Equity option exchanges define position limits for designated equity options classes. These limits define position quantity limitations in terms of the equivalent number of underlying shares (described below) which cannot be exceeded at any time on either the bullish or bearish side of the market. Account positions in excess of defined position limits may be subject to trade restriction or liquidation at any time without prior notification.
Position limits are defined on regulatory websites and may change periodically. Some contracts also have near-term limit requirements (near-term position limits are applied to the side of the market for those contracts that are in the closest expiring month issued). Traders are responsible for monitoring their positions as well as the defined limit quantities to ensure compliance. The following information defines how position limits are calculated;
The following examples, using the 25,000 option contract limit, illustrate the operation of position limits:
IB will send notifications to customers regarding the option position limits at the following times:
Position limits are set on the long and short side of the market separately (and not netted out).
Traders can use an underlying stock position as a "hedge" if they are over the limit on the long or short side (index options are reviewed on a case by case basis for purposes of determining which securities constitute a hedge).
Position information is aggregated across related accounts and accounts under common control.
IB considers related accounts to be any account in which an individual may be viewed as having influence over trading decisions. This includes, but is not limited to, aggregating an advisor sub-account with the advisor's account (and accounts under common control), joint accounts with individual accounts for the joint parties and organization accounts (where an individual is listed as an officer or trader) with other accounts for that individual.
Regulations permit clients to exceed a position limit if the positions under common control are hedged positions as specified by the relevant exchange. In general the hedges permitted by the US regulators that are recognized in the IB system include outright stock position hedges, conversions, reverse conversions and box spreads. Currently collar and reverse collar strategies are not supported hedges in the IB system. For more detail about the permissible hedge exemptions refer to the rules of the self regulatory organization for the relevant product.
OCC posts position limits defined by the option exchanges. They can be found here.
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.
Account holders maintaining positions in American Depository Receipts (ADRs) should note that such securities are subject to periodic fees intended to compensate the agent bank providing custodial services on behalf of the ADR. These services typically, include inventorying the foreign stocks underlying the ADR and managing all registration, compliance and record-keeping services.
Historically, the agent banks were only able to collect the custody fees by subtracting them from the ADR dividend, however, as many ADRs do not regularly pay dividends, these banks have been unable to collect their fees. As a result, in 2009, the Depository Trust Company (DTC) received SEC approval to begin collecting these custody fees on behalf of the banks for ADRs which do not pay periodic dividends. DTC collects these fees from its participant brokers (such as IB) who hold the ADRs for their clients. These fees are referred to as pass-through fees as they are designed to be then collected by the broker from its clients.
If you hold a position in a dividend paying ADR, these fees will be deducted from the dividend as they have in the past. If you hold a position in an ADR which does not pay a dividend, this pass-through fee will be reflected on the monthly statement of the record date in which it is assessed. Similar to the treatment of cash dividends, IB will attempt to reflect upcoming ADR fee allocations within the Accruals section of the account statements as well. Once charged, the fee will be reflected in the Deposits & Withdrawals section of the statement with the description 'Adjustments - Other' along with the symbol of the particular ADR it is associated with.
While the amount of this fee will generally range from $0.01 - $0.03 per share, the amounts may differ by ADR and it is recommended that you refer to your ADR prospectus for specific information. An on-line search for the prospectus may be conducted through the SEC's EDGAR Company Search tool.
Leveraged Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are a subset of general ETFs and are intended to generate performance in multiples of that of the underlying index or benchmark (e.g. 200%, 300% or greater). In addition certain of these ETFs seek to a generate performance which is not only a multiple of but also the inverse of the underlying index or benchmark (e.g., a short ETF). To accomplish this, these leveraged funds typically include among their holdings derivative instruments such as options, futures or swaps which are intended to provide the desired leverage and/or inverse performance.
Exchange margin rules seek to recognize the additional leverage and risk associated with these instruments by establishing a margin rate which is commensurate with that level of leverage (but not to exceed 100% of the ETF value). Thus, for example, whereas the base strategy-based maintenance margin requirement for a non-leveraged long ETF is set at 25% and a short non-leveraged ETF at 30%, examples of the maintenance margin change for leveraged ETFs are as follows:
1. Long an ETF having a 200% leverage factor: 50% (= 2 x 25%)
2. Short an ETF having a 300% leverage factor: 90% (= 3 x 30%)
A similar scaling in margin is also in effect for options. For example, the Reg. T maintenance margin requirement for a non-leveraged, short broad based ETF index option is 100% of the option premium plus 15% of the ETF market value, less any out-of-the-money amount (to a minimum of 10% of ETF market value in the case of calls and 10% of the option strike price in the case of puts). In the case where the option underlying is a leveraged ETF, however, the 15% rate is increased by the leverage factor of the ETF.
In the case of portfolio margin accounts, the effect is similar, with the scan ranges by which the leveraged ETF positions are stress tested increasing by the ETF leverage factor. See NASD Rule 2520 and NYSE Rule 431 for further details.
Executions in equities will sometimes be listed as R6, which is short for Rule 611 of SEC Regulation NMS. This condition code indicates that the execution(s) in question is not subject to trade-through rules. R6 trades are given an SEC exemption.
Rule 611, which is the Trade Through Exemption of SEC Regulation NMS, is very lengthy to cover in detail. Parties interested in reading the rule in its entirely should type "SEC Rule 611" into an internet search engine. This is the portion of the document that is pertinent to IB traders, in a nutshell:
Typically the trades involved are a multi-component trade involving orders for a security and a related derivative, or, in the alternative, orders for related securities, that are executed at or near the same time. The SIA (Securities Industry Association) notes that the economics of a contingent trade are based on the relationship between the prices of the security and the related derivative or security, and that the execution of one order is contingent upon the execution of the other order.
The bottom line is that when a trade is ruled R6 the SEC has granted a trade-through exemption. This means that these execution reports do not affect the resting orders in-between the market at the time, and the R6 execution. For example, the real market is quoting 10.50 at 10.51, and an execution is reported at 10.90. This execution was given an R6 exemption. A sell limit order at 10.75, an an example, would not be executed because the 10.90 execution was given an R6 status.
Simply stated, an "Odd Lot" is a stock order comprised of less than 100 shares of stock. So any stock order from 1 share to 99 shares is considered to be an odd lot.
This is the pertinent information traders should know about odd lot orders:
VWAP, or Volume-Weighted Average Price, is a measure of the average price at which a stock traded over a given timeframe (typically one day). Assume, for example, the aggregate trades for stock ABC on day ‘T’ equals 100 shares at $21.00, another 100 shares at $22.00 and 300 shares at $24.00. The calculation for the VWAP of ABC for day ‘T’ is as follows:
Accumulate/Distribute is a sophisticated trading algorithm which allows one to buy or sell large orders by splitting the trade into multiple orders with the goal of reducing visibility and market impact.
This algo will only operate when the trader is logged into the TWS. If the trader has been logged out prior to the algo completing (either by user action or by the automated nightly restart), a message will appear upon the next log in which will allow for re-activation of the algo.
The ScaleTrader is a sophisticated trading algorithm which allows one to enter a large quantity order that is executed in a series of increments or components, with each component being executed at a progressively better price.
Instruments handled by the ACATS system include the following asset classes: equities, options, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, mutual funds and cash. It should be noted; however, that ACATS eligibility does not guarantee that any given security will transfer as each receiving broker maintains its own requirements as to which asset classes as well as securities within a particular asset class it will accept.
Account holders are encouraged to use the Contract Search link on IB’s homepage to assess transfer eligibility prior to initiating a full account transfer request. In the case of mutual funds, please click here for a list of fund families and funds offered by IB.