SIPC protection of customers with multiple accounts is determined by "separate capacity." Each separate capacity is protected up to $500,000 for securities and cash (including a $250,000 limit for cash only). Accounts held in the same capacity are combined for purposes of the SIPC protection limits.

Examples of separate capacities are:

  • individual account;
  • joint account;
  • an account for a corporation;
  • an account for a trust created under state law;
  • an individual retirement account;
  • a Roth individual retirement account;
  • an account held by an executor for an estate; and
  • an account held by a guardian for a ward or minor.

Additional information on separate accounts may be found in SIPC's Series 100 Rules.

The following are examples of separate accounts:

  • Mary has an account in her name at her brokerage firm. Mary is protected by SIPC up to $500,000.
  • Joe has two brokerage accounts, each in his own name. For purposes of SIPC protection, Joe’s accounts are combined, and Joe is protected by SIPC only up to a total of $500,000.
  • Joe and Mary are married and they have a joint brokerage account which is separate from the individual accounts that they each have at the firm. An additional maximum of $500,000 of SIPC protection is available for the joint account.
  • Joe has a Roth account and an IRA account, at the same brokerage. Joe is protected up to $500,000 for the Roth account and up to $500,000 for his IRA account.