IB Problem With Margin IRAs?

Discussion in 'Interactive Brokers' started by millipede, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. millipede


    For the third day I have been unable to make purchases in two "Margin" IRAs with IB, receiving a TWS error message that they have negative settled cash, while all the daily statements show ample settled cash, along with large cash and buying power balances.

    I am still waiting for a response or resolution of the problem from IB. Has anyone else encountered this glitch?
  2. tef8


    No, have you tried chat with them?
    Works best for me when resolving issues there.
    Good Luck
  3. I also trade a Margin IRA at IB but haven't encountered this problem before.

    Did you get it solved?
  4. millipede


    Thanks Tef8, chat worked better, insofar as I was told the "negative settled cash" was forward looking as of today 9/21. Beyond that, I've had to deduce the trouble myself.

    So, I reviewed my statements for 9/18 and found positive day-end cash balances, but they were very small, under $10.

    Perhaps subsequent price allocation or commission adjustments were involved, but by mid-day Tuesday, IB's calculation for settled-cash for Monday's trades seems to have swung a few dollars negative and shut down my ability to make purchases then and there -- which I was in the midst of doing via order allocation.

    Instead of blocking the allocated portions, IBs allocation process sent shares anywhere and elsewhere where there was buying power, which was a can of worms.

    Anyway, I've no complete, clear response from IB, nor evidence of a resolution, but my best guess is: in their margin IRA, don't cut the day end cash balance too close. Subsequent adjustments could more than wipe it out and shut everything down without explanation.
  5. That's a good policy to follow. You shouldn't have to, but that's the way it works unfortunately.
  6. millipede


    I notice elsewhere in the forums quite a brouhaha over IB's customer service, which I do not want to wade into, as it's mostly between the participants.

    By and large, I find IB's systems and technology superb, but my present difficulty with them is typical of customer service when there is anything but the simplest question or problem.

    For the fourth day now, the buying power in my "Margin" IRAs has been treated along the lines of the old T+3 settled cash routine. I have not been informed of any overbought conditions or other problems in my accounts, and after going over my statements, find that I never overspent the "Available Funds" and "Excess Liquidity" balances, nor did any adjustments erase them.

    When I've presented this problem, by phone, by ticket, by chat, it is as though the person on the other end were at first completely deaf to its meaning. They recite the definition of Settled Cash and its relation to cash withdrawals, or some other unrelated item, and one is embarrassed to have to keep repeating or re-phrasing the point.

    When I finally got one's attention on the point: Why am I being prevented from investing the "Available Funds" in my "Margin" IRA on these days? they took my number and promised to get back to me. Not a word in 3 days.
  7. You'll run into this almost anywhere at any kind of financial institution, the average joe CSR wants to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible as they have no real motivation ($$$) to help. They SHOULD, but they don't.

    I can only sympathize. Have you tried getting really nasty on the phone yet and demanding for a supervisor?
  8. millipede


    A contact with chat at IB went well insofar as the rep actually looked at the accounts and verified that there were no restrictions, and suggested that we enter orders away from the market to check for repeats of the rejects, and found none.

    Why that snafu happened this week no one knows.

    So for others in IB's Margin IRA world, it was either a blip there, or I cut a day-end cash balance too close, and an unidentified gray, woolly, nasty accounting variable flipped negative and shut down the account. Beware!
  9. millipede


    Never got a reply from IB. Since this problem, have kept 1/4% balance in available funds in the "Margin IRAs." Have not re-encountered the trouble so far.

    Never found in daily statements that I overspent available funds in these accounts, either.

    I trade quickly in the last 15 minutes of the session, and for 6 months of active trading never had a problem entering BUY orders immediately (i.e. by mouse click) after seeing a SELL order executed in TWS.

    But, thought perhaps when I see a trade executed in TWS, under certain internet conditions, the complete clearing of the trade on IB's systems may take longer, causing misallocations of allocated trades, and possibly some intraday red "margin" flags. Who would know?

    Anyway, I've started waiting a couple more minutes after sells to enter my offsetting buys.

    In any case, normal system operations at IB - el cielo!
    As for IB customer service -- lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’intrate!

  10. Perhaps stocks account was flagged like some FX bucket shops do (manual execution?). Bizarre.
    #10     Oct 21, 2006