|Closing Price ($)||Shares Out (MM)||Market Cap ($MM)|
|8-K||2019-11-01||Regulation FD, Exhibits|
|8-K||2019-10-15||Earnings, Other Events, Exhibits|
|8-K||2019-10-07||Other Events, Exhibits|
|8-K||2019-07-26||Other Events, Exhibits|
|8-K||2019-07-16||Earnings, Other Events, Exhibits|
|8-K||2019-04-16||Earnings, Other Events, Exhibits|
|8-K||2019-01-22||Earnings, Other Events, Exhibits|
|8-K||2019-01-10||Regulation FD, Exhibits|
|8-K||2018-10-16||Earnings, Other Events, Exhibits|
|8-K||2018-07-27||Other Events, Exhibits|
|8-K||2018-07-17||Earnings, Other Events, Exhibits|
|8-K||2018-04-17||Earnings, Other Events, Exhibits|
|8-K||2018-01-16||Earnings, Other Events, Exhibits|
|Item 1. Business|
|Item 1A. Risk Factors|
|Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments|
|Item 2. Properties|
|Item 3. Legal Proceedings and Regulatory Matters|
|Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures|
|Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity; Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities|
|Item 6. Selected Financial Data|
|Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations|
|Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk|
|Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data|
|Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure|
|Item 9A. Controls and Procedures|
|Item 9B. Other Information|
|Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance|
|Item 11. Executive Compensation|
|Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters|
|Item 13. Transactions with Related Persons, Promoters and Certain Control Persons|
|Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services|
|Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules|
|Item 16. 10-K Summary|
|Balance Sheet||Income Statement||Cash Flow|
|Comparables ($MM TTM)|
|Ticker||M Cap||Assets||Liab||Rev||G Profit||Net Inc||EBITDA||EV||G Margin||EV/EBITDA||ROA|
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
For the year ended
Commission File Number:
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(Address of principal executive office)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the securities act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the act. Yes o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Accelerated filer o
Non-accelerated filer o
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o No
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $
As of February 25, 2020, there were
Documents Incorporated by Reference: Portions of Registrant’s definitive proxy statement for its 2020 annual meeting of shareholders are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019
Table of Contents
ITEMS 15 (a)(1) and 15 (a)(2)
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
We have included or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and from time to time our management may make statements that may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts, but instead represent only our beliefs regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside our control. These statements include statements other than historical information or statements of current condition and may relate to our future plans and objectives and results, among other things, and may also include our belief regarding the effect of various legal proceedings, as set forth under “Legal Proceedings and Regulatory Matters” in Part I, Item 3 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as statements about the objectives and effectiveness of our liquidity policies, statements about trends in or growth opportunities for our businesses, included in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. By identifying these statements for you in this manner, we are alerting you to the possibility that our actual results may differ, possibly materially, from the anticipated results indicated in these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from those in the forward-looking statements include, among others, those discussed below and under “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, expressed or implied, in these forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following:
•general economic conditions in the markets where we operate;
•increased industry competition and downward pressures on electronic brokerage commissions and on bid/offer spreads in the remaining market making business we operate;
•risks inherent to the electronic brokerage and market making businesses;
•implied versus actual price volatility levels of the products in which we continue to make markets;
•the general level of interest rates;
•failure to protect or enforce our intellectual property rights in our proprietary technology;
•our ability to keep up with rapid technological change;
•system failures, cyber security threats and other disruptions;
•non-performance of third-party vendors;
•conflicts of interest and other risks due to our ownership and holding company structure;
•the loss of key executives and failure to recruit and retain qualified personnel;
•the risks associated with the expansion of our business;
•our possible inability to integrate any businesses we acquire;
•the impact of accounting standards issued but not yet adopted;
•compliance with laws and regulations, including those relating to the securities industry; and
•other factors discussed under “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (“IBG, Inc.” or the “Company”) is an automated global electronic broker and market maker (although, we have substantially exited the options market making business - see Note 2 - Discontinued Operations and Costs Associated with Exit or Disposal Activities to the audited consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K). We custody and service accounts for hedge and mutual funds, registered investment advisors, proprietary trading groups, introducing brokers and individual investors. We specialize in routing orders while striving to achieve best executions and processing trades in stocks, options, futures, foreign exchange instruments (“forex”), bonds, mutual funds and exchange traded funds (“ETFs”) on more than 135 electronic exchanges and market centers around the world. In the United States of America (“U.S.”), we conduct our business primarily from our headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut, and from Chicago, Illinois. Abroad, we conduct our business through offices located in Canada, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Switzerland, India, China (Hong Kong and Shanghai), Japan, and Australia. As of December 31, 2019, we had 1,643 employees worldwide.
IBG, Inc. is a holding company whose primary asset is the ownership of approximately 18.5% of the membership interests of IBG LLC (the “Group”), the current holding company for our businesses. IBG, Inc. is the sole managing member of IBG LLC.
When we use the terms “we,” “us,” and “our,” we mean IBG, Inc. and its subsidiaries (including IBG LLC). Unless otherwise indicated, the terms “common stock” and “IBKR shares” refer to the Class A common stock of IBG, Inc.
We are a successor to the market making business founded by our Chairman, Mr. Thomas Peterffy, on the floor of the American Stock Exchange in 1977. Since our inception, we have focused on developing proprietary software to automate broker-dealer functions. During that time, we have been a pioneer in developing and applying technology as a financial intermediary to increase liquidity and transparency in the capital markets in which we operate. The proliferation of electronic exchanges since the early 1990s has provided us with the opportunity to integrate our software with an increasing number of exchanges and market centers to create one automatically functioning, computerized platform that requires minimal human intervention. Over four decades of developing our automated trading platforms and our automation of many middle and back office functions have allowed us to become one of the lowest cost providers of broker-dealer services and significantly increase the volume of trades we handle.
Our activities are divided into two principal business segments: electronic brokerage and market making (being discontinued). For a description of these segments and the products and services they provide, refer to “Business Segments” below in this Item 1.
Our internet address is www.interactivebrokers.com and the investor relations section of our website is located at www.interactivebrokers.com/ir. We make available free of charge, on or through the investor relations section of our website, this Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as well as proxy statements, registration statements, prospectus supplements, and Section 16 filings for our directors and officers, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains an internet site, www.sec.gov, that contains annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy and information statements and other information that issuers file electronically with the SEC. Our electronic SEC filings are made available to the public on the SEC’s internet site. In addition, posted on our website are our Bylaws, our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation, charters for the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of our board of directors, our Accounting Matters Complaint Policy, our Whistle Blower Hotline, our Corporate Governance Guidelines and our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics governing our directors, officers and employees. Within the time periods required by SEC and the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”), we will post on our website any amendment to the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and any waiver applicable to any executive officer, director or senior financial officer. In addition, our website includes information concerning purchases and sales of our equity securities by our executive officers and directors, as well as disclosure relating to certain non-GAAP financial measures, if any, (as defined in Regulation G) promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) that we may make public orally, telephonically, by webcast, by broadcast or by similar means from time to time.
Our Investor Relations Department can be contacted at Interactive Brokers Group, Inc., Two Pickwick Plaza, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830, Attn: Investor Relations, telephone: 203-618-4070, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Organizational Structure and Overview of Recapitalization Transactions
The graphic below illustrates our current ownership structure and reflects current ownership percentages. The graphic below does not display the subsidiaries of IBG LLC.
(1)In connection with redemption transactions in 2018, as of December 31, 2019, IBG Holdings LLC held for sale for the benefit of certain of its members 869,135 shares of IBG, Inc. Class A common stock, representing an additional 0.21% of the voting interests in IBG, Inc.
Our primary assets are our ownership of approximately 18.5% of the membership interests of IBG LLC, the current holding company for our businesses, and our controlling interest and related contractual rights as the sole managing member of IBG LLC. The remaining approximately 81.5% of IBG LLC membership interests are held by IBG Holdings LLC (“Holdings”), a holding company that is owned directly and indirectly by our founder and Chairman, Mr. Thomas Peterffy and his affiliates, management and other employees of IBG LLC, and certain other members. The IBG LLC membership interests held by Holdings will be subject to purchase by us over time in connection with offerings by us of shares of our common stock.
The table below presents the amount of IBG LLC membership interests held by IBG, Inc. and Holdings as of December 31, 2019.
Purchases of IBG LLC membership interests, held by Holdings, by the Company are governed by the exchange agreement among us, IBG LLC, Holdings and the historical members of IBG LLC, (the “Exchange Agreement”), a copy of which was filed as an exhibit to our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009 and filed with the SEC on November 9, 2009. The Exchange Agreement, as amended June 6, 2012, provides that the Company may facilitate the redemption by Holdings of interests held by its members through the issuance of shares of common stock through a public offering in exchange for the interests in IBG LLC being redeemed by Holdings. Periodically since June 2011, with the consent of Holdings and the Company (on its own behalf and acting as the sole managing member of IBG LLC), IBG LLC has agreed to redeem certain membership interests from Holdings through the sale of common stock and to distribute the proceeds of such sale to the beneficial owners of such membership interests. From 2011 through 2019, the Company issued 15,417,157 shares of common stock (with a fair value of $506 million) to Holdings in exchange for an equivalent number of shares of member interests in IBG LLC.
Electronic brokerage represented 97% of net revenues and 98% of income before income taxes from electronic brokerage and market making combined during 2019. As an electronic broker, we execute, clear and settle trades globally for both institutional and individual customers. Capitalizing on our proprietary technology originally developed for our market making business, our systems provide our customers with the capability to monitor multiple markets around the world simultaneously and to execute trades electronically in these markets at a low cost in multiple products and currencies from a single trading account.
Since launching this business in 1993, we have grown to approximately 690 thousand institutional and individual brokerage customers. We provide our customers with what we believe to be one of the most effective and efficient electronic brokerage platforms in the industry, which includes advanced order management, trade execution and portfolio management. Our brokerage system features unique architectural aspects that may impose a significant barrier to entry for firms wishing to compete in this business and permit us to compete favorably against our competitors.
We are able to provide our customers with high-speed trade execution at low commission rates, in large part because of our proprietary technology. As a result of our advanced electronic brokerage platform, we attract sophisticated and active investors. No single customer represented more than 1% of our commissions in 2019.
Our key product offerings include:
IBKR ProSM is the traditional IBKR service designed for sophisticated investors. IBKR ProSM offers the lowest cost access to stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs on over 135 electronic exchanges and market centers in 33 countries.
IBKR LiteSM is a new offering that provides unlimited commission-free trades on U.S. exchange-listed stocks and ETFs as well as low cost access to global markets without required account minimums or inactivity fees to participating U.S. customers. IBKR LiteSM was designed to meet the needs of investors who are seeking a simple, commission-free way to trade U.S. exchange-listed stocks and ETFs and do not wish to consider our efforts to obtain greater price improvement through our IB SmartRoutingSM system.
IBKR Integrated Investment Account - From a single point of entry in one IBKR Integrated Investment Account our customers are able to transact in 25 currencies, across multiple classes of tradable, primarily exchange-listed products traded on more than 135 electronic exchanges and market centers in 33 countries around the world seamlessly. Our offering features a suite of cash management services, including:
Interactive Brokers Debit Mastercard® - Interactive Brokers Debit Mastercard® allows customers to spend and borrow directly against their account at lower rates than credit cards, personal loans and home equity lines of credit, with no monthly minimum payments and no late fees. Customers can use their card to make purchases and ATM withdrawals anywhere Debit Mastercard®1 is accepted around the world.
1 Debit Mastercard is a trademark registered to Mastercard International Incorporated Corporation, Delaware, 2000 Purchase Street, Purchase, New York 10577-2405.
