A: IB will be expanding the range of client activities cleared and carried by IB UK to include certain activities currently handled by IB LLC. Currently, IB UK clears all client activity through IB LLC with the exception of physical commodities (i.e., gold and silver) and those CFDs which are not exchange listed. To differentiate the IB UK activity cleared as IB UK from that which is introduced to IB LLC, an internal bookkeeping account known as IBUKL has been created to house IB UK activity. This IBUKL account will be used to clear and carry a broader range of product types including stocks, ETFs, options, futures, futures options and Forex.
A: IB’s client base, historically a mixture of both U.S. and non-U.S. accounts, is becoming increasingly more international in number. While a substantial portion of the activities of this non-U.S. clientele is currently cleared, carried and custodied by the U.S. broker dealer, IB LLC (excluding CFDs, physical metals and all activity conducted through IB India and IB Japan accounts), there are significant benefits to transferring certain activities to IBUKL where the regulatory structure is more closely aligned with that of the client’s domicile.
A: Interactive Brokers (UK) Limited (“IB UK”) is a broker authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate within the UK. IBUKL, in contrast, is not a legal entity but rather an internal bookkeeping or labeling convention used to designate a subset of customer business which is transacted through IB UK. Currently, that activity consists solely of OTC products which IB UK clears and is the counterparty to, including non-exchange listed CFDs and physical commodities (i.e., gold and silver).
Q: What is the product introduction plan?
A: Initially, we will begin by adding non-U.S. stock index products (i.e., futures and options having the same cash underlying as their deliverable) to the existing IBUKL product offering. This includes indices such as FTSE, CAC, Hang Seng, Nikkei & DAX, among others. A new permission titled “International Equity Indexes” will be created for these products and it will be made available to new clients as well as qualifying existing clients. Qualifying existing clients include non-US accounts having option permissions and a position or position activity over prior 12 months. These existing clients will be auto-subscribed to this permission.
Once the non-U.S. stock index products have been rolled out, we will expand eligible products in the following order: forex, additional futures and then non-U.S. stocks.
Q: Will clients assigned an IBUKL account also have an IB LLC account?
A: Possibly, and in most cases, likely. In the case of a client only trading the product set currently eligible for clearing and carrying in the IBUKL account, there will theoretically be no need for them to maintain a IB LLC account. Clients who have other positions will retain or need to open an IBLLC account.
Q: Will the IBUKL account maintain multiple segments like the IB LLC account?
A: No. The multiple segments which exist in the IB LLC account reflect the bifurcated regulatory structure in the U.S. whereby oversight of securities products is administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and commodity products by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). With the exception of the single stock future, which is jointly regulated, neither the CFTC nor SEC rules provide for clearing or margining a product which they regulate in an account where the other regulator holds jurisdiction. These includes the customer protection rules which, while similar in intent, differ in their application, and are designed to segregate assets in an amount necessary to satisfy solely those claims associated with either the securities segment or commodities segment, as applicable.
As the FCA, the primary regulator of IB UK, oversees both securities and commodities products, all IBUKL eligible positions will be housed within a single segment.
Q: What margin methodology will be used for positions maintained in the IBUKL account?
A: Positions will not be subject to U.S. Reg. T margin requirements, but rather a risk-based (VAR) methodology. Initially, as new products are migrated to the IBUKL account, the native exchange/clearing methodology (typically SPAN) will be employed and the account requirement will be an aggregate of multiple methodologies. Moving forward, IB will use a common methodology for the entire account, with this methodology based upon IB's current proprietary portfolio margining model.
A: While theorectically possible, we believe this scenario to be improbable. As background, IB LLC and IB UK are both wholly-owned subsidiaries of the same parent, Interactive Brokers Group LLC. The separate entities exist largely for regulatory purposes and while we believe it highly unlikely for either to fail, it would be even more so for the parent company to allow only one to do so. Moreover, since approximately 85% of IB is owned by management and employees, there exists a pecuniary incentive by the owners to preserve their investment and protect both entities from failure.
Account holders who maintain multiple accounts which are linked together by a common may designate the account from which any monthly market data subscription fees are to be billed. This feature may be of benefit to individuals who wish to ensure that such fees are deducted from the account maintaining the greatest equity (to minimize the likelihood of a disruption in service due to insufficient funds and/or position liquidations to cover subscription fees) or are not deducted from accounts subject to contribution limits (e.g., IRAs).
To designate a billing account, you would need to first log in Account Management and select the Trading Access and then Market Data Subscriptions menu options. You will be presented with a screen similar to that below (Exhibit 1) which includes a drop-down list box of all accounts which are linked and from which a billing account may be designated. Select the desired account and then click on the 'Change Billing Account' button.
You will then receive the following message confirming your selection (Exhibit 2). Note that changes will take place effective with the next monthly billing cycle (market data subscriptions fees for a given month are generally deducted in the first week of the successive month).
