Mayday for IBKR margin lending

Regular readers will know what a fan I have been of margin lending from Interactive Brokers. No longer. If you’ve read my other posts (like this or this or this) on margin lending, and are interested in exploring further, make you read this post before you do.

Why I used to like IB’s margin loans

IB offers credit secured on its portfolios, priced very competitively. This provides remarkable flexibility, at a low price. I have been an eager user, enjoying how I can stay (more than) fully invested but still find funds fast to make an unexpected angel investment, pay for a home improvement project or settle a tax bill. In reverse, I can repay instantly and very flexibly, and I can convert either cash holdings or loans from one currency to another instantaneously.

These advantages apply both to IB’s loans, but also to the portfolio loan I have from my private bank. However IB is much easier to operate, thanks to their excellent online platform and reporting. And IB is cheaper. So IB has been my ‘go to’ lender.

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Apr ’23: Wind and windfalls

April saw the season of long weekends begin here in the UK.

Easter saw me inspired by the Ermine to check out Dorset’s Chesil beach. We struck lucky with the weather and had a fine, distinctly non-London, time, over a very blustery Easter weekend. My walking shoes seem to have shrunk and after a 15km yomp what happened to my toes doesn’t make for blog-suitable content. Maybe I should stick to London after all, where such tribulations don’t seem to happen.

The economy seems to keep inflating along. Inflation has ‘dropped’ to 10.1%, latest figures show. Which really has you wondering what happens to interest rates. Rates seem high right now, but in the real world they are barely half of the rate of inflation. Something has to give – will it be inflation dropping as energy ‘laps’ last year’s price rises, or will wages chase inflation upwards pulling the Bank of England with them? Or will policymakers find ways to prolong this inflationary period, to deflate the country’s record high level of national debt? Time will tell.

Continue reading “Apr ’23: Wind and windfalls”