Bill Pay – Our Bill Pay program allows customers to make electronic or check payments to almost any company or individual in the U.S. It can be configured for one-time or recurring payments and permits customers to schedule future payments.
Direct Deposit – Our Direct Deposit program allows customers to automatically deposit paychecks, pension distributions and other recurring payments to their (non-retirement) brokerage account with us.
Insured Bank Deposit Sweep Program - Our Insured Bank Deposit Sweep Program provides eligible customers with up to $2,500,000 of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) insurance on their eligible cash balances in addition to the existing $250,000 Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”) coverage for total coverage of $2,750,000. Customers continue earning the same competitive interest rates currently applied to cash held in their brokerage accounts with us. We sweep each participating customer’s eligible cash balances daily to one or more banks, up to $246,500 per bank, allowing for the accrual of interest and keeping within the FDIC protected threshold. Cash balances above $2,750,000 remain subject to safeguarding under the SEC's Customer Protection Rule 15c3-3.
Investors’ MarketplaceSM - The Investors’ MarketplaceSM is an expansion of our Money Manager Marketplace and our Hedge Fund Capital Introduction program. This program is the first electronic meeting place that brings together individual investors, financial advisors, money managers, fund managers, research analysts, technology providers, business developers and administrators, allowing them to interact to form connections and conduct business.
Fractional Trading – Fractional Trading allows customers to buy and sell using a cash quantity or fractional shares, which are stock units that amount to less than one full share. This new functionality allows customers to purchase as little as $1 of almost any U.S. stock, experiment with trading and investing without committing substantial sums of money, and learn about building and rebalancing diversified portfolios.
For all customers, our platform offers:
Low Costs - We provide our customers with among the industry’s lowest overall transaction costs in two ways. First, we offer among the lowest execution, commission and financing costs in the industry. Second, our IBKR ProSM customers benefit from our advanced routing of orders designed to achieve the best available trade price.
IB SmartRoutingSM – IB SmartRoutingSM retains control of the customer’s order, continuously searches for the best available price and, unlike most other routers, dynamically routes and re-routes all or parts of a customer’s order to achieve optimal execution and among the lowest execution and commission costs in the industry. To highlight the quality of our price executions, we publish on our website independent measurements performed by a third-party provider of transaction analysis to illustrate our net price improvement for commissionable trades versus the industry. We also offer Transaction Cost Analysis reporting to allow customers to track execution performance using multiple criteria. Our IBKR ProSM customers benefit from our advanced order routing technology for all trades, while our IBKR LiteSM customers benefit from this technology for their trades in products not eligible for IBKR LiteSM.
Automated Risk Controls - Throughout the trading day, we calculate margin requirements for each of our customers on a real-time basis across all product classes and across all currencies. Our customers are alerted to approaching margin violations and if a customer’s equity falls below what is required to support that customer’s margin, we attempt to automatically liquidate positions on a real-time basis to bring the customer’s account into margin compliance. This is done to protect us, as well as the customer, from excessive losses.
Flexible and Customizable System - Our platform is designed to provide an efficient customer experience, beginning with a highly automated account opening process and ending with a fast trade execution and reporting. Our sophisticated interface provides interactive real-time views of account balances, positions, profits or losses, buying power and “what-if” scenarios to enable our customers to more easily make informed investment decisions and trade effectively. Our system is configured to remember the user’s preferences and is specifically designed for multi-screen systems. When away from their main workstations, customers are able to access their accounts through our IB WebTraderSM or MobileTraderSM interfaces for a seamless experience.
Securities Financing Services - We offer a suite of automated Stock Borrow and Lending tools, including our depth of availability, transparent rates, global reach and dedicated service representatives. Our Stock Yield Enhancement Program allows our customers to lend their fully-paid stock shares to us in exchange for cash collateral. In turn, we lend these stocks in exchange for collateral and earn stock lending fees. We pay our customers a rebate on the cash collateral generally equal to 50% of the income we earn from lending the shares. This allows customers holding fully-paid long stock positions to enhance their returns.
Trade Desk - We offer broker-assisted trading through our block trade desk, which is ideal when customers are away from their computer; and through our corporate bond desk, for times when large customer orders need access to more liquidity than is currently available electronically.
New promotional offerings this year included:
BET, LEARN, WIN Promotion – During 2019 we launched our simulated sports betting exchange (“Simulated Exchange”) that operates as a simulated peer-to-peer market where participants can buy, sell and trade simulated bets on real sporting events. As part of the launch, we are offering the first 2.2 million participants who open a Simulated Exchange account $1,000 in virtual currency for trading these contracts. Winnings in Simulated Exchange accounts may be converted, by eligible participants, into up to $100 worth of IBKR shares, on a one-time basis, upon opening of a brokerage account with us. This promotion is intended to teach participants about the probabilistic nature of markets, trading and investing and to introduce new customers to our brokerage platform. The promotion is scheduled to end on December 31, 2020 or when all awards are distributed, whichever occurs first.
IBKR Welcome Shares Program – We offer “Welcome Shares” of up to $1,000 in IBKR to friends of our satisfied customers. We invite certain customers to refer their friends to open a new account, and those customers will be eligible to receive $1 worth of IBKR shares (capped at $1,000) for each $100 of net deposits into their account during the first year. Our customers making the referral are not eligible to receive any IBKR shares or other monetary benefit under this program.
Analytical offerings on our platform include:
IB Risk NavigatorSM - We offer free to all customers our real-time market risk management platform that unifies exposure across multiple asset classes around the globe. The system is capable of identifying overexposure to risk by starting at the portfolio level and drilling down into successively greater detail within multiple report views. Report data is updated every ten seconds or upon changes to portfolio composition. Predefined reports allow the summarization of a portfolio from different risk perspectives, and allow views of Exposure, Value at Risk (“VaR”), Delta, Gamma, Vega and Theta, profit and loss and position quantity measures for the different portfolio views. The system also offers the customer the ability to modify positions through “what-if” scenarios that show hypothetical changes to the risk summary.
PortfolioAnalyst – Our PortfolioAnalyst reporting tool is designed to allow customers to evaluate the performance of their portfolio by creating and saving reports based on a set of measurement criteria and optionally comparing their data to selected industry benchmarks.
Portfolio Builder - Portfolio Builder allows our customers to set up an investment strategy based on research and rankings from top buy-side providers and fundamental data; use filters to define the universe of equities that will comprise their strategy and back-test their strategy using up to three years of historical performance; work in hypothetical mode to adjust the strategy until the historical performance meets their standards; and with the click of a button let the system create the orders to invest in a strategy and track its performance in their portfolio.
Mutual Fund/ETF Parser - The Parser categorizes the individual component stocks within mutual funds and ETFs. Customers can get an accurate, granular picture of their overall exposure to asset classes, industry sectors and companies.
Interactive AnalyticsSM and IB Option AnalyticsSM - We offer our customers state-of-the-art tools, which include a customizable trading platform, advanced analytic tools and over 100 sophisticated order types and algorithms. We also provide a real-time option analytics window which displays values that reflect the rate of change of an option’s price with respect to a unit change in each of a number of risk dimensions.
Probability Lab® (Patent Pending) - The Probability Lab® provides customers with an intuitive, visual method to analyze market participants’ future stock price forecasts based on current option prices. This tool compares a customer’s stock price forecast versus that of the market, and scans the entire option universe for the highest Sharpe ratio multi-leg option strategies that take advantage of the customer’s forecast.
We cater to various customer groups with specific service needs.
For advisors, we offer:
Greenwich Compliance – Greenwich Advisor Compliance Services (“Greenwich Compliance") offers direct expert registration and start-up compliance services, as well as answers to basic day-to-day compliance questions for experienced investors and traders looking to start their own investment advisor firms. Greenwich Compliance professionals have regulatory and industry experience, and can help investment advisors trading on our brokerage platform meet their registration and compliance needs.
Model Portfolios - Model Portfolios offer advisors an efficient and time-saving approach to investing customer assets. They allow advisors to create groupings of financial instruments based on specific investment themes, and then invest customer funds into these models.
IBKR Client Risk Profile - IBKR Client Risk Profile is designed to help advisors determine the most suitable investments for their customers, based on each customer’s risk tolerance. This information is collected through a custom-designed questionnaire. Advisors can view the scores through the Advisor Portal and create custom pre-trade allocation groups and profiles in TWS to place orders and allocate trades for customers with similar risk profiles.
For introducing brokers and advisors, we offer:
White Branding - Our large financial advisor and broker-dealer customers may “white brand” our trading interface, account management and reports with their firm’s identity. Broker-dealer customers can also select from among our modular functionalities, such as order routing, trade reporting or clearing, on specific products or exchanges where they may not have up-to-date technology, in order to offer to their customers a complete global range of services and products.
For customers looking for online advisory services, we offer:
Interactive Advisors (formerly known as IBKR Asset Management) – Interactive Advisors recruits registered financial advisors, vets them, analyzes their investment track records, and groups them by their risk profile. Retail investors who are interested in having their individual accounts robo-traded are grouped by their risk and return preferences. Retail investors can assign their accounts to be traded by one or more advisors. Interactive Advisors also offers our customers Smart Beta Portfolios which combine the benefits of actively managed fund stock selection techniques with passive ETFs low cost automation to provide broad market exposure and potentially higher returns, as well as Socially Responsible Investing.
Market making represented 3% of net revenues from electronic brokerage and market making combined during 2019. As previously announced, we transferred our U.S. options market making operations to Two Sigma Securities, LLC effective September 29, 2017 and also exited the majority of our options market making activities outside the U.S. by December 31, 2017. During 2019, we discontinued our market making activities in Canada. We intend to continue conducting certain proprietary trading activities in stocks and related instruments to facilitate our electronic brokerage customers’ trading in products such as ETFs, ADRs, CFDs and other financial instruments, as well as exchange-traded market making activities in a few select markets outside of the U.S. However, we do not expect the facilitation activity to be of sufficient size as to require reporting as a separate segment in the near future.
As a market maker, we provide liquidity by offering competitively tight bid/offer spreads over a broad base of tradable, exchange-listed products, including equity derivative products, equity index derivative products, equity securities and futures. As principal, we commit our own capital and derive revenues or incur losses from the difference between the price paid when securities are bought and the price received when those securities are sold. Historically, our profits have been principally a function of transaction volume and price volatility of electronic exchange-traded products rather than the direction of price movements. Other factors, including the ratio of actual to implied volatility and shifts in foreign currency exchange rates, can also have a meaningful impact on our results, as described further in “Business Environment” in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our strategy is to calculate quotes at which supply and demand for a particular security are likely to be in balance a few seconds ahead of the market and execute small trades at tiny but favorable differentials. Because we provide continuous bid and offer quotations and we are continuously both buying and selling quoted securities, we may have either a long or a short position in a particular product at a given point in time. As a matter of practice, we will generally not take portfolio positions in either the broad market or the financial instruments of specific issuers in anticipation that prices will either rise or fall. Our entire portfolio is evaluated many times per second and continuously rebalanced throughout the trading day, thus minimizing the risk of our portfolio at all times. This real-time rebalancing of our portfolio, together with our real-time proprietary risk management system, enables us to curtail risk and trade efficiently. Our quotes are based on our proprietary model rather than customer order flow.
As of December 31, 2019, we continued to conduct market making operations in India through our subsidiary, Interactive Brokers (India) Private Limited (“IBI”), which is a member of the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. and the Bombay Stock Exchange; and in Hong Kong through our subsidiary, Interactive Brokers Hong Kong Limited (“IBHK”), a member of the cash and derivatives markets of the Hong Kong Exchange. All other options market making operations we previously conducted were discontinued. We expect to continue assessing whether and when to discontinue the remaining operations.
The above trading activities take place on exchanges, and all securities and commodities that we trade are cleared by exchange owned or authorized clearing houses.
