TWS Account Window for Retail Clients of IBKR Ireland, Luxemburg and Central Europe

Overview: 

This article describes the information provided in the TWS account window for IBKRs EU based entities.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.

59.5% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with IBKR.

You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

 

Background: 

Retail clients who are residents of the EEA and therefore maintain an account with one of IBKR’s European brokers, IBLUX, IBIE or IBCE, are subject to EU regulations which introduce leverage and other restrictions applicable to CFD transactions.

Notably the regulations require the use of free cash to satisfy CFD margin requirements and prohibit retail clients from using securities in the account as collateral to borrow funds to initiate or maintain a CFD position. Please see Overview of ESMA CFD Rules Implementation for Retail Clients at IBIE, IBCE and IBLUX for full details.

The accounts of IBKRs EU entities are universal accounts in which clients can trade all asset classes available on IBKRs platform, but unlike IBKRs US and UK entities, there are no separately funded segments.

Working examples of how this restriction is applied along with details as to how clients can monitor free cash available for CFD transactions is outlined below.

Account Window

IBKR enforces the restriction relating to free cash by calculating the funds available for CFD trading on a real-time basis, rejecting new orders and liquidating existing positions when the available free cash is insufficient to cover CFD initial and maintenace margin requierements.

IBKR offers clients the ability to monitor free cash available for CFD transactions via an enhancement to the TWS Account Window which displays the level of free cash in the account. Importantly, the funds shown as available for CFD trading do not imply that cash is held in a separate segment. It simply indicates what proportion of total account balances is available for CFD trading.

For example, assume that an account has EUR 9,705 in cash and no positions. All the cash is available to open CFD positions, or positions in any other asset class:

If the account now purchases 10 shares of AAPL stock for an aggregate value of USD 1,383 the cash in the account is
reduced by a corresponding amount in EUR, and the funds available for CFD trading are reduced by the
same amount:

 

Note that Total available funds are reduced by a smaller amount, corresponding to the stock margin requirement.

If, instead of buying AAPL stock, the account buys 10 AAPL CFDs the impact will be different; As the transaction involves a derivative contract rather than the purchase of the underlying asset itself, there’s no reduction in cash but the funds available for CFDs are reduced by the CFD margin requirement to secure performance on the contract:

In this case Total available funds and CFD available funds are reduced by an equal amount; the CFD margin requirement.

Funding

As noted above, EU-based accounts do not have segments and therefore there is no need for internal transfers. Funds are available for trades in all asset classes in the amounts indicated in the account window, without the need for sweeps or transfers.

Note also that should an account have a margin loan, i.e. negative cash, it will not be possible to open CFD positions since the CFD margin requirement must be satisfied by free, positive cash. Should you have a margin loan and wish to trade CFDs you must first either close margin positions to eliminate the loan, or add cash to the account in an amount that covers the margin loan and creates a cash buffer sufficient for the necessary CFD margin.