Your assets are protected at TD Ameritrade
How are my securities at TD Ameritrade protected?
The first thing to remember is your securities — like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, money market funds — held at TD Ameritrade are yours. The SEC's Customer Protection Rule safeguards customer assets at brokerage firms by preventing firms from using customer assets to finance their own proprietary businesses.
At TD Ameritrade, clients' fully paid securities are segregated from other firm assets and held at third party depository institutions and custodians such as the Depository Trust Company and Bank of New York. There are reporting and auditing requirements in place by government regulators to help ensure all broker-dealers comply with this rule. In the very unlikely event that TD Ameritrade should become insolvent, these segregated securities are not available to general creditors and are protected against creditors' claims.
If you have a margin account with a current loan balance, TD Ameritrade may borrow a portion of the securities pursuant to the loan consent provision of your account agreement. If there is not a current margin loan balance, or it is not a margin account, securities will not be borrowed out of your account. Per regulation, any securities that are borrowed are fully collateralized with cash that is held in reserve for clients.
What part of my assets are protected by FDIC?
Deposits at TD Ameritrade's Sweep Program Banks are protected by the FDIC.* The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency that maintains the Deposit Insurance Fund which is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Its purpose is to protect depositors' funds placed in banks and savings associations. The FDIC insures accounts held at member banks up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, based on ownership category.
To learn more, visit FDIC’s website.
What is SIPC coverage and when does it become activated?
TD Ameritrade is a member of Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which provides protection for securities and cash in client brokerage accounts, including those held by clients of investment advisors with TD Ameritrade Institutional. SIPC protections are activated in the rare event that the broker-dealer fails (bankruptcy) and client assets are missing due to fraud or other causes.
According to SIPC, most broker-dealer failures happen with no securities missing. Since their inception over 50 years ago, 99% of eligible investors got their investments back in the failed brokerage firms cases that it has handled. The SIPC liquidation process generally assures that customers of a failed broker-dealer receive their securities and cash with reasonable promptness after filing a claim.
How does SIPC coverage work?
SIPC coverage is used to make investors whole if there is a shortage after all customer assets held at the brokerage firm have been recovered. SIPC provides up to $500,000 of protection for brokerage accounts held in each separate capacity (e.g., joint tenant or sole owner), with a limit of $250,000 for claims of uninvested cash balances. These limits do not mean that the account will only receive up to $500,000 of their invested securities. Rather, in a SIPC customer proceeding, the account will receive a pro-rata share of all client assets recovered in liquidation then will receive up to $500,000 from SIPC to make up any difference that exists.
To learn more, visit SIPC's website.
Does TD Ameritrade have any additional protections for client securities beyond those provided by SIPC?
Yes, in addition to SIPC, TD Ameritrade clients receive an extra level of coverage through "excess SIPC" insurance protection for securities and cash. This provides additional coverage in the event of a brokerage firm failure and funds covered by SIPC protections are exhausted. The combined total of our SIPC coverage and our "excess SIPC" coverage means TD Ameritrade provides protection up to a combined return of $152 million per customer, up to $2 million of which may be in cash. The Excess SIPC program has a $500M aggregate limit (meaning the most the program will pay for the Excess SIPC portion of the losses). Commodity interests and cash in futures accounts are not protected by SIPC.