Trading activity across Interactive Brokers platform eases in February

abdelaziz Fathi

Trading activity at Interactive Brokers LLC (NASDAQ:IBKR) lost momentum in February 2022 with volumes easing on a month-on-month basis following strong gains in January.

The number of DARTs, a standard industry metric, were reported at 2.5 million transactions. This is a fall of 32 percent year-on-year from 3.7 million reported in the same month last year. On a month-over-month basis, Interactive Brokers saw a similar negative pattern in its DARTs with February’s figure down five percent relative to nearly 2.62 million transactions the previous year.

Interactive Brokers, whose two main divisions were online brokerage and market-making before it ceased the latter, has won more clients, with the total for February’s active accounts up to 1.76 million. That is 2 percent higher from 1.72 million accounts for the previous month. The figure increased by 39 percent year-on-year when compared to February 2021 (‎1.26 million).

Interactive Brokers seemingly continues to ease restrictions on borrowed margins, which were tightened last year amid fears over the impact of the spreading coronavirus on its traders’ bets. The company’s ending client margin loan balances were around $49.2 billion in February 2022. This figure has climbed 17 percent from $42 billion in 2021, but was slightly lower against the month prior.

IBKR reports stable income form commissions despite no-fee trading

On average, in February 2022, Interactive Brokers charged clients commission fees of $2.51 per order, up from $2.47 in January. This figure includes exchange, clearing and regulatory fees, with the key products metrics coming out at $1.73 for stocks, $3.44 for equity options and $3.79 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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