IB no longer allows futures trading in IRA

As of Friday March 6th, Interactive Brokers no longer allows futures trading in IRA accounts. As best as I can tell, MB Trading, Optimus Trading, and AGN Futures allow futures trading in IRAs. Does anyone have experience about which one of these brokers is best for an IRA?

According to this page you are correct:


However, I’ve made futures trades in my IB IRA account as recently as 5 hours ago. Do you know if this restriction only applies to new accounts?


There has been no official notice from IB. They just refused trades in an existing IRA account. Either they were sloppy and only removed permissions from some IRA accounts or there is some other hidden rule yet to be discovered.

Hello Chuck, If you need a new home for your IRA please let me know. Trade Pro Futures and FOREX allows futures and FOREX trading in an IRA via C2.

When viewing the Select a Broker screen during auto-trade setup, there is no icon displayed for “Trade Pro Futures”. Is there another name for it?

Hello Elizabeth,

Trade Pro is an Introducing Broker with multiple clearing relationships for futures and FOREX. You will see different choices depending on where you open your account.

I heard the following from IB today (via chat): As long as you have an open futures position in your IRA account, new positions will be allowed. However, when all futures positions in your IRA account are closed, no further futures trading will be allowed. This would explain why some people continue to be able to trade and others cannot.

That’s great to know. I’ll just make sure I always keep at least one position open. Thanks for the info.


For those interested in this particular topic, there is a pretty active thread here:



The elitetrader.com thread was useful this morning. Traders were seeing their permissions re-established at IB. I checked my account and indeed the permissions have magically re-appeared. Still nothing actually published by IB about this whole mess.

Here is what IB sent today:

In advance of a policy change intended to address the risks of trading futures in IRA accounts, we inadvertently removed futures trading permissions from a number of accounts last week, subjecting clients to unnecessary uncertainty and confusion. We have since taken the steps necessary to restore permissions and sincerely apologize to all who were impacted.

As for the policy change, in the near future we will be implementing increased margin requirements on futures and options on futures contracts held in IRA accounts. This change is intended to limit the firm’s exposure to losses from derivative contracts in IRA accounts that may exceed assets on hand plus permitted contributions.

The effect of the change will be to apply increased intraday and overnight margin requirements to IRA accounts holding futures contracts that are not associated with a spread or option cover and to prohibit IRA accounts from holding naked short option contracts. Additional details as to the specific margin rates will be provided in a subsequent communication in advance of its implementation with changes to be phased in over a series of days so as to minimize the impact of any sudden margin increases.

Again, we apologize for this incident and the lack of prior communication.