Interactive Brokers Review (NASDAQ:IBKR)
Interactive Brokers Group has been around since 1977, and has had the same owner and CEO that entire time. Interactive Brokers is a broker dealer and has consolidated equity capital of over $5 billion. They offer trading in over 100 markets world-wide. Interactive Brokers is a direct access broker and works with professional trades and large institutions around the world, executing trades in a variety of asset classes including, stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds, CFDs and international mutual funds. They are responsible for nearly 1 million trade executions per day.
Interactive Brokers is an international firm, offering non US traders the ability to open a live account from just about everywhere in the world.
Interactive Brokers Advantages
- International market access
- Can trade from multiple account types (IRA, single registered, Joint, etc.)
- Many different asset classes and investment/trading options
- A robust Trader Workstation (TWS) with MANY tools
- Direct market access
- Free real time paper trading account for practicing in a simulated environment (when main account is funded)
- Competitive commission rates
- A robust online education center with tutorials for using the software
- Institutional level research and tools available to retail traders
- Competitive platform pricing
- Great options analytics tools and pricing
- Smartphone app works wells
Interactive Brokers Disadvantages
- High required minimum equity to open trading account ($10,000)
- Poor customer service via phone/online chat
- Slow executions via the SMART routing
- Per share pricing only, no per trade pricing (Expensive for high volume traders)
- Slow desktop software (almost too many features that bog it down)
- Limited hot key functionality (not ideal for scalpers)
- Annoying multi step security/login that requires the use of a physical decoder device
As noted above, commission structure can be fixed or tiered, based on volume and even where you are trading from. There are many nuisances to consider, but generally, for most retail traders, the fixed pricing will be the most cost effective.
Interactive Brokers is a great choice for international traders looking got take part in the US stock and options markets. It can be a great resource for new traders with decent capital. The tools and Trader Workstation can be overwhelming for newbs at first, especially since learning to use the software is a do it yourself kind of deal. The cost of actual trading is for the most part, competitive if you aren’t trading big lots. The ability to switch between Forex, futures, options and equities from one screen and have multiple types of trades going can be very appealing to diverse traders. Also, if you are like me, you can trade from your IRA or other account types not allowed at many other US based brokerages.