Author Topic: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?  (Read 9804 times)

balkanbabe

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Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« on: April 21, 2015, 08:38:19 PM »
Has anyone dealt with Interactive Brokers?  Are they good, are they legit?

Looking for a low-cost broker where I can keep my funds in Canadian $ and invest in Canadian $.

Thanks

Cathy

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2015, 08:58:12 PM »
Did you delete your previous thread where I answered a related question? It looks like you deleted all your previous threads and posts.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2015, 09:12:28 PM by Cathy »

acorn

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2015, 09:04:06 PM »
I use IB. They're legit.

hodedofome

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2015, 09:14:48 PM »
I use them as well. I've heard customer service sucks but I haven't had any unresolved issues. Prices are excellent and it can be used for basic investing all the way up to a professional trading broker.


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dragoncar

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2015, 09:18:39 PM »
I use IB. They're legit.

+1, Yes the are legit but they don't hold your hand.  They will let you enter a trade that puts you out of regulation t and then liquidate you at the end of the day without so much as a phone call.  Or so I've heard.  Just be real careful not to blow up your account.  If you have over 100k in the account they waive their minimum fees

balkanbabe

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2015, 09:34:08 PM »
Did you delete your previous thread where I answered a related question? It looks like you deleted all your previous threads and posts.

I did. You recommended Interactive Broker. I am asking if anyone else has used them.

balkanbabe

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2015, 09:35:12 PM »
I use IB. They're legit.

+1, Yes the are legit but they don't hold your hand.  They will let you enter a trade that puts you out of regulation t and then liquidate you at the end of the day without so much as a phone call.  Or so I've heard.  Just be real careful not to blow up your account.  If you have over 100k in the account they waive their minimum fees

Wow. I am new to investing in the US. Would you be able to give me an example of such a trade?

dragoncar

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2015, 06:41:47 AM »
I use IB. They're legit.

+1, Yes the are legit but they don't hold your hand.  They will let you enter a trade that puts you out of regulation t and then liquidate you at the end of the day without so much as a phone call.  Or so I've heard.  Just be real careful not to blow up your account.  If you have over 100k in the account they waive their minimum fees

Wow. I am new to investing in the US. Would you be able to give me an example of such a trade?

Let's say you put in $10k.  I'm pretty sure all their accounts are margin, but if you can opt out then that solves this.  Anyways, instead of buying 10 shares at $400 ($4000), you accidentally buy 100 shares ($40k).  I believe you are allowed to do this because IB initial margin is 25%.  Depending on which trading platform you use, and your preferences, there may or may not be much in the way of a confirmation screen.

Anyways, this is a dangerous situation, since as soon as the stock goes down, you are getting liquidated at 4x loss.  Even if it doesn't go down that much, IB will liquidate you end of day to get back down to 2x leverage

Ps they offer a free demo of their trading platforms if you want to play around with it
https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/pagemap/pagemap_demo.php
« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 06:44:05 AM by dragoncar »

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2015, 08:09:08 AM »
I use IB.  Low fees but you have to pay for market data now ($10/month).  Still worth it if you trade regularly, especially options.

When I was first learning options, I sold a ton of at the money naked calls on volatility.  The Greek crisis hit the news and I ended up way under water.  At the end of the day, my phone started ringing with dozens of email notifications as IB was force liquidating my positions according to an automated algorithm.  Said algorithm is apparently designed to make the very worst possible decision from a tax perspective.  I had a very stressful next day trying to gather the smoking ruins of my portfolio back together and escape to trade another day.  It was my fault.  When you place a trade in WebTrader, you get a confirmation screen that notes what your new initial margin will be.  If you use too much, or close to, you get what you have coming to you.

I ultimately came away from the experience a few thousand dollars up and with a lot more grey hair.  The good news is I learned a lot and have practiced reasonable risk management thereafter.

balkanbabe

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2015, 02:05:12 PM »
Thanks.

I am interested in them since I can wire my funds in Canadian $ and invest in Canadian $ (until the dollar recovers against the US$).  I am not going to be doing anything very complicated - buying a portfolio of ETFs and holding for some time.




