When you purchase securities, you may pay for the securities in full or you may borrow part of the purchase price from our clearing firm, First Clearing. The securities purchased are First Clearing’s collateral for the loan to you. If the securities in your account decline in value, so does the value of the collateral supporting your loan, and, as a result, First Clearing can take action, such as issue a margin call and/or sell securities or other assets in any of your accounts held with the member, in order to maintain the required equity in the account.
It is important that you fully understand the risks involved in trading securities on margin. These risks include the following:
You can lose more funds than you deposit in the margin account. A decline in the value of securities that are purchased on margin may require you to provide additional funds to First Clearing that has made the loan, to avoid the forced sale of those securities or other securities or assets in your account(s).
The firm can force the sale of securities or other assets in your account(s). If the equity in your account falls below the maintenance margin requirements or First Clearing’s higher “house” requirements, First Clearing can sell the securities or other assets in any of your accounts held at First Clearing to cover the margin deficiency. You also will be responsible for any short fall in the account after such a sale.
The firm can sell your securities or other assets without contacting you. Some investors mistakenly believe that a firm must contact them for a margin call to be valid, and that the brokerage firm cannot liquidate securities or other assets in their accounts to meet the call unless the brokerage firm has contacted them first. This is not the case. Most firms will attempt to notify their customers of margin calls, but they are not required to do so. However, even if a firm has contacted a customer and provided a specific date by which the customer can meet a margin call, First Clearing can still take necessary steps to protect its financial interests, including immediately selling the securities without notice to you.
You are not entitled to choose which securities or other assets in your account(s) are liquidated or sold to meet a margin call. Because the securities re collateral for the margin loan, First Clearing has the right to decide which security to sell in order to protect its interests.
The firm can increase its “house” maintenance margin requirements at any time and is not required to provide you advance written notice. These changes in firm policy often take effect immediately and may result in the issuance of a maintenance margin call. Your failure to satisfy the call may cause the member to liquidate or sell securities in your account(s).
You are not entitled to an extension of time on a margin call. While an extension of time to meet margin requirements may be available to customers under certain conditions, a customer does not have a right to the extension.