Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited – MiFID Categorisation


The European Union legislative act known as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or MiFID, as amended by MiFID II, requires Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited (IBUK) to classify each Client according to their knowledge, experience and expertise: "Retail", "Professional" or "Eligible Counterparty".

In accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority rules, IBUK categorises most clients as Retail clients, providing them with a higher degree of protection.

Only those clients that are either regulated entities or funds managed by regulated fund managers, are categorised as Per Se Professional Clients.

Professional Clients are entitled to a lower degree of protection under the UK regulatory regimes than Retail Clients. This notice contains, for information purposes only, a summary of the protections that a Retail Client might lose if they are to be treated as a Professional Client.

  1. Description of the nature and risks of packaged investments: A firm that offers an investment service with another service or product or as a condition of the same agreement with a Retail Client must: (i) inform Retail Clients if the risks resulting from the agreement are likely to be different from the risks associated with the components when taken separately; and (ii) provide Retail Clients with an adequate description of the different components of the agreement and the way in which its interaction modifies the risks. The above requirements do not apply in respect of Professional Clients. However, IBUK will not make such differentiation apart from the case specified under point 3 below.

  2. Retail investor protection measures on the provision of Contracts for Differences (“CFDs”): The regulatory measures include: (i) Leverage limits on the opening of a position, which vary according to the volatility of the underlying; (ii) A margin close out rule on a per account basis that standardises the percentage of margin (at 50%of the minimum required margin) at which providers are required to close out one or more open CFDs; (iii) Negative balance protection on a per account basis;(iv) A restriction on the incentives offered to trade CFDs; and (v) A standardised risk warning, including the percentage of losses on a CFD provider’s Retail investor accounts. These measures do not apply in respect of Professional Clients.

  3. Communication with clients, including financial promotions: A firm must ensure that its communications with all clients are, and remain, fair, clear and not misleading. However, the simplicity and frequency in which a firm may communicate with Professional Clients (about itself, its services and products, and its remuneration) may be different to the way in which the firm communicates with Retail Clients. Regulations relating to restrictions on, and the required contents of, direct offer financial promotions do not apply to promotions to Professional Clients and such promotions need not contain sufficient information for Professional Clients to make an informed assessment of the investment to which they relate. A firm’s obligations in respect of the level of details, medium and timing of the provision of information are different depending on whether the client is a Retailor Professional Client. The requirements to deliver certain product-specific documents, such as Key Information Documents (“KIDs”) for Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (“PRIIPs”), are not applied to Professional Clients.

  4. Depreciation in value reporting to clients: A firm that holds a Retail Client account that includes positions in leveraged financial instruments or contingent liability transactions must inform the Retail Client, where the initial value of each instrument depreciates by 10 per cent and thereafter at multiples of 10 per cent. The above reporting requirements do not apply in respect of Professional Clients (i.e., these reports do not have to be produced for Professional Clients).

  5. Appropriateness: For transactions where a firm does not provide the client with investment advice or discretionary management services (such as an execution-only trade), it may be required to assess whether the transaction is appropriate. When assessing appropriateness for non-advised services, a firm may be required to determine whether the client has the necessary experience and knowledge in order to understand the risks involved in relation to the product or service offered or demanded. Where such an appropriateness assessment requirement applies in respect of a Retail Client, there is a specified test for ascertaining whether the client has the requisite investment knowledge and experience to understand the risks associated with the relevant transaction. However, in respect of a Professional Client the firm is entitled to assume that a Professional Client has the necessary level of experience, knowledge and expertise in order to understand the risks involved in relation to those particular investment services or transactions, or types of transaction or product, for which the client is classified as a Professional Client. IBUK provides non-advised services and is not required to request information or adhere to the assessment procedures for a Professional Client when assessing the appropriateness of a given service or product as with a Retail Client, and IBUK may not be required to give warnings to the Professional Client if it cannot determine appropriateness with respect to a given service or product.

  6. Information about costs and associated charges: A firm must provide clients with information on costs and associated charges for its services and/or products. The information provided may not be as comprehensive for Professional Clients as it must be for Retail Clients.

  7. Dealing: When undertaking transactions for Retail Clients, the total consideration, representing the price of the financial instrument and the costs relating to execution, should be the overriding factor in any execution. For Professional Clients a range of factors may be considered in order to achieve best execution – price is an important factor, but the relative importance of other different factors, such as speed, costs and fees may vary. However, IBUK will not make such differentiation.

  8. Difficulty in carrying out orders: In relation to order execution, firms must inform Retail Clients about any material difficulty relevant to the proper carrying out of orders promptly on becoming aware of the difficulty. This is not required in respect of Professional Clients. The timeframe for providing confirmation that an order has been carried out is more rigorous for Retail Clients’ orders than Professional Clients’ orders.

