Interactive Brokers

www.interactivebrokers.com

Interactive Brokers Reviews

Updated January 30, 2015
Updated January 30, 2015
53 Reviews
2.9
53 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Interactive Brokers Chairman, President, and CEO Thomas Peterffy
Thomas Peterffy
36 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Free lunch (if you stay in office and work during your lunch hour) (in 13 reviews)

  • Free lunch and free health insurance (you will regret it later) (in 3 reviews)


Cons
  • The work/life balance is non-existent (in 5 reviews)

  • Little to no growth potential for non-programming staff (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 10 people found this helpful  

    Everyone against everyone. Highly political. No life

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Greenwich, CT
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Greenwich, CT

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Free lunch and free health insurance (you will regret it later)

    Cons

    The governing style is absolute tyranny.

    Crazy night/weekend hours, frequent wake-up calls. Your pay will likely not reflect that. Developers are production management team by themselves.

    Everyone is anti-social. You will never discuss your weekend or kids/family with any of your co-workers. Even an elevator conversation arriving at / departing from work (I am officially off at that time, right?) is all about what projects you or I are working on.

    Did I just say "kids"? Forget you have kids (or are ever going to have them), and never mention it, or else... (see below)

    When looking for candidates, top managers always ask their junior managers (who bring candidates to them), if a candidate has any kids. This is outright illegal to ask a candidate of, so I am not sure how they get this information. A typical answer is "well, he/she does, but the youngest one is almost 15 and will soon head out for college." (what?)

    The process of assigning blame (or getting your things ready in case stuff happens) is very important, and takes about 30% of your work time. Any minor system malfunction looks like a public execution of whoever was found "guilty", and everyone is made aware of that.

    Managers afraid to make any design decisions, and the most specific request I have ever heard was "build us a system that will work for us". In the end if it doesn't "work as our users were envisioning it in their head" it is all your fault.

    You will have to pretend your boss (and his/her boss and so on) is the smartest guy on Earth, and you 100% agree with what they say on every account. You cannot possibly have an opinion, and you should feel lucky at any time of day (or night; you do work nights) that you are here.

    Unprofessionalism, Disrespect, and Hate are the top human qualities here. You will spend most time fighting your peers. Everyone thinks highly of themselves, and hates everyone who is new to the company.

    People come and go. Some positions are advertised on-going for years because people don't stay for long.

    Many people who currently work here will be lying about how "great" this place is. They think If they tell you the truth, people will avoid them just because of the strange things they are talking about all the time. This is a typical victim mentality, so I don't blame them for lying. When I spoke to a recruiter, I was surprised with how many people are looking to escape from this place.

    There are many more things that you should know before you start here, but I want to get back to my Saturday morning, and move on with my life, as reviving these images in my head from a few years ago takes quite a bit of energy and grief. I hope I have given people enough warning to make them stop and think before you make a decision that will affect your life for the next few years.

    P.S. I have learned a lot. People who work with me right now (at another company) admire my survival skills, and they say I will survive anywhere. Yes, this is a good skill to have, but I wish it hasn't come at such a price.

    I work at another firm in Finance now, and I am happy with my life, work, and my colleagues. Interactive Brokers is the biggest nightmare of my life.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in your people (no one would listen, but I had to put some text in this box for completeness)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful  

    Mixed feelings

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Programmer in Greenwich, CT
    Former Employee - Programmer in Greenwich, CT

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    - SOME employees are very smart, very good at what they do.
    - Agree with other commenter that business is run in an ethical manner. ie. doing the right thing even if no one is looking.
    - Still on the cutting edge in some areas.
    - Minimal bureaucracy.

