Interactive Brokers reports fewer monthly trades than February

abdelaziz Fathi

Interactive Brokers LLC (NASDAQ:IBKR) saw 2.45 million daily average revenue trades, or DARTS, in March 2022 compared to 2.49 million transactions in the prior month. One thing to note is that there were four trading days more than February.

The figure wasn’t only lower by nearly 18 percent on a yearly basis, as the listed broker had seen this metric down by two percent relative to its February counterpart as well. Interactive Brokers is among few platforms seeing such sluggish performance this year as most of its publicly traded rivals and retail platforms had doubled trading volume from their 2021 totals.

Although most US brokers now offer commission-free trades on almost all exchange traded products, the so-called DARTs are still a key brokerage industry standard for measuring their clients’ activity.

However, Interactive Brokers has won more clients, with total March’s active accounts up to 1.81 million, or three percent higher from 1.76 million accounts the previous month. The figure was higher by 36 percent year-over-year when compared to March 2021.

Other business highlights show that the company’s ending client margin loan balances were around $48.2 billion, 14% higher than March 2021 and 2% lower than prior month. Ending client credit balances were reported at $92.5 billion, including $2.2 billion in insured bank deposit sweeps, 9% higher than prior year and 4% higher than February.

IBKR commissions rise despite no-fee trading

On average, in March 2022, Interactive Brokers charged clients commission fees of $2.68 per order, up from $2.51 in February. This figure includes exchange, clearing and regulatory fees, with the key product metrics coming out at $1.99 for stocks, $3.68 for equity options and $3.74 for futures orders.

Despite headwinds from a push to no-fee trading and historically low interest, Interactive Brokers’ commission revenue increased $32 million in the fourth quarter, or 11 percent from the year-ago period. The upbeat figure was attributed to higher customer trading volumes in stock and options markets, as well as higher average per share commission in stocks.

The results for the quarter were also driven by strong growth in interest revenue, which increased $70 million, or 31 percent on a yearly basis. The increase was supported by higher margin loan balances and strong securities lending activity. However, this was offset by lower revenues in the “other income’ segment, which decreased $104 million.

Aside from its core electronic-brokerage business, the IB earnings for the October-December quarter included a mark-to-market loss of $89 million from its stake in Chinese brokerage Up Fintech (Tiger Brokers) and $10 million related to its currency diversification strategy.

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