Our proprietary technology is the key to our success. We believe that integrating our system with electronic exchanges and market centers worldwide results in transparency, liquidity and efficiencies of scale. Together with the IB SmartRoutingSM system and our low execution costs, this approach reduces overall transaction costs to our customers and, in turn, increases our transaction volume and profits. Over the past 40 years, we have developed an integrated trading system and communications network and have positioned our company as an efficient conduit for the global flow of risk capital across asset and product classes on electronic exchanges around the world, permitting us to have one of the lowest cost structures in the industry. We believe that developing, maintaining and continuing to enhance our proprietary technology provides us and our customers with the competitive advantage of being able to adapt quickly to the changing environment of our industry and to take advantage of opportunities presented by new exchanges, products or regulatory changes before our competitors.
Our proprietary technology infrastructure enables us to provide our customers with the ability to execute trades at among the lowest execution costs in the industry for comparable services. Customer trades are both automatically captured and reported in real time in our system. Our customers trade on more than 135 electronic exchanges and market centers in 33 countries around the world. These exchanges and market centers are all partially or fully electronic, meaning that a customer can buy or sell a product traded on that exchange via an electronic link from his or her computer terminal or mobile device through our system to the exchange. We offer our products and services through a global communications network that is designed to provide secure, reliable and timely access to the most current market information. We provide our customers with a variety of means to connect to our brokerage systems, including cross connects, dedicated point-to-point data lines, extranets, virtual private networks and the Internet.
Specifically, our customers receive worldwide electronic access through our Trader Workstation (our real-time Java-based trading platform), our proprietary Application Programming Interface (“API”), our IBKR Mobile app, our browser-based IB WebTraderSM, our customer-portal-based Quick Trade or industry standard Financial Information Exchange (“FIX”) connectivity. Customers who want a professional quality trading application with a sophisticated user interface utilize our Trader Workstation, which can be accessed through a desktop or variety of mobile devices. Customers interested in developing program trading applications in Python, Java, C++, .NET (C#), ActiveX and Excel technologies utilize our API. Large institutions with FIX infrastructure prefer to use our FIX solution for seamless integration of their existing order gathering and reporting applications.
While many brokerages, including some online brokerages, rely on manual procedures to execute many day-to-day functions, we employ proprietary technology to automate, or otherwise facilitate, many of the following functions:
•account opening process;
•order routing and best execution;
•seamless trading across all types of securities and currencies around the world from one account;
•order types and analytical tools offered to customers;
•delivery of customer information, such as confirmations, customizable real-time account statements and audit trails;
•customer service; and
•risk management through automated real-time credit management of all new orders and margin monitoring.
Research and Development
One of our core strengths is our expertise in the rapid development and deployment of automated technology for the financial markets. Our core software technology is developed internally, and we do not generally rely on outside vendors for software development or maintenance. To achieve optimal performance from our systems, we are continuously rewriting and upgrading our software. Use of the best available technology not only improves our performance but also helps us attract and retain talented developers. Our software development costs are relatively low because the employees who oversee the development of the software are often the same
employees who design the application, evaluate its performance, and participate along with our quality assurance professionals in our robust quality assurance testing procedures. The involvement of our developers in each of these processes enables us to add features and further refine our software rapidly.
Our internally-developed, fully integrated trading and risk management systems are unique and transact across all product classes on more than 135 electronic exchanges and market centers and in 25 currencies around the world. These systems have the flexibility to assimilate new exchanges and new product classes without compromising transaction speed or fault tolerance. Fault tolerance, or the ability to maintain system performance despite exchange malfunctions or hardware failures, is crucial to ensuring best executions for our customers. Our systems are designed to detect exchange malfunctions and quickly take corrective actions by re-routing pending orders when possible.
Our company is technology-focused, and our management team is hands-on and technology-savvy. Most members of the management team write detailed program specifications for new applications. The development queue is prioritized and highly disciplined. Progress on programming initiatives is generally tracked on a bi-weekly basis by a steering committee consisting of senior executives. This enables us to prioritize key initiatives and achieve rapid results. All new business starts as a software development project. We generally do not engage in any business that we cannot automate and incorporate into our platform prior to entering into the business.
The rapid software development and deployment cycle is achieved by our ability to leverage a highly integrated, object-oriented development environment. The software code is modular, with each object providing a specific function and being reusable in multiple applications. New software releases are tracked and tested with proprietary automated testing tools. We are not hindered by disparate and often limiting legacy systems assembled through acquisitions. Virtually all of our software has been developed and maintained with a unified purpose.
For over 40 years, we have built and continuously refined our automated and integrated, real-time systems for world-wide trading, risk management, clearing and cash management, among others. We have also assembled a proprietary connectivity network between us and exchanges around the world. Efficiency and speed in performing prescribed functions are always crucial requirements for our systems. As a result, our systems are able to assimilate market data, disseminate market prices to customers and update risk management information in real time, across tradable products in all available product classes.
Risk Management Activities
The core of our risk management philosophy is the utilization of our fully integrated computer systems to perform critical risk-management activities on a real-time basis. In our electronic brokerage business, integrated risk management seeks to ensure that each customer’s positions are continuously credit checked and brought into compliance if equity falls short of margin requirements, curtailing bad debt losses. In our market making business, our real-time integrated risk management system seeks to ensure that our overall positions are continuously hedged at all times, curtailing risk.
We actively manage our global currency exposure on a continuous basis by maintaining our equity in a basket of currencies we call the GLOBAL. We define the GLOBAL as consisting of fractions of a U.S. dollar, Euro, Japanese yen, British pound, Swiss franc, Hong Kong dollar, Indian rupee, Canadian dollar, Chinese renminbi, Australian dollar, Mexican peso, Swedish krona, Norwegian krone, and Danish krone. We currently transact business and are required to manage balances in each of these 14 currencies. The currencies comprising the GLOBAL and their relative proportions can change over time. Additional information regarding our currency diversification strategy is set forth in “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk” in Part II, Item 7A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We calculate margin requirements for each of our customers on a real-time basis across all product classes (stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs) and across all currencies. Recognizing that our customers are experienced investors, we expect our customers to manage their positions proactively and we provide tools to facilitate our customers’ position management. However, if a customer’s equity falls below what is required to support that customer’s margin, we will automatically liquidate positions on a real-time basis to bring the customer’s account into margin compliance. We do this to protect us, as well as the customer, from excessive losses. These systems further contribute to our low-cost structure. The entire credit management process is completely automated.
As a safeguard, all liquidations are displayed on custom built liquidation monitoring screens that are part of the toolset our technical staff uses to monitor performance of our systems at all times the markets around the world are open. In the event our systems absorb erroneous market data from exchanges, which prompts liquidations, risk specialists on our technical staff have the capability to halt liquidations that meet specific criteria. The liquidation halt function is highly restricted.
Our customer interface includes color coding on the account screen and pop-up warning messages to notify customers that they are approaching their margin limits. This feature allows customers to take action, such as entering margin reducing trades, to avoid having us liquidate their positions. These tools and real-time margining aid our customers in understanding their trading risk at any moment of the day and help us maintain low commissions.
We employ certain hedging and risk management techniques to protect us from a severe market dislocation. Our risk management policies are developed and implemented by our Chairman and our steering committee, which is comprised of senior executives of our various operating subsidiaries. Our strategy is to calculate quotes a few seconds ahead of the market and execute small trades at a tiny but favorable differential as a result. This strategy is made possible by our proprietary pricing model, which evaluates and monitors the risks inherent in our portfolio, assimilates market data and reevaluates the outstanding quotes in our portfolio many times per second. Our model automatically rebalances our positions throughout each trading day to manage risk exposures both on our options and futures positions and on underlying securities, and it will price the increased risk that a position would add to the overall portfolio into the bid and offer prices we post. Under risk management policies implemented and monitored primarily through our computer systems, reports to management, including risk profiles, profit and loss analysis and trading performance, are prepared on a real-time basis as well as daily and periodical bases. Although our market making is completely automated, the trading process and our risk are monitored by a team of individuals who, in real-time, observe various risk parameters of our consolidated positions. Our assets and liabilities are marked-to-market daily for financial reporting purposes and re-valued continuously throughout the trading day for risk management and asset/liability management purposes.
We have automated the full cycle of controls surrounding our businesses. Key automated controls include the following:
•Our technical operations team continuously monitors our network and the proper functioning of each of our nodes (exchanges and market centers, internet service providers (“ISPs”), leased customer lines and our own data centers) around the world.
•Our real-time credit manager software provides pre and post-execution controls by:
•testing every customer order to ensure that the customer’s account holds enough equity to support the execution of the order, rejecting the order if equity is insufficient or directing the order to an execution destination without delay if equity is sufficient; and
•continuously updating a customer account’s equity and margin requirements and, if the account’s equity falls below its minimum margin requirements, automatically issuing liquidating orders in a smart sequence designed to minimize the impact on the account’s equity.
•Our clearing system captures trades in real-time and performs automated reconciliation of trades and positions, corporate action processing, customer account transfer, options exercise, securities lending and inventory management, allowing us to effectively manage operational risk.
•Our accounting system operates with automated data feeds from clearing and banking systems, allowing us to produce financial statements for all parts of our business every day by mid-day on the day following trade date.
•Software developed to interface with the accounting and market making systems performs daily profit and loss reconciliations, which provide tight financial controls over market making functions.
•Our market making system continuously evaluates securities and futures products in which we provide bid and offer quotes and changes our bids and offers in such a way as to maintain an overall hedge and a low-risk profile. The speed of communicating with exchanges and market centers is maximized through continuous software and network engineering maintenance, thereby allowing us to achieve real-time controls over market exposure.
Our transaction processing is automated over the full life cycle of a trade. Our fully automated IB SmartRoutingSM system searches for the best possible combination of prices available at the time a customer order is placed and immediately seeks to execute that order electronically or send it where the order has the highest possibility of execution at the best price. Our market making software generates and disseminates to the exchanges and market centers, in which we still operate, continuous bid and offer quotes on tradable, exchange-listed products.
At the moment a trade is executed, our systems capture and deliver this information back to the source, either to the customer via the brokerage system or the market making system, in most cases within a fraction of a second. Simultaneously, the trade record is written
into our clearing system, where it flows through a chain of control accounts that allow us to reconcile trades, positions and money until the final settlement occurs. Our integrated software tracks other important activities, such as dividends, corporate actions, options exercises, securities lending, margining, risk management and funds receipt and disbursement.
IB SmartRoutingSM searches for the best destination price in view of the displayed prices, sizes and accumulated statistical information about the behavior of market centers at the time an order is placed, and IB SmartRoutingSM immediately seeks to execute that order electronically. Unlike other smart routers, IB SmartRoutingSM never relinquishes control of the order, and constantly searches for the best price. It continuously evaluates fast-changing market conditions and dynamically re-routes all or parts of the order seeking to achieve optimal execution. IB SmartRoutingSM can represent each leg of a spread order independently, if needed, and in that event enters each leg at the best possible venue. IB SmartRouting AutorecoverySM re-routes a customer’s U.S. options order in the case of an exchange malfunction, and we absorb the risk of double executions. In addition, IB SmartRoutingSM checks each new order to see if it could be executed against any of its pending orders. As the system gains more users, this feature becomes more important for customers in a world of multiple exchanges, market centers and penny priced orders because it increases the possibility of best executions for our customers ahead of customers of other brokers. As a result of this feature, our customers have a greater chance of executing limit orders and can do so sooner than those who use other routers.
Clearing and Margining
Our activities in the U.S. are entirely self-cleared. We are a clearing member of OCC (the Options Clearing Corporation), the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Clearing House, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation and ICE Clear U.S.
