Interactive Brokers has everything, it is the ultimate broker and trading platform. This is used by professionals so has everything you could wish for, but with that comes some serious complexity! Their TWS platform is not for the beginner!
I opened my account with Interactive Brokers when I started trading (swing trading). The other brokers I use such as Hargreaves Lansdown, Free Trade and Trading212 are perfect for my investment strategies – but for trading stocks with technical analysis and the ability to trade Forex needed a different kind of beast. I needed a platform that provided the tools for technical analysis, the ability to trade more than just equities and importantly – I needed to be able to set limit orders and stop losses to manage the trading risks.
As well as having a margin account for trading, I do also have a cash account and some investments with Interactive Brokers. I used Interactive Brokers for these investments because my other brokers did not have the assets available to invest in (American Medical Cannabis Companies) . Interactive Brokers has one of the biggest portfolios out there because it has access to nearly all global exchanges including OTC (Over the counter) exchanges, which are less regulated.
Interactive Brokers have the mobile apps and the web platform like most brokers, but they also have the desktop platform for the serious stuff. You can create your own layouts and views, it has charts and indicators galore, news, fundamentals, watch lists, forex matrix, order and portfolio screens……. more than you can ever use.
The other main difference between Interactive Brokers and some of the other more investment focused brokers, is that you can get margin accounts. A margin account is an account where the broker will lend you money to trade with enabling you to trade in bigger sizes than you would be able to do otherwise.
Margin and Leverage is one of the key things to get your head around if you want to trade with a margin account. Basically, if your broker offers you 4:1 Leverage it means you can trade £40,000 of stocks with only £10,000 margin (money available in your account).
This is an advantage in the trading world to enhance your profits vs your capital – however the reverse is also true – you enhance your losses and can lose more than you have in your account (known as a margin call). You must make sure you are ready to trade with margin before you start.
I would strongly advise several months on the demo accounts to prove your trading and risk management abilities (consistent) before trading on margin for real!
Interactive Brokers also gives you the ability to trade or invest in almost anything. It has stocks (more markets than you can think off), options trading, futures, ETFs, Warrants, Forex, metals, indices, funds, CFD’s…… if you want to invest in it, IBK probably has it available.
From a commissions perspective they are also one of the cheapest around, but they do charge a monthly fee. This fee is covered by your commissions however, so if the commissions you pay on your trades within the month, are equal to or above the monthly fee then you do not pay the monthly fee. The fee is only around $10 per month, so you only need roughly 2 trades per month to cover that.
So to summaries, Interactive Brokers has everything you need to be able to trade just about anything you want to…… but it is an advanced broker and platform for the advanced traders. If you are new to this, start somewhere much more simple.
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