Interactive Brokers Review
Interactive Brokers' electronic trading platform is one of the largest in the United States. According to the broker, its objective is to make investing simple and transparent while saving you time and money. Over the previous four decades, the broker has evolved into a multinational, multi-asset, well-known internet brokerage organisation. It is regulated in numerous countries where it has a presence and follows the laws of these stringent regulators. The funds of investors are safeguarded, and the operational environment is digitally secure. Traders are provided with the best available price and the fastest possible execution speeds using the IB SmartRouting technology. On the various platforms, there are hundreds of marketplaces to trade. The Trader Workstation (TWS) from Interactive Brokers is a sophisticated tool developed for professionals. It has an infinite number of tools and functionalities.
Interactive Brokers LLC is an online American brokerage firm founded in 1978. The company has its headquarters in New York, US. It runs the largest electronic trading platform in the United States in terms of daily average revenue trades. In addition, the broker has offices all over the world. Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. is listed on NASDAQ (Ticker: IBKR). Moreover, the broker is registered and regulated in multiple jurisdictions, including SEC in the US, FCA in the UK, IIROC in Canada, ASIC in Australia, SFC in Hong Kong, CBI in Ireland, CBH in Hungry, JFSA in Japan, and MAS in Singapore.
Interactive Brokers has a huge product portfolio, including various asset classes such as stocks/ETFs, options, futures/FOPs, spot currencies, cryptocurrencies, options, US spot gold, bonds, mutual funds, and hedge funds. In addition, the broker offers proprietary trading platforms for different devices and environments with a lucrative client portal. Interactive Brokers charges minimal trading costs in addition to the liquidity provided by top-tier banks.
Interactive Brokers provide a ton of educational and research resources with market analysis. It is clear to see why they have received multiple industry awards for their trading services throughout the years for low brokerage fees and overall performance.
Interactive Brokers’ electronic trading platform is one of the largest in the United States. According to the broker, its objective is to make trading simple and transparent while saving you time and money. Over the previous four decades, the broker has evolved into a multinational, multi-asset, well-known internet brokerage organisation. It is regulated in numerous countries where it has a presence and follows the laws of these stringent regulators. The funds of investors are safeguarded, and the operational environment is digitally secure. Traders are provided with the best available price and the fastest possible execution speeds using the IB SmartRouting technology. On the various platforms, there are hundreds of marketplaces to trade. The Trader Workstation (TWS) from Interactive Brokers is a sophisticated tool developed for professionals. It has an infinite number of tools and functionalities.
Interactive Brokers has expertise in providing trading services of over 40 years. The broker is regulated in multiple jurisdictions by top-tier regulatory authorities. They currently have the biggest trading volume in the US. Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. is a public company, and its shares are traded on NASDAQ with the ticker: IKBR. Therefore, the company’s financial information is regularly released in statements. Multiple account types for individuals and institutions are available for clients. Trading costs are minimised with the broker, as the spreads are tight with minimum slippage, and the commission fee starts from $0. On top of that, the broker provides Trader Workstation trading platform, API for institutions, and mobile trading apps. Dedicated educational and research tools help traders to make informed trading decisions. In addition, the broker provides trial/demo trading for traders to get used to the trading environment and customs of the broker.
On the other hand, Interactive Brokers does not provide its trading services in over 10 countries. The payment methods for deposits and withdrawals are limited to bank transfers and debit/credit cards only. The broker does not provide any other popular trading platforms, including MetaTrader or cTrader. In addition, the broker does not have fixed spread accounts. The broker also does not provide Islamic accounts for Muslim traders.
