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Margin Accounts and Requirements

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Overview of Margin Requirements

The terms on which firms can extend credit for securities transactions are governed by federal regulation and by the rules of FINRA and the securities exchanges.

Some securities cannot be purchased on margin, which means they must be purchased in a cash account, and the customer must deposit 100 percent of the purchase price.

In general, under Federal Reserve Board Regulation T, firms can lend a customer up to 50 percent of the total purchase price of a margin security for new, or initial, purchases. 

The rules of FINRA and the exchanges supplement the requirements of Regulation T by placing "maintenance" margin requirements on customer accounts.

Under these rules, as a general matter, the customer's equity in the account must not fall below 25 percent of the current market value of the securities in the account. Otherwise, the customer may be required to deposit more funds or securities to maintain equity at the 25 percent level (referred to as a margin call). Failure to do so may cause the firm to liquidate the securities in the customer's account in order to bring the account's equity back up to the required level.

The FINRA rules governing margin accounts are as follows:

Interpretations of FINRA's Margin Requirements Rule

FINRA Rule 4210 (Margin Requirements) describes the margin requirements that determine the amount of collateral customers are expected to maintain in their margin accounts, including both strategy-based margin accounts and portfolio margin accounts. The rule explains the margin requirements for equity and fixed income securities, along with options, warrants and security futures.

The interpretations immediately follow the section of the rule to which they relate. The interpretations use a numbering convention of /##. For example: /01 of Rule 4210(a)(3).

Customer Margin Balance Reporting and Margin Statistics

FINRA Rule 4521 requires that member firms that carry customer margin accounts must submit — via the Customer Margin Balance Form — the following numbers:

  • the total of all debit balances in securities margin accounts
  • all free credit balances in all cash accounts
  • all securities margin accounts on a settlement date basis as of the last business day of the month

After collecting this data via the Customer Margin Balance Forms, FINRA displays it in aggregate form on our Margin Statistics page.

2019 Filing Due Dates

January 31, 2019 February 8, 2019
February 28, 2019 March 8, 2019
March 29, 2019 April 8, 2019
April 30, 2019 May 8, 2019
May 31, 2019 June 10, 2019
June 28, 2019 July 9, 2019
July 31, 2019 August 8, 2019
August 30, 2019 September 10, 2019
September 30, 2019 October 8, 2019
October 31, 2019 November 8, 2019
November 29, 2019 December 9, 2019
December 31, 2019 January 9, 2020

See Regulatory Notice 10-08 (Customer Margin Accounts) for more information.

Request Access to the Customer Margin Balance Reporting Form

Margin Disclosure Statements

Pursuant to FINRA Rule 2264 (Margin Disclosure Statement), no member shall open a margin account, as specified in Regulation T, for or on behalf of a non-institutional customer, unless, prior to or at the time of opening the account, the member has furnished to the customer, individually, in paper or electronic form, and in a separate document (or contained by itself on a separate page as part of another document), the specified margin disclosure statement. In addition, any member that permits non-institutional customers either to open accounts online or to engage in transactions in securities online must post such margin disclosure statement on the member's Web site in a clear and conspicuous manner.

Pursuant to FINRA Rule 4210(g), on or before the date of the initial transaction in a portfolio margin account, a member must provide customers with a special written disclosure statement describing the nature and risks of portfolio margining.

The disclosure statement must include an acknowledgement for all portfolio margin account owners to sign, attesting that they have read and understand the disclosure statement. Customers must also attest that they agree to the terms under which their portfolio margin account is provided.

Members must retain this signed acknowledgement and record the date of receipt.


FINRA's Office of General Counsel (OGC) staff provides broker-dealers, attorneys, registered representatives, investors and other interested parties with interpretative guidance relating to FINRA’s rules. Please see FINRA OGC Interpretative Guidance for more information.