Gomo

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2015, 03:07:15 PM »
Been with IB since May 09. You're pretty much on your own, no hand holding as mentioned above. I've had to call a few times and they have always been very helpful. Always seems to be something wrong with the 1099's. Don't think I've ever got one that was right the first time.

But, boy those trading fees and margin rates can not be beat. Compared to where I had my account before, it's a savings well into the $1,000's per year. Makes you over look all the negatives.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2015, 03:42:59 PM »
Always seems to be something wrong with the 1099's. Don't think I've ever got one that was right the first time.

Seconded.  I usually get an 'amended' 1099 TWO times before filing.  I don't even attempt to use 1099 to report basis and go straight to the 8498 they provide instead.  Not a problem for a buy and hold investor but if you are into options like me, it is inevitable you have some cap gains/losses.

clarkevii

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2015, 07:50:23 PM »
IB is excellent but if you are new to investing I would look elsewhere.

innerscorecard

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2015, 10:25:43 PM »
They have the best features and the lowest prices. The UX is bad. But IB allows me to do corporate actions and other things very easily - things that other brokers would charge you $30 for. And commissions are basically free. What I really like as well is that if you have $100,000 in market value in your account, the minimum $10 monthly commission (which is actually waived for the first 3 months anyways) is waived.

Captain_Burrito_Pants

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2015, 10:51:00 PM »
I use IB.  Low fees but you have to pay for market data now ($10/month).  Still worth it if you trade regularly, especially options.


I was able to cancel my market data subscription so my only fees are usually $1 commissions.  If I need an asset price I just look it up elsewhere.

My only complaint with IB is if you use any margin they tend to give you "payment in lieu of dividends" so you could end up paying a bit more in taxes.

dragoncar

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2015, 10:54:02 PM »
I use IB.  Low fees but you have to pay for market data now ($10/month).  Still worth it if you trade regularly, especially options.


I was able to cancel my market data subscription so my only fees are usually $1 commissions.  If I need an asset price I just look it up elsewhere.

My only complaint with IB is if you use any margin they tend to give you "payment in lieu of dividends" so you could end up paying a bit more in taxes.

I also opted out of market data.  Don't tell them, but I use Fidelity for real-time quotes to set my limits.  Payment in lieu is a bitch and adds counterparty risk too (if they lend out your securities, not sure if SIPC covers default)

forummm

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2015, 07:47:18 AM »
I use IB.  Low fees but you have to pay for market data now ($10/month).  Still worth it if you trade regularly, especially options.


I was able to cancel my market data subscription so my only fees are usually $1 commissions.  If I need an asset price I just look it up elsewhere.

My only complaint with IB is if you use any margin they tend to give you "payment in lieu of dividends" so you could end up paying a bit more in taxes.

I also opted out of market data.  Don't tell them, but I use Fidelity for real-time quotes to set my limits.  Payment in lieu is a bitch and adds counterparty risk too (if they lend out your securities, not sure if SIPC covers default)

Their materials say that IB is the counterparty and that they put cash in your account as collateral. I don't know what effect that has on SIPC, or if the stock goes crazy high (i.e. more than the collateral).

dragoncar

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2015, 12:57:21 PM »
I use IB.  Low fees but you have to pay for market data now ($10/month).  Still worth it if you trade regularly, especially options.


I was able to cancel my market data subscription so my only fees are usually $1 commissions.  If I need an asset price I just look it up elsewhere.

My only complaint with IB is if you use any margin they tend to give you "payment in lieu of dividends" so you could end up paying a bit more in taxes.

I also opted out of market data.  Don't tell them, but I use Fidelity for real-time quotes to set my limits.  Payment in lieu is a bitch and adds counterparty risk too (if they lend out your securities, not sure if SIPC covers default)

Their materials say that IB is the counterparty and that they put cash in your account as collateral. I don't know what effect that has on SIPC, or if the stock goes crazy high (i.e. more than the collateral).

