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I used them for several years. It's an excellent brokerage for active traders, people who want to do FX trades and securities outside of North America (very easy access to global markets). Also gives access to futures.

Over time I became a more passive investor who doesn't make many trades in a year. Even when the account sits idle, there is a 10 USD monthly charge = 120 USD = 158 CAD a year. If you pay trade fees, those count towards the minimum.

Since I don't trade very frequently, I opted to use big bank brokerages instead where the fees work out to around the same. I also had a bad experience with IB's margin lending. On very short notice (one business day) they overhauled their margin policy, broke the guidelines they posted on their own web site and demanded I add more cash to my account. This made me lose confidence in them as a broker. I wrote details in this thread: https://www.canadianmoneyforum.com/showthread.php/16216-Margin-Call-At-IB

So while IB gives excellent access to foreign markets and a wide range of securities and FX, you might want to carefully consider the minimum fee structure, and also consider whether it's a good idea employing margin.
 

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I keep a little bit of my non-registered funds here to take advantage of the their margin rates if I want to dabble.

If you are semi active then the monthly commissions you pay will drop the monthly fee, eventually to $0 if you spend >$10USD to month.

The commissions are good, but if you are just passive index investing in ETFs there are better options. IB doesn't have commission free ETFs as many others do now.
 

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I'm looking at IB as well. I can't give a proper review as I don't have an actual account open yet. But my overall impression is they're certainly not for beginners. If you're interested in trying out their TWS trading platform, you can get a demo papertrading account set up pretty fast.

They're a very popular brokerage for serious traders around the globe. The fees are bit confusing compared to the usual flat fee broker. They kind of nickel and dime you for every little thing but in the end it looks like it works out to being quite a bit lower fees if you were to trade more than once or twice a month.

They seem like a good one stop shop for everything from stocks, options, forex, bonds, and futures.

Where they seem most attractive to me is it looks like they don't have assignment fees on US and Canadian options, where at TD they charge $45 which is completely absurd in this day and age.

Also it looks like their bond trading is the best I've seen yet. It appears to give live quotes and order routing to exchanges. Other brokers like Questrade or TD are over the counter and don't charge a fee for a bond trade but their ask price seems to be almost 85 basis points higher than IB. My understanding is that means you pay about $43 more per $5000 bond purchase which is a significant difference.
 

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They seem like a good one stop shop for everything from stocks, options, forex, bonds, and futures.

Where they seem most attractive to me is it looks like they don't have assignment fees on US and Canadian options, where at TD they charge $45 which is completely absurd in this day and age.

many serious traders go to IB for futures markets; i believe IB is the sole broker offering futures trading to retail investors

trivia: the TD flat fee for assignments is $43 not 45. It's their minimum fee. A party who is unhappy about that might want to contemplate assignment fees at other brokers such as BMO. They are charging full agent-handled commissions, including high base charge plus several pennies per share. A USD option assignment at BMO could run over $100 in commission.

in addition the options capability at BMO is ... well, i won't say. in options BMO is light years behind. Their website cannot even handle a two-legged strategy order without freezing the Order Submit button on the 2nd leg (needless to say BMO has no strategy software.) When freezing occurs, investor has to phone to get the 2nd leg done. Capability of phone rep to handle the 2nd leg is uneven, with noticeable number of reps unable to set up such an order on a timely basis.

bref, do not do options at BMO. On the other hand, it's a great website for currency gambits. One can buy an interlisted stock in toronto with an online order, then instantly sell the same stock on new york with another online order. The 2 orders take less than 2 minutes to execute.

the above bmo joy also works at royal bank, we are told by cmffers who have roybank accounts. They are the only 2 brokers in the whole of canada where currency gambits are so fast, cheap & easy.

back to IB & currency exchanges: one hears that their forex trading is a marvel

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Anyone here used Interactive Brokers as an online discount brokerage? Any feedback? Thanks!
Best in the business my opinion. Way better execution quality than TD and Questrade, cheaper fees than the banks and they constantly add more products and exchanges to their trading platform. Not sure your account size but they just lowered pricing for smaller accounts as of January 1st.

Industry wise, they're well capitalized and they're gaining pretty fast in Canada in the last couple years, with their Canadian division recently overtaking some of the smaller brokerages(Virtual brokers, Questrade) in Assets under Management and profitability in 2017. Their firm was really slow in Canada in introducing account types like RRSPs & TFSAs but hopefully with the larger account base, they will give more focus to their Canadian Customers.

Although some red flags for you. They don't allow you to trade CSE listed securities, they don't do Canadian GICs, and don't have access to Canadian IPOs. Hopefully they can add these in the future.
 

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Best in the business my opinion. Way better execution quality than TD and Questrade, cheaper fees than the banks and they constantly add more products and exchanges to their trading platform. Not sure your account size but they just lowered pricing for smaller accounts as of January 1st.
Interesting. Might have to take another look. So no $10,000 USD minimum now.
 

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I use IB. Excellent currency exchange. Best international coverage for a retail investor.

There are brokerages designed for institutions, and those designed for retail investors. IB is somewhere in between.

James, thanks for reminding me of my experience with margin lending at IB.

A margin loan is a demand loan. At any time for any reason, the brokerage can demand immediate repayment of any or all of the loan. You have to trust the brokerage.

I'm not certain that I trust IB. A retail investor, who is thinking about a margin loan with IB, would probably benefit from reading over the thread that James has given in the second post.

You could make a case, that other than margin lending, IB may be the brokerage for you.

One concern that I might have is the following. My experience with margin lending at IB makes me wonder about corporate culture at IB. If there is a problem with margin lending, is there a problem elsewhere? Probably not, but it's something to consider.

I still use IB. You're probably safe with margin lending at IB, if the asset that your loan value is based on is large; XIU or SPY come to mind.
 

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Forex trading is not an easy thing and you really need to know what are you doing If you don't want to loose a large amount of money. There are people that got very rich with forex trade and all of them have use broker companies to help them with their trading. There are a lot of forex trading companies and you can't trust anyone, you should use the best brokers from RoboForex. They are the best rated forex brokers and you can visit their website to see real customer reviews. You need to be patient to have big gains in forex trading and patience is the key to profiting.
 
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