For a leveraged strategy, the costs vary widely between brokers on account of the leverage factor adding to the complexity. Also, for these types of strategies, the investor needs to have a margin account with the broker. To acquire the benefits of these strategies by purchasing our products, the investor does not need a margin account.
Our Products vs CFDs
Contracts for Differences (CFDs) have been popular for well over a decade now. CFDs are essentially agreements between two parties regarding the price of a stock. For example, if the stock falls in price, the seller receives a payment from the buyer and vice versa. Since there is potential for significant price movements, the potential for losses is large – especially when trading with higher leverage factors. In addition, CFDs require a margin account which virtually guarantees that financing costs and commissions would be applied.
The usage of leverage factors in CFDs draws a parallel in the minds of some between these agreements and our products. However, these similarities are cosmetic; our ETPs come with transparent costs at every turn.
This is not the case with CFDs. Over the years, it has been estimated that anywhere between 70%-78.6% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs. Some of the most-quoted risks for CFDs are:
- CFDs are contracts with clauses that an average investor might not fully comprehend, depending on their trading experience;
- CFD providers come with very high counterparty risk. Hence, if the broker goes under, investors might lose their capital invested;
- Some CFD providers fulfill their agreements by pooling an investors’ capital with that of others. This creates a “pool risk”, in that one investor’s failure to pay for a bad trade might impact other investors who weren’t in on that trade.
- Some CFDs built on specific price points encounter “gapping risk”. In the event that a stock price moves so quickly that it blows past the specified price point without having any volumes on said point, there could be a significant loss to the investor.
Our Products vs Swap-based ETPs
Most existing short and leveraged ETPs track the performance of the underlying index by investing in total return swaps with a counterparty. A total return swap is an agreement by one party (the “payer”) to make payments based on an agreed-upon rate while the other party (the “receiver”) makes payments based on the return of an underlying asset which, in this case, would be the index. The receiver is thus vulnerable to both market risk and credit risk. The credit risk also affects the payer since both parties are bound by this agreement.
It bears noting that while other ETPs look and sound similar to our products, the underlying total return swap agreement underpinning the other ETPs only creates a “synthetic” product since the ETP issuer does not physically hold the underlying assets on which the product is based. This is a key difference with respect to how Leverage Shares offers its products: all stocks that underlie our ETPs are physically purchased by Leverage Shares and ring-fenced to protect investors in case of bankruptcy. This significantly reduces the credit risk that an investor would otherwise be subject to.
For UK residents, the Individual Savings Account (ISA) system has evolved into an alternative retirement investment tool, with the Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). As of 2020, HMRC reports that 11.2 million ISA accounts hold assets with a market value of over £584 billion while the SIPP market was valued at £2.4bn in 2017 by GlobalData with the market expected to grow by an average of £1.9bn every year until 2021.
Both ISA and SIPP are very efficient tax-efficient “wrappers”, which grants ISA and SIPP account holders with the potential to become an informed investor making attractive tax savings if they use approved market instruments. As per the current provisions laid out by HMRC, the account provider for these schemes would not be in favour of any instrument where the potential losses would exceed the assets held in the account.
Leverage Shares ETPs are both ISA and SIPP-eligible investments, by virtue of the fact that the loss is limited to the initial amount invested. It bears noting that swap-based ETPs are also eligible – but CFDs are not.
The feature that limits losses only to initial investment opens another interesting avenue to ISA and SIPP account holders. As per the aforementioned provisions, an account holder may not enter into a shorting strategy on any stock and have said investment be eligible for these “wrappers”. However, the inverse ETPs are both eligible for these “wrappers” as well as largely equivalent to a shorting strategy.
Leverage Shares’ suite of physically-backed ETPs provides a stable and tax-efficient system of strategy-building around the most heavily traded U.S. stocks. These products come with a very high level of transparency with respect to costs and a minimum amount of fuss.
A complete investor-specific summary of the benefits of using our products versus other styles of investing can be tabulated as thus:
*Not for option seller