  9. Share trading obligation: In respect of shares admitted to trading on a regulated market or traded on a trading venue, the firm may, in relation to the investments of Retail Clients, only arrange for such trades to be carried out on a regulated market, a multilateral trading facility, a systematic internaliser or a third-country trading venue. This is a restriction which may not apply in respect of trading carried out for Professional Clients (i.e., this restriction can be disapplied where trades in such shares are carried out for Professional Clients in certain circumstances).

  10. Exclusion of liability: Firms’ ability to exclude or restrict any duty or liability owed to clients is narrower under the FCA rules in the case of Retail Clients than in respect of Professional Clients.

  11. The Financial Services Ombudsman: The services of the Financial Ombudsman Service in the UK may not be avail-able to Professional Clients, unless they are, for example, consumers, small businesses or individuals acting outside of their trade, business, craft or profession.

  12. Compensation: IBUK is a member of the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme. You may be entitled to claim compensation from that scheme if IBUK cannot meet its obligations to you. This will depend on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim; compensation is only available for certain types of claimants and claims in respect of certain types of business. Eligibility for compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme is not contingent on your categorisation but on how the firm is constituted. Eligibility for compensation from the scheme is determined under the rules applicable to the scheme (more information is available at

  13. Transfer of financial collateral arrangements: As a Professional Client, the firm may conclude title transfer financial collateral arrangements with you for the purpose of securing or covering your present or future, actual or contingent or prospective obligations, which would not be possible for Retail Clients.

  14. Client money: The requirements under the client money rules in the FCA Handbook (CASS) are more prescriptive and provide more protection in respect of Retail Clients than in respect of Professional Clients.

Re-categorisation as Professional Client

IBUK allows its Retail Clients to request to be re-categorised as Professional Clients. Clients are notified of their Client Category and can check it at any time from Account Management, under Settings> Account Settings> MiFID Client Category. From this same screen, Clients can also request to change their MiFID Category.

IBUK will consider re-categorising Retail Clients to Professional Clients in two instances:

  1. Per Se Professional Clients can notify IBUK that they consider that they should have been categorised as Per Se Professionals under the FCA rules, because at least one of the following conditions applies:

    • (i) authorised or regulated to operate in the financial markets; or

    • (ii) a large undertaking meeting two of the following size requirements on a company basis:

      • (a) balance sheet total of EUR 20,000,000;

      • (b) net turnover of EUR 40,000,000;

      • (c) own funds of EUR 2,000,000;

    • (iii) an institutional investor whose main activity is to invest in financial instruments. This includes entities dedicated to the securitisation of assets or other financing transactions.

  2. IBUK may treat Clients as Elective Professional Clients if, based on an assessment of the Client’s expertise, experience, and knowledge, IBUK is reasonably assured that, in light of the nature of the transactions or services envisaged, the Client is capable of making its own investment decisions and understand the risks involved. Clients who do not meet the requirements to be categorised as Per Se Professional Clients can still request to be categorised as Elective Professional Clients.

    To obtain such re-categorisation, Retail Clients must provide evidence that they satisfy at least two (2) of the following criteria:

    1. Over the last four (4) quarters, the Client conducted trades in financial instruments in significant size at an average frequency of ten (10) per quarter.

      To determine the significant size IBUK considers the following:

      • a. During the last four quarters, there were at least forty (40) trades; and

      • b. During each of the last four (4) quarters, there was at least one (1) trade; and

      • c. The total notional value of the top forty (40) trades of the last four (4) quarters is greater than EUR 200,000; and

      • d. The account has a net asset value greater than EUR 50,000.

        Trades in Spot FX and Unallocated OTC Metals are not considered for the purpose of this calculation.

      2. The Client holds a portfolio of financial instruments (including cash) that exceeds EUR 500,000 (or equivalent);

      3. The Client holds a portfolio of financial instruments (including cash) that exceeds EUR 500,000 (or equivalent);The Client is an individual account holder or a trader of an organisation account who works or has worked in the financial sector for at least one year in a professional position which requires knowledge of products it trades in.

    Upon review and verification of the information and supporting evidence provided, IBUK will re-categorise clients if all relevant conditions are met to satisfaction.

    Retail Clients requesting to be re-categorised as Professional Accounts must read and understand the warning provided by IBUK before the relevant request is submitted.

Re-categorisation as Retail Client

Professional Clients can request IBUK to be re-categorised as Retail Clients, from the same Account Management page described above (under Settings> Account Settings> MiFID Client Category).

With the sole exception of regulated entities or funds managed by regulated fund managers, which are categorised as Per Se Professional Clients, IBUK accepts all such requests.