IBKR options margins

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by cyan-otter, Nov 16, 2020.

  1. I have a PM account, and I noticed that going long some options had over a 100% margin requirement. In some cases, buying an option had a 400% maintenance margin requirement. Am I missing something? Per my understanding, it is impossible to lose more than the amount of the option if I am long, so the maintenance margin should be at most 100%. What makes this weirder is that if these long options increased in value, because the maintenance margin requirement is over 100%, my margin buffer would actually decrease, possibly causing me to get liquidated. I chatted with support, but they were unhelpful. I am not doing any complex option strategies; I am buying calls and puts to predict price direction.

    Am I missing something with my logic? Is this a known issue with IBKR? I have heard of more complex option strategies having unreasonable margin requirements, but I am not doing those, and it seems like it should be easy to cap the maintenance margin for long options to 100% of their value.
  2. Robert Morse

    Robert Morse Sponsor

    I had the same thing happen many years ago when they tagged Alibaba as "risky". In the middle of the day, they set that symbol to 2.5X base margin. When I called and asked why they also did that to a long vertical spread, they told me that is how their systems works.
    horizon likes this.
  3. The spread makes sense (I do not agree, but due to early excercise risk I understand), but a long call or put at greater than cost?

    Now I am going to go look at the impact on my account, not that I will ever allocate more than 25% of my capital.
  4. This is a very common thing and it keeps happening. You can try contacting them for the same.
  5. Have you found any satisfactory answer or solution to this?
  6. tonyf


    Having the same issue. What is the market cap of the underlying security in your case?
    legend4life likes this.
  7. botsmarok


    I don’t think you are missing anything. This happens to a lot of people.
  8. tonyf


    A real annoyance not being able to see margin requirements when a position exceeds the limit though!