Yeah, the corner case is IB borrows your GLD at market price.  Then something crazy happens, markets tank.  IB suffers losses in all it's margin accounts invested in S&P and even more stupid shit, which all tanked (it has happened before with the Swiss revaluation - IB can't necessarily liquidate fast enough to prevent negative equity).  On the other hand, GLD has shot up and you are sitting there with a fraction of your expected value in "cash collateral."  Meanwhile, IB is bankrupt and can't pay you the difference.

CommonCents

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2015, 01:09:16 PM »
They are a pain on customer service.  They lose paperwork and require me to resend it, and generally require jumping through extra hoops.  For example, I could not update my address online as I could with my other accounts.  Nor would they let me call in and update it.  I had to fax (email also not accepted) a hard copy of an address change form.  Then later they claimed they never got it and I had to send it again.  (I don't own a fax, so I had to send it to my folks to have them fax for me.  Twice.)

But they are low cost.

Captain_Burrito_Pants

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2015, 01:53:49 PM »

Their materials say that IB is the counterparty and that they put cash in your account as collateral. I don't know what effect that has on SIPC, or if the stock goes crazy high (i.e. more than the collateral).

This is IB's "stock yield enhancement program" (not protected by SIPC), which is separate from having a margin account.
https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=shortableStocks&p=stockyield


dragoncar

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2015, 01:54:04 PM »
They are a pain on customer service.  They lose paperwork and require me to resend it, and generally require jumping through extra hoops.  For example, I could not update my address online as I could with my other accounts.  Nor would they let me call in and update it.  I had to fax (email also not accepted) a hard copy of an address change form.  Then later they claimed they never got it and I had to send it again.  (I don't own a fax, so I had to send it to my folks to have them fax for me.  Twice.)

But they are low cost.

Interesting, I haven't had any such troubles even after multiple moves.  Maybe yours looked more like a security problem for some reason.  In general, as a low cost provider, they'd prefer to keep such bureaucratic overhead to a minimum.  But they do take security very seriously.  The multi-factor authentication is a bit of a pain but much safer and I don't log on very often anyways.

CommonCents

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2015, 02:04:53 PM »
They are a pain on customer service.  They lose paperwork and require me to resend it, and generally require jumping through extra hoops.  For example, I could not update my address online as I could with my other accounts.  Nor would they let me call in and update it.  I had to fax (email also not accepted) a hard copy of an address change form.  Then later they claimed they never got it and I had to send it again.  (I don't own a fax, so I had to send it to my folks to have them fax for me.  Twice.)

But they are low cost.

Interesting, I haven't had any such troubles even after multiple moves.  Maybe yours looked more like a security problem for some reason.  In general, as a low cost provider, they'd prefer to keep such bureaucratic overhead to a minimum.  But they do take security very seriously.  The multi-factor authentication is a bit of a pain but much safer and I don't log on very often anyways.

Not sure why it'd flag.  It also seemed this this was just the "process".  That was just one example - I've had other paperwork issues, I'm just not remembering the details of it now.

Yeah I almost added the multi-authentication, because it means I can't check it at work like I like to do with other accounts, but decided there are pros (increased security) despite the major con (hassle) such that it wasn't entirely unreasonable.  On the balance I'd prefer it to be my choice of security though.  My bank lets me choose to double authenticate with a code to my cell and I much prefer that to a card I have to hunt up and find.

phillyvalue

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2015, 02:39:21 PM »
They are a pain on customer service.  They lose paperwork and require me to resend it, and generally require jumping through extra hoops.  For example, I could not update my address online as I could with my other accounts.  Nor would they let me call in and update it.  I had to fax (email also not accepted) a hard copy of an address change form.  Then later they claimed they never got it and I had to send it again.  (I don't own a fax, so I had to send it to my folks to have them fax for me.  Twice.)

But they are low cost.

Interesting, I haven't had any such troubles even after multiple moves.  Maybe yours looked more like a security problem for some reason.  In general, as a low cost provider, they'd prefer to keep such bureaucratic overhead to a minimum.  But they do take security very seriously.  The multi-factor authentication is a bit of a pain but much safer and I don't log on very often anyways.

Not sure why it'd flag.  It also seemed this this was just the "process".  That was just one example - I've had other paperwork issues, I'm just not remembering the details of it now.

