Bankruptcy Basics :: Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) ::

Powers of the Trustee

The powers of the trustee in a SIPC case are essentially the same as those vested in a chapter 7 trustee appointed under Title 11. "In addition, a trustee may, with the approval of SIPC but without any need for court approval:

(1) hire and fix the compensation of all personnel (including officers and employees of the debtor and of its examining authority) and other persons (including accountants) that are deemed by the trustee necessary for all or any purposes of the liquidation proceeding;

(2) utilize SIPC employees for all or any purposes of a liquidation proceeding; and

(3) margin and maintain customer accounts of the debtor . . ."

15 U.S.C. § 78fff-1(a).

A SIPC trustee may reduce to money customer securities constituting customer property or in the general estate of the debtor. 15 U.S.C. § 78fff-1(b). The trustee must, however, deliver securities to customers to the maximum extent practicable. 15 U.S.C. § 78fff-1(b)(1). Subject to prior approval of SIPC, but again without any need for court approval, the trustee may also pay or guarantee any part of the debtor's indebtedness to a bank, person, or other lender when certain conditions exist. 15 U.S.C. § 78fff-1(b)(2).

The trustee is responsible for investigating the acts, conduct, and condition of the debtor and reporting thereon to the court. 15 U.S.C. § 78fff-1(d)(1). The trustee must also provide a statement on the investigation to SIPC and to other persons as the court might direct. 15 U.S.C. § 78fff-1(d)(4). Moreover, the trustee must make periodic reports to the court and to SIPC on the progress of distribution of cash and securities to customers. 15 U.S.C. § 78fff-1(c).