- Several regulations exist in various nations
- Trading on cutting-edge platforms on a variety of devices
- Third-party research and analysis from credible businesses
- Comprehensive trader education bundled as a “knowledge base” and a “Traders’ academy”
- A variety of trading tools are available
- Offerings from various asset classes
- Superior order fulfilment
- Excellent range of trading instruments
- Interest rates on margins are low
- A wide range of investment options available
- Excellent research and tools
- Over 7,000 mutual funds with no transaction fees
- Fees and commissions are minimal
- Opportunities for international trade
- Platforms and tools for competitive trading
- Several account types available
- Trading bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptos is possible
- An impressive platform that is jam-packed with features
- 24/5 customer support
- No inactivity fee
- No minimum deposits for any accounts
- Payment methods are limited
- Clients from around ten countries not accepted
- There are no set spread accounts
- IBKR SmartRouter is not available to IBKR Lite customers
- Backtesting of proprietary trading algorithms or automated trading not available
- Interactive Brokers’ Trader Workstation (TWS) desktop software maybe too complex for new traders
- As an alternate, MetaTrader or cTrader not available
- Complex tiered pricing plans are used
- IBKR Lite accounts have a sell order flow, placing them at a trading disadvantage
- The pricing structure could be complicated for some to understand
- Some research tools charge a price
- No Islamic accounts
Interactive Brokers boasts the widest range of assets from various asset classes, including stocks, ETFs, options, futures/FOPs, spot currencies, cryptocurrencies, options, commodities, US spot gold, bonds, mutual funds, and hedge funds. It introduces new items on a regular basis depending on client demand and links to new electronic exchanges as soon as possible. Customers have access to roughly 35,000 mutual funds, approximately 8,300 of which have no transaction fees (all funds in its marketplace are no-load).
Interactive Brokers Instruments Summary
Commission and Spread Fees
Interactive Brokers has a reputation for low commissions and costs, which we validated in our research. There are two primary applications available: IBKR Pro and IBKR Lite. Because IBKR Lite is aimed at more individual, recreational investors, it provides unlimited commission-free trading for US stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds. Meanwhile, as it is also aimed at professional and institutional investors, IBKR Pro charges commissions, with both fixed and tiered pricing choices available. For stock trades, the fixed pricing scheme requires you to pay just $0.005 per share, with a minimum price of $1 and a maximum fee of 1% of the total trade value. Those who make a high amount of trades each month can choose for the firm’s tiered pricing approach, in which the charge drops as your overall trading volume increases. For other assets such as options, bonds, FX, and mutual funds, Interactive Brokers employs both fixed and tiered commission regimes. Overall, I found them to have very competitive fees which are even more reasonable when you consider the wealth of exceptional trading platforms, tools and other resources that they provide access to.
|Fee||IBKR Pro||IBKR Lite|
|Commission (per standard lot per side)||$3 / £3||$3 / £4|
Deposit and Withdrawal Fees
Interactive Brokers has a complicated fee structure for deposit and withdrawal. To summarise the whole funding section, the broker charges deposit and withdrawal fees that vary for the payment option you use or the location you choose to process a transaction. In simple words, the broker charges 1% for some deposit options and then up to $100 for others. The same goes for withdrawal options.
Interactive Brokers does not charge an inactivity fee from any accounts which is another great advantage over those brokers which do.
Interactive Brokers has numerous platform alternatives. The main product is the desktop IB Trader Workstation, which provides access to securities trading, order management, charting, and watch lists all in one place. It also contains a variety of trading tools, such as the Options Strategy Lab, Volatility Lab, Market Scanners, and Portfolio Builder, which may help you try out your investment ideas, analyse other markets, and build a diversified portfolio.
The portal provides real-time access to market news and research from publications such as Reuters, Dow Jones, and Morningstar. It also allows you to see and create customisable charts that feature a wide range of indicators and tools to help you with your study. Finally, the column customisation tool allows you to track hundreds of data points regarding investments, such as market price, after-hours percentage change, and month-to-month change. After you’ve determined the data points you want to track, you may include them in a bespoke spreadsheet that is regularly updated.
IB Trader Workstation provides a wealth of information and features that are ideal for institutional and highly experienced investors, although it does have a steep learning curve. While they do have a sample account if you want to test it out, novice and recreational investors may find all of the information overwhelming.
Fortunately, Interactive Brokers provides a few more options. They offer a streamlined portal that may be accessed immediately from their website, without the need for a download. This interface makes it easy to conduct transactions, maintain your portfolio, and view crucial indicators such as your net liquidation value. While it lacks some research features, it still allows you to monitor market news and view some charts for technical analysis, albeit with fewer data points than the desktop version.
Finally, there’s IBKR Mobile, which works on both Android and iOS smartphones. It provides the majority of the online service’s functionality but significantly less than what is accessible on the desktop version. The IBKR mobile app allows you to trade all accessible asset classes while also providing access to the same research resources as the other platforms.
