I have a 401(k) through company X managed by investment firm Y. I give money to X, who give money to Y, who purchase some stocks. Who do those stocks belong to? Do they belong to I, and are managed by Y? I.e., if Y goes belly-up for whatever reason, the stocks remain, in some sense, with me? Or is my money simply on-deposit with Y, who own stocks in their name, and when Y goes belly-up, the stocks (assets) get liquidated to pay off their various creditors? Would I be high up on that list of creditors? If my money is simply on-deposit with the investment firm, am I protected in any way from them going belly-up?
If X goes belly-up, does anything at all happen?
NB: I realize that if the stocks that my 401(k) $$ are invested in crash, then I'm just out those $$, c'est la stock market. My questions are essentially regarding a crash of the institutions that are managing my $$, not the firms that those $$ are ultimately invested in.