IBKR Australia Margin Accounts

Interactive Brokers Australia Pty Ltd (“IBKR Australia”), which holds an Australian Financial Services License (“AFSL” No. 453554), has been established. IBKR Australia is headquartered in Sydney and has been set up to provide services to our Australian clients. IBKR Australia clients, products and services have some unique characteristics when compared to the Interactive Brokers (“IBKR”) global account and product suite. The purpose of this document is to outline IBKR Australia margin lending offering.

Margin Accounts

IBKR Australia offers two types of margin accounts that will provide all clients excluding SMSF clients with the ability to create portfolios to the maximum degree of risk taking/leverage allowed by IBKR Australia. The two account types are:

  • Leveraged Trading account

    • Available for both natural persons and non-natural persons, regardless of their regulatory status. However, there are some important differences between the margin accounts available for retail clients and wholesale clients, as outlined below.

  • Professional account

    • Available primarily for non-natural persons that are confirmed as a professional investor.

Refer to this link for information regarding Australian regulatory status under IBKR Australia.

Important characteristics of IBKR Australia margin accounts are as follows:

  • All eligible margin accounts employ a risk-based model to calculate margin requirements. Please click here for more details.

  • Interest rates on financing may vary depending on the type of client obtaining margin. Please click here for more details.

  • For all natural person clients (e.g. individuals), only cash or marketable securities may serve as collateral for the margin lending facility, and the collateral deposited must be unborrowed & otherwise free of any mortgage or lien or other encumbrance.

  • For all natural person clients, you may only withdraw funds from the margin facility for the limited purpose of repaying another margin lending facility which was used to acquire financial products.

    • However, if you are classified as retail you will be not permitted to withdraw from the margin facility if you are already borrowing funds via that facility, i.e. if you are already negative cash, or otherwise if the withdrawal would place your account into cash deficit.

  • All retail natural person clients must meet specific financial thresholds in order to be granted a margin account, specifically income must be greater than AUD $40,000 or Liquid net worth must be greater than AUD $100,000. In addition, IBKR Australia is obliged to verify that the information concerning the client’s financial situation that was collected during the application is accurate and complete. If the verified information concerning the client’s financial situation does not meet the thresholds stated above and/or are not comparable to the financials declared by the client during the application, the client will not be granted margin. However, if the client has a valid and recent Statement of Advice (“SOA”) from their registered financial advisor or financial planner that recommends that the client can be issued a margin lending facility and that SOA is made available to IBKR Australia, this additional verification of the client’s personal financial position will not be required.

  • In addition retail natural person clients will not be granted a margin account if their occupation is either retired or unemployed or student.

  • For all retail clients (both natural person and non-natural person clients), margin loans will be capped at a specific amount (currently set at AUD $50,000, subject to change in IBKR Australia’s sole discretion). However, how much a client can borrow depends on a number of factors, including: the value of the money or assets contributed by the client as security; which financial products the client chooses to invest in, as we lend different amounts for different products under our risk-based model; and the maintenance margin requirement for the client’s portfolio. Once a client reaches their borrowing limit they will be prevented from opening any new margin increasing position. Closing or margin-reducing trades will be allowed. Please click here for more details.

  • For all clients that are NOT categorized as retail clients (i.e. wholesale or professional investor clients), with a margin account, you will be issued a Non-Standard Margin Lending Facility, which is a loan facility as defined in subsection 761EA(5) of the Corporations Act. Rather than IB-Australia simply providing you with credit to acquire securities, which then act as security for the credit provided, margin loans to wholesale investors involve a unique set of risks, including, but not limited to, the transfer of legal ownership of the non-Australian securities you purchase on margin under the facility, from you to IB-Australia as consideration for the credit provided to you through the facility. You have the right to be returned equivalent securities. Please click here for more details.

  • Please take particular note of how we determine natural person v non-natural person for IBKR Australia trust accounts, as detailed above. It is imperative that if you hold a trust account with IBKR Australia and there exists individuals (natural persons) that are labeled as trustees in your account, then even if you have a corporate trustee, that trust would be considered a natural person trust. The difference between a natural person and non-natural person margin account can be significant as shown above. As a result, please contact client services if you need to modify trustees.