Generally, every firm requires a client to sign a new account agreement before the client invests.
You should carefully review the information contained in this document because it may affect your legal rights regarding your account.
Our advisors will ask for information about your investment objectives and personal financial situation, including your income, net worth, and investment experience. It is very important that you answer these questions honestly, because our advisors will use this information in making investment recommendations to you.
1. Who is the decision-maker in your account?
You should control the investment decisions made in your account. However, you could decide to give discretionary authority to your advisor to make investment decisions for you based on what they believe is best at the time – without consulting you about the price, the type of security, the amount, or when to buy or sell. Do not give this discretionary authority to anyone unless you have seriously considered whether this arrangement is appropriate for you.
2. How will you fund your investment?
Most investors maintain a cash account that requires payment in full for each security purchase.
An alternative type of account is a margin account .. meaning that you can borrow money from the brokerage firm to buy securities. This arrangement would require you to pay interest on that loan and you will be required to sign a margin agreement disclosing interest terms.
If you buy securities on margin (by borrowing money from the brokerage firm), the firm has authority to immediately sell any security in your account, without notice to you, to cover any shortfall resulting from a decline in the value of your securities.
If the value of your account is less than the amount of the outstanding loan – even if caused by a one-day market drop – you will be liable for the balance! Please consider that this balance may be a substantial amount of money, even after your securities have been sold.
A margin account agreement generally stipulates that the securities in your margin account may be lent out by the brokerage firm at any time, without notice or compensation to you.
3. How much risk should you assume?
In a new account agreement, you must specify your overall investment objective in terms of risk. Be sure that you understand the distinctions between the terms, and be certain that the risk level you choose accurately reflects your investment goals.
4. Nobody invests to lose money.
Nevertheless, investments always entail some degree of risk.
- The higher the expected rate of return, the greater the risk. Depending on market developments, you could lose some or all of your initial investment.
- Some investments cannot easily be sold or converted to cash. Check to see if there is a penalty or charge if you must sell an investment quickly or before its maturity date.
- Securities investments, including mutual funds, are not federally insured against a loss in market value.
- Securities you own may be subject to tender offers, mergers, reorganizations, or third-party actions that can affect the value of your ownership interest. Pay careful attention to public announcements and information sent to you about such transactions; they involve complex investment decisions. Be sure you fully understand the terms of any offer to exchange or sell your shares before you act.
- The past success of a particular investment is no guarantee of future performance.
- Although capital markets are carefully regulated, market reaction to events and news are part of the normal course of a trading day. Clients should be familiar with what may occur during periods in which markets are more volatile.