review
Fidelity Investments4.4Read Our Full Review
Charles Schwab4.3Read Our Full Review
1 more row
Apr 1, 2024

How safe is SIPC? ›

Brokerage firm failures are rare. If it happens, SIPC protects the securities and cash in your brokerage account up to $500,000. The $500,000 protection includes up to $250,000 protection for cash in your account to buy securities.

Who is SIPC backed by? ›

The SIPC Fund was established with the corporation to cover its expenditures. The fund comes from members and interest from U.S. government securities that the SIPC purchased. The corporation also maintains a $2.5 billion line of credit with the U.S. Treasury.

Are brokerage accounts safer than banks? ›

While bank balances are insured by the FDIC, investments in a brokerage account are covered by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). It protects investors in the unlikely event that their brokerage firm fails.

What does SIPC not cover? ›

SIPC protects stocks, bonds, Treasury securities, certificates of deposit, mutual funds, money market mutual funds and certain other investments as "securities." SIPC does not protect commodity futures contracts (unless held in a special portfolio margining account), or foreign exchange trades, or investment contracts ...

Why does SIPC exist? ›

SIPC has been protecting investors since 1970.

When a brokerage is closed and customer assets are missing, SIPC steps in and, within certain limits, works to return customers' cash, stock, and other securities held at the firm.

Where does SIPC get their money? ›

SIPC member assessments and interest on U.S. Government Securities bought by SIPC are deposited into the Fund. When the Fund falls below a target level, SIPC members are assessed on a percentage of their revenues. SIPC also has a $2.5 billion line of credit with the U.S. Treasury.

What brokerage do most millionaires use? ›

Best Brokers for High Net Worth Individuals
  • Charles Schwab - Best for high net worth investors.
  • Merrill Edge - Best rewards program.
  • Fidelity - Best overall online broker.
  • Interactive Brokers - Great overall, best for professionals.
  • E*TRADE - Best web-based platform.
Mar 28, 2024

Where do billionaires keep their money? ›

Common types of securities include bonds, stocks and funds (mutual and exchange-traded). Funds and stocks are the bread-and-butter of investment portfolios. Billionaires use these investments to ensure their money grows steadily.

What happens to my investments if Charles Schwab goes out of business? ›

And the SIPC protections are activated in the rare event that a broker-dealer fails and client assets are missing. In that situation, SIPC provides up to $500,000 worth of protection against any of those missing assets, including $250,000 in cash against uninvested cash balances.

Do I want my cash held in FDIC or SIPC? ›

With SIPC and FDIC insurance, one isn't necessarily better than the other since they both protect you in different ways. If you have bank accounts or brokerage accounts, having both types of coverage can help you feel reassured about the safety of your savings or investments. And neither one costs you anything to have.

Is money safer in a bank or brokerage account? ›

While bank balances are insured by the FDIC, investments in a brokerage account are covered by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). It protects investors in the unlikely event that their brokerage firm fails. However, certain rules and conditions apply—and investment earnings are not insured.

Is Charles Schwab a SIPC or FDIC? ›

All of the deposits at Schwab Bank are protected by FDIC insurance. That includes all of our investor checking accounts and savings accounts and CDs.

Does SIPC protect retirement accounts? ›

If you have a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA at the same institution, SIPC protection treats them as separately insured accounts and provides a total of up to $1 million in protection, or $500,000 on the Roth account and $500,000 for the regular IRA.

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