What is the difference between clearing margin and margin maintenance?
I know that an investor in a futures contract is required to keep a maintenance margin with the broker. The broker will require that the trader have a margin account. Does this mean that the money in the margin account is the broker's money? Can't an investor just put his own money in his margin account?
My book states that traders use leverage when they trade these contracts. Is this leverage the broker's money?
How is the broker connected to a clearing firm? My textbook states that brokers are required to maintain margin account (which margin, the maintenance margin?) with the clearing house member and the clearing house member is required to deposit margin (known as the clearing margin) with the clearing house.
I know that if the broker isn't himself a clearing member he needs to maintain a margin account with the clearing member. Does this mean that the broker needs to keep a maintenance margin with the clearing member and this maintenance margin is then deposited in the clearing house through a clearing member?
Is the clearing house the same for the seller and the buyer? Or are there two clearing houses?