As expected a lot was spent. No mention of the $20 million dollar jet and probably a lot of other "assets". No remorse mentioned for the clients! But I'm betting the co-conspirators knew everything except the suicide attempt. The note and the other letters to family were probably carefully scripted for the investigators and what would be leaked to the public via reporters. When watching "American Greed" you see caught ponzi schemers usually have a history with fuzzy accounting of previous business ventures.
It certainly appears that way. It was certainly a surprise to me. I always knew Interactive Brokers had a fairly active prop business which didn't concern me too much. What I didn't realize and should have paid more attention was the Fed through regulation and myself by agreeing to their terms had given them and their affiliates (obviously their UK arm) authority to use all of my assets (including my equities) as collateral for their bets.
This was an interesting part in the clearing agreement:
"Pursuant to applicable Laws and Regulations,
Interactive or its Affiliates may deposit collateral, securities and/or other Customer
property with third parties and may pledge, re-pledge, hypothecate or re-hypothecate
Customer collateral, securities and/or other Customer property..."
Notice the word securities. This suggests that not only can they hypothecate your segregated cash but your equities as well. So if you have a big equities portfolio then it appears that could be exposed as well. I'm not sure how this could be legal but it is there in black and white.
Obviously they are taking some pretty significant bets as shown by their profit per employee being a massive $850,000 last year and 55% pretax profit. Compare this to Apple $400,000 per employee and Goldman Sachs only $75,000.
Of course this is not an issue because if they screw up with large bets like MF Global we have the SIPC coverage right? Possibly not as the SIPC has only an estimated $200 million in net assets left after being nearly cleaned out by Bernie Madoff claims (both present and future).
So where to from here? At the end of the day the probability of this occurring at all is very slim, but then again who would have predicted the MF Global demise. My concern is the risk to my equities portfolio so I'm going to look at transferring a major portion to TD Ameritrade (non-prop broker) as a first step. At least I can trade equities through Ameritrade using ninjatrader (32 bit version only though). They do not have the product selection of IB though. All the offshore odd ball ETFs I trade will stay at IB.
Overall, if the regulator in the near future is able to display proof they have the electronic monitoring of segregated accounts working correctly then FCMs without prop desks may in fact be one of the lowest risk propositions.
Last edited by djkiwi; July 17th, 2012 at 11:17 PM.
The following 2 users say Thank You to djkiwi for this post:
A couple of weeks ago I register for a webinar at PFG with Steidlmayer on MP. A week later I received a call to know if I had appreciated the webinar and if I wanted to test their platform. Weeks later we had this fraud at PFG and amazingly, I continue receiving emails from them every couple of days
This was received just a few minutes ago:
If I become half a percent smarter each year, I'll be a genius by the time I die
Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.
Need help? 1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first. 2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses. 3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make. 4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance. 5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers. 6) Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.
If you want to support our community, become an Elite Member.
The following user says Thank You to Big Mike for this post:
My 2 cents, years ago I had a PFG account and their fills were horrible. I remember this other person in the same trading room, stated they had a 10 tick difference in their fill. I stopped using them for that reason. They had a trading desk and I suspected, they were doing it on purpose. I think they were unethetical for a long time.