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Resist the Impulse to Panic Over Finances
assets, of which $100,000 can be claimed for cash. Keep in mind that money market funds are securities, not cash, said Stephen P. Harbeck, president and chief executive of the S.I.P.C.

The good news is that membership is not voluntary; when a company registers with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it is required to be a member of the investor protection corporation.

Be sure, however, that when you make out a check to your broker, it goes to a member of the S.I.P.C., Mr. Harbeck said. There are cases where corporate entities that are part of the same holding company are not members of the investor corporation.

You should ask brokers whether their firms are members, or you can check out members on the investor corporation’s Web site, www.sipc.org. If your investments are in a company not covered, then you are not covered.

But Mr. Harbeck said the S.I.P.C. is a floor, not a ceiling; each investor also receives a prorated distribution of customer assets depending on how individual situations are resolved.

Since 2004, the

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