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Fiduciary duty is alive and well at Etrade--the duty is to themselves and the opponent is the client base.

Their margin department refused to disclose their basis for required margin adjustments. They drastically raised the required collateral (in one case, leverage moved from 4X to 1.5X overnight). When I requested information on historical margin call alerts, they claimed to delete records after six months.

The margin calls are OPPORTUNISTIC. They were not dependent upon day-to-day or trending volatilities. The initial margin was generous, and the portfolio volatility low. However, Etrade's margin department prepares for moments when they can profitably call against you. When they do, be sure that they are your trading partner on the other side.

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Never had a problem, but I can see why the above would. This world is volatile even if you don't realize it.

Margin requirements change constantly and often etrade is just compliant in the chance. Some securities may be 2:1, 1:1, .5:1 marginal. Sometimes this is determined by the SEC, sometimes by a price change. If you're *** enough to get caught in a margin call, you have 5 days to meet it before they liquidate your assets.

Never use more then 50% margin, period. That allows your entire portfolio to drop by 50% before you have to GTFO.


I lost 600+ shares of Apple in a Margin call when the market dropped a few years ago. While they could have either asked me what to sell or sold something else they chose to "satisfy my margin requirements" by selling the best stock I had. It was $90 when they sold it, so the loss is north of $250,000


I lost a lot of money because of the way they process margin calls. They did not send me an email, rather posted a message to their internal messaging system, which is curious given that they collect some much info on you.

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