Margin Disclosure Statement

View this notice in PDF format | 1-800-435-4000 inside the U.S.) | +1-415-667-8400 (outside the U.S.)

  • This is important information regarding margin borrowing, if you have requested the margin feature on your brokerage account.
  • Please retain this document for your files.
  • When using margin, please keep these important rules and conditions in mind.
  • A complete list of terms and conditions pertaining to margin trading and short selling, including credit terms and policies, can be found in the Account Agreement. The Account Agreement will be provided to you after account opening or you can access it at any time on our website or by calling us. Please read this important document before opening a margin account.
  • For questions regarding margin borrowing, please contact us at the numbers listed above. For clients of independent investment advisors, please call your advisor directly or call Schwab Alliance at 1-800-515-2157.

When considering a margin loan, you should determine how the use of margin fits your own investment philosophy. It is important that you fully understand the risks, rules, and requirements involved in trading securities on margin.

The following paragraphs highlight some of the critical aspects of margin trading:

Margin trading increases your level of market risk. Margin trading increases your buying power, allowing you to purchase a greater amount of securities with your investing dollar. Therefore, your exposure to market volatility increases—a declining market could result in even greater losses. A decline in the value of your securities that you purchase on margin can require you to provide additional funds to Schwab in order to avoid the forced sale of those securities or other securities in your account.

Your downside is not limited to the collateral value in your margin account. When you buy securities on margin, you are borrowing money from Schwab for part of your transactions. Securities and other assets in your Schwab account(s) are pledged as collateral to secure this loan. These margin transactions are riskier and involve the possibility of greater loss than transactions where you are not borrowing money. If the securities in your account decline in value, so does the value of the collateral supporting your loan. When the value of the collateral falls below the maintenance margin requirements, or Schwab's higher "house" requirements, Schwab can move to protect its position. In order to cover margin deficiencies, Schwab may issue you a margin call—a request for additional cash—or sell securities from your account. If a sale does not cover the deficiency, you will be responsible for any shortfall.

Schwab may initiate the sale of any securities in your account, without contacting you, to meet a margin call. Schwab will attempt to involve you in the case of margin deficiency; however, market conditions can require the firm to quickly sell any of your securities without your consent. Because the securities are collateral for the margin loan, Schwab has the right to decide which security to sell in order to protect its interests. Even if Schwab has contacted you and provided a specific date by which you can meet a margin call, the firm can still take necessary steps to protect its financial interests, including immediately selling the securities without prior notice to you.

Schwab's "house" initial and maintenance margin requirements may exceed those established by the Federal Reserve Board and/or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. Please call Schwab for current margin requirements.

Schwab retains the right to change its initial margin requirements at any time and without prior notice. We may also impose anytime and without prior notice more stringent requirements on positions that in our sole discretion involve higher levels of risk; for example, higher limits may apply for thinly traded, speculative or volatile securities, or concentrated positions of securities.

Schwab may increase its "house" maintenance margin requirements at any time and is not required to provide you with advance written notice. Changes in Schwab's policy regarding "house" maintenance margin requirements often take effect immediately and can result in the issuance of a maintenance margin call. Your failure to satisfy the call may cause Schwab to liquidate or sell securities in your account.

Schwab retains absolute discretion to determine whether, when and in what amounts we will require additional collateral. For example, we can require additional collateral if an account contains only one security or a large concentration of one or more securities; or low-priced, thinly traded or volatile securities; or if some of your collateral is or becomes restricted or non-negotiable or non-marginable. We may also consider market conditions, your financial resources, or other factors deemed by us to be relevant given the circumstances at the time.

You are not entitled to an extension of time on a margin call. While an extension of time to meet margin requirements might be available to customers under certain conditions, a customer does not have a right to the extension.

Some accounts that carry a margin loan balance and hold dividend-paying securities may receive a "substitute income payment in lieu of a dividend" (PIL). This payment may be taxable as ordinary income. Taxable accounts that receive a PIL instead of a qualified dividend may also receive a supplemental credit from Schwab. This will be identified on customer statements as a "Schwab substitute income credit." However, when Schwab can identify that a dividend is nonqualified, we will not credit your account with this additional payment.

  • This credit is NOT "payment in lieu," and is unrelated to any payment from either the security issuer or the borrower.
  • It is a discretionary credit from Schwab which may be discontinued in the future with or without notice.*
  • It may be subject to tax at your ordinary income tax rate. Please consult your tax advisor about your specific tax situation.
  • Because individual tax situations differ, Schwab cannot precisely calculate the additional tax costs a client might incur. Therefore, we do not intend, nor should clients expect, for this payment to be an exact reimbursement of any excess tax cost.

*Please refer to the "Loan Consent" section of your Account Agreement which states that no compensation is due in connection with such loans and that Schwab "is not required to compensate you for any differential tax treatment between dividends and payments in lieu of dividends."

Independent investment advisors are not owned by, affiliated with, or supervised by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. ("Schwab").

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