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Interactive Brokers (IBKR) Expands Scope of Crypto Trading

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Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (IBKR - Free Report) is expanding cryptocurrency trading to retail investors in Hong Kong. The automated broker-dealer has become the first SFC-licensed securities broker to be approved to allow retail clients to trade cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong.

David Friedland, the head of APAC for Interactive Brokers, stated, “As demand for cryptocurrency exposure as a means of diversification continues to rise, we are pleased to offer investors in Hong Kong a straightforward and cost-effective way to allocate a portion of their portfolio to digital assets.”

Crypto trading for IBKR’s eligible clients in Hong Kong allows investors to transact and manage their portfolios through a single platform, providing a unified view.

The clients receive the benefits of centralized cash management. They can trade cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum, along with stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), event contracts, cryptocurrency futures, and futures options, all from a single account and interface.

Friedland added, “Our single unified platform lets clients worldwide easily invest across a broad range of global products, and the retail investor community in Hong Kong will benefit from the ability to access digital currency markets without opening and maintaining different accounts at multiple brokers and exchanges.”

Notably, Interactive Brokers launched cryptocurrency trading in Hong Kong in collaboration with OSL Digital Securities, which is Hong Kong’s first SFC-licensed digital asset trading platform.

Cryptocurrency trading through IBKR Hong Kong has low commissions of 0.20-0.30% of trade value, depending on the monthly volume.

Interactive Brokers has continuously been undertaking measures to enhance its global presence. The IBKR GlobalTrader enables investors around the world to trade stocks through mobile application.

Moreover, IBKR was one of the first brokers to introduce Overnight Trading on U.S. stocks and ETFs nearly 24 hours a day, five days a week. The launch of IBKR Lite has enabled investors to trade commission-free and is, thus, expected to improve the company’s market share.

The company has also launched cryptocurrency trading via Paxos Trust Company, charging commissions that are lower than other crypto exchanges.

Over the past six months, shares of IBKR have gained 3.2% compared with the industry’s growth of 2%.


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Image Source: Zacks Investment Research


Currently, IBKR carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Competitive Landscape

Earlier this month, Robinhood Markets, Inc. (HOOD - Free Report) announced that it planned to start cryptocurrency trading in the European Union (“EU”) and brokerage operations in the U.K., as part of its efforts to expand globally.

In its third-quarter earnings release, the company stated, “With an experienced team in place, we will soon launch brokerage operations in the U.K. As another step in global expansion, we are also planning to launch crypto trading in the EU following our U.K. launch.”

Notably, HOOD’s third-quarter crypto-related revenues fell almost 55% from the prior-year quarter to $23 million. The company’s third-quarter transaction-based revenues declined 11% from a year ago.

The EU expansion move by HOOD has come at a time when other crypto firms are suspending serving U.K. customers because of the implementation of the new promotions rules effective Oct 8, 2023.

Starting Oct 8, consumers in the U.K. have greater protection as crypto asset firms’ marketing is now required to be clear, fair and not misleading, and labeled with prominent risk warnings.

While more banks and financial institutions have started embracing cryptocurrencies after witnessing increased demand for the emerging market, crypto assets like bitcoin and ethereum remained largely unregulated in the U.K., which is worrisome.

Because of increased scams and fraud cases, JPMorgan’s (JPM - Free Report) retail bank, Chase, in the U.K., decided to restrict customers’ access to cryptocurrency-related transactions. JPM said that from Oct 16, there would be a limit on the ability of its customers to engage in crypto transactions in the U.K.

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