Yeah I almost added the multi-authentication, because it means I can't check it at work like I like to do with other accounts, but decided there are pros (increased security) despite the major con (hassle) such that it wasn't entirely unreasonable.  On the balance I'd prefer it to be my choice of security though.  My bank lets me choose to double authenticate with a code to my cell and I much prefer that to a card I have to hunt up and find.

What I did was take a picture of the card with my phone, so I have it anywhere I go.

I'd say IB is by far the best choice at least for taxable accounts for anyone who is trading more than once or twice per month and/or wants easy access to a bunch of different markets / types of securities. If you have an IRA and sit there and don't do anything for 6 months at a time, then the advantage goes away.

CommonCents

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2015, 02:47:06 PM »
They are a pain on customer service.  They lose paperwork and require me to resend it, and generally require jumping through extra hoops.  For example, I could not update my address online as I could with my other accounts.  Nor would they let me call in and update it.  I had to fax (email also not accepted) a hard copy of an address change form.  Then later they claimed they never got it and I had to send it again.  (I don't own a fax, so I had to send it to my folks to have them fax for me.  Twice.)

But they are low cost.

Interesting, I haven't had any such troubles even after multiple moves.  Maybe yours looked more like a security problem for some reason.  In general, as a low cost provider, they'd prefer to keep such bureaucratic overhead to a minimum.  But they do take security very seriously.  The multi-factor authentication is a bit of a pain but much safer and I don't log on very often anyways.

Not sure why it'd flag.  It also seemed this this was just the "process".  That was just one example - I've had other paperwork issues, I'm just not remembering the details of it now.

Yeah I almost added the multi-authentication, because it means I can't check it at work like I like to do with other accounts, but decided there are pros (increased security) despite the major con (hassle) such that it wasn't entirely unreasonable.  On the balance I'd prefer it to be my choice of security though.  My bank lets me choose to double authenticate with a code to my cell and I much prefer that to a card I have to hunt up and find.

What I did was take a picture of the card with my phone, so I have it anywhere I go.

I'd say IB is by far the best choice at least for taxable accounts for anyone who is trading more than once or twice per month and/or wants easy access to a bunch of different markets / types of securities. If you have an IRA and sit there and don't do anything for 6 months at a time, then the advantage goes away.

Oh, that's a good idea. 
« Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 05:47:36 PM by CommonCents »

dragoncar

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2015, 02:51:09 PM »
They are a pain on customer service.  They lose paperwork and require me to resend it, and generally require jumping through extra hoops.  For example, I could not update my address online as I could with my other accounts.  Nor would they let me call in and update it.  I had to fax (email also not accepted) a hard copy of an address change form.  Then later they claimed they never got it and I had to send it again.  (I don't own a fax, so I had to send it to my folks to have them fax for me.  Twice.)

But they are low cost.

Interesting, I haven't had any such troubles even after multiple moves.  Maybe yours looked more like a security problem for some reason.  In general, as a low cost provider, they'd prefer to keep such bureaucratic overhead to a minimum.  But they do take security very seriously.  The multi-factor authentication is a bit of a pain but much safer and I don't log on very often anyways.

Not sure why it'd flag.  It also seemed this this was just the "process".  That was just one example - I've had other paperwork issues, I'm just not remembering the details of it now.

Yeah I almost added the multi-authentication, because it means I can't check it at work like I like to do with other accounts, but decided there are pros (increased security) despite the major con (hassle) such that it wasn't entirely unreasonable.  On the balance I'd prefer it to be my choice of security though.  My bank lets me choose to double authenticate with a code to my cell and I much prefer that to a card I have to hunt up and find.

I was just adding another "zero paperwork" perspective.  Perhaps the issue is you don't have the multi factor authentication!  Ie they accepted my change of address without paperwork because I already "proved" it was me.  But for your account, they are worried someone got your password and is changing the address fraudulently

CommonCents

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2015, 03:07:19 PM »
They are a pain on customer service.  They lose paperwork and require me to resend it, and generally require jumping through extra hoops.  For example, I could not update my address online as I could with my other accounts.  Nor would they let me call in and update it.  I had to fax (email also not accepted) a hard copy of an address change form.  Then later they claimed they never got it and I had to send it again.  (I don't own a fax, so I had to send it to my folks to have them fax for me.  Twice.)

