IBKR OTC Futures on LME Metals – Facts and Q&A

The following article is intended to provide a general introduction to LME-based OTC Futures issued by IBKR.
 
Note: Residents of the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and Israel cannot trade IBKR LME OTC Futures.

 

Introduction

IBKR LME OTC Futures provide clients synthetic access to the London Metal Exchange, a peer to peer exchange not generally available to non-member investors.

The LME OTC Futures are OTC derivative contracts with IBUK as the counterparty. The LME OTC Futures reference the corresponding LME future in terms of price, lot size, type and specification but are themselves not registered contracts. Physical delivery is not permitted.

IBKR LME OTC Futures are traded through your margin account, and you can therefore enter long as well as short leveraged positions. Margin rates equal those established by the LME. Like other futures they are risk-based (SPAN), and therefore variable. Current margins range between 6 and 9% depending on the contract.

Contracts

IBKR offers OTC Futures on the 3rd Wednesday expirations for the following metals:

Metal IB Symbol Price USD/ Multiplier
High Grade Primary Aluminium AH Metric Ton 25
Copper Grade A CA Metric Ton 25
Primary Nickel NI Metric Ton 6
Standard Lead PB Metric Ton 25
Tin SNLME Metric Ton 5
Special High Grade Zinc ZSLME Metric Ton 25

3rd Wednesday Expirations

The LME features a range of contracts adapted to the needs of physical traders and hedgers. The principal among them are daily 3-month forwards used by physical traders to precisely match their hedges to their needs.

The 3rd Wednesday contracts are monthly contracts, like futures, and as such better adapted to the needs of financial traders. As the name suggests, they expire on the 3rd Wednesday of each month and, although physically settled on the LME, are strictly cash-settled at IBKR. The 3rd Wednesday contracts have become increasingly popular and account for 65% of open interest on the LME.

Quotes and Market Data

IBKR streams quotes from the LME (L2 market data) and does not widen the quote. Every client order is first hedged on exchange and the LME OTC order filled at the price of the hedge.

Cash Flows

Daily variation margin and realized P&L for the IBKR LME OTC Futures are cash-settled daily, like a standard future. By contrast, cash flows for the underlying LME contract are only settled after the contract has expired.

Margins

The margin requirements for the IBKR LME OTC Futures equal the requirement for the underlying contract on the LME. LME uses Standard Portfolio Analysis of Risk (SPAN) to calculate Initial Margin.

Like for other futures, the margin rates are established as an absolute value per contract and usually updated monthly.

Trading Permissions

You will need to set up permissions for United Kingdom Metals in Account Management.

Market Data

You will need a subscription for Level II London Metal Exchange, currently GBP 1.00.

LME OTC Resources

Product Listings & Links to Contract Details
Commissions
Margin Requirements

Frequently asked Questions

What do I need to do to start trading LME OTC Futures?
You need to set up trading permission for United Kingdom Metals in Account Management. If you have an IB LLC or an IB UK account carried by IB LLC we will set up a new account segment (identified with your existing account number plus the suffix “F”). Once the set-up is confirmed you can begin to trade. You do not need to fund the F segment separately; funds will be automatically transferred from your main account to meet margin requirements.

How are my LME OTC Futures trades and positions reflected in my statements?
Your positions are held in a separate account segment identified by your primary account number with the suffix “F”. You can choose to view Activity Statements for the F-segment either separately or consolidated with your main account. You can make the choice in the statement window in Account Management.

What account protections apply when trading LME OTC Futures?
LME OTC Futures are contracts with IB UK as your counterparty, and are not traded on a regulated exchange and are not cleared on a central clearinghouse. Since IB UK is the counterparty to your trades, you are exposed to the financial and business risks, including credit risk, associated with dealing with IB UK. Please note however that all client funds are always fully segregated, including for institutional clients. IB UK is a participant in the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme ("FSCS"). IB UK is not a member of the U.S. Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”).

Can I trade LME OTC Futures over the phone?
No. In exceptional cases we may agree to process closing orders over the phone, but never opening orders.