Margin Lending

Margin lending is borrowing money which you use, in addition to your own money, to invest in financial products such as shares and managed funds.

Two people sitting at a table working on a tablet.

The Benefits

The benefits

  • Margin lending can give you an opportunity to increase the size of your investments and to diversify your investments.
  • Borrowing allows you to invest at a time you want to invest, helping you to avoid missing out on investment opportunities.
  • Interest on borrowed funds is generally tax deductible provided the funds are invested in Australian assets for income-producing purposes.

Please note: Deriving a tax benefit should not be your core focus. You should seek qualified tax advice from a registered tax agent so that you fully understand your personal tax position.

A group of people sitting around a table.

Borrowing limits

Margin lenders generally only allow you to borrow up to a certain value, or percentage, of the shares you wish to buy.

Commonly, limits are set at a maximum of 75% (known as the Loan-to-Value Ratio or LVR) of the value of the shares (less if the share is more speculative or risky). This means you have to make up the difference (i.e. 25%) with your own cash or existing shares. This difference is referred to as the “margin”; hence the term “margin lending”.

What are the risks involved?

Any borrowing strategy should always be approached with caution.

While borrowing to invest has the ability to leverage returns from investments, it also heightens investment risk. Margin lending should be implemented as a long-term investment strategy to allow time to overcome any market volatility and for the leveraging effects to work.

Borrowing to invest can be an effective long-term strategy for wealth creation as long as you understand the risks and the impact gearing may have on your overall returns.

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This latest publication will cover understanding the benefits of a CarePlus annuity for aged care, the proposed Div296 tax, world recession, super and tax next financial and expectations on how illiquid assets in SMSFs are valued.

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An introduction to the benefits of Challenger CarePlus

Challenger CarePlus offers attractive fixed monthly payments for the lifetime of those requiring aged care, and returns 100% of the invested amount to beneficiaries or the estate upon death. It is suitable for individuals receiving or planning to receive Government-subsidised aged care services. CarePlus combines two products: CarePlus Annuity, providing guaranteed lifetime income with withdrawal and death benefits, and CarePlus Insurance, which ensures the death benefit equals 100% of the initial investment. This provides financial security and estate planning certainty, with lump sums typically paid quickly and tax-free. Investing in CarePlus can also increase Age Pension and reduce aged care costs by lowering assessable assets and income.

Morgans has reviewed a number of these innovative products, the details of which are summarised in the latest publication of Your Wealth.

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Our best ideas are those that we think offer the highest risk-adjusted returns over a 12-month timeframe supported by a higher-than-average level of confidence. They are our most preferred sector exposures.

Reviewing our coverage of residential developers, real estate credit providers and building materials businesses, the consistent theme is that Australia is on the cusp of a significant building boom, with record immigration levels and population growth exacerbating an already chronic housing undersupply issue. This month we add several names with leverage to this theme.

Additions: This month we add Technology One, ALS Limited, ClearView Wealth, GUD Holdings and Stanmore Resources.

Removals: This month we remove Tyro Payments and Objective Corp.

June best ideas

Technology One (TNE)

Small cap | Technology

TNE is an Enterprise Resource Planning (aka Accounting) company. It’s one of the highest quality companies on the ASX with an impressive ROE, nearly $200m of net cash and a 30-year history of growing its earnings by ~15% and its dividend ~10% per annum. As a result of its impeccable track record TNE trades on high PE. With earnings growth looking likely to accelerate towards 20% pa, we think TNE’s trading multiple is likely to expand from here.

ALS Limited

Small cap | Industrials

ALQ is the dominant global leader in geochemistry testing (>50% market share), which is highly cash generative and has little chance of being competed away. Looking forward, ALQ looks poised to benefit from margin recovery in Life Sciences, as well as a cyclical volume recovery in Commodities (exploration). Timing around the latter is less certain, though our analysis suggests this may not be too far away (3-12 months). All the while, gold and copper prices - the key lead indicators for exploration - are gathering pace.

Clearview Wealth

Small cap | Financial Services

CVW is a challenger brand in the Australian retail life insurance market (market size = ~A$10bn of in-force premiums). CVW sees its key points of differentiation as its: 1) reliable/trusted brand; 2) operational excellence (in product development, underwriting and claims management); and 3) diversified distributing network. CVW's significant multiyear Business Transformation Program has, in our view, shown clear signs of driving improved growth and profitability in recent years. We expect further benefits to flow from this program in the near term, and we see CVW's FY26 key business targets as achievable. With a robust balance sheet, and with our expectations for ~21% EPS CAGR over the next three years, we see CVW's current ~11x FY25F PE multiple as undemanding.

GUD Holdings

Large cap | Consumer Discretionary

GUD is a high-quality business with an entrenched market position in its core operations and deep growth opportunities in new markets. We view GUD’s investment case as compelling, a robust earnings base of predominantly non-discretionary products, structural industry tailwinds supporting organic growth and ongoing accretive M&A optionality. We view the ~12x multiple as undemanding given the resilient earnings and long-duration growth outlook for the business ahead.

Stanmore Resources

Small cap | Metals & Mining

SMR’s assets offer long-life cashflow leverage at solid margins to the resilient outlook for steelmaking coal prices. We’re strong believers that physical coal markets will see future cycles of “super-pricing” well above consensus expectations, supporting further periods of elevated cash flows and shareholder returns. We like SMR’s ability to pay sustainable dividends and its inventory of organic growth options into the medium term, with meaningful synergies, and which look under-recognised by the market. We see SMR as the default ASX-listed producer for pure met coal exposure. We maintain an Add and see compelling value with SMR trading at less than 0.8x P/NPV.

