Interactive Brokers Review

Established : 1978
Country : USA
U.S. Clients Allowed : Yes

Interactive Brokers Fast Facts

Interactive Brokers (IB), is an ideal fit for institutional and individual brokers thanks to its advanced trading technology and global coverage. This highly reputed brokerage offers a excellent services through a comprehensive trading platform and highly ranked back-end support. Interactive Brokers offer access to global market, security products and exchanges via its international operations in North America, Europe, India, Asia and Australia. It boasts of a diverse customer base of private equity, futures, forex traders; also fund managers and master account holders which can be attributed to Interactive Brokers’ fees and commission which are far lower than the industry average.

Its robust trading platform facilitates speedy and precise execution of trades but has a steep learning curve. Interactive Brokers’ Smart-Rounding technology enables traders to make the best investment by searching for the best available price across different markets. It’s advanced order types and flexible API enables traders to customize and develop their own trading strategies. The broker comes with many benefits such as low US margin rates compared to its competitors also highly competitive forex commissions and  spreads that it offers on most liquid instrument pairs which has a higher appeal as compared to forex-only brokers.

PROS

Superior Trading Technology

  • Highly ranked, in-house trading technology with smart routing capabilities

Advanced Order Types

  • Wide-ranging menu which includes more than sixty order types and algorithms

Robust Portability

  • Ability to trade anywhere, with multiple platforms to access accounts and run trades across desktops and mobiles

Economic Commissions/Spreads

  • Low commissions and spreads in major financial instruments

Research, Reporting, and Education

  • Opens access to educational material like webinars, performance and tax reports, and an extensive menu of third-party services

CONS

Non User-Friendly Interface

  • Proprietary trading platform comes with a steep learning curve

Customer Care

  • No 24/7 support

Feeble Technical Charting

  • Modern standards not met by the trading platform’s charts and indicators

Products & Fees

On various instruments such as forex, futures, options, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, CFDs, stocks and precious metals, the broker provides tight spreads and very low fees. The trades can pick between tiered and fixed pricing depending on the volume of the trade. A fixed commission or percentage of the trade value is offered under fixed pricing options; whereas the tiered pricing options provides partial or full rebate in exchanges or volume discounts.

Trust

As the broker NASDAQ- listed public company traded under the IBKR ticker, it comes under the jurisdiction of SEC and submits regular corporate statements which disclose earnings, income and client metric every quarter. Client funds are protected via up to 30 million dollar, with cash insurance extending up to 1 million dollars under SIPC umbrella. The broker is regulated with FCA in the UK under the registered number 208159. It is also regulated with FSCS which provides of cover of up to GBP 50,000 and cash protection of up to GBP 85,000. Interactive Brokers is a highly reputed broker on  Wall Street and its traders can enjoy safe and transparent trading environment knowing their funds are a the safe place.

Special Features

A robust risk management platform is provided via IB’s Risk Navigator programme which easily identifies hidden exposures. The traders have an option of analysing the data bottom down from the portfolio’s top line results to successive detail layers thanks to the multiple reports on risk summary the platform creates using real time data from multiple perspectives.

Desktop Experience

Benefited from more than a decade of upgrades and improvements, Trader Workstation is a robust trademarked trading platform that Interactive Brokers offers. As the trading platfrom runs on text-based java script, the learning curve on this one is steep. The traders have to dig in deep into the menus to configure the trading & the data screens to their requirements. Once mastered the tool can perform complex and advanced trading and analytic functions to serve the professional and high volume traders.

Mobile Experience

All the features are laid out in a compact, easy to read format on TWS’ mobile version for Android and IOS devices.

Interactive Brokers Customer Support

Interactive Brokers’ customer service is available on 24/5 basis and for some hours on Sunday, it can be contacted via phone and chat. The Traders an use the phone service for security issues and for more common issues like fund transfers, account changes etc, their thorough FAQs and web-based account management interface can prove useful
Research & Insights

Interactive Brokers’ research can be accessed via three channels – TWS, their website and their browser based platform. Some options may need an additional payment via subscriptions.

Education

Interactive Brokers provides a robust educational programme via web-based seminars for traders to watch live or at a later date. Many seminars focus on software, broker education and market-focussed topics.

Bottom Line

Interactive Brokers covers 120 markets in 26 countries, offering ultra-low commissions and tight spreads. Its data feed is highly reliable, rarely going offline, while trade executions are accurate and lightning fast due to sophisticated order routing technology. The mature trading platform easily handles complex order entry, while an excellent API supports algorithmic strategies, making this an industrial strength broker-dealer and top choice for professionals and serious-minted hobbyists.

Clients coming from other broker-dealers may feel intimidated by the proprietary trading platform, but taking the time to learn the software’s quirks pays immediate dividends, opening complex strategies not available at a typical discount house. While Interactive Brokers provides dozens of analytical and research tools, some customers may prefer to use third-party products that better organize the needed information. The same holds true with technical charting, which has been the weakest aspect of the TWS platform since its inception.

Ricardo Martinez

Ricardo Martinez

Ricardo Martinez has been active in the financial markets for around 10 years. In the early days in his career he was a trader and worked as market analyst in different online brokers advising clients on key decisions of trading instruments in foreign exchange and commodity markets. Ricardo is currently working as independent trader with diversified portfolio over different markets. His writing for LearnMarketonline is part of his commitment to share knowledge with traders.