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How portfolio margin works
The goal of portfolio margin is to set margin requirements that reflect net risk, which may allow our clients to benefit from lower margin requirements and more effective use of capital. Unlike traditional margin loans, which automatically require you to fund a set percentage of the investment, it aligns requirements with your portfolio’s overall risk based on the net exposure of all positions, not just on individual ones. That often means that a well-hedged portfolio can require a much lower buy-in; however, you must maintain $100,000 net liquidating value in your account to remain eligible. Here's how maintenance requirements are calculated:
1. We create a range of theoretical price changes across your margin account: between -15% and +15% for stocks and options positions and -12% and +10% for large and small cap broad based indices.+
2. The range is divided into ten equidistant points, and the gain/loss on the entire position is calculated at each of the ten points (scenarios).
3. For options, we use two methods to dynamically incorporate implied volatility (IV) into the risk array (sticky strike vs. sticky delta).
4. Finally, we calculate your greatest possible loss on each scenario, which becomes your margin requirement.
+Wider stress parameters that result in a larger margin requirement may be enforced at any time.
How added leverage can enhance your strategy
Portfolio margin can be a great resource for people who want more investing flexibility. Before you get started, keep these details in mind.
- Portfolio Margining is not suitable for all investors and is greater risk than cash accounts
- If you want to minimize risk, consider diversifying your portfolio and aligning margin requirements on the net exposure of all your positions, not just one of them.
- If your account falls under $100,000 Net Liquidating Value and you do not bring it above this watermark, you will be removed from the portfolio margining system.
- The requirements for portfolio margin are: a minimum of $125,000 account equity (you cannot combine accounts to reach this), full options trading approval, and three years of experience trading options.
- Portfolio margin is only available to margin (non-IRA) accounts.