In addition, we are fully or partially self-cleared in Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, India, Hong Kong and Australia.
We currently service approximately 690 thousand cleared customer accounts and have customers residing in over 200 countries and territories around the world. Our target customer is one who requires the latest in trading technology and worldwide access, and who expects low overall transaction costs. Our customers are mainly comprised of individuals, trading desk professionals, electronic retail brokers, hedge funds, mutual funds, financial advisors, proprietary trading firms, and introducing brokers and banks that require global access.
Our customers primarily fall into two groups based on services provided: cleared customers which are the majority of our customers, and non-cleared customers, the latter also known as trade execution customers.
•Cleared Customers: We provide trade execution and clearing services to our cleared customers who are generally attracted to our low commissions, low financing rates, high interest paid and best price execution. Our cleared customers include institutional and individual traders and investors, hedge funds, financial advisors and introducing brokers.
•Trade Execution Customers: We offer trade execution for customers who choose to clear with another prime broker or a custodian bank; these customers take advantage of our low commissions for trade execution as well as our best price execution. Our non-cleared customers include online brokers and the customer trading units of commercial banks. These customers are attracted by our IB SmartRoutingSM technology as well as our direct access to stock, options, futures, forex, bond, mutual fund and ETFs markets worldwide.
Employees and Culture
We take pride in our technology-focused company culture and embrace it as one of our fundamental strengths. We continually improve our technology and we minimize corporate hierarchy to facilitate efficient communication among employees. We have assembled what we believe is a highly talented group of employees and we expect to continue to provide significant rewards for our employees who provide substantial value to us and the world’s financial markets.
As of December 31, 2019, we had 1,643 employees, of which 1,580 own either common shares of the Company, restricted stock units or both, all of whom were employed on a full-time basis. None of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. We believe that our relations with our employees are good.
The market for electronic brokerage services is rapidly evolving and highly competitive. We believe that we fit neither within the definition of a traditional retail broker nor that of a traditional prime broker. Our primary competitors include the prime brokerage and electronic brokerage arms of major commercial and investment banks and brokers, such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan, and offerings to target professional traders by large online retail brokers. We also encounter competition to a lesser extent from full commission brokerage firms, including Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, as well as other financial institutions, most of which provide online brokerage services, such as Fidelity and Pershing. The electronic brokerage businesses of many of our competitors are relatively insignificant within the totality of their firms’ business.
The competitive environment for market makers has evolved considerably in the past several years, most notably with the rise in high frequency traders (“HFTs”), which transact significant trading volume on electronic exchanges by using complex algorithms and high-speed execution software that analyzes market conditions. HFTs that are not registered market makers operate with fewer regulatory restrictions and are able to move more quickly and trade more cheaply. This issue has been an area of focus amongst regulators who examine the practices of HFTs and their impact on market structure.
As previously described, we are in the process of discontinuing our options market making activities globally.
Our securities and derivatives businesses are extensively regulated by U.S. federal and state regulators, foreign regulatory agencies, numerous exchanges and self-regulatory organizations of which our subsidiaries are members. In the current era of heightened regulation of financial institutions, we expect to incur increasing compliance costs, along with the industry as a whole. Our approach has been to build many of our regulatory and compliance functions into our integrated order routing, custodial and market making systems.
As registered U.S. broker-dealers, Interactive Brokers LLC (“IB LLC”) and Timber Hill LLC (“TH LLC”) are subject to the rules and regulations of the Exchange Act, and as members of various exchanges, we are also subject to such exchanges’ rules and requirements. Additionally, IB LLC is subject to the Commodity Exchange Act and rules promulgated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and the various commodity exchanges of which it is a member. We are also subject to the requirements of various self-regulatory organizations such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the National Futures Association (“NFA”). Our foreign subsidiaries are similarly regulated under the laws and institutional frameworks of the countries in which they operate.
U.S. broker-dealers and futures commission merchants are subject to laws, rules and regulations that cover all aspects of the securities and derivatives business, including:
•use and safekeeping of customers’ funds and securities;
•financing of customers’ purchases; and
•conduct of directors, officers and employees.
In addition, the businesses that we may conduct are limited by our agreements with and our oversight by regulators. Participation in new business lines, including trading of new products or participation on new exchanges or in new countries often requires governmental and/or exchange approvals, which may take significant time and resources. As a result, we may be prevented from entering new businesses that may be profitable in a timely manner, or at all.
As certain of our subsidiaries are members of FINRA, we are subject to certain regulations regarding changes in control of our ownership. FINRA Rule 1017 generally provides that FINRA approval must be obtained in connection with any transaction resulting in a change in control of a member firm. FINRA defines control as ownership of 25% or more of the firm’s equity by a single entity or person and would include a change in control of a parent company. As a result of these regulations, our future efforts to sell shares or raise additional capital may be delayed or prohibited by FINRA.
Net Capital Rule
The SEC, FINRA, CFTC and various other regulatory agencies within the U.S. have stringent rules and regulations with respect to the maintenance of specific levels of net capital by regulated entities. Generally, a broker-dealer’s capital is its net worth plus qualified subordinated debt less deductions for certain types of assets. The Net Capital Rule requires that at least a minimum part of a broker-dealer’s assets be maintained in a relatively liquid form.
If these net capital rules are changed or expanded, or if there is an unusually large charge against our net capital, our operations that require the intensive use of capital would be limited. A large operating loss or charge against our net capital could adversely affect our ability to expand or even maintain these current levels of business, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
The U.S. regulators impose rules that require notification when net capital falls below certain predefined criteria. These rules also dictate the ratio of debt-to-equity in the regulatory capital composition of a broker-dealer, and constrain the ability of a broker-dealer to expand its business under certain circumstances. If a firm fails to maintain the required net capital, it may be subject to suspension or revocation of registration by the applicable regulatory agency, and suspension or expulsion by these regulators could ultimately lead to the firm’s liquidation. Additionally, the Net Capital Rule and certain FINRA rules impose requirements that may have the effect of prohibiting a broker-dealer from distributing or withdrawing capital and requiring prior notice to U.S. regulators and approval from FINRA for certain capital withdrawals.
As of December 31, 2019, aggregate excess regulatory capital for all of the operating subsidiaries was $6.4 billion.
IB LLC is subject to the Uniform Net Capital Rule (Rule 15c3-1) under the Exchange Act and to the CFTC’s minimum financial requirements (Regulation 1.17) under the Commodities Exchange Act. Additionally, Interactive Brokers Canada Inc. (“IBC”) is subject to the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC”) risk adjusted capital requirement; Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited (“IBUK”) is subject to the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) financial resources requirement; IBKR Europe S.a.r.l. (“IBEU”) is subject to the Luxembourg Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (“CSSF”) financial resources requirement; IBKR Financial Services AG (“IBKRFS”), is subject to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (“FINMA”) eligible equity requirement; Interactive Brokers (India) Private Limited (“IBI”) is subject to the National Stock Exchange of India net capital requirements; Interactive Brokers Hong Kong Limited (“IBHK”) is subject to the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC”) financial resource requirement; Interactive Brokers Securities Japan, Inc. (“IBSJ”) is subject to the Japanese Financial Services Agency (“FSA”) capital requirements; and Interactive Brokers Australia Pty Limited (“IBA”) is subject to the Australian Securities Exchange liquid capital requirement.
The table below summarizes capital, capital requirements and excess regulatory capital as of December 31, 2019.
Other regulated operating subsidiaries
As of December 31, 2019, all of the operating subsidiaries were in compliance with their respective regulatory capital requirements. For additional information regarding our net capital requirements see Note 16 – “Regulatory Requirements” to the audited consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Protection of Customer Assets
To conduct customer activities, IB LLC is obligated under rules mandated by its primary regulators, the SEC and the CFTC, to segregate cash or qualified securities belonging to customers. In accordance with the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, IB LLC is required to maintain separate bank accounts for the exclusive benefit of customers. In accordance with the Commodity Exchange Act, IB LLC is required to segregate all monies, securities and property received from commodities customers in specially designated accounts. IBC, IBUK, IBEU, IBI, IBHK, IBSJ and IBA are subject to similar requirements within their respective jurisdictions.
To further enhance the protection of our customers’ assets, since 2011 IB LLC has been performing daily (i.e., instead of the required weekly) customer reserve computations along with daily adjustments of the money set aside in safekeeping for our customers.
Supervision and Compliance
Our Compliance Department supports and seeks to ensure proper operations of our electronic brokerage and market making businesses in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements. The philosophy of the Compliance Department, and the Company as a whole, is to build automated systems to try to minimize manual steps in the compliance process and then to augment these systems with experienced staff members who apply their judgment where needed. We have built automated systems to handle wide-ranging compliance issues such as trade and audit trail reporting, financial operations reporting, enforcement of short sale rules, enforcement of margin rules and pattern day trading restrictions, review of employee correspondence, archival of required records, execution quality and order routing reports, approval and documentation of new customer accounts, and anti-money laundering and anti-fraud surveillance. Our automated operations and automated compliance systems provide substantial efficiencies to our Compliance Department. Nonetheless, we have increased our Compliance staffing over the past several years to meet the increased regulatory burdens faced by all industry participants.
Our electronic brokerage subsidiaries have Chief Compliance Officers who report to the Chief Executive Officer or business head for their subsidiary, Global Chief Regulatory Officer (or regional Compliance Head) and the IBG LLC Audit and Compliance Committee. In the U.S., these Chief Compliance Officers, plus certain other senior staff members, are FINRA and NFA registered principals with supervisory responsibility over the compliance aspects of our businesses. Similar roles are undertaken by staff in certain non-U.S. locations as well. Staff members in the Compliance Department and in other departments of the firm are also registered with FINRA, NFA or other regulatory organizations.
Patriot Act and Increased Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) and “Know Your Customer” Obligations
Registered broker-dealers traditionally have been subject to a variety of rules that require that they “know their customers” and monitor their customers’ transactions for potential suspicious activities. Under the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (the “USA Patriot Act”), broker-dealers are subject to even more stringent requirements. Likewise, the SEC, CFTC, foreign regulators, and the various exchanges and self-regulatory organizations, of which our operating subsidiaries are members, have passed numerous AML and customer due diligence rules. Significant criminal and civil penalties can be imposed for violations of the USA Patriot Act, and significant fines and regulatory penalties can also be imposed for violations of other governmental and self-regulatory organization AML rules.
As required by the USA Patriot Act and other rules, we have established comprehensive anti-money laundering and customer identification procedures, designated AML Compliance Officers for each electronic brokerage subsidiary, trained our employees and conducted independent audits of our programs. Our anti-money laundering screening is conducted using a mix of automated and manual reviews and has been structured to comply with regulations in various jurisdictions. We collect required information through our new account opening process and screen accounts against databases for the purposes of identity verification and for review of potential negative information and appearance on government lists, including the Office of Foreign Assets and Control, Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons lists. Additionally, we have designed and implemented restrictions to prevent certain types of high-risk activity, including potentially manipulative patterns of trading, and generate and review a sophisticated suite of surveillance reports and queues to identify potential money laundering, market manipulation, fraud and other suspicious activities.
Dodd-Frank Reform Act
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act imposes strict reporting and disclosure requirements on the financial services industry. We maintain a robust system for evidence of our supervisory review of controls over financial reporting and management monitors accounting and regulatory rulemaking developments for their potential effect on our financial statements and internal controls over financial reporting.
Business Continuity Planning
Federal regulators and industry self-regulatory organizations have passed a series of rules in the past several years requiring regulated firms to maintain business continuity plans that describe what actions firms would take in the event of a disaster (such as a fire, natural disaster or terrorist incident) that might significantly disrupt operations. We have developed business continuity plans that describe steps that we and our employees would take in the event of various scenarios. We have built backup capabilities for key operations performed at our regional offices in North America, Europe and Asia that would be utilized in the event of a significant outage at our main data center or primary office locations. In addition, we have strengthened our technical infrastructure and have built redundancy of systems so that certain operations can be handled from multiple offices or remotely. We continually evaluate opportunities to further our business continuity planning efforts.
