Interactive Brokers

  www.interactivebrokers.com
  www.interactivebrokers.com
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Interactive Brokers Reviews

Updated September 12, 2014
Updated September 12, 2014
44 Reviews
2.5
44 Reviews
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Interactive Brokers Chairman, President, and CEO Thomas Peterffy
Thomas Peterffy
32 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    Stay away if you are not desperate

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

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

    Pros

    Health insurance better than at most large financial institutions
    Reasonable hours compared to many financial institutions (approximately 9-6, work through lunch).
    There are quite a few competent and pleasant people.. if only you could interact with them during business hours!..
    If you are a mediocre c++ coder, you will be taught a minimal standard that will make you better.

    Cons

    Low compensation, uncompetitive vesting schedules, unethical authoritarian management, substandard time off policy, and zero flexibility.

    Your kid is sick and you need to be 2 hours late? Either take 1/2 day off (you get 16 days of sick+vacation), or work two extra hours in the evening. You choose between seeing a sick child, and a chance of a vacation. Sick with a fever? Take a day off. I have seen a lot of sick people putting in the hours.

    The employer is likely to stick to the letter of the job offer - so read it carefully, and make sure you understand what you are signing.

    There is no room for professional growth and upward mobility.
    You are assigned detailed projects (specs) by your manager, and are given no freedom in their execution. The "managers" call and treat all employees as 'programmers' - it is irrelevant that you were trained as an engineer of a scientist. You will be coding to a spec, no matter what.

    Your manager is your final arbiter. There are some "managers" who cannot stand up to their boss when issues arise. As an alternative, they blame their reports for failures (note the spec part above!), and repeatedly get their reports fired. The upper management did not question this pattern until a handful of people went the revolving door.

    Interaction with anyone is discouraged. You are paid to type, not to talk.

    And never, ever should you offer your opinion. Even as you walk in and see that certain areas are 2-3 years behind competitors - stay mum - IB managers already know that they are the best. Your input will get you nothing but trouble.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get modern management training.

    Learn to respect your employees and show it.

    Bring time off/sick leave policy in line with competition (3-4 week vacation, 1-2 weeks of sick leave). Bring deferrals in line with competition (0-30% for most, 2-4 years). Bring comp in line with competition. You are no longer paying well enough for people to disregard the issues. Your most desirable employees are snatched by competition. Who do you think is staying?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Disappointing

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

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time

    Pros

    Free lunch, open to other races

    Cons

    Only Swiss has a Promotion Chance

  3.  

    Time will tell

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers

    Pros

    salary is competitive to market

    Cons

    expect to spend a majority of time there

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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Intense, originally challenging but later depressing and even debilitating

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

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    - A few of efficient business processes, most well-automated
    - A handful of worthy technologies to learn and think of.
    - Fair-n-square business practices as far as I can say (not to confuse with "nice to clients")
    - Acceptable pay; almost-guaranteed "raises" for raising cost of living
    - Keep to the letter to their side of your contract (which does not include much good; but still)
    - Free lunch that you usually eat at your desk (if you consider that a pro)

    Cons

    - Self-righteous and rigid high management; initiatives and comments are effectively discourages
    - Antiquated and ineffective-to-stupidity software governance (do not confuse with 'inefficient').
    - Non-existent work/life balance (total 16 days for vacation, personal and sick days; you are mostly treated and managed as a resource rather than human being)
    - Not only are free information and idea exchange not promoted but in many ways strongly discouraged. As an example, you won't even have an Internet access at your desk unless your function needs it. As one of the results, the company is stagnating technologically.
    - No training/learning programs I am aware of.
    - People are discouraged from talking

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not that I think they would take any, but: consider formally training yourself in ethical people management (maybe try reading Stephen Covey's books?).

    On a side note: I had to rank CEO "disapprove" for his failure to keep the management effective and adequate to the company''s scale. This is not at all intended to deny his technical and financial genius and ethical business practices that made this company possible. I would have selected "both approve and disapprove" if the Web side provided this choice. (I did not want to select "No opinion" because I certainly had one)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Horrible place. Unless your kids are starving, look elsewhere.

