Key Margin Definitions

Overview: 

Below is a listing of some of the more commonly used margin terms:

Equity with Loan Value (ELV) – Forms the basis for determining whether a client has the necessary assets to either initiate or maintain security positions. Equals cash + stock value + bond value + mutual fund value + European and Asian options value (excludes market value U.S. securities & futures options and cash maintained in futures segment). 

 
 
Available Funds (ELV – Initial Margin) – equals Equity with Loan Value less the Initial Margin Requirement.
 
 
Excess Liquidity (ELV – Maintenance Margin) – equals Equity with Loan Value less the Maintenance Margin Requirement.
 
 
Initial Margin Requirement - The minimum portion of a new security purchase that an investor must pay for in cash. For U.S. stocks this is defined by Reg. T and is currently 50% (Reg. T Initial Margin). As IB calculates margin on a real-time basis and Reg. T is enforced at the end of the day, IB performs an initial margin requirement check at the point of trade, albeit at a rate generally less than 50% (IB Initial Margin). 
 
 
Maintenance Margin Requirement – the amount of equity which must be maintained in order to continue holding a position. In the U.S., the rules of the listing exchanges specify the maintenance margin requirements on security transactions subject to SEC approval.  The exchange maintenance margin requirement for long stock positions is currently set at 25% although brokers often establish 'house margin' requirements in excess of that, particularly where the security is considered low-priced or subject to volatile price changes.  The exchange maintenance margin requirement for short stock positions is currently set at 30%.
 
 
Net Liquidating Value (NLV) – for a securities account equals total cash value + stock value + securities options value + bond value + fund value. For a commodities account equals total cash value + commodities options value. 
 
Soft Edge Margin (SEM) – if during the trading day an account’s Equity with Loan Value is equal to at least 90% of the maintenance margin requirement, it will not be subject to liquidation until 15:45 ET for U.S. stocks (i.e., the earliest of: 15 minutes before market close, 15 minutes before end of liquidation hours or start of Reg. T enforcement time) at which time the maintenance margin requirement must be met. SEM start time for U.S. stocks is 09:30 ET and for other products the later of: the market open (latest open time if multiply listed); or start of liquidation hours.  

 

Buying Power - the maximum dollar value of securities that you can buy in your account without depositing additional equity.  For a cash account this is equal to the lesser of ELV or Previous Day ELV less the Initial Margin Requirement.  For a margin account this is equal to Available Funds * 4 (reciprocal of the 25% Maintenance Margin Rate)
 
Special Memorandum Account (SMA) – represents neither equity nor cash but rather a line of credit created when the market value of securities in a Reg. T margin account increase in value.  While an increase in market value over original cost creates SMA, a subsequent decline in market value has no effect on SMA.  SMA will only decline if used to purchase securities or withdraw cash and the only restriction with respect to its use is that the additional purchases or withdrawals do not bring the account below the maintenance margin requirement. SMA will also increase on a dollar for dollar basis in the event of cash deposits or dividends.

 

Securities Gross Position Value (GPV) – Absolute value of Long Stock Value + Short Stock Value + Long Option Value + Short Option Value + Long SSF Notional Value + Short SSF Notional Value + Fund Value.

 

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