    Cons

    - Current incentive structure (no incentivization of employees) guarantees that the smartest and most motivated will leave. This is why HFTs ate their lunch.
    - Low pay relative to industry.
    - No growth opportunities.
    - Company is kept alive by H-1B slave labor.
    - Some groups are wildly incompetent (eg. HR, Marketing) due to perceived irrelevance by mgmt and these should be fired en masse.
    - Very anti-social office culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get a life? TP runs this as a hobby, and I can't imagine a more boring hobby. If you're not HUNGRY, or know how to hire/retain people that are, your failure is guaranteed.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Its a miracle there hasnt been an office shooting there yet

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Interactive Brokers

    Pros

    They pay for your lunch
    Fully stocked pantry
    I heard they finally upgraded the accounting systems.
    The "party favors" at the annual meting/holiday party
    The Chicago people seemed nice
    The money flowed like water (at least it did in 1999-2000)

    Cons

    No life work balance
    Asinine procedures
    TP has to have his hands in every aspect of the business but cannot be bothered if you need his signature or approval for anything
    Office bullying is rampant at all levels

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There are more activist investors out there that know what kind of outfit you run and avoid IB like the plague beacuse of it.
    Actually, keep doing what youre doing. Ive made a s---load shorting IB since you went publc.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    This company should qualify as #1 worst place to work for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Treasury Analyst
    Former Employee - Treasury Analyst

    I worked at Interactive Brokers

    Pros

    The only one that I can account of is the free lunch you are entitled to. But guess what, you are supposed to eat it at your desk ( which is the whole point of it being free) and if you dare to leave you will be attacked by disapproval looks

    Cons

    -disrespectful management - you will get yelled at for things such as the way you arrange your own desk, the shrift you use etc. You will be constantly treated as being incompetent and worthless.

    -on your own - This dept is a bunch of people that happen to work together ( very far from team). You are not supposed to ask questions. if you dont get something it's your own fault, don't expect to recieve support. On the contrary, asking for one will put you faster on the unemployment bentch than you think ( happened to a colleague)

    -Zero employee morale - basically 90% of the treasury team leaves within a year ( true statistics). Main reason - management that creates a sick environment, comparable to a concentration camp.

    To sum up, do yourself a favor and don't even bother apply. You will not only lose your time but hurt your career and health. Don't do it! There are so many better companies out there ( happen to work for one now) that will put a lot more value on you and your career development.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    First day on the job I was told " If you think this is a place where you can chat around with colleagues, you are not int he right place" Turned out to be the total true. I have no other comments.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 6 people found this helpful  

    Avoid this at all costs if you value life outside of work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Greenwich, CT
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Greenwich, CT

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers

    Pros

    Decent salary is how we get people in the door. Based on performance (and we are pretty fair about this), you can get a decent bonus. There are absolutely no meetings to attend, not any -- ever. So if you like to sit at your desk and just work (i.e., no politics) then that is a plus.

    1. The hours are fine -- approximately 9am to 6pm.

    2. They allow you $12 per day to order lunch on seamless web.com.

    2. The work is fairly interesting IF you get assigned an interesting project.

    3. They give you annual "cost of living" increases of 4% per year.
    THIS IS WHY I AM STILL HERE AFTER 8 YEARS, FYI. It adds up -- quickly!

    Cons

    Benefits, culture, and career. Trust me, you do NOT want to work at this place unless you are 21 and have no life. I got in early, and I'm almost done, but in clear conscience I must tell it like it is.

    1. You are expected to be at your desk the entire time, even for lunch. You will be reprimanded if you are away from your desk for too long.

    2. You do NOT socialize with your coworkers. Management walks by several times per day and WILL notice this and comment about getting back to work. It has gotten better in the 8 years that I have been here but this is not a place to go to make friends or to have any type of workplace camaraderie.

    3. The benefits are horribly, horribly abysmally bad. You'd better not have any type of protracted injuries, for example, because if you need short-term disability (I did once) it provides a MAX of $500 per week for 26 WEEKS (since when is 26 weeks short-term?!!!). A normal policy would provide FULL salary for 6 weeks followed by HALF salary for a much longer term.

    4. The benefits also suck for vacation -- you get 2 weeks (10 days) per year. You have to work there for 5 years (!!!) to get another 2 days (!!!). This is a sweat-shop, boys, plain and simple.