OGC staff contacts:
Kathryn Moore
1735 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 728-8000

Margin Requirements for Exchange-Traded Notes
July 1, 2019
FINRA Extends Effective Date of Margin Requirements for Covered Agency Transactions
February 12, 2019
FINRA Extends Effective Date of Margin Requirements for Covered Agency Transactions
May 3, 2018
2018 Holiday Trade Date, Settlement Date and Margin Extensions Schedule
December 21, 2017
FINRA Makes Available Frequently Asked Questions and Guidance and Extends Effective Date of Margin Requirements for Covered Agency Transactions
September 29, 2017
SEC Approves Amendments to FINRA Rule 4210 (Margin Requirements) to Establish Margin Requirements for Covered Agency Transactions
August 12, 2016
FINRA Requests Comment on Proposed Amendments to FINRA Rule 4210 for Transactions in the TBA Market
January 27, 2014
SEC Approves Amendments to FINRA Rule 4210 (Margin Requirements)
October 26, 2012
FINRA Revises the Treatment of Non-Margin Eligible Equity Securities and Delays the Effective Date
June 27, 2011
Treatment of Non-Margin Eligible Equity Securities
April 7, 2011
Guidance on Low-Priced Equity Securities in Customer Margin and Firm Proprietary Accounts
April 4, 2011
Margin Requirements for Exempted Securities Mutual Funds and Exempted Securities ETFs
October 26, 2010
SEC Approval and Effective Date for New Consolidated FINRA Rules Regarding Margin Requirements, Daily Record of Required Margin, and Extension of Time Requests
October 4, 2010
FINRA Issues Guidance on Master and Sub-Account Arrangements
April 6, 2010
Increased Margin Requirements for Leveraged Exchange-Traded Funds and Associated Uncovered Options
August 31, 2009
FINRA Announces Temporary Margin Maintenance, Net Capital and Reserve Formula Requirements Related to Money Market Mutual Funds
October 21, 2008
Portfolio Margin Risk Disclosure Statement and Written Acknowledgement to be Furnished to Customers Using a Portfolio Margin Account
March 19, 2007
NASD Adopts Amendments Regarding the Posting of Margin Disclosure and Day-Trading Risk Disclosure Statements on Web Sites
June 11, 2002
View frequently asked questions and guidance about covered agency transactions under FINRA rule 4210 and frequently asked questions regarding SEA Rule 15c3-1 and Rule 15c3-3.
September 18, 2017
FINRA has received questions regarding FINRA's portfolio margin pilot program set forth in NASD Rule 2520(g) and incorporated NYSE Rule 431(g).

FINRA Rule 4210 (Margin Requirements) describes the requirements for the extension of credit by firms that offer margin accounts to customers, in accordance with Regulation T of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Investor Education
If you’re going to day trade—and it’s very risky to do so—you must abide by the rules, particularly those that deal with margin. If a brokerage firm designates you as a “pattern day trader,” then FINRA margin rules require that broker-dealer to impose special margin requirements on your day-trading account.
Investor Education
We are issuing this investor guidance to provide some basic information about day-trading margin requirements and to respond to a number of frequently asked questions that we have received. We also encourage you to read our Notice to Members and Federal Register notice about the rules.
Investor Alert
FINRA is re-issuing this alert because we are concerned that many investors may underestimate the risks of trading on margin and misunderstand the operation of, and reason for, margin calls.
Investor Education
Volatility is back, and market swings can sometimes bring an uncomfortable surprise to investors—a margin call.
Investor Education
Pursuant to FINRA Rule 4521, FINRA member firms carrying margin accounts for customers are required to submit the following customer information: the total of all debit balances in securities margin accounts; and, the total of all free credit balances in all cash accounts and all securities margin accounts.
Investor Education
We are issuing this investor guidance to provide some basic facts to investors about the practice of purchasing securities on margin, and to alert investors to the risks involved with trading securities in a margin account.
Investor Education
We are issuing this investor guidance to provide some basic facts to investors about the mechanics of margin accounts.