Protecting our borrowers, growing our business

EquitiesFirst protects the interests of borrowers whose requirements and sophistication are suited to our business – a commitment that helps guard investors against fraud in private lending.

Share-backed financing can be a powerful tool for shareholders looking to unlock value from their portfolio. Borrowing against shares can provide flexible liquidity when it is needed without relinquishing the long-term potential to generate returns from the underlying stock.

Financial transactions involving personal wealth, however, should always be considered carefully. When a borrower’s collateral is equity built-up over generations, for example, or a stake in a business they founded, choosing the right structure and partner can be vital to protecting these legacies.

Before you borrow

When considering equity-backed financing, borrowers need to know that they are dealing with a long-term partner that understands their objectives and will act in their interests. While the borrower is ultimately responsible for weighing options and making financing decisions, lenders must make appropriate recommendations based on their experience and their understanding of the borrower’s goals.

Share-backed financings can be an attractive option for long-term shareholders looking to unlock the value of their collateral while retaining long-term potential. However, they also involve the risk that the shares pledged as collateral will not be returned to the borrower if they are unable to make interest or principal repayments.

In many jurisdictions, directors of listed companies and their related parties are required to make a stock exchange disclosure if they pledge their shares as collateral for a loan.

Prospective borrowers should also take this into account: there is a common, but misguided, perception that share-backed financings have a negative impact on stock prices. While individual circumstances vary, EquitiesFirst research found the opposite can be true: an analysis of disclosures of equity-collateralised loans in Hong Kong demonstrated that the price of the underlying shares rose by an average of 9.6% in the following month.

Safeguarding clients

Since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09 and subsequent mis-selling scandals, financial institutions have been required to implement more robust measures to help evaluate the suitability of their clients for the products they sell them. In Hong Kong, for example, the Securities and Futures Commission restricts access to certain financial products to what it deems ‘Professional Investors,’ who include individuals with a portfolio worth more than HKD8 million (USD1.03 million).

EquitiesFirst is fully aligned with regulatory efforts to properly match clients to the products we offer. We are committed to working to protect our clients as they use their wealth to access liquidity.

Firstly, we work with long-term shareholders who have confidence in the future of their company and its stock.

Our compliance process then begins with a comprehensive onboarding application, requiring prospective borrowers to provide personal and corporate documentation. We use WorldCheck, a company owned by the London Stock Exchange Group, to assist in our due diligence, and the Mintz Group, an expert in business intelligence, where more thorough investigations may be required.

This robust approach to the know-your-client process aims to protect all parties involved by working to ensure that all borrowers meet our strict suitability criteria.

Stable capital

EquitiesFirst’s private ownership enhances our stability and protection for the borrowers who choose to use their shares as collateral. We do not rely on external financing or credit lines that could be withdrawn in times of market stress, nor do we manage capital for external investors.

In a share-backed financing transaction, which we structure as a sale-and-repurchase agreement, EquitiesFirst acts as a balance sheet lender and also as a shareholder. This creates a long equity position, aligning interests with the borrower who has pledged their shares for the loan. Our investment strategy does not employ short-selling; nor do we lend the shares to third parties.

We have also invested in our own in-house research capabilities to enhance vetting and collateral management. EquitiesFirst only lends against shares after a thorough fundamental and technical analysis. We run a diversified portfolio across sectors and geographies to mitigate broader market risks. We are a purely financial investor and do not attempt to influence companies’ management or strategy.

EquitiesFirst operates in global financial centers including the UK, Hong Kong and Australia, and is thereby subject to all relevant regulatory standards. The firm and its regional subsidiaries are licensed and regulated accordingly across multiple jurisdictions.

These high standards have been the cornerstone of EquitiesFirst’s growth, enabling us to issue more than USD2.5 billion of loans over nearly 20 years. We believe our commitment to borrower protection and suitability will allow us to continue growing sustainably alongside our clients in the years ahead.

Disclaimer

Past performance does not guarantee future returns, and individual returns are not guaranteed or warranted.

