SEC Tick Size Pilot Program


Effective October 3, 2016, securities exchanges registered with the SEC will operate a Tick Size Pilot Program ("Pilot") intended to determine what impact, if any, widening of the minimum price change (i.e., tick size) will have on the trading, liquidity, and market quality of small cap stocks.  The Pilot will last for 2 years and it will include approximately 1,200 securities having a market capitalization of $3 billion or less, average daily trading volume of 1 million shares or less, and a volume weighted average price of at least $2.00.

For purposes of the Pilot, these securities will be organized into groups that will determine a minimum tick size for both quote display and trading purposes. For example, Test Group 1 will consist of securities to be quoted in $0.05 increments and traded in $0.01 increments and Test Group 2 will include securities both quoted and traded in $0.05 increments.  Test Group 3 will include also include securities both quoted and traded in $0.05 increments, but subject to Trade-at rules (more fully explained in the Rule). In addition, there will be a Control Group of securities that will continue to be quoted and traded in increments of $0.01. Details as to the Pilot and securities groupings are available on the FINRA website.


Impact to IB Account Holders 

In order to comply with the SEC Rules associated with this Pilot, IB will change the way that it accepts orders in stocks included in the Pilot.  Specifically, starting October 3, 2016 and in accordance with the phase-in schedule, IB will reject the following orders associated with Pilot Securities assigned to Test Groups:

  • Limit orders having an explicit limit that is not entered in an increment of $0.05;
  • Stop or Stop Limit orders having an explicit limit that is not entered in an increment of $0.05; and
  • Orders having a price offset that is not entered in an increment of $0.05.  Note that this does not apply to offsets which are percentage based and which therefore allow IB to calculate the permissible nickel increment

 Clients submitting orders via the trading platform that are subject to rejection will receive the following pop-up message:


 The following order types will continue to be accepted for Pilot Program Securities:

  • Market orders;
  • Benchmark orders having no impermissible offsets (e.g., VWAP, TVWAP);
  • Pegged orders having no impermissible offsets ;
  • Retail Price Improvement Orders routed to the NASDAQ-BX and NYSE as follows:
    - Test Group 1 in .001

      - Test Group 2 and 3 in .005


Other Items of Note

  • GTC limit and stop orders entered prior to the start of the Pilot will be adjusted as allowed (e.g., a buy limit order at $5.01 will be adjusted to $5.00 and a sell limit at $5.01 adjusted to $5.05).
  • Clients generating orders via third-party software (e.g., signal provider), order management system, computer to computer interfaces (CTCI) or through the API, should contact their vendor or review their systems to ensure that all systems recognize the Pilot restrictions.
  • Incoming orders to IB that are marked with TSP exception codes from other Broker Dealers will not be acted upon by IB. For example, IB will not accept incoming orders marked with the Retail Investor Order or Trade-At ISO exception codes.
  • The SEC order associated with this Pilot is available via the following link:
  • For a list of Pilot Program related FAQs, please see KB2750


Please note that the contents of this article are subject to revision as further regulatory guidance or changes to the Pilot Program are issued.