The fundamentals of securities lending in Singapore

Securities lending is a crucial part of the financial system in Singapore. It helps investors make money while holding onto their securities and provides flexibility when meeting short-term financial needs. Securities lending has become an increasingly important source of income for financial institutions and market intermediaries in Singapore. As such, investors need to understand the fundamentals of the process before engaging in it.

This article will look in-depth at Singapore’s securities lending fundamentals, including how it works and its associated risks.

What is securities lending?

Securities lending is a trading activity that involves borrowing and loaning stocks or other securities for a predetermined period and fee structure. This process involves the borrower (the person who borrows the security) and the lender (the person who loans out the security). The borrower pays a loan fee to borrow the security, and the lender earns income from the loan fee.

Securities lending works much like borrowing a car or book from a library. The borrower agrees to pay back the security, plus interest, by an agreed-upon date. When the date of repayment arrives, the lender must return the securities and receive any applicable fees due for using their money. In some cases, there may be additional terms or conditions for repaying the loan, such as fluctuations in market price or changes in interest rates.

Benefits of securities lending

The main benefit of securities lending is that it can provide short-term liquidity to investors who need cash but would otherwise have to sell their securities. By engaging in securities lending, investors can generate extra returns on their investments without selling them, thus avoiding paying taxes or incurring transaction costs associated with selling the security.

On the other hand, lenders are able to earn additional income through loan fees while maintaining ownership of their securities. This allows them to benefit from any potential increase in the value of their security over time.

Securities lending risks

Despite its benefits, securities lending has several risks that investors should be aware of before engaging in such a transaction. The most important risk is that the lender may suffer financial losses if the borrower fails to return the security by an agreed-upon date and does not pay back any accrued interest payments.

In addition, if the price of the security drops during the loan period, the lender may suffer losses since they are not eligible to benefit from any potential gains in its value following the return of the security. Lastly, there is a risk that interest rates could change during the loan period, which could cause financial losses for either party depending on whether they agreed to a fixed or variable rate.

Risk mitigation strategies

While securities lending can be a lucrative way to generate additional income, investors need to understand the risks involved and take steps to mitigate them.

Diversification: Investors should consider diversifying their securities lending portfolio by lending out a variety of investments such as stocks, bonds, options, and derivatives. This helps to spread out the risks associated with lending and ensures that losses are minimised should one of the securities fail to be returned.

Collateral agreements: Investors should also set up collateral agreements with the borrower, requiring the borrower to post some form of security to cover any potential losses. This can include cash, stocks, bonds, or other assets that the borrower owns and is willing to pledge as collateral if they cannot repay the loan.

Loan fees: Finally, investors should ensure that the loan fees they receive are adequate for the risk being taken. This means ensuring that the rates charged to borrowers reflect the current market conditions and are high enough to compensate for potential losses in case of default.

With that said

Securities lending can be a helpful tool for both borrowers and lenders in Singapore. It allows investors to generate additional income without selling their securities while providing short-term liquidity to those who need it most. 

However, it is crucial to understand that there are risks involved with securities lending. These should be mitigated by using various strategies such as diversification, collateral agreements, and adequate loan fees. With careful consideration and risk management, securities lending can be a lucrative way to generate additional investment returns.