    5. You will not be exposed to any of the inner-workings of the firm for many, many years. This is prudent on our part, but it also means that YOU WILL NOT LEARN ANYTHING about the brokerage or trading business that you couldn't get by working for 1 year at another firm. You are here to code, plain and simple.

    Guys -- I got in early and got stock options and I'm almost done with my career. I have had highs and lows with this firm. But I look at some of the new people coming in now, and it's just pathetic that they don't know how much better it can be at other places. I have golden handcuffs -- they do not.

    Look elsewhere and you'll thank me that you did.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None -- this is a money-making machine and they squeeze everything they can out of labor. It's paid me well and continues to do so.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    pretty secretive and communist attitude, stingy with salary

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Quantitative Analyst in Greenwich, CT
    Former Employee - Quantitative Analyst in Greenwich, CT

    I worked at Interactive Brokers

    Pros

    Learn to code ( it is a programing sweat shop) and
    Learn basics of finance and trading
    Get your foot in the door

    Cons

    poor compensation
    no freedom to be creative
    Very autocratic
    the place has a management crisis
    and a really secretive culture where they dont permit interactions

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    don't work here if you want to be a real developer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Developer
    Current Employee - Developer

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers

    Pros

    pay is not bad. working hours is OK. good location.

    Cons

    1, You don't feel like a developer working there, just a typist. Micro management detailed to the level that you don't have to have a brain working there, two hands are enough.

    2, Cryptic culture. Developers are often given projects without knowing what's is really for.

    3, The culture is formed in such a way that people do not talk to each other, they sit at their desk eating their lunch quietly ... day after day.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    In addition to money, try to be nice to you employees, do not just pretend to.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    If you want to feel like chattel, this is the place!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Interactive Brokers

    Pros

    Talented development staff. Everyone in the same "situation".

    Cons

    This entire organization is run by the delusions of one person... the people in customer service are good, but the systems that dictate the methodology is awful and unbending.

    The company seems more like a psychological experiment than a business.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    haha...useless. It's Thomas Peterffy.... Take some value in the people who made you rich.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Horrific Work Culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Zug (Switzerland)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Zug (Switzerland)

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers

    Pros

    best for people who look for 9 til 5 kind of civil service job.
    learn and leave for another job

    Cons

    no incentives for innovation as no profit sharing or P&L related bonus
    no additional perks , no support for further education
    company sticks to only provide legal minimum vacation days

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    none, consultation fees should be given to employees for such advice

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Bad managers, lack of perspectives and obsolete technology despite good things to learn

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Developer
    Former Employee - Software Developer

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    * Some managers and colleagues are helpful if you approach them with respect.
    * Some teams tackle interesting problems with state-of-the-art tools (depending on the manager)
    * You end up delivering production sotware quickly (and in frequent cycles).
    * IT teams often drive the business process, or have a strong influence.
    * You can learn some interesting stuff about the business itself too.
    * Fairly stable company with solid financial background.

    Cons

    The previous reviews said it all. Avoid this company if you think of yourself as a real Software Engineer --you'll be a coder guy, mostly following orders. I often felt somewhat depressed, and it didn't get better.

    What I'd like to highlight:
    * Managers have huge egos and can get tyrannical. They may give you direct orders, or disregard you.
    * New joiners can expect that some managers and colleagues might NEVER collaborate.
    * A complete lack of perspective (career development) and insights. You are TOLD what to do, and that's it.
    * Often obsolete technology platforms, which cause continuous headaches. Zero initiative to re-engineer stuff.
    * Your ideas and opinions are often overlooked. These huge egos are sure they know it better anyway.
    * Very few trainings to keep your knowledge up-to-date.
    * Work gets dull and boring after a few months, due to the reasons above. Once you've reached the plateau, there's not much to learn and grow as a developer... unless you want to deep-dive into the business.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    * A more open-minded approach would be necessary to attract and retain skilled people. Simply throwing some money at them won't help on the long run.
    * More effort (yes, your precious time and money!) to rethink and rebuild outdated legacy systems.
    * Collaboration over the rigid 1950s management sytle.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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