Interactive Brokers Review
Interactive Brokers, a member of the Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. founded 38 years ago, opened its doors to the public in 2000 and has grown internally to become one of the premier securities firms in the industry with over $5 billion in equity capital. Interactive Brokers has been rated Best Online Broker by Barron’s 2015 for the Fourth Consecutive Year.
Interactive Brokers is regulated by the Futures Commission Merchant ("FCM"), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC"), and the National Futures Association ("NFA"). It is also registered by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"). It is also a member of SIPC and can therefore accept U.S. clients.
The Interactive Broker website is high class with tabs and features that are not found with many other brokers. There are far more features here than I have seen in many a review.
Interactive Brokers Home Page
Interactive Brokers offers accounts along the lines of an American mutual fund, offering a variety of different account structures for individuals, families and small businesses.
Stock trading can be done for Individual, Joint and Retirement Accounts in a single currency through the IB fast track application. The ProTrack application is used to open an account to trade a Stock, Options, Futures, Forex, Bonds, Mutual Funds and CFDs for Individual, Joint, Trust, Retirement and UGMA/UTMA Accounts.
Opening any of the accounts listed above requires a minimum equity deposit in cash or stock of $10,000; $5,000 for IRA account. In addition, anyone participating in these accounts must have extensive product knowledge for the product chosen to trade and prior execution of 100 or more trades of any product.
Small businesses such as Corporations, Partnerships, Limited Liability Corporations and Unincorporated legal structures are offered a separate account and there is also a possibility of managing multiple accounts (15 or fewer) of the types listed above under a single login.
A IB demo account can be opened for either of these account setups using the Trader Workstation (TWS), which is a full-featured Java-based trading and order management application; the FX Trader: or the WebTrader trading platforms. In addition, anyone trading through a demo account is entitled, just like traders in self-funded accounts, to use of the Probability Lab SM to analyze the market's probability distribution, which shows what the market believes are the chances that certain outcomes will occur. Traders can then adjust their trades based on their own forecast.
A most unusual account is their IB PaperTrader where traders can practice their trading skills in a simulated trading environment with an Interactive Brokers Paper Trading account. Anyone with a current IB account can experience the full range of Trader Workstation's trading capabilities in a real-time market environment without risking any of their own money. IB's Paper Trading accounts lets traders watch how their strategies play out as they develop and practice their trading skills.
Interactive Brokers Account Management
Traders at IB have access to over 100 market centers in 24 countries and can trade stocks, options, futures, Forex, bonds, ETFs and CFDs in multiple currencies from a single IB Account. The IB Account Management system lets traders configure and manage their IB account from a single window. Trading is totally automatic and their advanced SmartRouting℠ system searches for the best price available at the time of an order, and routes and re-routes all or parts of the order to achieve optimal execution.
The PortfolioAnalyst lets traders analyze the performance of their positions in an account quickly and efficiently by creating and saving PDF reports suitable for presentation.
Some of the pages at IB are complicated, such as the Investors’ Marketplace, which as the name implies is truly interactive. Clear explanations on their usage are provided, however, and that makes this page easier to navigate.
Margin loan rates are 81% lower and commissions are 88% less than any of their competitors. For Stocks, ETFs and Warrants, traders can choose either a fixed commission per trade or a set per cent of the trade. They can also choose the volume- tiered commission which decreases depending on volume, and includes exchange, regulatory, and clearing fees.
At the Trader’s University, traders can find a host of different educational tools. There are free live webinars that are offered in several different languages besides English, such as Chinese and Russian. Archived webinars are also available. Courses on trading stocks, Forex and options and video tutorial guides on how to use the various platforms so as to optimize ones profits are also provided.
Under the education tab, traders can find all the documentation they need as well as a FAQ listing with additional technical information on the Interactive Brokers platforms for desktop and mobile devices. In addition, basic trading information on taxes, day trading, funding, IRA’s and IB’s Stock Yield Enhancement Program can be found in this section as well.
Widgets at IB consist of Options Strategies, Options Calculator and Probability Lab. Each one is accompanied by a colorful graph or chart.
IB also offers comprehensive research, news and market data for traders, investors and institutions using various news feeds such as Interactive Brokers Information System (IBIS), Reuters, Dow Jones, flyonthewall.com, Briefing.com and others.
An added feature I found when doing this Interactive Brokers review is their listing of all the trading exchanges worldwide which most other options brokers do not provide.
All of these features are available on mobile devices as well as for desktop use.
Deposits are made at IB via funds transfers and by check. Deposits made from American and Canadian brokers are done through ACATs and ATON.
IB allows one free withdrawal request every 30 days. After the first withdrawal (of any kind), IB will charge a fee according to whether the withdrawal was made in Europe, Asia or America.
There are two separate customer service tracks at Interactive Brokers. Customer Service deals with everything involving trading, accounts, funding and execution.
The Technical Assistance Center (TAC) helps with issues concerning connections to IB and problems with the software involved.
IB offers 24-hour customer service by phone via regional Customer Service Centers located through-out America, Europe and Asia.
Chat is available for existing clients may upon login to Account Management. Prospective clients are provided chat access for application related inquiries through the Help Me! Link located directly within the application.
Interactive Brokers is chock-a-block with interesting and useful features that can sometimes be overwhelming but anyone opening an account and trading at IB should have an enjoyable trading experience trading. Although there is only one type of account, it is set up to accommodate various different groups and that make is flexible and unique. It’s good to see that a demo account is offered as well as another practice account, Interactive Brokers Paper Trader where traders can practice their trades in a simulated trading environment.
- Many Different Features
- Many Educational Services
- Overwhelming Amount of Information
- No Mention of Bonuses or Promotions
Review info: Interactive Brokers
Review Date: 2015-09-24
Rating : 2.5
Reviewed By : Sara Patterson (Google+)