Below is an Interactive Brokers review for traders and investors in the UAE. It breaks down all aspects of this online broker and compares them with other brokers from the industry. We pay attention to how their platform and features perform for the customers in the UAE to help you get the complete picture of their offering.
Interactive Brokers is a highly regulated online broker with almost flawless offers across all categories. Here is where they stand out from the other brokers in the industry:
- Desktop Trading Experience – Trader’s Workstation platform (TWS) is highly intuitive, and offers advanced trading tools, buy/sell options, and a great variety of charting features.
- Mobile Trading – IBKR Mobile is intuitively designed and mirrors the desktop platform in available assets, order types, and charting features, making it among the industry’s best trading apps.
- Fees – IBKR Pro Pricing Plan offers one of the industry’s lowest commission and margin rates.
- Direct AED Deposits – they accept direct UAE Dirham deposits and conversions options in 24 other currencies from their platform
- Order Execution – IBKR’s SmartRouting guarantees the most reliable, fast, and cheap order execution in the industry
- Market Coverage – access to 150 markets and 24 currencies across 33 countries. It is the best choice for Stocks & ETFs, Options, Bonds, and Mutual Funds.
- Research and Analysis Tools – live quotes with single window access, customisable charts, and fundamental analysis tools.
Below is a detailed review of Interactive Brokers’ offerings, including their pros, cons, and key features.
Assets (Best Broker For Availability of Stocks, ETFs and Options )
Interactive Brokers offers access to 135 global markets across 33 countries, which include:
- 87,000 stocks (long, short, penny stocks, fractional shares, CFDs)
- 45,000 mutual funds (the world’s largest mutual fund marketplace)
- 35,000 ETFs
- 50,000 options (Single leg and multi-leg options – up to 8 legs)
- 3,052 Indices & 13 Indices as CFDs
- 100,000 bonds (corporate, municipal, treasury, CDs and international)
- 115 forex pairs (23 currencies, 115 trading pairs)
- 20 crypto coins
The vast coverage of different markets and asset classes makes Interactive Brokers an interesting choice for global traders looking for variety of tradable instruments. They finish best in class for availability of: stocks & ETFs, Options, Mutual funds and Global Bonds.
Here is How Interactive Brokers Market Coverage Performs Compared With Other Brokers In The Industry
|Broker||AvaTrade||eToro||Capital.com||Forex.com||Interactive Brokers||Saxo Bank||TradeStation|
Fees and Spreads
Depending on the underlying asset, order frequency, and account type, users can choose between two pricing plans: IBKR Pro and IBKR Lite. Both pricing plans offer competitive fees and the lowest margin rates in the industry.
1. IBKR Pro (for professional and institutional traders)
Interactive Brokers pro pricing plan is aimed at professional traders and institutional investors with trading volumes above 300,000 shares/month and offers the lowest fee structure in the industry. IBKR pro users can choose between 3 different pricing tiers:
- Fixed commission for stock trades of $0.005/share trade
- Tiered pricing for stock trades based on monthly trading volume ($0.0035/trade for up to 300,000 stock orders/month and per $0.0005/trade for trading volume over 100 million stocks/month)
- Commission-free stock and ETF trades on US Equities
Detailed breakdown of the IBKR pro pricing plan
|Stocks and ETF Trading Fees||Either fixed at $0,005 per share or tiered from $0,0005 to $0,0035 per share, capped at 1% of trade value, depending on monthly trading volume|
|Futures and Futures Options Fees||Either fixed at $0,85 per contract or tiered from $0,25 to $0,85 per contract, based on monthly trading volume|
|E-micro Futures and Futures Options||Either fixed at $0,25 per contract or tiered from $0,10 to $0,25 per contract, based on monthly trading volume|
|Cryptocurrency Futures and Futures Options||Between $0,10 and $5,00 per contract, based on cryptocurrency contracts traded|
|Spot Currency Commissions||Between 0,08 and 0,20 basis points, based on monthly trading volume|
|E-mini FX Futures||Either fixed at $0,50 per contract or tiered from $0,15 to $0,50 per contract, based on monthly trading volume|
|E-Micro FX Futures||Either fixed at $0,15 per contract or tiered from $0,05 to $0,15 per contract, based on monthly trading volume|
|Small Exchange Futures||$0,08 per contract|
|Corporate & CD Bonds||0,1% of Face Value capped at $250 or 1% of trade volume on the first 10,000 in Face Value and then 0,025% Face Value on bigger transactions|
|Municipal Bonds||0,05% of Face Value capped at $125 or 1% of trade volume on the first 10,000 in Face Value and then 0,0125% Face Value on bigger transactions|
|Treasuries||0,002% of Face Value with a minimum of $5 for transactions under $1,000,000 Face Value and 0,0001% of Face Value with a minimum of $5 on bigger transactions|
|Mutual Funds||$14,95 per transaction, capped at 3% of the Trade Value|
Note that IBKR Pro isn’t suited for trading large lots of penny stocks or pink sheets.
2. IBKR Lite (for average and casual traders)
The IBKR lite pricing plan is designed for average traders whose trading volumes don’t exceed 300,000 shares/month. The fee structure comes with a slightly higher cost but is still competitive compared to other brokers.
Detailed breakdown of IBKR lite pricing plan
|US Stock and ETF Trading Fees||Commission-Free|
|Regulatory Fees||SEC transaction fees $0,0000229, FINRA transaction fees $0,00013|
|Clearing Fees||NSCC, DTC Fees $0,00020|
|Pass Through Fees||NYSE Commissions * 0,000175, FINRA * 0,00056|
|Requests to exercise Dissenter or Appraisal Rights||$100 + external costs|
|Hong Kong Stock Tenders for Cash||0,1% Stamp Duty|
|Withholding Tax Voucher Requests for dividends paid on German Stocks||€30 per line|
|Withholding Tax Reclaim requests for dividends paid on French stocks||€125 per line|
|Withholding Tax Voucher requests for dividends paid on Swiss stocks||15 CHF per line|
|Broker-assisted Phone Order||$30 per order|
|API/CTCI Directed Stock Order||$0,01 per order and $0,25 per API/CTCI Directed execution credit|
|Options Contracts||$0,65 per contract|
Both pricing plans come with additional third-party fees apart from the trading fees listed above.
Non Trading fees
Interactive Brokers charges currency conversion fees on all trades, instruments and deposits denominated in a different currency than the one in which your account is set. There are no inactivity fees, but IBKR charges overnight fees between 2,1% and 5,3%, depending on the financial instrument and asset class traded.
Interactive Brokers charge additional third-party fees that are industry average.
Detailed breakdown of Interactive Brokers third-party fees
|Third-Party Fee Type||Fee|
|Options Regulatory Fee (ORF)||$0,01815 per contract|
|SEC Transaction Fee||$0,0000229 * Value of Aggregated Sale|
|FINRA Transaction Activity Fee||$0,00218 * Quantity Sold|
|OCC Clearing Fees||$0,02 per contract up to 2750 contracts/month and $55 per trade after that|
|NANOS Options on CBOE||$0,065 per contract|
Interactive Brokers’ margin rates vary depending on the currency and trading volume and are among the lowest in the industry.
Detailed breakdown of Interactive Brokers margin rates
|Currency||Tier||IBKR Pro||IBKR LITE|
|$||0 ≤ 100,000||5,33% (BM + 1,5%)||6,33% (BM + 2,5%)|
|$||100,000 ≤ 1,000,000||4,83% (BM + 1%||6,33% (BM + 2,5%)|
|$||1,000,000 ≤ 50,000,000||4,58% (BM + 0,75%)||6,33% (BM + 2,5%)|
|$||50,000,000 ≤ 200,000,000||4,33% (BM + 0,5%)||6,33% (BM + 2,5%)|
|$||> 200,000,000||4,33% (BM + 0,5%||6,33% (BM + 2,5%)|
|AED||0 ≤ 350,000||6,32% (BM + 2,5%)||7,32% (BM + 3,5%)|
|AED||350,000 ≤ 3,500,000||5,82% (BM + 2%)||7,32% (BM + 3,5%)|
|AED||3,500,000 ≤ 350,000,000||5,32% (BM + 1,5%)||7,32% (BM + 3,5%)|
|AED||> 350,000,000||5,32% (BM + 1,5%)||7,32% (BM + 3,5%)|
Trading Platforms and Tools
Interactive Brokers users can choose between 6 different trading platforms depending on their experience level (beginner to advanced) and preferred device (desktop, web, mobile):
- Trader Workstation TWS: is the advanced desktop version suitable for experienced traders and institutional investors.
- Client Portal: is the beginner-friendly web trading platform for regular day-to-day trading activities.
- IBKR mobile app: is the main mobile app that mirrors the TWS desktop trading experience and offers access to the same assets, order types and trading tools (advanced trading shortcuts, over 400 data columns, the latest news, charting tools, indicators, and a built-in stock scanner).
- IMPACT app: allows users to invest in ESG equities and companies based on pre-set parameters (green energy, blockchain, driverless cars).
- IBKR GlobalTrader App: is a simplified version of TWS for beginners that allows investing in 90 global stock markets in your local currency.
- IBKR EventTrader: is an add-on that can be accessed from the IBKR mobile app and allows users to speculate on the price movements of key assets, including commodities and futures.
Below is a detailed breakdown of Interactive Brokers two main trading platforms:
1. Trader Workstation (TWS) – For Professional Traders and Institutional Investors
The Trader Workstation is Interactive Brokers advanced desktop trading platform that offers professional-grade customisation capabilities, complex order types, and integration of bots, algorithms and third-party tools (TradingView, TC 2000, and Expert Advisors). This makes TWS supportive of advanced trading styles (Day trading, Swing trading, Scalping, Algorithmic, Auto trading) and is therefore an interesting choice for advanced and institutional traders.
While Trader Workstation isn’t compatible with MetaTrader 4, users can use the oneZero Hub Gateway to connect their Interactive Brokers trading account with MetaTrader 5.
Professional trading tools on TWS include: Portfolio Builder, Options Strategy Lab, Algo Trading, Risk Navigator, Strategy Builder, Market Scanner, and Volatility Lab. Users also have access to watch lists on equities, individual options contracts, futures, forex, warrants, CFDs and more.
IBot Integration: Interactive Brokers AI tool (IBot) quickly handles customer requests (orders, quotes), portfolio information and can even find analytic tools and advanced order types through the chat feature. This feature is available directly via voice or typed commands, for example: “What’s the last price of GOOG?” or “Chart AAPL vs. MSFT” or “Buy 100 shares of FB.” IBot also remembers and keeps links to your frequently used tools.
Charting: traders can access 100+ predefined charting indicators and toggle and zoom between 15-time frames. The platform’s advanced settings help integrate trading systems and build custom dashboards.
2. Client Portal – For Average and Casual Traders
The Client Portal is Interactive Brokers web-based trading platform that offers beginner-friendly trading tools and portfolio management features and is therefore a great choice for beginner traders. Users can access key account metrics in real-time such as Net Liquidation Value, P&L, and Buying Power and can also track the performance of their portfolio with easy-to-read return charts.
Additional features and platform add-ons:
- Stock Yield Enhancement is a program that allows users to earn an extra income on the fully-paid shares of stock held in their accounts
- IB SmartRouting system ensures users get the best possible order execution by searching for the best available prices of stocks, options, and other assets across brokers, exchanges, and dark pools.
- Interactive Advisors is a relatively new feature that allows users to participate in social trading and robo-advisory services through Interactive Brokers.
Deposits and Withdrawals
Interactive Brokers users can choose between two main deposit and withdrawal methods: wire/bank transfers and credit cards. Compared to other brokers in the industry, deposit and withdrawal options at Interactive Brokers are very limited.
The minimum deposit to open a trading account at Interactive Brokers is $100. The account needs to get funded within 90 days of its opening.
The minimum deposit to open a portfolio margin account is $110,000.
Interactive Brokers users are only allowed to use the same withdrawal methods as the user chose to deposit money into the account.
There is no charge for the first withdrawal (of any kind) in a calendar month, but IBKR charges fees for each subsequent withdrawal. Account holders not using a security device have a limited daily withdrawal of $50,000.
Interactive Brokers offers 5 different account types for UAE traders:
- Individual Account – is the standard account with no restrictions for the single account holder.
- Joint Account – has the same features as the individual account but can have two or more account holders.
- Trust Account – is meant for legal entities where one party holds the assets on behalf of another party.
- Islamic Account – is the Islamic swap-free account for Muslim traders. Users can not convert their live trading account into an Islamic (swap-free) version but need to open an Islamic account at first.
- Demo Account – is a risk-free paper trading account meant for beginners to trade with virtual money.
*Note that UGMA/UTMA and IRA accounts are unavailable to UAE traders.
All Interactive Brokers trading accounts allow traders up to 1:2 leverage on stocks and up to 1:50 on other assets.
Research and Education
Interactive Brokers research and education offers beginners to advanced research tools, analysis reports and educational materials which makes it a great fit for traders looking to step up their knowledge.
They have a Traders Academy with 45+ courses for beginners, professionals, investors and students to help them understand markets, currencies, tools and functionality available on IBKR platforms.
In addition, they are featuring the IBKR Campus, Traders’ Insight, IBKR Podcast, the IBKR Quant Blog, webinars, the Student Trading Lab, the Trader’s Glossary, and short video tutorials on how to trade and invest, which is a great choice if you are a casual trader looking to step up your game. Users are can also download a demo version of Traders Workstation to practice placing complex trades.
The Fundamentals Explorer is Interactive Brokers’ research tool providing access to fundamental data, news services from Refinitiv, Thomson Reuters, TipRanks and analyst ratings on over 5,000 companies. Users get access to a dividend calendar, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores and income statements of the past six years for every company that users can trade stocks. Users can also access the IBKR GlobalAnalyst stock screener and free daily ETF trading ideas from Trading Central.
Interactive Brokers customer support is available via email, live chat, and phone during office hours. MOGOCE NAVEDI KDAJ? They are NOT available on weekends and holidays, which is a major drawback for beginners.
Interactive Brokers support is available in different languages, but NOT in Arabic.
Regulation and Reputation
Interactive Brokers is a publicly traded company regulated by multiple tier-1 financial institutions, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), FINRA, SIPC, the CFTC and is therefore considered a safe broker.
Interactive Broker is not licensed by the two local UAE regulators (DFSA and ADGM). Although they offer negative balance protection, UAE traders are not insured by the UAE Central Bank investor compensation scheme.
The following security precautions additionally protect Interactive Brokers users’ accounts
Interactive Brokers UAE Special Features
- UAE users can deposit money directly in UAE Dirhams (AED) and convert them in 24 base currencies on the lowest conversion rates (average conversion costs for AED/USD are $2)
- Interactive Brokers is not regulated in the UAE and does not operate a local UAE office.
- The broker offers an Islamic swap-free account (that allows trading in compliance with the Sharia law) and customer support in English and Arabic language.
Being a publicly traded company and licensed by multiple tier-one regulators, Interactive Brokers is a reputable multi-asset broker known for its various trading platforms, support for different trading styles (day trading, automated, copy trading, bot integration, scalping), and low trading commission and margin rates.
Following their vast market coverage, fast and reliable order execution, and extensive selection of research and analysis tools, Interactive Brokers is an interesting choice to consider for retail and advanced stock, ETF, options, and bonds traders.
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