Interactive Brokers Review

Updated Thursday, July 21, 2011

Recommended for active traders, not recommended for IRA account holders

Company Background:

Interactive Brokers can trace its origins back to T.P. & Co., which was formed in 1977 by Thomas Peterffy as a market maker on the American Stock Exchange  With that being said, Interactive Brokers did not begin to evolve into what we know it as today until the IB name was incorporated in 1994.  Soon thereafter, the company began executing trades for public customers and then began clearing online trades through their own system in 1998.

Interactive Brokers Group is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under symbol IBKR and currently has a market cap of just over $700 million.  The company is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut with Thomas Peterffy as its Chairman and CEO.  It is a self clearing broker.


  • Website: (WebTrader)
  • Advanced Trading Platform: Trader Workstation (PC / Mac Desktop Application)
  • Mobile Website:
  • iPhone App: Yes
  • iPad App: Yes
  • Android App: Yes
  • BlackBerry App: Yes
  • Nokia App: Yes

Review Summary:

The desktop application offers a very powerful stock and options trading engine and advanced charting features that, like thinkorswim, are geared for advanced traders. The web based trading platform is a paired down version of the desktop application but is quite good in its own right.  Besides the nice trading platform, however, the web based platform offers very little of interest. By far the worst aspect of the service is the meager research tools. Commissions and fees in general are quite good, though there is a minimum $10 of commissions applied per month so it is only a good deal for active traders.  There is a quarterly fee for IRA accounts so we do not recommend the service for retirement account holders.  There are also various fees for subscribing to real time market data but thankfully delayed market data is included without charge. Margin rates are the absolute best of any reviewed broker.  The iPhone, iPad and Android apps are all solid mobile trading platforms.

One other aspect of the service worth mentioning is that new users will receive a pass code card in the mail after registration.  The pass code card is the size of a credit card and consists of an ordered list of codes that must be entered each time users log in to Interactive Brokers.  This may appeal to security conscious traders but for us, this can be an unnecessary hassle.  It is up to each individual to decide if this added security is worth the hassle.

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