Our international subsidiaries are subject to extensive regulation in the various jurisdictions where they have operations. The most significant of our international subsidiaries are: IBC, registered to do business in Canada as an investment dealer; IBUK, registered to do business in the U.K. as a broker; IBEU, registered to do business in Luxembourg as an investment firm; IBKRFS, registered to do business in Switzerland as a securities dealer; IBI, registered to do business in India as a stock broker; IBHK, registered to do business in Hong Kong as a securities dealer; IBSJ, registered in Japan as a financial instruments firm; and IBA, registered to do business in Australia as a securities dealer and futures broker.
In Canada, IBC is subject to the IIROC risk adjusted capital requirement. In the United Kingdom, IBUK is subject to the FCA financial resources requirement. In Luxembourg, IBEU is subject to the CSSF financial resources requirement. In Switzerland, IBKRFS is subject to the FINMA eligible equity requirement. In India, IBI is subject to the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange capital requirements. In Hong Kong, IBHK is subject to the SFC rules with respect to net capital requirements and stockholder’s equity requirements. In Japan, IBSJ is subject to the FSA, the Osaka Securities Exchange, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange capital requirements. In Australia, IBA is subject to the Australian Securities Exchange liquid capital requirement.
Executive Officers and Directors of Interactive Brokers Group, Inc.
The table below presents the names, ages and positions of our current directors and executive officers as of December 31, 2019.
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Chief Executive Officer, President and Director
Earl H. Nemser
Vice Chairman and Director
Paul J. Brody
Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, Secretary and Director
Thomas A. Frank
Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Lawrence E. Harris
John M. Damgard
Thomas Peterffy - Mr. Peterffy has been at the forefront of applying computer technology to automate trading and brokerage functions since he emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1965. In 1977, after purchasing a seat on the American Stock Exchange and trading as an individual marker maker in equity options, Mr. Peterffy was among the first to apply a computerized mathematical model to continuously value equity option prices. By 1986, Mr. Peterffy developed and employed a fully integrated, automated market making system for stocks, options and futures. As this pioneering system extended around the globe, online brokerage functions were added and, in 1993, Interactive Brokers was formed.
Milan Galik - Mr. Galik joined us in 1990 as a software developer and has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Company since October 2019. He has also served as President of the Company and IBG LLC since October 2014. Mr. Galik served as Senior Vice President, Software Development of IBG LLC from October 2003 to October 2014. In addition, Mr. Galik has served as Vice President of Timber Hill LLC since April 1998 and serves as a member of the board of directors of the Boston Options Exchange. Mr. Galik received a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Budapest in 1990.
Earl H. Nemser - Mr. Nemser has been our Vice Chairman since November 2006. Mr. Nemser has been the Vice Chairman of the Company since 1988 and also serves as a director and/or officer for various subsidiaries of IBG LLC. Mr. Nemser serves as an Independent Advisor to the law firm Dechert LLP. Mr. Nemser served as Special Counsel to Dechert LLP from January 2005 to October 2018. Prior to such time Mr. Nemser served as Partner at the law firms of Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman, LLP from 1995 to December 2004 and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP prior to 1995. Mr. Nemser received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from New York University in 1967 and a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Boston University School of Law in 1970.
Paul J. Brody - Mr. Brody has been our Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary since November 2006. Mr. Brody joined the Company in 1987 and has served as Chief Financial Officer of IBG LLC since December 2003. Mr. Brody serves as a director and/or officer for various subsidiaries of IBG LLC. From 2005 to 2012, Mr. Brody served as a director, and for a portion of the time as member Vice Chairman, of The Options Clearing Corporation, of which Interactive Brokers LLC and Timber Hill LLC are members. He also served as a director of Quadriserv Inc., an electronic securities lending platform provider, from 2009 to 2015. Mr. Brody received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Cornell University in 1982.
Thomas A. Frank - Dr. Frank joined us in 1985 and has served since July 1999 as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Interactive Brokers LLC. In addition, Dr. Frank has served as Vice President of Timber Hill LLC since December 1990. Mr. Frank has served as a director of The Options Clearing Corporation, since 2015. Dr. Frank received a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985.
Lawrence E. Harris - Dr. Harris has been a director since July 2007. He is a professor of Finance and Business Economics at the University of Southern California, where he holds the Fred V. Keenan Chair in Finance at the Marshall School of Business. Dr. Harris also serves as trustee of the Clipper Fund, director of the Selected Funds, and as the research coordinator of the Institute for Quantitative Research in Finance. Dr. Harris formerly served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Dr. Harris earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago, and is a CFA charterholder. He is an expert in the economics of securities market microstructure and the uses of transactions data in financial research. He has written extensively about trading rules, transaction costs, index markets, and market regulation. Dr. Harris is also the author of the widely respected textbook Trading and Exchanges: Market Microstructure for Practitioners.
Gary Katz – Mr. Katz has been a director since January 2017. He was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Securities Exchange (“ISE”) and a co-founder of ISE. Mr. Katz was one of the principal developers of the unique options market structure – an auction market on an electronic platform – used by all three options exchanges; ISE, ISE Gemini and ISE Mercury and was named as inventor or co-inventor on six patents that the ISE received or applied for relating to its proprietary trading system and technology. He served on the Executive Board of Eurex and on the Board of Directors of The Options Clearing Corporation and chaired the Board’s newly formed technology committee. Mr. Katz also served on the Board of Directors of Direct Edge. Mr. Katz graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in Statistics with Distinction and a bachelor’s degree from Queens College. Mr. Katz is currently chairman of the board of Farmer's Pantry LLC, a start-up in the consumer goods industry and also serves on the board of STRS, LLC, a start-up in the financial industry meeting the unique needs of credit card issuers and merchants.
John M. Damgard - Mr. Damgard has been a director since December 2018. He served as President of the Futures Industry Association (“FIA”) from 1982 to 2013 and was a founder, past president and a member of the board of the Institute for Financial Markets. Prior to joining FIA in 1982, Mr. Damgard directed the Washington office of ACLI International, a leading commodity merchant firm active in cash and futures markets worldwide. Mr. Damgard served as Deputy Assistant and Acting Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and was responsible for the major marketing and regulatory functions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”). While at the USDA, Mr. Damgard led the Administration’s efforts during the creation of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a new independent regulatory agency. Mr. Damgard studied at the University of Virginia for two years and received a B.A. from Knox College in 1964 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Economics.
Philip Uhde - Mr. Uhde, is the founder and Managing Partner of Echinus Partners, an approximately $1.2 billion investment partnership making concentrated, long-term investments in the public markets. Mr. Uhde has led many investments in financial services companies, including Moody’s, S&P Global, Fimalac (Fitch), MSCI, Visa, MercadoLibre, Charles Schwab, Guidewire and IBG, Inc. Prior to founding Echinus Partners in 2012, Mr. Uhde was a member of the investment team at SPO Partners, an investment partnership founded in 1969. Before that he was an analyst at Sloane Robinson, an emerging markets hedge fund, where he focused on Asian equities. He received a BA in Economics and East Asian Studies from Yale University in 2008. Echinus Partners manages a fund that has been an IBKR shareholder for many years. During the course of this ownership, Mr. Uhde has made in-depth studies into various aspects of the Company’s business with numerous recommendations to management.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
We face a variety of risks that are substantial and inherent in our businesses, including market, liquidity, credit, operational, legal and regulatory. In addition to the risks identified elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the following risk factors apply to our business results of operations and financial condition:
Risks Related to Our Company Structure
Control by Mr. Thomas Peterffy of a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock may give rise to conflicts of interests and could discourage a change of control that other stockholders may favor, which could negatively affect our stock price, and adversely affect stockholders in other ways.
Mr. Thomas Peterffy, our founder and Chairman, and his affiliates beneficially own approximately 89.6% of the economic interests and all of the voting interests in Holdings, which owns all of our Class B common stock, representing approximately 81.5% of the combined voting power of all classes of our voting stock. As a result, Mr. Thomas Peterffy has the ability to elect all of the members of our board of directors and thereby to control our management and affairs, including determinations with respect to acquisitions, dispositions, material expansions or contractions of our business, entry into new lines of business, borrowings, issuances of common stock or other securities, and the declaration and payment of dividends on our common stock. In addition, Mr. Thomas Peterffy is able to determine the outcome of all matters requiring stockholder approval and will be able to cause or prevent a change of control of our company or a change in the composition of our board of directors and could preclude any unsolicited acquisition of our company. The concentration of ownership could discourage potential takeover attempts that other stockholders may favor and could deprive stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of our company and this may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Moreover, because of Mr. Thomas Peterffy’s substantial ownership, we are eligible to be and are, treated as a “controlled company” for purposes of the Nasdaq Rules. As a result, we are not required by Nasdaq to have a majority of independent directors or to maintain Compensation and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees composed entirely of independent directors to continue to list the shares of our common stock on Nasdaq. Our Compensation Committee is comprised of Messrs. Thomas Peterffy (Chairman of the Compensation Committee) and Earl H. Nemser (our Vice Chairman). Mr. Thomas Peterffy’s membership on the Compensation Committee may give rise to conflicts of interests in that Mr. Thomas Peterffy is able to influence all matters relating to executive compensation, including his own compensation.
We are dependent on IBG LLC to distribute cash to us in amounts sufficient to pay our tax liabilities and other expenses.
We are a holding company and our primary assets are our approximately 18.5% equity interest in IBG LLC and our controlling interest and related rights as the sole managing member of IBG LLC and, as such, we operate and control all of the business and affairs of IBG LLC and are able to consolidate IBG LLC’s financial results into our financial statements. We have no independent means of generating revenues. IBG LLC is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, is not subject to U.S. federal income tax. Instead, its taxable income is allocated on a pro rata basis to Holdings and us. Accordingly, we incur income taxes on our proportionate share of the net taxable income of IBG LLC, and also incur expenses related to our operations. We intend to cause IBG LLC to distribute cash to its members in amounts at least equal to that necessary to cover their tax liabilities, if any, with respect to the earnings of IBG LLC. To the extent we need funds to pay such taxes, or for any other purpose, and IBG LLC is unable to provide such funds, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are required to pay Holdings for the benefit relating to additional tax depreciation or amortization deductions we claim as a result of the tax basis step-up our subsidiaries received in connection with our initial public offering and certain subsequent redemptions of Holdings membership interests.
In connection with our initial public offering (“IPO”), we purchased interests in IBG LLC from Holdings for cash. In connection with redemptions of Holdings membership interests, we acquired additional interests in IBG LLC by issuing shares of Class A common stock in exchange for an equivalent number of shares of member interests in IBG LLC (the “Redemptions”). In addition, IBG LLC membership interests held by Holdings may be sold in the future to us and financed by our issuances of shares of our common stock. The initial purchase and the Redemptions did, and the subsequent purchases may, result in increases in the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of IBG LLC and its subsidiaries that otherwise would not have been available. Such increase will be approximately equal to the amount by which our stock price at the time of the purchase exceeds the income tax basis of the assets of IBG LLC underlying the IBG LLC interests acquired by us. These increases in tax basis will result in increased deductions in computing our taxable income and resulting tax savings for us generally over the 15 year period which commenced with the initial purchase. We have agreed to pay 85% of these tax savings, if any, to Holdings as they are realized as additional consideration for the IBG LLC interests that we acquire.
