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How to protect your brokerage account

- Alan Lavine and Gail Liberman

What should you be doing in these tough economic times to make sure your brokerage accounts are fully protected in case you must file a claim?

Carefully check all your broker's periodic statements. If you disagree with any, write a letter--at least to your brokerage, and keep a copy--stating that you don't agree with the accuracy of the statement.

Without a written record of dispute, there may be no reason for anybody to believe you if you file a claim saying valuable securities are missing from your account.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) adds that if your brokerage fails, you should gather brokerage account records, statements and trade confirmations. Locate canceled checks and correspondence with your brokerage.

Go to the SIPC web site for contact information if you hear of a liquidation that involves your firm. Follow SIPC instructions in filling out necessary forms and pay strict attention to time limits in the notice and claim form.

Once liquidation starts, most can expect to get their assets in one to three months, according to FINRA.


Spouses Gail Liberman and Alan Lavine are syndicated columnists. You can purchase Alan Lavine & Gail Liberman's latest book Quick Steps to Financial Stability (QUE Publishing 2006) online at www.moneycouple.com or at your local bookstore. E-mail them at MWliblav@aol.com.

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