I'm in Canada, and encountered something very strange in the last few months: my mother and I each opened an individual (not joint) discount brokerage account at HSBC InvestDirect. We both deposited $100 000 into our respective accounts, and both claim to have limited experience trading options (she never traded options and I've been doing it occasionally for a year). My mother's credit history is limited and so maybe has an incomplete credit file (she has been using a credit card for 5 months and always paid the balance in full the day the statement came out. She is employed full-time at a minimum wage job and I'm unemployed and have an Equifax score of 730-ish with $0 of debt. I was given a cash account, which means I'm not permitted to trade any options (including covered calls or long calls/puts, and I don't understand why these trades need margin) while she was given a margin account with short selling/options trading enabled. The people at the bank refused to acknowledge the fact that I'm denied a margin account because I'm unemployed, just saying that it was not approved.

Question is, what should I do? I'm pretty much never going to get a job, but will it increase my chances if I somehow manage to turn a huge profit in my cash account? The people at the bank said I could reapply for options trading after 6 months......

  • When applying, did you state that you wish to trade covered calls and sell options short, or did you simply state that you wish to buy options? There should not be a problem with taking long only option positions. Try trading long options for 6 months and then reapply. Alternatively, try a different broker.
    – not-nick
    Jan 19, 2017 at 23:08
  • For non-registered accounts, lots of brokers (BMO Investorline, TD Direct Investing) require people to have margin accounts before they are allowed any kind of options trading. The reason that RRSPs, RESPs, and TFSAs are allowed to exist as long-only options-enabled accounts is because the Canada Revenue Agency strictly prohibits short selling or margin facility in these accounts. Jan 19, 2017 at 23:11
  • 3
    Why are you pretty much never going to get a job? Feb 7, 2020 at 12:49

3 Answers 3


Put more money into the account. You have to demonstrate that you have the cash to back your bets.

If you don't have the money, and you're unemployed, then what are you doing messing around with a margin account?

The only case where the broker might extend this to you is if you had demonstrated success as a trader; such as a 10% profit for the last 5 years, and for some reason lost all your cash through no fault of your own, and need some seed money. But, in reality, a skilled and successful trader probably wouldn't have that problem.

Would YOU lend money to a trader with questionable skill, that has neither liquid cash, nor a revenue source, for the purpose of betting in the market? That is, as they say, a "high risk" investment.

EDIT: That being said, perhaps try a different broker, and/or apply again.

Also, is this a personal account? If you are planning on trading with your Mother's money, that could be a red flag.

  • 3
    He put deposited $100,000 into his account. Sure, it's toy Canadian money, but still it's more than adequate as "liquid cash".
    – RonJohn
    Jun 11, 2019 at 0:50
  • Perhaps demonstrate a track record of success for a couple years. 100k big enough to prove his skill.
    – kmiklas
    Nov 4, 2019 at 15:26

It is unclear if you deposited 100$ or 100,000 $. I use TD Aneritrade and if I keep over 2,000 $ , I can access a % of that to use on margin. You must have collateral in order to borrow from margin and they have great accounting info so you know how much available. I do not think that credit score or being employed such is important but having the ability to cover any use of margin is what is necessary. Best to not mess with margin if you can help it. But check out TD Aneritrade, they are wonderful and offer education, trading stocks is free and trading margins .65 cents per trade, to open and again to close out. Good luck


This is a US centric answer since I don't know what is applicable in Canada.

It makes no sense that your mother, with little to no experience, was given a margin account with short selling and options trading enabled.

It makes no sense that if you deposited $100k that they denied you level I option approval for cash secured short puts and covered calls in a cash account.

That may be bank policy but to me it's two nonsensical extremes.

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