As a result of the IPO and the Redemptions by Holdings, the increase in the tax basis attributable to our interest in IBG LLC is $1.3 billion. The tax savings that we would actually realize as a result of this increase in tax basis likely would be significantly less than this amount multiplied by our effective tax rate due to a number of factors, including the allocation of a portion of the increase in tax basis to foreign or non-depreciable fixed assets, the impact of the increase in the tax basis on our ability to use foreign tax credits and the rules relating to the amortization of intangible assets, for example. Based on facts and assumptions as of December 31, 2019, including that subsequent purchases of IBG LLC interests will occur in fully taxable transactions, the potential tax basis increase resulting from the historical and future purchases of the IBG LLC interests held by Holdings could be as much as $9.0 billion. The Tax Receivable Agreement requires 85% of such tax savings, if any, to be paid to Holdings, with the balance to be retained by us. The actual increase in tax basis depends, among other factors, upon the price of shares of our common stock at the time of the purchase and the extent to which such purchases are taxable and, as a result, could differ materially from this amount. Our ability to achieve benefits from any such increase, and the amount of the payments to be made under the Tax Receivable Agreement, depends upon a number of factors, as discussed above, including the timing and amount of our future income.
The tax basis of $9.0 billion assumes that (a) all remaining IBG LLC membership interests held by Holdings are purchased by us in a taxable transaction and (b) such purchases in the future are made at prices that reflect the closing share price as of December 31, 2019. In order to have a $9.0 billion tax basis, the offering price per share of Class A common stock in such future public offering will need to exceed the then current cost basis per share of Class A common stock by approximately $29.93.
If either immediately before or immediately after any purchase or the related issuance of our stock, the Holdings members own or are deemed to own, in the aggregate, more than 20% of our outstanding common stock, then all or part of any increase in the tax basis of goodwill may not be amortizable and, thus, our ability to realize the annual tax savings that otherwise would have resulted if such tax basis were amortizable may be significantly reduced. Although the Holdings members are prohibited under the Exchange Agreement from purchasing shares of Class A common stock in a public offering, grants of our common stock to employees and directors who are also members or related to members of Holdings and the application of certain tax attribution rules, such as among family members and partners in a partnership, could result in Holdings members being deemed for tax purposes to own shares of Class A common stock.
If the Internal Revenue Services (“IRS”) successfully challenges the tax basis increase, under certain circumstances, we could be required to make payments to Holdings under the Tax Receivable Agreement in excess of our cash tax savings.
Future sales of our common stock in the public market could lower our stock price, and any additional capital raised by us through the sale of equity or convertible securities may dilute your ownership in us.
The members of Holdings have the right to cause the redemption of their Holdings membership interests over time in connection with offerings of shares of our common stock. We intend to sell additional shares of common stock in public offerings in the future, which may include offerings of our common stock to finance future purchases of IBG LLC membership interests which, in turn, will finance corresponding redemptions of Holdings membership interests. These offerings and related transactions are anticipated to occur at least annually into the future. The size and occurrence of these offerings may be affected by market conditions. We may also issue additional shares of common stock or convertible debt securities to finance future acquisitions or business combinations. We currently have approximately 77 million outstanding shares of common stock. Assuming no anti-dilution adjustments based on combinations or divisions of our common stock, the offerings referred to above could result in the issuance by us of up to an additional approximately 339 million shares of common stock. It is possible, however, that such shares could be issued in one or a few large transactions.
We cannot predict the size of future issuances of our common stock or the effect, if any, that future issuances and sales of shares of our common stock may have on the market price of our common stock. Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock (including shares issued in connection with an acquisition), or the perception that such sales could occur, may cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
Certain provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation may prevent efforts by our stockholders to change our direction or management.
Provisions contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation could make it more difficult for a third-party to acquire us, even if doing so might be beneficial to our stockholders. For example, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation authorizes our board of directors to determine the rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions of unissued series of preferred stock, without any vote or action by our stockholders. We could issue a series of preferred stock that could impede the completion of a merger, tender offer or other takeover attempt. These provisions may discourage potential acquisition proposals and may delay, deter or prevent a change of control of us, including through transactions, and, in particular, unsolicited transactions, that some or all of our stockholders might consider to be desirable. As a result, efforts by our stockholders to change our direction or management may be unsuccessful.
Risks Related to Our Business
Our business may be harmed by global events beyond our control, including overall slowdowns in securities trading.
Like other brokerage and financial services firms, our business and profitability are directly affected by elements that are beyond our control, such as economic and political conditions, broad trends in business and finance, changes in volume of securities and futures transactions, changes in the markets in which such transactions occur and changes in how such transactions are processed. A weakness in equity markets, such as a slowdown causing reduction in trading volume in U.S. or foreign securities and derivatives, has historically resulted in reduced transaction revenues and would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our business could be harmed by a systemic market event.
Some market participants could be overleveraged. In case of sudden, large price movements, such market participants may not be able to meet their obligations to brokers who, in turn, may not be able to meet their obligations to their counterparties. As a result, the financial system or a portion thereof could collapse, and the impact of such an event could be catastrophic to our business.
Our future success will depend on our response to the demand for new services, products and technologies.
The demand for our services that rely on electronic communications gateways, is characterized by:
•rapid technological change;
•changing customer demands;
•the need to enhance existing services and products or introduce new services and products; and
•evolving industry standards.
New services, products and technologies may render our existing services, products and technologies less competitive. Our future success will depend, in part, on our ability to respond to the demand for new services, products and technologies on a timely and cost-effective basis and to adapt to technological advancements and changing standards to address the increasingly sophisticated
requirements and varied needs of our customers and prospective customers. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in developing, introducing or marketing new services, products and technologies. In addition, we may experience difficulties that could delay or prevent the successful development, introduction or marketing of these services and products, and our new service and product enhancements may not achieve market acceptance. Any failure on our part to anticipate or respond adequately to technological advancements, customer requirements or changing industry standards, or any significant delays in the development, introduction or availability of new services, products or enhancements could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our reliance on our computer software could cause us great financial harm in the event of any disruption or corruption of our computer software. We may experience technology failures while developing our software.
We rely on our computer software to receive and properly process internal and external data. Any disruption in the proper functioning of our software due to, for example, erroneous or corrupted data, or cyber-attacks, may cause us to make erroneous trades or suspend our services and could cause us great financial harm. To maintain our competitive advantage, our software is under continuous development. As we identify and enhance our software, there is risk that software failures may occur and result in service interruptions and have other unintended consequences.
We depend on our proprietary technology, and our future results may be impacted if we cannot maintain technological superiority in our industry.
Our success in the past has largely been attributable to our sophisticated proprietary technology that has taken many years to develop. We have benefited from the fact that the type of proprietary technology equivalent to that which we employ has not been widely available to our competitors. If our technology becomes more widely available to our current or future competitors for any reason, our operating results may be adversely affected. Additionally, adoption or development of similar or more advanced technologies by our competitors may require that we devote substantial resources to the development of more advanced technology to remain competitive. The markets in which we compete are characterized by rapidly changing technology, evolving industry standards and changing trading systems, practices and techniques. Although we have been at the forefront of many of these developments in the past, we may not be able to keep up with these rapid changes in the future, develop new technology, realize a return on amounts invested in developing new technologies or remain competitive in the future.
The loss of our key employees would materially adversely affect our business.
Our key executives have substantial experience and have made significant contributions to our business, and our continued success is dependent upon the retention of our key management executives, as well as the services provided by our staff of trading system, technology and programming specialists and a number of other key managerial, marketing, planning, financial, technical and operations personnel. The loss of such key personnel could have a material adverse effect on our business. Growth in our business is dependent, to a large degree, on our ability to retain and attract such employees.
We may not pay dividends on our common stock at any time in the foreseeable future.
As a holding company for our interest in IBG LLC, we will be dependent upon the ability of IBG LLC to generate earnings and cash flows and distribute them to us so that we may pay any dividends to our stockholders. To the extent (if any) that we have excess cash, any decision to declare and pay dividends in the future will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other things, our results of operations, financial conditions, cash requirement, contractual restrictions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant. Since the second quarter of 2011, we have declared and paid a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share. Although not required, we currently intend to pay quarterly dividends of $0.10 per share to our common stockholders for the foreseeable future.
Our future efforts to sell shares or raise additional capital may be delayed or prohibited by regulations.
As certain of our subsidiaries are members of FINRA, we are subject to certain regulations regarding changes in control of our ownership. FINRA Rule 1017 generally provides that FINRA approval must be obtained in connection with any transaction resulting in a change in control of a member firm. FINRA defines control as ownership of 25% or more of the firm’s equity by a single entity or person and would include a change in control of a parent company. IBC, IBUK, IBEU, IBKRFS and IBHK are subject to similar change in control regulations promulgated by the IIROC in Canada, the FCA in the United Kingdom, the CSSF in Luxembourg, FINMA in Switzerland and the SFC in Hong Kong, respectively. As a result of these regulations, our future efforts to sell shares or raise additional capital may be delayed or prohibited. We may be subject to similar restrictions in other jurisdictions in which we operate.
Regulatory and legal uncertainties could harm our business.
The securities and derivatives businesses are heavily regulated. Firms in financial service industries have been subject to an increasingly regulated environment over recent years, and penalties and fines sought by regulatory authorities have increased accordingly. This regulatory and enforcement environment has created uncertainty with respect to various types of transactions that historically had been entered into by financial services firms and that were generally believed to be permissible and appropriate. Our broker-dealer subsidiaries are subject to regulations in the U.S. and abroad covering all aspects of their business. Regulatory bodies include, in the U.S., the SEC, FINRA, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the CFTC, and the NFA; in Canada, the IIROC and various Canadian securities commissions; in the United Kingdom, the FCA; in Luxembourg, the CSSF; in Switzerland, FINMA; in India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India; in Hong Kong, the SFC; in Japan, the FSA and the Japan Securities Dealers Association; and in Australia, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. Our mode of operation and profitability may be directly affected by additional legislation changes in rules promulgated by various domestic and foreign government agencies and self-regulatory organizations that oversee our businesses, and changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules, including the potential imposition of transaction taxes. Noncompliance with applicable laws or regulations could result in sanctions being levied against us, including fines and censures, suspension or expulsion from a certain jurisdiction or market or the revocation or limitation of licenses. Noncompliance with applicable laws or regulations could adversely affect our reputation, prospects, revenues and earnings. In addition, changes in current laws or regulations or in governmental policies could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to regulatory oversight and examination by numerous governmental and self-regulatory authorities. We are currently providing information to certain of such authorities, including FINRA, the SEC, the CFTC and the United States Department of Justice, and cooperating with those authorities. The regulators are focused on compliance practices, including anti money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act practices. We periodically review these practices to make them more robust and to keep pace with changing regulatory standards, and we have been enhancing and augmenting our procedures and personnel in these areas over the past several years. While the outcome of the examinations and inquiries currently in progress cannot be predicted, we do not believe that they are likely to have a materially adverse effect on our financial results.
Domestic and foreign stock exchanges, other self-regulatory organizations and state and foreign securities commissions can censure, fine, issue cease-and-desist orders, suspend or expel a broker-dealer or any of its officers or employees. Our ability to comply with all applicable laws and rules is largely dependent on our internal system to ensure compliance, as well as our ability to attract and retain qualified compliance personnel. We could be subject to disciplinary or other actions in the future due to claimed noncompliance, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. To continue to operate and to expand our services internationally, we may have to comply with the regulatory controls of each country in which we conduct, or intend to conduct business, the requirements of which may not be clearly defined. The varying compliance requirements of these different regulatory jurisdictions, which are often unclear, may limit our ability to continue existing international operations and further expand internationally.
Our direct market access clearing and non-clearing brokerage operations face intense competition.