Account holders should also pay special attention to the notice provided through the 'Explain' mouse over (Exhibit 3) which details certain limitations with respect to this feature. Also note that this designation feature only serves to designate the account from which market data subscription fees are to be deducted and has no impact upon other fees such as the monthly minimum activity fee, interest and commissions, all of which are billed to the account in which they are incurred.
Account linkage allows for individual account holders maintaining multiple existing accounts or seeking to open a new account the ability to group those accounts together. In the case of a new account, linkage afffords the opportunity to open the account without having to complete a full application, with the account holder providing solely that additional information which is specific to the new account. New account linkages are initiated either from the Account Management of the existing account (via Account Administration and then Create Additional Account menu options) or automatically when initiating a new application from the website. The following article outlines the steps for linking one or more existing accounts.
To consolidate accounts, the account holder should start by logging into Account Management with the user name of that account he/she wishes to consolidate all the other qualifying accounts to. This will be the surviving user name and is restricted to that account which has the highest level security device if different devices are in place (if the account holder wishes to retain a user name which is not associated with the highest level security device they will need to share the highest level device of that user). Once logged in, the account holder should select the Account Administration and then Link Existing Account menu options (Exhibit 1).
The next screen (Exhibit 2) will list the user names eligible for consolidation. Note that there is no ability to consolidate a subset of the accounts. If a decision is made to consolidate, it must include all. In addition, while an account holder may place the consolidation request at any time, the actual consolidation takes place as of the close of business each Friday. If the account holder attempts to initiate the process from an account which has a user name they wish to retain but which does not maintain the highest level device, they will be provided the oportunity to share that highest level security device with this account (Exhibit 2a). To proceed, click on the Link Accounts button.
The account holder will then be prompted to confirm the user name and password for the first user name to be consolidated (Exhibit 3) and will be prompted to repeat this confirmation an authentication step for each user name to be consolidated.
If your accounts maintain personal information (e.g., phone number, address, DOB), financial information or investment experience which differs between the accounts you will be presented with a screen which allows you to select the information on hand which is accurate and which will be updated to all accounts.
Once step 3 has been completed for all eligible user names the following screen (Exhibit 5) will be displayed which allows the user to cancel the consolidation request. Note that this screen will be displayed only up until the time that request has been processed as of the close of business on the Friday following entry. After that time, the consolidation becomes final and irrevocable and the linked user names disabled. In addition, the cancellation option is provided solely when logging in with the surviving user name. If the account holder logs into Account Management with one of the non-surviving user names and selects Link Existing Account menu option the screen view will be similar to that of Exhibit 6. In addition, the status of your request will be shown as a Pending Request upon Account Management login until complete (Exhibit 7).
* Once linked, account access to Account Management and the trading platform is accomplished using a single user name and password each of which will contain a drop-down window for selecting the account that the owner wishes to act upon.
* Consolidating accounts has no impact upon the Monthly Minimum Activity fee, that is, each account ID is obligated to generate a minimum of USD 10, or equivalent, in commissions for a given month or be charged the difference.
* Account holders maintaining multiple security devices are required to consolidate to the user name associated with the highest level device. The hierarchy of security devices from highest level to lowest level is as follows: Platinum, Gold, Alpine and Security Code card (Bingo). If two or more user names have the device considered highest, the account holder may choose among those. In the event the account holder wishes to retain a particular user name which is not associated with the highest level device, the account holder must initiate the link request by logging into that account and requesting that the higher level device be shared (Exhibit 2a).
Note that device sharing requests initiated prior to 5:00 PM ET will not take place the following day. Until that time login access will continue using the existing authentication process and devices. Also note that depending upon the timing of this request, the token share may take effect prior to the the linkage request (processed after the close of business each Friday).
* As market data subscriptions are billed at a session level (i.e., user name) and only a single TWS session can be open for any one user at a given time, account holders previously maintaining subscriptions for multiple users have the opportunity to consolidate subscriptions to a single user. Account holders wishing to view multiple TWS sessions simultaneously may add additional users (subject to separate market data subscribtions). In addition, only those market data subscriptions already associated with the surviving user name will remain in effect following consolidation. Account holders maintaining different subscriptions across multiple users are advised to review those subscriptions subject to cancellation in order to determine which they wish to resubscribe to under the surviving user name. Also note that the market data subscriptions either terminated or initiated mid-month are subject to billing as if they were provided for the entire month (i.e., fees are not prorated).
A NOBO refers to an account holder who provides its carry broker (i.e., IB) permission to release their name and address to the companies or issuers of securities they hold. These companies or issuers request this information in the event they need to contact shareholders regarding important shareholder communications such as proxies, circulars for rights offerings and annual/quarterly reports. IB, by default, classifies clients as a NOBO but allows client to have their classification changed to that of an Objecting Beneficial Owner (OBO). To do so, clients are required to provide formal notice of their request to be classified as an OBO through a Message Center ticket available via Account Management.