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

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

    Pros

    Paycheck and Health Insurance, Free lunch ( that isn't free at all )

    Cons

    Impotent HR, Flawed review process, complete disrespect to employees, Blind following of orders is required, Dysfunctional atmosphere that could be damaging to mental well-being in the long run. Do not confuse this company with any other in the financial filed and do not get fooled by interviewers who are trying to draw a rosy picture, you will regret it later. Low compensation and bonus compared to industry standards.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest into employees, review your middle management so that they do not abuse power, start acting like a $6B company. Interview employees and review their goals ambitions and general well being. Give employees ability to submit anonymous reviews of their managers. Educate your middle management, as they are mostly uneducated without any real management experience thinking bullying is an appropriate management style.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Show Me The Money

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

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The money is pretty good. They pay programmers very well and they pay managers very well, but everyone else is paid just okay, but you get annual bonuses and stock options. There is little or no bureaucracy, and very few meetings. This place is not bogged down in process. The non-management people who work here are very nice. The business can be interesting. If you're lucky, you get to work on interesting projects. Medical insurance premiums are paid for 100%.

    Cons

    You work here for the money. That's the bottom line. They pay for lunch, but not because they're nice, it's so you stay at your desk during lunch. They pay for medical benefits, which are ultimately insufficient if you have a major medical issue. You get 15 days off per year for personal, sick and vacation time, then an extra two days at five years. And you are discouraged from taking too much time off. It is for many employees, a sweat shop. The structure of the company is based on silos: each department is competing with other for the CEO's attention and favor; that is the sole motivator behind all day-to-day decisions. Only management is allowed to create projects and come up with creative solutions, in spite of their lack of real experience and training in many areas, such as software project design, marketing, user interface design, and so on. There is no career growth, no annual reviews, no promotions.

    If you want to come and make money and work a lot for a few years, this can be a decent place to be. But it will not be personally or professionally satisfying in any way, and you will get cynical and burn out fairly quickly.

    The CEO has surrounded himself with a bunch of long-time associates, most of whom are all from Eastern Europe like himself and have all become millionaires. If you're not in that club, you are simply a lowly employee treated disrespectfully.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    These guys are hopeless. It all flows from the CEO's benevolent dictator management style. Until and unless he changes his personality, it will continue on this path. They really need to bring in people from other companies and allow them to challenge the status quo. And give employees better work-life balance.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    terrible place

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

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

    Pros

    good comp & job security. great bonuses. decent benefits. some really smart developers. the annual company party is a nice touch. free lunch.

    Cons

    The work/life balance is non-existent. The first time I tried going out for lunch, I was reprimanded by my manager and told that lunch is to be eaten at my desk, while working. Bullying is alive and well, with senior management routinely screaming at, cursing, and berating employees. The atmosphere is that of a sweatshop. No salary is worth the treatment you'll receive here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    Looking forward to leaving.

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

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers full-time

    Pros

    If you are good, have no ambition, and are willing to put up with the company 'idiosyncrasies' for the long-term, you will be very well compensated.

    Some other reviewers' comments that I can echo:

    - A few people are very smart and are a pleasure to work with* and learn from**
    - Business is run ethically
    - No red tape

    * 'Work with' means ask questions and get answers, not collaborate
    ** Learn C++, see below

    Cons

    Good reviews on Glassdoor are mostly not from programmers.

    No effort is made to educate employees about markets or the business beyond what is required for your immediate project. "Do your assigned project and don't rock the boat" is the motto.

    There is essentially no collaboration. You are told what to do and you do it.

    Benfits are abysmal.
    - 6.5 year (!!!) vesting schedule for stock bonuses and 401k matches (50% of 10% of contribution), you only get 10% up front (in May) plus 15% per year over 6 years
    - Two (!!!) weeks of vacation for the first five years, after that, three.
    - Health insurance is a low-end Cigna plan. Here's an example of how cheap it is; you can only get an eye exam once every two years. I have a feeling anyone who puts the insurance in the 'pro' column has never actually used it.

    Perks are half-hearted and penny-pinching.
    - See comments about benefits above
    - You get $12 from seamless.com to order lunch from crappy restaurants.
    - "Stocked Fridge": the fridge is stocked with soda. Want a snack? Pretzel sticks.
    - You wouldn't know it's a multi-billion dollar business from the spartan, depressing offices.

    If they offered a company car, it would be an engine-less Yugo pulled by a donkey, but hey, it will get you there!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There are ways other than tight golden handcuffs to inspire employee loyalty. Show some concern for making our lives happier and easier.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 8 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 for 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
  11.  

    good co. to work for

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers

    Pros

    great place and good people

    Cons

    none the co. is a great plce

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