With respect to our direct market access brokerage business, the market for electronic and interactive bidding, offering and trading services in connection with equities, options and futures is rapidly evolving and intensely competitive. We expect competition to continue and intensify in the future. Our current and potential future competition principally comes from five categories of competitors:
•prime brokers who, in an effort to satisfy the demands of their customers for hands-on electronic trading facilities, universal access to markets, smart routing, better trading tools, lower commissions and financing rates, have embarked upon building such facilities and product enhancements;
•direct market access and online options and futures firms;
•direct market access and online equity brokers;
•software development firms and vendors who create global trading networks and analytical tools and make them available to brokers; and
In addition, we compete with financial institutions, mutual fund sponsors and other organizations, many of which provide online, direct market access or other investing services. A number of brokers provide our technology and execution services to their customers, and these brokers will become our competitors if they develop their own technology. Some of our competitors in this area have greater name recognition, longer operating histories and significantly greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources than we have and offer a wider range of services and financial products than we do. Some of our competitors may also have an ability
to charge lower or zero commissions. We cannot assure you that we will be able to compete effectively or efficiently with current or future competitors. These increasing levels of competition in the online trading industry could significantly harm this aspect of our business.
We are subject to potential losses as a result of our clearing and execution activities.
As a clearing member firm providing financing services to certain of our brokerage customers, we are ultimately responsible for their financial performance in connection with various securities and derivatives transactions. Our clearing operations require a commitment of our capital and, despite safeguards implemented by our software, involve risks of losses due to the potential failure of our customers to perform their obligations under these transactions. If our customers default on their obligations, we remain financially liable for such obligations, and although these obligations are collateralized, we are subject to market risk in the liquidation of customer collateral to satisfy those obligations. There can be no assurance that our risk management procedures will be adequate. Any liability arising from clearing operations could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
As a clearing member firm of securities and derivatives clearing houses in the U.S. and abroad, we are also exposed to clearing member credit risk. Securities and derivatives clearing houses require member firms to deposit cash, stock and/or government securities for margin requirements and to clearing funds. If a clearing member defaults in its obligations to the clearing house in an amount larger than its own margin and clearing fund deposits, the shortfall is absorbed pro rata from the deposits of the other clearing members. Many clearing houses of which we are members also have the authority to assess their members for additional funds if the clearing fund is depleted. A large clearing member default could result in a substantial cost to us if we are required to pay such assessments.
We are exposed to risks associated with our international operations.
During 2019, approximately 21% of our net revenues were generated by our operating subsidiaries outside the U.S. We are exposed to risks and uncertainties inherent in doing business in international markets, particularly in the heavily regulated brokerage industry. Such risks and uncertainties include political, economic and financial instability; unexpected changes in regulatory requirements, tariffs and other trade barriers; exchange rate fluctuations; applicable currency controls; and difficulties in staffing, including reliance on newly hired local experts, and managing foreign operations. These risks could cause a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We do not have fully redundant systems. System failures could harm our business.
If our systems fail to perform, we could experience unanticipated disruptions in operations, slower response times or decreased customer service and customer satisfaction. Our ability to facilitate transactions successfully and provide high quality customer service also depends on the efficient and uninterrupted operation of our computer and communications hardware and software systems. Our service has experienced periodic system interruptions, which we believe will continue to occur from time to time. Our systems and operations also are potentially vulnerable to damage or interruption from human error, cyber-attacks, natural disasters, power loss, telecommunication failures, break-ins, sabotage, computer viruses, intentional acts of vandalism and similar events. While we currently maintain redundant servers to provide limited service during system disruptions, we do not have fully redundant systems, and our formal disaster recovery plan does not include restoration of all services. For example, we have backup facilities at our disaster recovery site that enable us, in the case of complete failure of our main North America data center, to recover and complete all pending transactions, provide customers with access to their accounts to deposit or withdraw money, transfer positions to other brokers and manage their risk by continuing trading through the use of marketable orders. These backup services are currently limited to U.S. markets. We do not currently have separate backup facilities dedicated to our non-U.S. operations. It is our intention to provide for and progressively deploy backup facilities for our global facilities over time. In addition, we do not carry business interruption insurance to compensate for losses that could occur to the extent not required. Any system failure that causes an interruption in our service or decreases the responsiveness of our service could impair our reputation, damage our brand name and materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Failure of third-party systems on which we rely could adversely affect our business.
We rely on certain third-party computer systems or third-party service providers, including clearing systems, exchange systems, banking systems, Internet service, co-location facilities, communications facilities and other facilities. Any interruption in these third-party services, or deterioration in their performance, could be disruptive to our business. If our arrangement with any third-party is terminated, we may not be able to find an alternative source of systems support on a timely basis or on commercially reasonable terms. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Internet-related issues may reduce or slow the growth in the use of our services in the future.
Critical issues concerning the commercial use of the Internet, such as ease of access, security, privacy, reliability, cost, and quality of service, remain unresolved and may adversely impact the growth of Internet use. If Internet usage continues to increase rapidly, the Internet infrastructure may not be able to support the demands placed on it by this growth, and its performance and reliability may decline. Although our larger institutional customers use leased data lines to communicate with us, our ability to increase the speed with which we provide services to consumers and to increase the scope and quality of such services is limited by and dependent upon the speed and reliability of our customers’ access to the Internet, which is beyond our control. If periods of decreased performance, outages or delays on the Internet occur frequently or other critical issues concerning the Internet are not resolved, overall Internet usage or usage of our web based products could increase more slowly or decline, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our computer infrastructure may be vulnerable to security breaches. Any such problems could jeopardize confidential information transmitted over the Internet, cause interruptions in our operations or cause us to have liability to third persons.
Our computer infrastructure is potentially vulnerable to physical or electronic computer break-ins, cyber-attacks, viruses and similar disruptive problems and security breaches. Any such problems or security breaches could cause us to have liability to one or more third parties, including our customers, and disrupt our operations. A party able to circumvent our security measures could misappropriate proprietary information or customer information, jeopardize the confidential nature of information transmitted over the Internet or cause interruptions in our operations. Concerns over the security of Internet transactions and the privacy of users could also inhibit the growth of the Internet or the electronic brokerage industry in general, particularly as a means of conducting commercial transactions. To the extent that our activities involve the storage and transmission of proprietary information such as personal financial information, security breaches could expose us to a risk of financial loss, litigation and other liabilities. Our estimated annual losses from reimbursements to customers whose accounts have been negatively affected by unauthorized access have historically been less than $500,000 annually and were significantly reduced since the widespread introduction of our Secure Login System. Our current insurance program may protect us against some, but not all, of such losses. Any of these events, particularly if they (individually or in the aggregate) result in a loss of confidence in our company or electronic brokerage firms in general, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights or may be prevented from using intellectual property necessary for our business.
We rely primarily on trade secret, contract, copyright, patent and trademark laws to protect our proprietary technology. It is possible that third parties may copy or otherwise obtain and use our proprietary technology without authorization or otherwise infringe on our rights. We may also face claims of infringement that could interfere with our ability to use technology that is material to our business operations.
In the future, we may have to rely on litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, protect our trade secrets, determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or defend against claims of infringement or invalidity. Any such litigation, whether successful or unsuccessful, could result in substantial costs and the diversion of resources and the attention of management, any of which could negatively affect our business.
We are subject to risks relating to litigation and potential securities laws liability.
We are exposed to substantial risks of liability under federal and state securities laws, other federal and state laws and court decisions, as well as rules and regulations promulgated by the SEC, the CFTC, the Federal Reserve, state securities regulators, self-regulatory organizations and foreign regulatory agencies. We are also subject to the risk of litigation and claims that may be without merit. We could incur significant legal expenses in defending ourselves against and resolving lawsuits or claims. An adverse resolution of any future lawsuits or claims against us could result in a negative perception of the Company and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. See “Legal Proceedings and Regulatory Matters” in Part I, Item 3 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We are subject to counterparty risk whereby defaults by parties with whom we do business can have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In our electronic brokerage business, our customer margin credit exposure is to a great extent mitigated by our policy of automatically evaluating each account throughout the trading day and closing out positions automatically for accounts that are found to be under-margined. While this methodology is effective in most situations, it may not be effective in situations in which no liquid market exists for the relevant securities or commodities or in which, for any reason, automatic liquidation for certain accounts has been disabled. If no liquid market exists or automatic liquidation has been disabled, we are subject to risks inherent in extending credit, especially during periods of rapidly declining markets. Any loss or expense incurred due to defaults by our customers in failing to
repay margin loans or to maintain adequate collateral for these loans would cause harm to our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Any future acquisitions may result in significant transaction expenses, integration and consolidation risks and risks associated with entering new markets, and we may be unable to profitably operate our consolidated company.
Although our growth strategy has not focused historically on acquisitions, we may in the future engage in evaluations of potential acquisitions and new businesses. We may not have the financial resources necessary to consummate any acquisitions in the future or the ability to obtain the necessary funds on satisfactory terms. Any future acquisitions may result in significant transaction expenses and risks associated with entering new markets in addition to integration and consolidation risks. Because acquisitions historically have not been a core part of our growth strategy, we have little experience in successfully utilizing acquisitions. We may not have sufficient management, financial and other resources to integrate any such future acquisitions or to successfully operate new businesses and we may be unable to profitably operate our expanded company.
Because our revenues and profitability depend on trading volume, they are prone to significant fluctuations and are difficult to predict.
Our revenues are dependent on the level of trading activity on securities and derivatives exchanges in the U.S. and abroad. In the past, our revenues and operating results have varied significantly from period to period primarily due to movements and trends in the underlying markets and to fluctuations in trading levels. As a result, period to period comparisons of our revenues and operating results may not be meaningful, and future revenues and profitability may be subject to significant fluctuations or declines.
We may incur material trading losses from our market making activities.
A portion of our revenues and operating profits is derived from our trading as principal in our role as a market maker. We may incur trading losses relating to these activities since each primarily involves the purchase or sale of securities for our own account. In any period, we may incur trading losses in a significant number of securities for a variety of reasons including:
•price changes in securities;
•lack of liquidity in securities in which we have positions; and
•the required performance of our market making obligations.
These risks may limit or restrict our ability to either resell securities we purchased or to repurchase securities we sold. In addition, we may experience difficulty borrowing securities to make delivery to purchasers to whom we sold short, or lenders from whom we have borrowed. From time to time, we have large position concentrations in securities of a single issuer or issuers engaged in a specific industry or traded in a particular market. Such a concentration could result in higher trading losses than would occur if our positions and activities were less concentrated.
In our role as a market maker, we attempt to derive a profit from the difference between the prices at which we buy and sell, or sell and buy, securities. However, competitive forces often require us to match the quotes other market makers display and to hold varying amounts of securities in inventory. By having to maintain inventory positions, we are subjected to a high degree of risk. We cannot assure you that we will be able to manage such risk successfully or that we will not experience significant losses from such activities, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Reduced spreads in securities pricing, levels of trading activity and trading through market makers could harm our business.
Computer-generated buy/sell programs and other technological advances and regulatory changes in the marketplace may continue to tighten spreads on securities transactions. Tighter spreads and increased competition could make market making activities less profitable.
We may incur losses in our market making activities in the event of failures of our proprietary pricing model.
Our market making business is substantially dependent on the accuracy of our proprietary pricing mathematical model, which continuously evaluates and monitors the risks inherent in our portfolio, assimilates market data and reevaluates our outstanding quotes many times per second. Our model is designed to automatically rebalance our positions throughout the trading day to manage risk exposures on our positions in options, futures and the underlying securities. In the event of a flaw in our pricing model and/or a failure in the related software, our pricing model may lead to unexpected and/or unprofitable trades, which may result in material trading losses.
The valuation of the financial instruments we hold may result in large and occasionally anomalous swings in the value of our positions and in our earnings in any period.
