Margin Disclosure Document
Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (Oppenheimer) is furnishing this document to you in order to provide some basic facts about purchasing securities on margin, and to alert you to the risks involved with trading securities in a margin account. Before trading stocks in a margin account, you should carefully review the margin agreement provided. Consult your Financial Advisor regarding any questions or concerns you may have with your margin accounts.
When you purchase securities, you may pay for the securities in full or you may borrow from Oppenheimer part of the purchase price. If you choose to borrow funds from us, you will need to open a margin account. The securities purchased are the firm’s collateral for our loan of funds 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 the firm can, and sometimes must, take action, such as issue a margin call, and/or sell securities or other assets in any of your accounts held at Oppenheimer, in order to maintain the required equity in the account relative to the value of the account and the amount borrowed.
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 in your margin account may require you to deposit additional funds into your Oppenheimer account in order 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 margin account falls below the maintenance margin requirements or the firm’s higher “house” requirements, the firm can sell, at its sole discretion, securities or other assets in any of your accounts held at the firm 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 firm cannot liquidate securities or other assets in their accounts to meet the call unless the 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, the firm can still take necessary steps to protect its financial interests, including immediately selling the securities without notice to the customer.
- 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 are collateral for the margin loan, the firm has the right to decide which securities to sell in order to protect its interest.
- The firm can increase “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 Oppenheimer to liquidate 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 the right to an extension of time.
The firm may lend or hypothecate securities in your margin account(s). If a debit balance exists in your margin account, the firm may, within the limitations imposed by applicable law, pledge, repledge, hypothecate or rehypothecate, securities in your margin account(s). In this event, your ability to exercise certain attendant rights of ownership with respect to such pledged or hypothecated securities, including, without limitation, the exercise of any voting rights, may be limited. Additionally, you will be at risk of losing your qualified dividend status and consequently, any preferential tax rates on dividends.