Income payments (dividends and payment in lieu) from U.S. sources into your IB account may have U.S. tax withheld. Generally, a 30% rate is applied to non-U.S. accounts. Exemption from the withholding or a lower rate may apply if your home country has a tax treaty with the U.S. Complete the applicable Form W-8 to find out your status.
U.S. tax treaties with some countries have different benefits. Legal tax residents of the following countries may be eligible for the treaty benefits. Below is a list of the tax treaty countries. Benefits vary by country.
|Barbados||Estonia||Israel||Romania||Trinidad & Tobago|
|China, People's Rep. Of||Greece||Kazakhstan||South Africa||United Kingdom|
|Commonwealth of Ind. States||Hungary||Korea, Rep. of||Spain||Venezuela|
*Country list as of April 2009
Refer to IRS Publication 901 for details on withholding rates for your tax residence country and your eligible benefits.
As IB LLC is a carrying broker domiciled in the U.S., it is required to report information and, in certain instances, make payment of withholding taxes to the U.S. tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service for all account holders. To certify oneself as a non-U.S. person, a Form W-8 is requested at the time of application and is required to be re-certified every three years thereafter. If IB does not receive the W-8 or the account holder fails to re-certify the W-8 in a timely manner, then the account holder is presumed to be a US person and, absent a W-9, may then be subject to back-up withholding taxes on interest, dividends and substitute payments in lieu, as well as gross proceeds.
By certifying yourself as a non-U.S. person through a properly completed W-8, your U.S. withholding is limited to dividends issued by US corporations. Note that virtually all countries apply withholding taxes when local companies seek to distribute dividends to externally based shareholders (whether those shareholders are corporate or not). The rate at which IB is obligated to withhold for a given payment depends largely upon whether there is a tax treaty in place between the country where the dividend paying country is based and the country of residence of the dividend recipient.
If you are a non-US person or entity, Interactive Brokers is required to have a valid form W8 certifying your country of tax residence at the time of application. You may update your W8 form at any time in Account Management.
Individual account holders have the ability to add multiple users to their IB account. The account holder may wish to add a second user registered under their own name for the purpose of opening two TWS sessions simultaneously (one for normal access and the other for connecting via an API). The account holder may also provide access to up to 15 (non-employee) individuals, such as a family members, pursuant to a Limited Power of Attorney agreement. In addition, each of these individuals may also be provided with a second user access.
In each case, the additional user will be assigned a unique username which is required for log in both to Account Management and the trading platform of choice. Procedures for adding a (non-employee) individual user are outlined below (search KB1004 for procedures for adding a second user for an individual account holder).
Procedures for adding a non-employee user are as follows:
1. In accordance with market data vendor requirements, the account will be assessed a separate market data subscription fee for each user account added. In addition, user account market data subscriptions are tied to and cannot vary from that of the account holder.
2. Account holders may delete a user account by clicking on the delete link next to the user name located within the Account Administration and then User Access Rights menu options.
Transfer on Death is a form of account registration which allows individuals to pass the assets in their IB account directly to another person or entity upon their death without having to go through probate. This registration option is solely available to individual accounts held by US residents (no joint or IRA accounts).
To elect this option, eligible account holders will need to do the following:
1. Log into Account Management and select the Account Administration and then Transfer on Death menu options.
2. You will need to specify your Primary Beneficiaries (from 1 to 6 whose percentage of ownership must total 100%)
3. You may elect to specify your Contingent Beneficiaries (from 1 to 6 whose percentage of ownership must total 100%). If you do not elect any Contingent Beneficiaries you will need to specify how you wish the interests of any Primary Beneficiaries that predecease you shall be treated (either pass back to the account holder's estate or pass to the remaining Primary Beneficiaries).
4) In the event any Primary or Contingent Beneficiary is a minor you will be required to designate an authorizer signer.
5) You will then be provided with a link to a pre-populated Transfer on Death Agreement which requires formal signature and notarization. Instructions are also provided for submitting the form to IB's New Accounts department. If the account holder is married and living in a community property state, spousal consent is required if the spouse is not named as the primary beneficiary (it is the responsibility of the account holder to make this determination).
6) Once the agreement has been returned and reviewed for approval, the registration will be complete and the account title amended (e.g. Jane Doe, TOD). Statements will also refelect this new account title.
7) Account holders may remove the TOD request prior to approval or revoke once approved (both via online option). A new agreement will need to be completed, signed and returned prior to the revocation becoming effective. In order for a revocation request to be effective, it must be received and approved by IB prior to the account holder's death.
8) In the event of the death of the account holder, the beneficiary will need to complete and remit the notarized Transfer on Death - Beneficiary Distribution Form to IB along with a certified copy of the death certificate. If the beneficiary does not already have an account with IB they will need to open one in order to transfer the percent of assets as indicated in the Transfer on Death Agreement.