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Long term investor
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Long term investor

  #1 (permalink)
Trading Apprentice
Athens
 
Futures Experience: Beginner
Platform: IB
Favorite Futures: Stocks
 
Posts: 3 since Sep 2015
Thanks: 3 given, 1 received

Long term investor

Hello guys,

my name is Dimitris, I am from Greece, I used to be a computer programmer for about 11 years,
now I am a high school teacher,

My investing plan is simple and could be described by
"buy, on the average, 1000 Euros of SPY each year, for the next 30 years" (or forever)

I have just begun in May by buying 2000 dollars of SPY, with Interactive Brokers.

My problem is that perhaps I did not give it a good thought = will Interactive Brokers exist forever ?
I don't think so.

What are your comments on this ? Is it safe to rely on a broker for such a long period of time ? Or else, what to do ?


Thanks in advance
Dimitris

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  #2 (permalink)
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  #3 (permalink)
Market Wizard
New Orleans, La (Mardi Gras City)
 
Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: NinjaTrader
Broker/Data: Ninjatrader / Optimus Futures / AmpFutures
Favorite Futures: ES / 6E / 6B / CL
 
DavidHP's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,002 since Aug 2009
Thanks: 802 given, 1,367 received


@dimitris

I would suggest you look at the mountains of information on futures.io (formerly BMT) about Interactive Brokers.
(Search in the search box at the top left).

There are many opinions about them.
I don't think anyone is going to last forever

Some are better than others.
Best to put your investments in multiple baskets IMO.

Rejoice in the Thunderstorms of Life . . .
Knowing it's not about Clouds or Wind. . .
But Learning to Dance in the Rain ! ! !
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  #4 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Sarasota FL
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader, Sierra Chart
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 3,632 since Jan 2013
Thanks: 26,740 given, 11,106 received
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dtrip View Post
Hello guys,

my name is Dimitris, I am from Greece, I used to be a computer programmer for about 11 years,
now I am a high school teacher,

My investing plan is simple and could be described by
"buy, on the average, 1000 Euros of SPY each year, for the next 30 years" (or forever)

I have just begun in May by buying 2000 dollars of SPY, with Interactive Brokers.

My problem is that perhaps I did not give it a good thought = will Interactive Brokers exist forever ?
I don't think so.

What are your comments on this ? Is it safe to rely on a broker for such a long period of time ? Or else, what to do ?


Thanks in advance
Dimitris

No broker will last forever, but fortunately, that is not too important.

This applies to stocks and ETF's bought on US exchanges through a US broker, so I believe it will apply to you. But it is easy to check.

Simply, most stocks and ETF's bought in the US are not held by the broker, nor by the customer. They are held at Depository Trust Company (DTC), which was established precisely to manage the situation of where the asset will be.

For reference, you can look here: Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) Definition - NASDAQ.com

And here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depository_Trust_%26_Clearing_Corporation

And on their site: Clearing Services | DTCC

You might want to confirm with IB that your purchases of ETF's are held at DTC, but I know of no reason they would not be.

Bob.

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  #5 (permalink)
Trading Apprentice
Athens
 
Futures Experience: Beginner
Platform: IB
Favorite Futures: Stocks
 
Posts: 3 since Sep 2015
Thanks: 3 given, 1 received

Thank you guys,

Needless to say, your feedback is much better than I expected,

the thing is that I had Googled "what if my broker goes bankrupt" and similar,
and it returned many results of the type
"if your broker goes bankrupt, you are screwed", some also citing MF Global etc,



But I trust that it is lke you say and we are kind of covered.

I was hoping to "buy and forget", but I suppose this is not 100% feasible; some
diversification and keeping an eye on things will always be required.


Thanks again, take care all

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  #6 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Sarasota FL
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader, Sierra Chart
Favorite Futures: ES
 
Posts: 3,632 since Jan 2013
Thanks: 26,740 given, 11,106 received
Forum Reputation: Legendary


dtrip View Post
Thank you guys,

Needless to say, your feedback is much better than I expected,

the thing is that I had Googled "what if my broker goes bankrupt" and similar,
and it returned many results of the type
"if your broker goes bankrupt, you are screwed", some also citing MF Global etc,



But I trust that it is lke you say and we are kind of covered.

I was hoping to "buy and forget", but I suppose this is not 100% feasible; some
diversification and keeping an eye on things will always be required.


Thanks again, take care all

Where you stand in case a broker fails can get complicated.

However, the case of MF Global is totally different. MF Global was a futures broker. A futures contract is not an actual asset -- you don't own anything. You have margin with your broker to guarantee that you will have funds for your account to be marked to market at the end of the day. Cash goes in and out of your account based on price fluctuations, but you don't actually own, let's say, a piece of the S&P 500, or any gold or wheat. In the case of physical commodities like gold or oil, you can take physical delivery on settlement (and pay the purchase price, which is much more than the margin), but until then you don't actually own any, and most traders never do. So all you've got with the broker is the cash margin in your account. You'll have a legal claim if the broker fails, but that doesn't always work out well.

There also is no insurance for the funds in your futures account: https://www.nfa.futures.org/NFA-faqs/investor_information_faqs/trading-futures-o...s-account-protected.HTML

An equity broker is doing something entirely different. When you buy a stock or an ETF, you own something: x number of actual shares. Interactive Brokers is both a futures and an equities broker (and forex). But their businesses will be separated and will come under different financial regulators. And when you buy a stock or ETF, it's an asset that has an actual existence.

Getting it if there's a problem may be another thing.

If you buy a stock or ETF, it usually will be held in "street name" at DTC. This can get complex, but it means that DTC doesn't have you down as the owner. (See here for more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_name_securities ) So it depends on broker account records.

Here are some things to be aware of:

1. Theoretically, there may be no problem connecting the DTC holding to you, but it would be a good idea not to have the assets held in a margin account with your broker. Why? "Margin" is very different in the equity/ETF world compared to the futures world. All futures accounts have "margin", in fact, that's all they have . But "margin" is not the same for equities. To buy a security on margin means that you put up the required margin amount (currently 50% of the purchase price), and the broker lends you the rest. When you open a margin account in this sense, you will also sign an agreement that lets the broker use the shares for other purposes, such as to loan out the shares to another party for short sales. Not to get too far into the topic, but if you're interested in safety, don't do that. You want to be sure they will be there.

2. Both the cash and the securities in an equity type account are insured in the US by the SIPC -- Securities Investor Protection Corporation -- which is required by law. The overall limit is $500,000 total amount, with a $250,000 limit for cash. See SIPC - What SIPC Protects, also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Securities_Investor_Protection_Corporation .

3. Once your exposure at one broker gets larger than you are comfortable with, open another account at another broker, and both will be covered by SIPC insurance.

So, it's not quite "don't worry, there's no problem," but also it's not as bad as the MF Global example.

I hope this fills out the picture.

Bob.

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