Interactive Brokers provides further trading help in the form of an AI tool called IBot, which can answer queries and do certain tasks. It also employs a predictive algorithm to propose natural next actions, such as asking whether you want to make a trade following your original query.
This is a straightforward web-based account administration and trading tool. It might be regarded as the ideal platform for inexperienced traders due to its simplicity. Here are some of its characteristics:
- View account information, portfolio performance, trading history, and other information in real-time.
- Order management; quickly place orders, modify or close orders.
- Charting with several timeframes that may be customised.
- The portal broadcasts live news.
- For each asset, detailed product information is provided.
IB Trader Workstation (TWS)
This is the flagship proprietary platform built for experienced traders who demand various tools and versatility. It is exclusively available to PRO clients of Interactive Brokers. It is a downloadable desktop platform for Windows, MAC OSX, and Linux. You will not find this particular trading platform available via many other brokers, Rockfort Markets being an exception.
Here are some of the TWS’s features:
- Traders, investors, and institutions may use a single account to trade stocks, options, futures, currency, bonds, and funds on over 100 worldwide marketplaces.
- Charts on various timeframes, technical indicators, and analytical tools that may be customised.
- Full reporting of account balances, profit and loss, trading history, and so on.
- Over 100 order kinds and Algos are available.
- TWS Mosaic provides trading, order management, charting, watchlist, and portfolio features in a single, customizable workspace.
- Reuters, Dow Jones, Trading Central, Bezinga, and other professional news and analysis sources.
- 26 FXTrader, BookTrader, SpreadTrader, Volatility Lab, and more advanced trading tools are available.
- Market Scanners, ChartTrader, and other analytical tools.
With Interactive Brokers’ mobile trading applications, you can trade on the move. They are intended for users of Android or iOS smartphones. I think the app is great for when you need to quickly check up on your account and see what is happening across the global markets. Here are some of the IBKR Mobile app’s features:
- Provides access to 125 markets throughout the world.
- The IB key two-factor authentication (2FA) enhances the app’s security.
- You may easily trade various instruments and watch charts over several timelines.
- Real-time market scanners and alarms with email notifications have been included.
- IB SmartRouting technology is used to provide clients with the best attainable pricing.
This is a software assistant that can place orders using text instructions and language. It is driven by artificial intelligence, which recognises plain language text commands and promptly acts on them. It may be found on the following platforms:
- TWS Desktop
- IBKR Mobile
- Client Portal
This is the desktop TWS’s browser version. It is exclusively available to PRO clients of Interactive Brokers. I like the versatility of this platform as you can access it from any device which is very useful in the case of an emergency. It just offers great flexibility despite some limitations when compared to some of the best trading platforms. Here are some of its characteristics:
- A single account provides access to 125 worldwide marketplaces.
- Simpler than the desktop TWS and firewall-protected.
- Order management that is advanced.
- Full real-time reporting, including profit and loss, position, account status, margin needs, and so on.
- Market depth, BookTrader, Market Scanners, Contract Search, and more advanced tools are available.
- Asset-specific news and fundamentals from reputable sources such as Reuters.
- Only your style, favourite layouts, and instruments may be used to customise the interface.
This is a powerful solution that is intended for investors who write their own trading software or utilise third-party tools. It is exclusively accessible to IBKR PRO customers. Downloads of the IBKR API software are only available for desktop computers running Windows or Mac/Unix. It is compatible with the following languages: Java, C++, Python, C#, ActiveX, and DDE. REST API, FIX CTCI, and W.T Web API are some of the other API options provided by IB.
Interactive Brokers Platforms Summary
|MetaTrader 4 (MT4)||x|
|MetaTrader 5 (MT5)||x|
Interactive Brokers provides a wealth of instructional tools to assist consumers in getting started with trading onnline. For starters, they have a Traders Academy that offers hundreds of courses for traders of different ability levels. The courses range from introductory lessons on how to use the platform and the fundamentals of trading charts to more advanced sessions on how to utilise options and other research tools on the Interactive Brokers platform.
Let’s look at all the educational and research tools individually.