The market prices of our long and short positions are reflected on our books at closing prices which are typically the last trade price before the official close of the primary exchange on which each such security trades. If prices of derivatives and their underlying securities close out of alignment, there may be large and occasionally anomalous swings in the value of our positions daily and, accordingly, in our earnings in any period. This is especially true on the last business day of each calendar quarter.
We are exposed to losses due to lack of perfect information.
As market makers, we provide liquidity by buying from sellers and selling to buyers. Quite often, we trade with others who have different information than we do, and as a result, we may accumulate unfavorable positions preceding large price movements in companies. Should the frequency or magnitude of these events increase, our losses will likely increase correspondingly.
Rules governing designated market makers may require us to make unprofitable trades or prevent us from making profitable trades.
Designated market makers are granted certain rights and have certain obligations to “make a market” in a particular security. They agree to specific obligations to maintain a fair and orderly market. In acting as a designated market maker, we are subjected to a high degree of risk by having to support an orderly market. In this role, we may at times be required to make trades that adversely affect our profitability. In addition, we may at times be unable to trade for our own account in circumstances in which it may be to our advantage to trade, and we may be obligated to act as a principal when buyers or sellers outnumber each other. In those instances, we may take a position counter to the market, buying or selling securities to support an orderly market. Additionally, the rules of the markets which govern our activities as a designated market maker are subject to change. If these rules are made more stringent, our trading revenues and profits as a designated market maker could be adversely affected.
We face competition in our market making activities.
In our market making activities, we compete with other firms based on our ability to provide liquidity at competitive prices and to attract order flow. These firms include registered market makers as well as HFTs that act as market makers. Both types of competitors range from sole proprietors with very limited resources to a few highly sophisticated groups which have substantially greater financial and other resources, including research and development personnel, than we do. These larger and better capitalized competitors may be better able to respond to changes in the market making industry, to compete for skilled professionals, to finance acquisitions, to fund internal growth and to compete for market share generally. HFTs that are not registered market makers have certain advantages over registered market making firms that may allow them to bypass regulatory restrictions and trade more quickly and cheaply than registered market makers at some exchanges. We may not be able to compete effectively against HFTs or market makers with greater financial resources, and our failure to do so could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. As in the past, we may in the future face enhanced competition, resulting in narrowing bid/offer spreads in the marketplace that may adversely impact our financial performance. This is especially likely if HFTs continue to receive advantages in capturing order flow or if others can acquire systems that enable them to predict markets or process trades more efficiently than we can.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our headquarters are located in Greenwich, Connecticut. We lease office and data center facilities in 24 cities throughout the world where we conduct our operations as set forth below. Unless otherwise indicated, all properties are used by both our electronic brokerage and market making segments. We believe our present facilities, together with our current options to extend lease terms, are adequate for our current needs.
The table below presents certain information with respect to our leased facilities as of December 31, 2019.
Space (sq. feet)
Office space and data center
Other (7 locations)
Office space and data center
London, United Kingdom
Other (4 locations)
Asia - Pacific
Office space and data center
Other (4 locations)
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AND REGULATORY MATTERS
The securities and commodities industry is highly regulated and many aspects of our business involve substantial risk of liability. In past years, there has been an increasing incidence of litigation involving the brokerage industry, including class action suits that generally seek substantial damages, including in some cases punitive damages. Compliance and trading problems that are reported to federal, state and provincial regulators, exchanges or other self-regulatory organizations by dissatisfied customers are investigated by such regulatory bodies, and, if pursued by such regulatory body or such customers, may rise to the level of arbitration or disciplinary action. We are also subject to periodic regulatory audits and inspections.
Like other brokerage firms, we have been named as a defendant in lawsuits and from time to time we have been threatened with, or named as a defendant in arbitrations and administrative proceedings. The following contains information regarding potentially material pending litigation and pending regulatory inquiries. We may in the future become involved in additional litigation or regulatory proceedings in the ordinary course of our business, including litigation or regulatory proceedings that could be material to our business.
Trading Technologies Matter
On February 3, 2010, Trading Technologies International, Inc. (“Trading Technologies”) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, against IBG LLC and IB LLC (“Defendants”). The complaint, as amended, alleges that the Defendants have infringed and continue to infringe twelve U.S. patents held by Trading Technologies. Trading Technologies is seeking, among other things, unspecified damages and injunctive relief. The Defendants filed an answer to Trading Technologies’ amended complaint, as well as related counterclaims. The Defendants deny Trading Technologies’ claims, assert that the asserted patents are not infringed and are invalid, and assert several other defenses as well.
The asserted patents were the subject of petitions before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) seeking Covered Business Method Review (“CBM Review”). The USPTO Patent Trial Appeal Board (“PTAB”) found all claims of ten of the twelve asserted patents to be invalid. Of the remaining two patents, 53 of the 56 claims of one patent were held invalid and the other patent survived CBM Review proceedings. Appeals were filed by either Defendants or Trading Technologies on all PTAB determinations.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated the CBM Review determinations of invalidity for four patents, concluding that these patents were not eligible for CBM Review. The District Court trial with respect to these four patents is scheduled for May 2020; however, the parties have filed a motion with the District Court to move the trial to November 2020.
While it is difficult to predict the outcome of the matter, the Company believes it has meritorious defenses to the allegations made in the complaint and intends to defend itself vigorously against them. However, litigation is inherently uncertain and there can be no guarantee that the Company will prevail or that the litigation can be settled on favorable terms.
Class Action Matter
On December 18, 2015, a former individual customer filed a purported class action complaint against IB LLC, IBG, Inc., and Thomas Frank, PhD, the Company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. The complaint alleges that the purported class of IB LLC’s customers were harmed by alleged “flaws” in the computerized system used to close out (i.e., liquidate) positions in customer brokerage accounts that have margin deficiencies. The complaint seeks, among other things, undefined compensatory damages and declaratory and injunctive relief.
On September 28, 2016, the District Court issued an order granting the Company’s motion to dismiss the complaint in its entirety, and without providing plaintiff leave to amend. On September 28, 2017, plaintiff appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On September 26, 2018, the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s claims of breach of contract and commercially unreasonable liquidation but vacated and remanded back to the District Court plaintiff’s claims for negligence. On November 30, 2018, the plaintiff filed a second amended complaint. The Company filed a motion to dismiss the new complaint on January 15, 2019, which was denied on September 30, 2019. On December 9, 2019, the Company filed a motion requesting that the District Court certify to the Connecticut Supreme Court two questions of Connecticut law directly relevant to the motion to dismiss. Briefing has only recently been completed, and the District Court has not yet ruled on the motion. Regardless of the outcome of this motion, the Company does not believe that a purported class action is appropriate given the great differences in portfolios, markets and many other circumstances surrounding the liquidation of any particular customer’s margin deficient account. IB LLC and the related defendants intend to continue to defend themselves vigorously against the case and, consistent with past practice in connection with this type of unwarranted action, any potential claims for counsel fees and expenses incurred in defending the case may be fully pursued against the plaintiff.
The Company is currently providing information to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), the SEC, the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and the United States Department of Justice focused on anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act practices. The Company periodically reviews these practices to make them more robust and to keep pace with changing regulatory standards, and the Company has been enhancing and augmenting its procedures and personnel in these areas over the past several years. While the outcome of the examinations and inquiries currently in progress cannot be predicted, the Company does not believe that they are likely to have a materially adverse effect on its results of operations.
Pending Regulatory Inquiries
Our businesses are heavily regulated by state, federal and foreign regulatory agencies as well as numerous exchanges and self-regulatory organizations. Most of our companies are regulated under some or all of the following: state securities laws, U.S. and foreign securities, commodities and financial services laws and the rules of the more than 120 exchanges, market centers and self-regulatory organizations of which one or more of our companies may be members. In the current era of dramatically heightened regulatory scrutiny of financial institutions, we have incurred increased compliance costs, along with the industry as a whole. Increased regulation also creates increased barriers to entry. We have built and continue to build human and automated infrastructure in light of increasing regulatory scrutiny, which provides us with a possible advantage over potential newcomers to the business.
We receive thousands of regulatory inquiries each year in addition to being subject to frequent regulatory examinations. The great majority of these inquiries do not lead to fines or any further action against us. Most often, regulators do not inform us as to when and if an inquiry has been concluded. We are currently the subject of active or dormant regulatory inquiries regarding subjects including, but not limited to: audit trail reporting, trade reporting, best execution and order execution procedures, short sales, margin lending, anti-money laundering or potentially manipulative trading by customers, procedures for transfers and trading of U.S. Micro-Cap securities, procedures for accounts managed by independent financial advisors or referred by third parties, technology development practices, business continuity planning and other topics of recent regulatory interest. The Company has procedures for evaluating whether potential regulatory fines are probable, estimable and material and for updating its contingency reserves and disclosures accordingly. In the current climate, we expect to pay significant and increasing regulatory fines on various topics on an ongoing basis, as other regulated financial services businesses do. The amount of any fines, and when and if they will be incurred, typically is impossible to predict given the nature of the regulatory process.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY; RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Common Stock Information
Interactive Brokers Group Inc.’s Class A common stock trades under the symbol “IBKR” on the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC. As of February 24, 2020, there were seventeen holders of record, which does not reflect those shares held beneficially or those shares held in “street” name. Accordingly, the number of beneficial owners of our common stock exceeds this number
Dividends and Other Restrictions
We currently intend to pay quarterly dividends of $0.10 per share to our common stockholders for the foreseeable future.
Stockholder Return Performance Graph
The graph below compares cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock, the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Financial-100 Index from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2019. The comparison assumes $100 was invested on December 31, 2014 in our common stock and each of the foregoing indices and assumes reinvestment of dividends before consideration of income taxes.
(1)The Nasdaq Financial-100 Index includes 100 of the largest domestic and international financial securities listed on The Nasdaq Stock Market based on market capitalization. They include companies classified according to the Industry Classification Benchmark as Financials, which are included within the Nasdaq Bank, Nasdaq Insurance, and Nasdaq Other Finance Indexes.
(2)The S&P 500 Index includes 500 large cap common stocks actively traded in the U.S. The stocks included in the S&P 500 are those of large publicly held companies that trade on either of the two largest American stock markets, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
The stock performance depicted in the graph above is not to be relied upon as indicative of future performance. The stock performance graph shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any of our filings under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate the same by reference, nor shall it be deemed to be “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC or subject to Regulations 14A or 14C or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Exchange Act.
Use of Proceeds
On October 7, 2019, the Company filed a Prospectus Supplement on Form 424B (File Number 333-219552) with the SEC to register up to 1,000,000 shares of common stock, offering the opportunity for eligible persons to receive awards in the form of such shares by participating in one or more promotions that are designed to attract new customers to the Company’s brokerage platform, increase assets held with the Company’s brokerage subsidiaries and enhance customer loyalty. As of December 31, 2019, the Company has issued 10,000 shares to IBG LLC for distribution to eligible customers of certain of its subsidiaries. Assuming all shares were issued, IBG, Inc.’s interest in IBG LLC would increase from 18.5% to 18.7%.
Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans
The table below presents information about shares of common stock available for future awards under all the Company’s equity compensation plans as of December 31, 2019. The Company has not made grants of common stock outside of its equity compensation plans.
Number of securities to be
Number of securities
issued upon exercise of
remaining available for
price of outstanding options
future awards under
warrants and rights
warrants and rights
equity compensation plans(1)
Equity compensation plans
approved by security holders
(1)Amount represents restricted stock units available for future issuance of grants under the Company’s amended 2007 Stock Incentive Plan.
ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
The tables below present selected historical consolidated financial and other data of the Company for the periods indicated.
Year-Ended December 31,
Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income Data
(in millions, except share and per share amounts)