Lombard Loans & Borrowing on Margin to Invest


I have been investing on the platform for nearly 2 years now and the experience has been really positive.

I was just wondering whether you have Lombard Loans or borrowing on margin to fund long-term investments on the product roadmap? I know you were having a look at Lombard Loans around 2 years ago but I haven’t seen an update since.

I believe that there is demand for these kind of services on IE and offer a lot of potential benefits to investors on the platform, and, IE as a business, alike.

The Problem

We all know that the key to generating long-term investment returns is about ‘time in the market’ rather than ‘timing the market’. But another substantial factor that affects returns is the amount of money that was invested at the beginning/ early years of the investment journey. The higher the initial capital, the higher the potential returns over the same time period. In other words, £1,000 invested in year 1 that is allowed to compound, will generate higher long-term returns over a 30/40 years investment lifetime than say £100 - even if the latter regularly invests more at a later stage.

However, many smaller, first-time or younger investors may lack the means (a.k.a money) to invest substantial amounts at the beginning of their investment journey. It’s an irony of investing that, generally speaking, the older you are and therefore the closer you are to your investment time horizon, the higher your disposable income is and its vice versa for younger people who tend to have higher living costs as a percentage of their regular income.

The Solution
Being able to borrow cheaply (and responsibly) could help to overcome this hurdle and magnify returns for investors.

It would also have significant benefits for IE.

  • It would accelerate their AUM - potentially attracting further institutional investors to the platform/ cheaper fees charged by market makers to complete transactions

  • Would bring another source of income to the platform

  • Would diversify their offering, bringing them further in line with other mainstream brokers (margin accounts/ services) whilst attracting new investors via a USP that is normally only available to the uber wealthy (Lombard loans)

Managing Risk
Borrowing to invest is inherently riskier than investing your own money and won’t be suitable for everyone. But I believe that the risk can be reduced, mitigated or managed by:

  • Only allowing borrowing to invest in ETFs on IE platform

  • Sharing information with investors so they are aware of the risks, the potential consequences and that it would be for investing (not trading, which is riskier still) and can therefore make an informed decision before committing. This could even include a requirement to talk through the risks with a member of IE to ensure that risks are understood.

  • Having a ‘staircasing’ approach, where investors can borrow in incrementals of 10% up to a maximum of 50% of their portfolio value. Increases will only be granted where it has been shown that the previous debt/ collateral was managed well

  • Securing their financial assets (i.e. ETF Holdings) as collateral to cover the debt/ margin

  • Only giving this option to experienced or long-term investors who have invested through IE for at least 2 years. This will ensure investors have the necessary knowledge and experience and it will protect new investors/ speculators who may be unfamiliar with the general principles of investing from taking on debt.

Most of these proposals to manage risk are pretty standard with one or two additions for enhanced risk management.

I would be interested to hear the thoughts of anyone from IE and fellow investors.