Research & News
Several third-party news and research providers have been integrated into Interactive Brokers’ TWS platform. Some are free, but the majority demand a monthly membership. There are now around 87 services. Even on sample accounts, free services are available.
There is a marketplace where investors and clients may meet to conduct business. Before making a selection, investors may look for various services, assess the needs, and evaluate the services. Over 600 investment services, 320 research services, 450 technology services, 200+ administrative services, and 400 business development services are available.
This is an extensive resource that includes articles, questions, answers, videos, and a glossary. It has about 700 items that are organised alphabetically. There are about 80 training videos available. The knowledge base features a search section where you may look for materials. There is a dictionary with over 1,200 trade words and definitions.
The Traders’ Academy is intended for professionals and investors who require TWS and other trading information. The academy is only available to registered clients. There are 39 courses and 247 lessons in all. Articles, videos, and quizzes comprise the lessons. It is classified as follows:
- Products for investment.
- Trading and investing tools include trading tools, financial planning tools, adviser tools, and portfolio management.
This is a collection of videos that educate clients on the TWS. On the platform, there are over 150 videos. There are also approximately 140 videos in Chinese, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, and Japanese. There are 13 account management videos and 28 institutional trading videos.
Interactive Brokers Research and Education Summary
Interactive Brokers offers and accepts funds via wire transfers, local bank transfers, direct transfers and debit/credit cards. Despite the fantastic service they provide overall, this is an area in which I feel there is room for improvement. I think they could improve by adding support for more modern forms of payment such as e-wallets. For a greater selection of funding options, you might want to take a look at IG.
Interactive Brokers Funding Summary
Interactive Brokers is regulated by various Top-tier government regulatory authorities. They are one of the most well-regulated brokers that I have come across, along with AvaTrade. Here are the regulations of Interactive Brokers:
- Interactive Brokers LLC: the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (SEC)
- Interactive Brokers Canada Inc: Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)
- Interactive Brokers Australia Pty. Ltd.: the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
- Interactive Brokers U.K. Limited: the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- Interactive Brokers Ireland Limited: Central Bank of Ireland (CBI)
- Interactive Brokers Central Europe Zrt.: Central Bank of Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank)
- Interactive Brokers Hong Kong Limited: Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)
- Interactive Brokers India Pvt. Ltd: NSE, BSE, SEBI.
- Interactive Brokers Securities Japan Inc: Japan Securities Dealers Association and The Commodity Futures Association
- Interactive Brokers Singapore Pte. Ltd: Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
Interactive Brokers Regulation Summary
|SFC (Hong Kong)||✓|
|Other (NSE, SEC, CBI, CBH)||✓|
Interactive Brokers Safety
Interactive Brokers consistently adheres to all regulatory requirements that govern each jurisdiction. However, in general, all customer assets are held in segregated accounts that are distinct from the broker’s accounts. All clients are thoroughly vetted in accordance with ‘Know Your Customer rules. Individual registration is not complete unless a ‘proof of identity’ and a ‘proof of residence’ are provided. New clients must submit a scanned copy of their government-issued identification cards as well as a power bill. Interactive Brokers’ websites and platforms are completely digitally secure. This is due to the implementation of firewalls and Secured Socket Layers (SSL). The goal is to deter any intruder or internet hacker who would seek to steal clients’ identities or important user information.
The Multilingual customer service desk is based in each of Interactive Brokers’ offices. They are usually available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are around 15 phone lines accessible for clients from various countries to call for assistance. Other options include quick online chat, email, and Ask iBot FAQs.
Interactive Brokers, founded in 1978 by Thomas Peterffy as an independent market maker on the American Stock Exchange and is one of the world’s largest electronic brokers, completing millions of deals every day. Interactive Brokers is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, and has offices throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. They now employ over 2,100 people and are a publicly traded firm on the Nasdaq. Through its IBKR Lite product, Interactive Brokers was one of the first businesses to reduce its commissions to zero dollars; a wave of U.S. brokerages followed suit. While Interactive Brokers still offers commission-based accounts, like IBKR Pro, it may provide very cheap commissions due to its capacity to effectively route orders over a wide range of execution venues. Overall, they are one of the best brokers in the industry and continue to lead the way with innovative technology, power platforms, robust tools and excellent customer support.