This Document is intended solely for accredited investors, sophisticated investors, professional investors, or otherwise qualified investors, as may be required by law or otherwise, and it is not intended for, and should not be used by, persons who do not meet the relevant requirements. The content provided herein is for informational purposes only and is general in nature and not targeted to any specific objective or financial need. The views and opinions expressed in this Document have been prepared by third parties and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of EquitiesFirst.  EquitiesFirst has not independently examined or verified the information provided herein, and no representation is made that it is accurate or complete.  Opinions and information herein are subject to change without notice.  The content provided does not constitute an offer to sell (or solicitation of an offer to purchase) any securities, investments, or any financial products (“Offer”). Any such Offer shall only be made through a relevant offering or other documentation which sets forth its material terms and conditions. Nothing contained in this Document shall constitute a recommendation, solicitation, invitation, inducement, promotion, or offer for the purchase or sale of any investment product by First Holdings, LLC or its subsidiaries (collectively, “EquitiesFirst”), nor shall this Document be construed in any way as investment, legal, or tax advice, or as a recommendation, reference, or endorsement by EquitiesFirst. You should seek independent financial advice prior to making an investment decision about a financial product.

This Document contains the intellectual property of EquitiesFirst in the United States and other countries, including, without limitation, their respective logos and other registered and unregistered trademarks and service marks. EquitiesFirst reserves all rights in and to their intellectual property contained in this Document.  The Document should not be distributed, published, reproduced or otherwise made available in whole or in part by recipients to any other person and, in particular, should not be distributed to persons in any country where such distribution may lead to a breach of any legal or regulatory requirement.

EquitiesFirst make no representation or warranty with respect to this Document and expressly disclaim any implied warranty under law. You acknowledge that EquitiesFirst is not liable under any circumstances for any direct, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever, including, without limitation, any lost profits or lost opportunity, even if EquitiesFirst has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

EquitiesFirst makes the following further statements that may be applicable in the stated jurisdiction:

Australia: Equities First Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd (ACN: 142 644 399) holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL Number: 387079). All rights reserved.

The information contained on this Document is intended for persons located in Australia only and classified as a Wholesale Client only as defined in Section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001. The distribution of information to persons outside this criteria may be restricted by law and persons who come into possession of it should seek advice and observe any such restriction.

The material contained in this Document is for information purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation or recommendation to buy or sell financial products.

The information contained in this Document is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial product advice. Any advice contained in the Document is general advice only and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information, you should consider the appropriateness of the information provided and the nature of the relevant financial product having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should seek independent financial advice and read the relevant disclosure statements or other offer documents prior to making an investment decision about a financial product.

Hong Kong: Equities First Holdings Hong Kong Limited is licensed under the Money Lenders Ordinance (Money Lender’s Licence No. 1839/2020) and to carry on the business of dealing in securities (Type 1 licence) under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (“SFO”) (CE No. BFJ407).  This Document has not been reviewed by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. It is not intended as an offer to sell securities or a solicitation to buy any product managed or provided by Equities First Holdings Hong Kong Limited and is only intended for persons who qualify as Professional Investors under the SFO. This document is not directed to individuals or organizations for whom such offers or invitations would be unlawful or prohibited.

Korea: The foregoing is intended solely for sophisticated investors, professional investors or otherwise qualified investors who have sufficient knowledge and experience in entering into securities financing transactions.  It is not intended for, and should not be used by, persons who do not meet those criteria.  

United Kingdom: Equities First (London) Limited is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”).  In the UK, this Document is only being distributed and made available to persons of the kind described in Article 19(5) (investment professionals) and Article 49(2) (high net worth companies, unincorporated associations etc.) of Part IV of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (‘’FPO’’) and any investment activity to which this presentation relates is only available to, and will only be engaged in with, such persons. Persons who do not have professional experience in matters relating to investment or who are not persons to whom Article 49 of the FPO applies should not rely on this document. This Document is only prepared for and available to persons who qualify as Professional Investors under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive.