FAQS: IBLUX Brexit Account Migration

Overview: 

This is an important document regarding the proposed transfer of your account from IBUK and IBLLC to IBLUX that requires your attention. Please read the entirety of this document ahead of taking any action referred to in the Covering Letter sent to you via email.

Background: 

Please take time to read this article, which summarises some of the key changes to the regulatory framework brought about by the Proposed Transfer (as described below) and provides answers to some more general questions you may have. It should be read in conjunction with the Covering Letter sent to you via email and to which it was linked. If you require any further information, please get in touch with us using the contact details provided in that Covering Letter. This article supersedes the one previously made available to you titled “FAQs: Brexit Account Migration” (“Original FAQs”) as it reflects new information and we ask that you read it carefully. To the extent there is any inconsistency between this article and the Original FAQs, please rely on the information contained in this article.

Discussion:

This Information Leaflet is split into three parts.

  • Part A sets outs key information in relation to our proposal to transfer your business.
  • Part B covers key legal and regulatory topics that arise as a result of the arrangements covered in Part A.
  • Part C aims to answer any other questions you may have and provide some further and more practical information in relation to what will and will not be changing following the Proposed Transfer.

 PART A – THE PROPOSED TRANSFER

1. What is the situation currently and why do things have to change?

As you would be aware, at present, your relationship with Interactive Brokers is led by our entity based in the United Kingdom, specifically Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited (“IBUK”) and the services provided to you are provided by IBUK and, depending on the products you do business in, our US affiliate Interactive Brokers LLC (“IBLLC”). At present IBUK utilises what is known as a financial services passport to be able to perform its part of the service provision across continental Europe. Our working assumption is that following the end of the Brexit transitional period later this year, IBUK will lose the ability to do so and that from 1 January 2021 Interactive Brokers will need to make some changes in relation to which legal entity does business with you. 

2. What are the “changes” envisaged above?

We have established a new Interactive Brokers legal entity in Luxembourg, specifically, Interactive Brokers Luxembourg SARL (“IBLUX”). The proposal is to transfer the business that you currently conduct with IBUK and IBLLC to IBLUX. In other words, it is our intention that all of your accounts, investments and services currently provided by IBUK and IBLLC will instead be singularly provided by IBLUX (for convenience we will refer to this as the “Proposed Transfer”). 

3. When will the Proposed Transfer occur?

At present, the Proposed Transfer will likely occur after October 30 th 2020 depending on the readiness of your account (i.e. the completion of all required actions detailed in the Covering Letter). 

4. Who is IBLUX? What sort of a firm is it?

IBLUX was granted authorisation by the Luxembourg Financial Sector Supervisory Commission (Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier, CSSF) to operate as an investment firm in November 2019. IBLUX’s regulatory status and profile is very similar to IBUK’s. This is because both IBLUX and IBUK are authorised pursuant to the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. This is an EU-wide piece of legislation whose purpose is to, as much as possible, harmonise how investment firms are regulated. 

This does not mean there are not some differences between the regulations that apply to your relationship at present and those that will apply once your account is transferred. We explain these in more detail in Part B of this article. 

5. What are IBLUX’s legal details?

Interactive Brokers Luxembourg SARL is registered as a private company limited by shares (société à responsabilité limitée)  (registration number B229091) in the register of companies for Luxembourg. Its registered address is 4, rue Robert Stümper, L - 2557 Luxembourg. We are still finalising IBLUX’s day-to-day contact details and will be in touch with these in due course.   

6. Who will regulate IBLUX and what are their contact details?

The Luxembourg Financial Sector Supervisory Commission (CSSF) is the competent regulator for IBLUX (in the same way that the Financial Conduct Authority is the competent regulator for IBUK). The Luxembourg Financial Sector Supervisory Commission’s (CSSF) contact details are set out below:

Location

Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier

283, route d’ArlonL-1150

Luxembourg 

Postal Address and Contact Numbers

Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier

L-2991 Luxembourg

Phone: (+352) 26 25 11 Fax: (+352) 26 25 12601 

Public Helpline

E-mail: direction@cssf.lu

Phone: (+352) 26 25 12 28 0 

 

7. Where does IBLUX fit with respect to the broader Interactive Brokers group?

IBLUX is a wholly-owned subsidiary that sits within the broader Interactive Brokers Group.

8. What does the Proposed Transfer mean for me? Will there be any material impacts?

We do not anticipate any material impacts. Nonetheless, it is very important you read this article and make sure you understand what the changes are.

9. What do I have to do if I want to continue doing business with Interactive Brokers?

If you would like to continue to do business with Interactive Brokers we require your cooperation and action.

Specifically, we need you to consent and agree to the Customer Agreement and other Documents attached to the Covering Letter and to the regulatory matters outlined in the Covering Letter. You can do this by following the instructions in the Covering Letter.

To be clear, you do not have to consent to the Proposed Transfer if you feel you may be adversely affected by it. However, you should be aware that if you decide to decline, IBUK will likely not be able to keep servicing your account at the end of the Brexit transition period. If that happens, your account will be put in liquidation and we will ask you to transfer your assets to another broker. If you wish to decline, please follow the instructions in the Covering Letter.

In either case, we ask that you read the entirety of this Information Leaflet and the Covering Letter before deciding to consent to or decline to the Proposed Transfer.

10. What happens next?

If you consent to the transfer, please complete all actions detailed in the Covering Letter and we will prepare your account for the Proposed Transfer. Following the Proposed Transfer, IBLUX will write to you with further information about your new relationship with them.

 

PART B – LEGAL AND REGULATORY CHANGES THAT YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF

1. What terms and conditions will govern your relationship following the Proposed Transfer? Are these different to the ones that currently apply?

Trades that you conduct after the Proposed Transfer will be governed by the new Customer Agreement between you and IBLUX. A copy of the new Customer Agreement will be presented to you online when you are provided with an opportunity to consent. Please see question A3 above in relation to the timing for the Proposed Transfer.

2. What conduct of business rules (including best execution) will apply to my relationship with IBLUX? Are there any material differences that apply to my relationship with IBLUX when compared to my existing relationship led by IBUK in this context?

There are some changes to be aware of, which we explain below.

If you do business with IBUK on a “carried” basis (in other words, you trade index options, futures and futures options and IBUK carries your account and custodies your assets) then the Financial Conduct Authority’s conduct of business rules currently apply to you. These rules are based heavily on the recast Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, the Markets in Financial Regulation and various delegated directives and regulation (collectively “MiFID”). In relation to best execution, where it applies, IBUK must take all sufficient steps to achieve the best possible result for you when we execute your order.

If you currently do business with IBUK on an “introduced” basis (in other words, you trade products outside of those mentioned in the previous paragraph and you have a relationship with both IBUK and its US affiliate, IBLLC) a mix of conduct of business rules currently apply to you. For instance, with respect to the introduction of your business to IBLLC, the Financial Conduct Authority’s conduct of business rules apply (see above in relation to these). Once introduced to IBLLC, the relevant U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission rules and regulations (among others) apply to IBLLC’s role (including its obligations in relation to best execution and custody).

Note more generally that it is of course possible that your business is split across these two scenarios (in other words, some of your business is conducted on a “carried” basis while some of it is conducted on an “introduced” basis).

Going forward, the distinction between “carried” and “introduced” business will no longer apply and in each case set out above, Luxembourg conduct of business rules will exclusively apply to your relationship with IBLUX. Like the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s rules, these are based heavily on MiFID and IBLUX’s obligations in relation to best execution mirror those that currently apply to IBUK.

In our view, while the rules that apply to our relationship will change, we do not consider such changes to be material or to result in a lesser degree of protection being afforded to you.

3. How will my investments that I custody with IBLUX be held from a legal/regulatory perspective? Are there any material differences that apply to my relationship with IBLUX when compared to my existing relationship led by IBUK in this context?

The rules that currently apply depends on the sort of business you presently have with IBUK (see B2 above). Where you conduct “carried” business with IBUK the, Financial Conduct Authority’s client asset (or “CASS”) rules will apply. These are based heavily on MiFID. Where you conduct “introduced” business with IBUK and IBLLC, the US custody rules will apply to your custody assets.

Going forward, as set out above, the distinction between “carried” and “introduced” business will no longer apply and in each case set out above, Luxembourg custody rules will exclusively apply to your relationship with IBLUX. Like the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s rules, these are based heavily on MiFID.

4. How am I protected against loss? Are there any material differences that apply to my relationship with IBLUX when compared to my existing relationship led by IBUK in this context?

Currently your eligible assets are protected from loss either under the US Securities Investor Protection Corporation or the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (which regime applies depends on the relevant segment of your IBUK account, as explained above in B2). After the Proposed Transfer, the Luxembourg Investor Compensation Scheme (Système d’indemnisation des investisseurs, SIIL) will protect your assets from loss should IBLUX default and be unable to meet its obligations to you.

Luxembourg’s compensation scheme is similar to the compensation scheme you have access to in the UK, albeit with a lower limit. The purpose of the Luxembourg Investor Compensation Scheme (Système d’indemnisation des investisseurs, SIIL) is to pay compensation to you (subject to certain limits) if you have invested money or investment instruments in either of the following cases:

  • An authorised firm that the CSSF has decided is not in a position to repay investors/meet its obligations, or
  • A court ruling prevents the firm from returning your investment.

The scheme is operated by the Luxembourg financial markets authority (Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier, CSSF) and managed by the Council of protection of depositors and investors (Conseil de protection des déposants et des investisseurs, CPDI). If a member firm of the scheme goes out of business and cannot return your money or investment instruments, you may be able to claim compensation from the scheme.

IBLUX is a member of the scheme.

The scheme covers investment products including:

  • Public and private company shares
  • Units in collective investment schemes
  • Tracker bonds
  • Futures and options

Usually you can only make a claim after a firm goes out of business and its assets have been liquidated and distributed to those who are owed money. Check the details of the schemes for any limits that apply – not all losses will be covered as there are maximum levels of compensation. The Luxembourg Investor Compensation Scheme (Système d’indemnisation des investisseurs, SIIL) will pay you compensation for the amount you have lost, up to a maximum of €20,000.

5. How do I make a complaint to IBLUX? Are there any material differences that apply to my relationship with IBLUX when compared to my existing relationship led by IBUK in this context? What if my complaint relates to something that happened while I was a customer of IBUK?

The new Customer Agreement sets out how to lodge a complaint with IBLUX. The procedures are materially similar to those that apply to your existing relationship with IBUK. If the substance of your complaint relates to something that happened prior to the Proposed Transfer, then you should address your complain to IBUK. IBUK will remain authorised as an investment firm post-Brexit. Its current contact information will stay the same should you need to contact IBUK.

6. Will I still have access to the Financial Ombudsman?

In case of a complaint, investors should follow the complaints procedure as referred to in the Customer Agreement. Once the Proposed Transfer has taken place, the UK Financial Ombudsman Service will cease to have jurisdiction over any complaints.

7. How will my personal data be processed and protected? Are there any material differences that apply to my relationship with IBLUX when compared to my existing relationship led by IBUK in this context?

There will be no material change.

 

PART C – OTHER PRACTICAL QUESTIONS AND NEXT STEPS

 

1. Who should I contact before the Proposed Transfer takes place and after the Proposed Transfer if I have any questions in the ordinary course?

Generally speaking, you should contact IBUK with any questions prior to the Proposed Transfer and you should contact IBLUX with any questions following the Proposed Transfer. Regardless of who you contact at Interactive Brokers, we will ensure your query is promptly dealt with and will help you to connect to the right person or department.

2. Will the range of products offered be the same?

Our current expectation is that the majority of products that can be traded in the IBUK account will be offered by IBLUX. However, there are some limitations. If you agree to the Proposed Transfer, your IBLUX account will not support transactions in the following products: (i) OTC Precious Metals, and (ii) OTC Metal Futures. In addition, IBLUX will not offer the ability to transact leveraged foreign exchange or to adhere to the Stock Yield Enhancement Programme that is currently available to you. Clients that are residents of Luxembourg will also be restricted from trading Bonds.

To the extent you are impacted by this, we will separately get in touch with you.

3. I currently trade OTC derivatives with IBUK – what will happen to my open positions?

Your open positions will be transferred to IBLUX and your position will face IBLUX rather than IBUK. You will no longer have any legal relationship with IBUK in relation to those positions.

We will separately provide to you an updated  Key Information Document (please follow the link to the PRIIPs KID landing page in the Covering Letter).

4. What happens to any security I have granted IBUK as part of a margin loan?

If you have granted security or collateral to IBUK/IBLLC, it will transfer to IBLUX upon the Proposed Transfer. We do not anticipate you needing to take any steps to reflect the change in beneficiary, although we may need to take some administrative steps of our own to update security registers with the change in details. This should, however, not affect our priority or otherwise affect the date from which the security is valid.

5. Will I have access to the same trading platform or be subject to any software changes following migration?

The migration will have no impact upon the software you use to trade or administer your account. The technology will remain the same as it is today.

6. Will all account balances be transferred at the same time? What will happen to my current account following migration?

All balances, with the exception of accruals (e.g., interest, dividends) will be transferred at the same time. Once accruals have been posted to cash, they will automatically be swept to the migrated account

7. What will happen to my current account following migration?

Once all accruals have been  swept, your current account will be closed and inaccessible for trading purposes. You will still be able to access this closed account via the Client Portal for purposes of viewing and printing archived activity and tax statements.

8. Will IBKR’s commissions and fees change when my account is migrated?

No. IBKR commissions and fees do not vary by the broker your account is maintained with.

9. Will my trading permissions change when my account is migrated?

Following migration, you will be restricted from engaging in leveraged forex transactions.

10. Will open orders (e.g., Good-til-Canceled) be carried over when my account is migrated?

Open orders will not be carried over to the new account, and we recommend that clients review their orders immediately following the migration to ensure that the open orders are consistent with their trading intentions.

11. Will I be subject to the U.S. Pattern Day Trading Rule once my account is migrated?

Accounts maintained with IBUK are subject to the U.S. Pattern Day Trading (PDT) rule as the accounts are introduced to and carried by IBLLC, a U.S. broker. The PDT rule restricts accounts with equity below USD 25,000 to no more than 3 Day Trades within any 5-business day period.
 
As accounts migrated to IBLUX will not be introduced to IBLLC, they will not be subject to the PDT rule.

12. Will I receive a single, combined annual activity statement at year end?

No. You will receive an annual statement for your existing account which will cover the period starting January 1, 2020 through the date of migration and a second annual statement for your new account which will cover the period starting from the migration date through December 31, 2020.

13. Will the current cost basis of positions be carried over when my account is migrated?

Yes, this migration will have no impact upon the cost basis of your positions.

14. Will the migrated account retain the same configuration as the current account?

The configuration of the account following migration will match that of the current account to the extent permissible by regulation. This includes attributes such as margin capability, market data, additional users and alerts.  In limited instances, an account will be migrated to a jurisdiction where the full scope of product eligibility cannot be offered. Client’s holding restricted products may migrate and maintain or close such positions but won’t be allowed to increase the position. 

15. Will my login credentials change? 
A: No. Your user name, password and any 2-factor authentication process in place for your existing account will remain active following migration. You will, however, be assigned a new account ID for your migrated account.