Release Number 6560-13

April 9, 2013

CFTC Orders Connecticut-based Interactive Brokers LLC, a Registered Futures Commission Merchant, to Pay a $225,000 Civil Monetary Penalty

Firm failed to supervise its employees, failed to maintain sufficient U.S. dollars in customer segregated accounts, and failed to compute on a currency-by-currency basis the amount of customer funds on deposit and required to be on deposit in segregated accounts

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order requiring Interactive Brokers LLC (IB) of Greenwich, Conn., to pay a $225,000 civil monetary penalty for failing to calculate the amount of customer funds on deposit, the amount of funds required to be on deposit in customer segregated accounts, failing to maintain sufficient U.S. dollars (USD) in customer segregated accounts in the United States to meet all USD-denominated obligations, and supervision failures. The CFTC’s Order also requires IB to cease and desist from violating CFTC Regulations, as charged.

IB, an on-line brokerage firm, is a Futures Commission Merchant and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer with more than 140,000 customer accounts.

Specifically, the CFTC Order finds that from at least January 2008 through at least April 4, 2011, IB failed to compute as of the close of business each day, on a currency-by-currency basis, the amount of customer funds required to be on deposit and the amount of customer funds actually on deposit in segregated accounts on behalf of commodity and options customers.

Additionally, between September 21, 2011 and May 8, 2012, IB improperly covered a portion of its USD commodity futures and options customer obligations with Japanese yen and Swiss francs to maximize its interest earnings and not at the request of any of its commodity customers, the Order finds. As a result, IB did not retain enough USD in segregation to meet its USD-denominated obligations to its commodity customers – with the USD segregation requirement shortfall ranging from approximately $90 million to $300 million during that time, according to the Order.  IB discovered and self-reported this violation to the CFTC on May 10, 2012; however, IB had excess segregated funds ranging from $48.4 million to $455.3 million at all relevant times, according to the Order.

The Order also finds that prior to May 9, 2012, IB did not have adequate procedures in place and failed to adequately train and diligently supervise its officers, employees, and agents to prevent the violations described in the Order. However, the Order finds that IB independently implemented corrective measures after discovering the violations and cooperated with the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement in investigating the circumstances.

The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight. The CFTC also appreciates the assistance of the National Futures Association.

The CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this matter are Allison Passman, Heather Johnson, Susan Gradman, Scott Williamson, Rosemary Hollinger, and Richard B. Wagner.

Media Contact
Dennis Holden

Last Updated: April 9, 2013