Margin lenders are sharing the pain their peers in the mortgage and personal loan markets are feeling; no one wants their product.
The latest Reserve Bank margin lending figures show falls in account numbers and balances in the March quarter, continuing a long-term trend.
The number of client accounts fell 4.7 per cent from 106,000 in the December quarter to 101,000 in the March quarter. Over the past year the number of client accounts has fallen 19.8 per cent.
Total margin loan account balances fell 2 per cent from $11.3 billion in the December quarter to $11.1 billion in the March quarter. Over the past year total balances have fallen 3.7 per cent.
The fall in demand for margin loans has nothing to do with higher risk of loss. The average number of margin calls per 1000 clients per day was 0.13 in the March quarter – one of the lowest levels recorded in the data series (in bear markets the rate of margin calls is around 8 per 1000 clients per day).
Margin lending was a growth business until late 2007, when the number of client accounts was close to 250,000 and balances reached $41.6 billion.
Since the financial crisis, leveraged investing in shares and managed funds has never recovered its appeal.