But they are low cost.

Interesting, I haven't had any such troubles even after multiple moves.  Maybe yours looked more like a security problem for some reason.  In general, as a low cost provider, they'd prefer to keep such bureaucratic overhead to a minimum.  But they do take security very seriously.  The multi-factor authentication is a bit of a pain but much safer and I don't log on very often anyways.

Not sure why it'd flag.  It also seemed this this was just the "process".  That was just one example - I've had other paperwork issues, I'm just not remembering the details of it now.

Yeah I almost added the multi-authentication, because it means I can't check it at work like I like to do with other accounts, but decided there are pros (increased security) despite the major con (hassle) such that it wasn't entirely unreasonable.  On the balance I'd prefer it to be my choice of security though.  My bank lets me choose to double authenticate with a code to my cell and I much prefer that to a card I have to hunt up and find.

I was just adding another "zero paperwork" perspective.  Perhaps the issue is you don't have the multi factor authentication!  Ie they accepted my change of address without paperwork because I already "proved" it was me.  But for your account, they are worried someone got your password and is changing the address fraudulently

Nope.  I do have the card - I just have to dig it out of my file when I want to access the account.  (And I keep it at home rather than bring to the office so I can't check during the workday.)  I tried to do it online after logging into my account and wasn't able to.

ETA: Remembered another issue my folks had with it, that they had an IRA be put towards the wrong year (despite clear paperwork indicating otherwise) that was a massive headache to straighten out.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 03:08:53 PM by CommonCents »

innerscorecard

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2015, 04:07:01 PM »
Interactive Brokers has been far more reasonable and easy with regards to updating information and customer service for me than traditional discount brokers with whom I have accounts.

SK Joyous

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2015, 04:32:01 PM »
Have you considered Questrade?  Extremely low fees, free ETF purchases, and better customer service (the online chat feature is great for minor issues, but for more major things they are prompt and accommodating in our experience)

forummm

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2015, 07:27:53 PM »

daverobev

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2015, 08:16:33 PM »
IB are great if you have a decent portfolio, enough to waive the fees; plus a source of market data so you don't have to pay for it.

To just buy and hold ETFs, I'd suggest Questrade. Only $5k to avoid fees, or one trade a quarter, and ALL ETF purchases are commission free. Plus live quotes are free.

There's a sign up code for QT in my sig. I am a happy customer of IB, QT, as well as CIBC Investor's Edge. If I was just buying ETFs I'd just have a Questrade account.

Cathy

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2015, 08:26:05 PM »
Questrade requires the account holder to be a resident of Canada. Interactive Brokers does not. OP is moving to the US. This context was present in an earlier thread that OP deleted for some reason.

As an aside, Questrade is pretty terrible, but I've written about that in other posts.

daverobev

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2015, 08:07:05 AM »
Questrade requires the account holder to be a resident of Canada. Interactive Brokers does not. OP is moving to the US. This context was present in an earlier thread that OP deleted for some reason.

As an aside, Questrade is pretty terrible, but I've written about that in other posts.

Questrade is fine for most people. But non resident, if you say they have issues, then sure. IB are very very multinational, can trade on a whole raft of exchanges.

For cross border maybe try HSBC, if the portfolio is large enough. Premier is good for chequing/credit/mortgages etc over international boundaries - so I have heard. Wasn't good enough for me to get a US mortgage on a rental, alas.

forummm

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2015, 08:13:16 PM »
If you have USD and want to buy something denominated in EUR, how does that work with IB? Are there extra costs associated with that?

daverobev

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Re: Interactive brokers - anyone have any experience with them?
« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2015, 08:16:43 PM »
If you have USD and want to buy something denominated in EUR, how does that work with IB? Are there extra costs associated with that?

You buy EURUSD or sell USDEUR (depends how they have it listed).

Costs $2-3. Then you buy whatever with the EUR.

Head scratchy the first time you do it, easy after that.