Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Leveraging by Pledging My Existing Investment Portfolio

Over the past 2~3 years, I have built up a "sizeable" unit trust investment portfolio with a bank. The funds I invested are mostly of moderate risk. While the prices did not appreciate very much, I have collected good dividend amounting to 4~5% steadily.

Two weeks ago, my RM from the bank asked one of the financial consultant to run a "crisis simulation test" on my existing portfolio. The test was to see how my investment would have been affected by "Sub-prime crisis", "SARS crisis" and "Global Financial Crisis". It turned out that my portfolio was quite resilient and would have withstood the various crisis. In all 3 tests, the value would have dropped less than the benchmark, and recovered quickly after the crisis. In the worst case the portfolio dropped by 25% but soon recovered after 6 months.

My RM then told me that I could let my money work harder. Noticing that I am quite a "passive" investor and prefer to hold my investment in longer term, she suggested that I could "pledge" a portion of my portfolio to the bank and get a loan to buy more funds. The current interest rate for such a loan is 1.2~1.5% p.a. So if my investment can get my 4~5% dividend, I would have a net profit of 2.5~3.8%. There are no other admin or handling charges besides the interest.

The loan is a kind of flexible type which I only pay interest when I draw down the loan. And any time I could sell the unit trust and pay back the loan, without any penalty. To buffer the risk of price fluctuations, I should only pledge part of my portfolio and not drawdown the full sum. So there would be little risk of margin call.

Sounds good with most of the thinkable risk mitigated. Should I get into this?