Morgans clients receive full access of the Best Ideas, including our large, mid and small-cap key stock picks.

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As global markets continue to evolve, certain companies are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the substantial capital expenditure (capex) cycles driven by megatrends and shifting market dynamics. These companies, through strategic investments and a focus on future-oriented projects, stand to benefit significantly from large-scale capex initiatives

As global markets continue to evolve, certain companies are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the substantial capital expenditure (capex) cycles driven by megatrends and shifting market dynamics. These companies, through strategic investments and a focus on future-oriented projects, stand to benefit significantly from large-scale capex initiatives. In the Month Ahead this month, we highlight three such companies: ALS Limited (ALQ), Worley Limited (WOR), and Woodside Energy Group (WDS). Each of these firms is leveraging its core strengths and market positioning to navigate and benefit from the upcoming waves of investment in their respective sectors.

Worley (WOR)

We see Worley as being well-positioned to capitalise on the increasing momentum of capex investment across its target Energy, Chemical and Resources markets. Most notably, megatrends such as the global energy transition, decarbonisation, and the push towards reaching global net-zero emissions by 2050, in our view represent a potential multi-decade tailwind for the business. Worley has been an early mover in the ECPM sector to take advantage of these emerging trends, having made a concerted shift towards taking on an increasing number of transitional and sustainability related projects, which has underpinned positive momentum in its project backlog growth over recent years.

Projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimate that a ~2.3x uplift in annual global clean energy investment is required by 2030, to reach levels needed to achieve Net-Zero targets by 2050. With ~85% of Worley’s Top 20 customers having pledged a commitment to reaching Net-Zero by 2050 or earlier, we believe the company is in a strong position to benefit from this trend.

Additionally, we currently see this investment trend supported by regulation across North America and Europe (which accounts for the majority of Worley’s revenue), and consensus capex outlook for global majors in WOR’s end market also remains supportive of growth through to FY26F. Overall we see this as being supportive of WOR’s revenue growth, and ongoing margins expansion over the medium term, which underpins our forecasts for double digit EPS growth. We recently Initiated on Worley with an ADD recommendation and a price target of $18.00

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ALS Limited (ALQ)

We think ALS is in for a strong few years. It looks poised to benefit from margin recovery in Life Sciences as well as a cyclical volume recovery in Commodities. Timing around the recovery in Commodities is less certain though:

1) the length of previous junior miner raisings prolonged troughs suggests that a recovery is not too far away;

2) commodity prices are supportive with gold & copper (70-75% of exploration) around all-time highs; and

3) we are already starting to see some green shoots in equity capital markets (a key funding source for junior miners) with gold & silver raisings picking up.

ALS is on 20x FY25 PE which feels cheap given the material upside risk to our forecasts for the years ahead. ALS is targeting mid-single-digit organic growth for FY25, consistent with our forecasts. Life Sciences is expected to deliver modest margin improvements, while Minerals and Environmental divisions should maintain margin resilience. Geochemistry sample volumes have started to trend positively year-on-year, indicating a potential recovery in exploration activities. Macro indicators are positive for Commodities, with spot prices for gold and copper up more than 20% compared to 2023 averages.

Historically, gold and copper prices have shown strong correlations with exploration spend, which bodes well for future growth. Although junior miner raisings have not yet shown significant improvement, historical trends suggest a recovery within the next few months. ALS, the global leader in geochemistry testing with around half the market, is well-positioned to leverage its cash-generative Commodities division to fund growth in Life Sciences. The company’s dominant market position and the resilience of its business model underpin our positive outlook. We rate ALS as an ADD with a price target of $15.50 and think there could be material upside risk to our forecasts should exploration spend align with current commodity prices.

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Woodside Energy (WDS)

Woodside is unique among the companies in our coverage universe that benefit from capex megatrends, as it stands to directly benefit from the lack of significant global spend within global oil and LNG markets over multiple decades. In aggregate terms, 2022 and 2023 saw marked improvements in the rate of supply investment by the global oil and gas industry. However, this improved rate of spending still remains materially below the level needed to satisfy even the most bearish demand scenarios over the next decade.

To illustrate, if global oil production experienced an average natural field decline (supply decline) of 4% per annum, and aggregate oil demand decreased by 1% per annum, the oil industry would still need to add new supply equivalent to 3% per annum. Fixing this simple equation becomes more challenging the longer it remains out of balance. Woodside, meanwhile, has a robust pipeline of new projects, with the Sangomar oil project due to come online in 2024, Scarborough LNG in 2026, and the Trion oil project in 2028. Already deep into its investment cycle, Woodside is advanced in its construction spend on Sangomar and Scarborough.

Despite the peak capex associated with these projects, Woodside has managed to maintain low gearing and an 80% dividend payout ratio. The timing of Woodside’s investment cycle has also positioned it to substantially expand free cash flow starting in 2025, which could prove beneficial given our expectation that global oil demand will start to recover against a backdrop of restrained supply. We maintain an ADD rating on Woodside, which remains our top preference among our energy resources coverage. Having navigated peak capex while maintaining a healthy balance sheet and strong dividend profile, we have little doubt that Woodside is effectively deploying capital. The key risk to our call, outside of oil/LNG prices, is execution risk around its growth projects. However, the scale and pace at which capex rolls off over the coming years, while group EBITDA remains around ~US$8.7-$9.0bn per annum until approximately 2031, create a significant long-term value buffer supporting our call.

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Morgans clients receive exclusive insights such as access to the latest stock and sector coverage featured in the Month Ahead. Contact us today to begin your journey with Morgans.

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