Is there a benefit to using EFPs if one doesn’t have an existing long or short stock position to swap?

Overview: 

 

One can enter into an Exchange for Physical (EFP) to either invest excess funds or borrow funds at available synthetic rates. Synthetic rates are determined by taking the difference between the SSF and underlying stock and netting dividends to calculate an annualized synthetic implied interest rate over the period of the SSF.

 

High Synthetic Bid Rev Yield – represents the investment opportunity available through an EFP sale (buy stock and sell it forward at a premium higher than the interest your cash generates).

 

Low Synthetic Ask Rev Yield - represents the borrowing opportunity available through an EFP purchase (sell stock and buy it forward at a discount lower than the lending rate available).

What is a single stock future EFP?

Overview: 

 

The EFP allows for the swap of a long or short stock position for a single stock future, maintaining the same economic long or short position but at more advantageous financing rates and margin requirements.  The cost to carry interest rate implied by the single stock future’s price is generally below the rate charged to purchasers of stock who buy on margin, and greater that that provided to sellers of stock on the sale proceeds.

 

Long Stock – alternative is to buy the EFP which involves a single transaction with two legs, a long future and short stock.  The effect of the transaction is to close the long stock position with the short stock position and maintain a long futures position through expiration.  The cost of financing the long stock (margin loan rate * 75% of stock price, less any dividends received) tends to be greater than the EFP cost (EFP premium at ask over stock, plus commission, less interest earned on margin balance).

 

Short Stock – alternative is to sell the EFP which involves a single transaction with two legs, a short future and long stock.  The effect of the transaction is to close the short stock position with the long stock position and maintain a short futures position through expiration.  There is generally a cost associated with holding the stock short (dividends paid in lieu, less interest earned on 30% margin balance, less interest earned on sale proceeds, if any) as opposed to the credit earned on the EFP (EFP premium at bid over stock, plus interest earned on margin balance, less commission).

What positions are eligible for Portfolio Margining?

Overview: 

Portfolio Margining is eligible for US securities positions including stocks, ETFs, stock and index options and single stock futures.  It does not apply to US futures or futures options positions or non-US stocks, which may already be margined using an exchange approved risk based margining methodology.

Are there any qualification requirements in order to receive Portfolio Margining treatment on US securities positions and how does one request this form of margin?

Overview: 

In order to enabled for portfolio margining an account must be approved for option trading and must have at least USD 110,000 in net liquidating equity (USD 100,000 to maintain, once enabled). Account holders will also be required to acknowledge and sign the Portfolio Margin Risk Disclosure document and be bound by its terms.  

Portfolio margining may be requested through the on-line application phase (in the Account Configuration step)  or after the account has been approved. To apply once the account has already been approved, log into Account Management and select the Manage Account, Settings, Configure Account and then Account Type menu items. There you may choose the portfolio margin treatment which will initiate the approval process.  Please note that requests are subject  to review  (generally a 1-2 day process) and may be declined for  various reasons  including a  projected increase  in margin  upon upgrade  from Reg T to Portfolio Margining. 


What is SMA and how does it work?

Overview: 

SMA refers to the Special Memorandum Account, which 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. Its purpose is to preserve the buying power that unrealized gains provide towards subsequent purchases which, absent this handling, could be assured only by withdrawing excess equity and depositing it at the time the subsequent purchase is made. In that sense, SMA helps to maintain a stable account value and minimize unnecessary funding transactions.

While SMA increases as the value of a security goes up, it does not decrease if the security falls in value. SMA will only decrease when securities are purchased or cash withdrawn 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. Transactions which serve to increase SMA include cash deposits, interest income or dividends received (on a dollar for dollar basis) or security sales (50% of the net proceeds). It’s important to note that the SMA balance represents an aggregation of each historical bookkeeping entry impacting its level starting from the time the account was opened. Given the length of time and volume of entries this typically encompasses, reconciling the current level of SMA from daily activity statements, while feasible, is impractical. 

To illustrate how SMA operates, assume an account holder deposits $5,000 and purchases $10,000 of securities having a loan value of 50% (or margin requirement equal to 1 – loan value, or 50% as well). The before and after account values would appear as follows:

Line Item
Description
Event 1 - Initial Deposit
Event 2 - Stock Purchase
A.
Cash
$5,000
($5,000)
B.
Long Stock Market Value
$0
$10,000
C.
Net Liquidating Equity/EWL* (A + B)
$5,000
$5,000
D.
Initial Margin Requirement (B * 50%)
$0
$5,000
E
Available Funds (C - D)
$5,000
$0
F.
SMA
$5,000
$0
G.
Buying Power
$10,000
$0

Next, assume that the long stock increases in value to $12,000. This $2,000 increase in market value would create SMA of $1,000, which provides the account holder the ability to either: 1) buy additional securities valued at $2,000 without depositing up additional funds and assuming a 50% margin rate; or 2) withdraw $2,000 in cash, which may be financed by increasing the debit balance if the account holds no cash. See below:

Line Item
Description
Event 2 – Stock Purchase
Event 3 - Stock Increase
A.
Cash
($5,000)
($5,000)
B.
Long Stock Market Value
$10,000
$12,000
C.
Net Liquidating Equity/EWL* (A + B)
$5,000
$7,000
D.
Initial Margin Requirement (B * 50%)
$5,000
$6,000
E
Available Funds (C - D)
$0
$1,000
F.
SMA
$0
$1,000
G.
Buying Power
$0
$2,000

*EWL represents equity with loan value which, in this example, equals net liquidating equity.

Finally, note that SMA is a Reg. T concept used to evaluate whether securities accounts carried by IB LLC are in compliance with overnight initial margin requirements and it is not used to determine compliance with maintenance margin requirements on either an intraday or overnight basis. It is also not used to determine whether commodities accounts are margin compliant. Similarly, accounts which report negative SMA at the time each day when overnight, or Reg.T initial margin requirements go into effect (15:50 ET) are subject to position liquidations to ensure margin compliance.

 

 

How do I transfer my US securities positions from my current broker to IB?

Overview: 

Broker to broker transfers for US securities are conducted via a process known as the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service or ACATS.  This process generally takes between 4 to 8 business days to complete in order to accommodate the verification of the transferring account and positions. The request is always initiated via the receiving broker (IB in this case) and can be prompted by following the steps below.

1.      Log into Account Management and select the Funds Transfer and then Position Transfers menu options.

2.      From the Transfer Method drop-down list select ‘ACATS'.

3.      From the Type drop-down list select either ‘Full’ or ‘Partial'.

a.       Note that the ‘Full’ election does not require that you specify any assets as an attempt will be made to transfer your account in its entirety.  Account holders should note, however, that certain positions may not be on the list of securities eligible to trade at IB and others, while transferable, may be subject to a house margin requirement higher than that of the delivering broker.  In the event IB receives an asset list from the delivering broker which includes ineligible positions or the aggregate of the positions transferred are such that a margin deficit would exist were the transfer to occur, IB will attempt to contact you to remedy the situation within the allocated time frame after which an automatic reject of the full transfer would take effect.  Account holders may wish to minimize potential delays or problems associated with a ‘Full’ transfer request by verifying security eligibility and margin requirements via the Contract Search link located at the upper right hand corner of the IB homepage prior to initiating the transfer.

b.      Note that the ‘Partial’ election will require that you specify the positions you wish to transfer on step 5.

4.      From the Source drop-down list select the delivering broker.  Note that certain brokers maintain multiple Participant account numbers with DTCC and account holders are encouraged to confirm with their delivering broker the account number to be associated with the transfer request.

5.      On the Deposit & Transfers/ACATS Request form enter the account number as reflected on your delivering broker account statement and respond to questions regarding the existence of a margin loan, short positions and option positions. Note that certain short stock positions may not be transferable if IB is unable to locate and borrow.  In the event of a ‘Partial’ election, you will need to provide additional detail (product identification, number of shares/contracts, long/short designation) as to the stock, option, mutual fund, bond or cash position you wish to transfer.

6.      Provide electronic signature authorizing the transfer.

 

Please note that brokers generally freeze the account during the transfer period to ensure an accurate snapshot of assets to transfer and may restrict the transfer of option positions during the week prior to expiration. You may wish to check with the delivering broker to verify their policy in this regard. In addition, please note if your IB account is currently maintaining positions on margin, any cash withdrawals or adverse market moves could increase the likelihood that your account falls out of margin compliance during the transfer period which may delay or prevent completion of the transfer. 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Applicants may meet the initial account funding requirement through the transfer of securities positions and/or cash via the ACATS system.

Why has my order to initiate a position in Berkshire Hathaway B Shares (BRK B) not been filled?

Overview: 

Traders should familiarize themselves with the unit of trade convention for BRK B along with IB’s policies with respect to odd lot orders.  Due to the relatively low trading volume in BRK B, NYSE Arca (the primary listing exchange for this security) has designated it as a 10-share unit issue.  A round lot in this security is therefore set at 10 shares as opposed to the standard round lot unit of 100 shares. If your opening buy or sell order is for an amount less than 10 shares, it is considered an odd-lot.  As a matter of policy, odd-lot orders are prohibited from being routed to NYSE Arca.  In addition, only those odd-lot orders which serve to open a position and which are part of a basket order or market-on-close (MOC) order may be sent to NYSE or AMEX.   Opening orders which do not meet that criteria are typically routed to a regional exchange or an ECN where they will remain until a matching order is found.  Odd-lot orders which serve to close a position may be routed to any market center to which IB routes orders, and can be directed either by the customer or via IB SmartRouting.

What are the key dates relating to stock Dividends?

Overview: 

Key dates relating to stock dividends are as follows:

1. Declaration Date - date at which company's board of directors approves dividend payment and designates the Payment Date and Record Date.

2. Record Date - the date which determines which stockholders are entitled to receive the dividend payment. You need to own the shares as of the close of the Record Date in order to receive the dividend.

3. Ex-Dividend Date - the date on or after which the stock will be traded without the right to receive the dividend. Because most stock trades in the US settle regular way; that is, three business days after the trade, an individual must purchase the stock three business days before the Record Date to qualify for the dividend. The Ex-Dividend Date is therefore two business days before the Record Date.

4. Payment Date - the date on which the declared dividend is paid to all stockholders owning shares on the record date.

My account was debited for a dividend payment (Payment in Lieu) for a short stock position which I don’t recognize. How did this occur?

Overview: 

 

A short stock position may originate from an option position which you held in your account.  For example, if you hold a long put position in your account, that position may be subject to automatic exercise by the clearinghouse if it is in-the-money by a defined threshold at expiration.  This put exercise will generate a short stock position in your account (assuming you do not have an offsetting long position), and you are obligated to pay any dividends should you maintain a short stock position on the ex-dividend date. 

 

Similarly, a short call position in your account is subject to assignment should a call purchaser elect to exercise their right to purchase the stock and your account be allocated through the random clearinghouse and broker assignment process.  This call assignment will generate a short stock position in your account (assuming you do not have an offsetting long position), and you are obligated to pay any dividends should you maintain a short stock position on the ex-dividend date. 

 

These payments will be reflected on your Activity Statement as a 'Payment In Lieu Of Dividend'.

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