Interactive Brokers is a truly global brand and it does indeed have a Canadian branch, which is good news for traders in that country, though given the rather negative user feedback the operator has managed to accrue, that may indeed not be the case.
User feedback is definitely something that deserves a closer look in the case of this broker, because it is surprisingly bad indeed, and as such, we can’t help but call it a major red flag.
What is all the complaining about though? Most complainers agree that the Interactive Brokers support staff is incompetent and that support may as well not exist. Other people do not like the trading conditions and the apps offered by the broker.
Still others find support/sales people arrogant and with a generally toxic attitude towards traders. Long story short: these people really do know how to turn their traders and potential clients off.
The corporate background of the brokerage is everything but simple. The brand is supported by a whole collection of companies, one for each of the jurisdictions where it is registered and licensed by the authorities.
The regulatory profile of the operation is nothing short of impressive though. Some brokers will never achieve a global regulatory coverage of the sort Interactive Brokers have right now.
To begin with, the operation is registered with several US authorities. Interactive Brokers LLC, the US-based corporate rep. of the brand, is a member of NYSE, SIPC and FINRA, and it is regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Interactive Brokers Canada Inc is the Canadian branch of the operation, which is a member of IIROC as well as the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. As such, it can obviously offer some pretty outstanding protections to its Canadian clients, deposits-wise.
In addition to the above, the brand is also present in Australia. Interactive Brokers Australia PTY Ltd is its local corporate rep. The company is regulated and licensed by ASIC, under AFSL 245574.
Interactive Brokers UK Ltd is regulated and licensed by the FCA. Its registry number is 208159.
India is slowly emerging as a very attractive market for online trading/finance as well and Interactive Brokers have a corporate presence in that country too: Interactive Brokers PVT Ltd is licensed and registered by the local authorities, and it is a member of NSE and BSE.
The operation maintains corporate presences in Japan and Hong Kong too, where it is also licensed and a member of several prestigious organizations (such as HK’s HKFE and SEHK).
Why would you want to choose Interactive Brokers as your top trading destination though?
The main selling point of the operation resides in the trading conditions it offers, which promise higher returns and lower costs.
Interest is offered on user balances too and apparently, it is higher than similar interest offered by competitors of the brokerage.
The broker covers 120 markets over 26 countries, and it lets its users borrow, earn, spend and invest, through its specialized services.
Interactive Brokers have decided to keep things really simple in this regard. They only maintain one account type, the conditions/features of which are then tweaked as the account accumulates more and more money. The minimum required deposit is huge when compared to what other brokers require in this regard, but it is reasonable in light of the fact that the operation is obviously focused on institutional investors and professional traders.
The commissions and margin rates are unparalleled, especially for entities holding over $1 million in their accounts.
TWS (Trader WorkStation) is the main trading platform of the broker, and – despite the fact that some traders out there simply do not like it – it is quite an impressive solution. Designed for professional traders, it can trade just about every asset/asset class that has ever been traded.
When it comes to control and execution, TWS is indeed quite peerless. It offers no fewer than 63 order types, which is most probably an industry record. There is no shortage of technical indicators either, not to mention a rich selection of trading tools, recently added by the operator.
Funds can be deposited with IB in several ways, some of which obviously depend on the jurisdiction where one resides. Bank Wire is quite universal though. Checks and ACH transfers are also supported, together with BPAY (Australia) and EFT (Canada).
IB’s market coverage is truly impressive. They offer access to EFTs, stocks, currencies, commodities, mutual funds, bonds, treasuries, CFDs, FOPS, and futures as well as metals.
IB support can be contacted through live chat, email, and phone.
By all accounts, investor funds are indeed very safe with this broker.
Mostly aimed at big investors (retail or corporate), IB sometimes seems to be a poor fit for the little guy.