For 43 years Interactive Brokers has been serving clients from all over the world with access to a suite of investment products. The online broker has always had a singular mission to provide lowest cost access to global trading markets in order to maximize returns. They were the first online broker to offer $0 commissions with their IBKR Lite, while their IB SmartRouting provides more active investors with institutional-level pricing to lower their overall costs with a small commission.
What happened: Effective July 1, 2021 investors can now access IBKR Pro pricing without worrying about the frequency of their trades. Why? Because Interactive Brokers eliminated their inactivity fee. The fee was $20 per month if you had less than $2,000 in your account and if you didn't generate a minimum of $20 in commissions. You would be charged $10 if your account exceeded $2,000 but you traded less frequently.
Why it matters: Interactive Brokers was already deemed one of the lower-cost alternatives despite the inactivity fee but now it just got a whole lot more competitive.
It remains to be seen how other online brokers will match Interactive Brokers overall low-cost offering across stocks, options, futures, funds and bonds, and especially, their industry-low margin loan rates, now that this latest cost barrier has been removed.
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