Interactive Brokers

www.interactivebrokers.com

Interactive Brokers Reviews

Updated 30 January 2015
Updated 30 January 2015
53 Reviews
2.9
53 Reviews
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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

19 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Senior managers are the 1%, everybody else treated like plebs

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

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you are hired into senior management, you can make a lot of money and have a lot of fun. If you like to crush your subordinates' ideas under your heel you will love this place.

    Cons

    Company decided to recalculate bonuses after Swiss franc disaster in January 2015. Employees left hanging, the mood is really bad, another month waiting for managers with big egos to throw down some pennies for the rest of us.

    At least half the bonus is paid in shares that vest over a 6 year period. This has an insidious effect, people who are not happy or not productive stay with the company longer and longer because they have a big pool of unvested shares that they don't want to lose by going to another job. If you are a programmer, you will find yourself working with programmers who have been in the company for more than 15 years and never had 1 day of external training, still using legacy technologies like SCCS version control or Java 1.4.

    The CEO, Petterfy, talks a lot about his love of the Republicans and giving people opportunity (as opposed to communism) but the reality is that he has built a horrible culture here where somebody who has been here 10 or 15 years without keeping their skills up to date has acquired a lot of shares in the company and acts like they are superior to a can-do developer who just came in from a successful startup.

    The only way to get the unvested shares is by waiting for retirement, waiting for redundancy or hoping that you find a new job where the next company agrees to give you an up-front allocatiion of unvested shares to compensate for the shares you forfeit by resigning from IB. This is only possible if you plan to move to another company with similar characteristics.

    When you try to value your bonus shares, look at the cashflows: if shares are $25 each on the market and your bonus is 600 shares and 100 vest each year then it is more like the company has agreed to a pay rise of $2500 per year for 6 years. If you can find another job that gives an initial annual salary that is $2500 higher than the Interactive Brokers salary then it completely offsets the value of the unvested IB shares you are giving up.

    As an extra burden, the shares vest in May or June, 6 months after the bonus round. So if you don't like your bonus in January and you resign in February then you won't get any of the shares that vest that same year, including the new shares from the bonus round.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You need to bring in a new generation of IT skills, both by training existing staff and bringing in new staff. This needs to be applied in every team and office in the company. You need to get these skills to propagate throughout the company, if you think that productive developers with modern skills will work side-by-side with the existing dinosaurs entrenched in the company then you will be disappointed.

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

    Hostile Work Environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Account Manager in Greenwich, CT (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Account Manager in Greenwich, CT (US)

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

    Pros

    I joined for location and the salary. I thought is was a great lateral move at the time.

    Cons

    Manager was an ignorant jerk who knew less than I did. It is unclear how he kept his job. He seemed particularly offended because I went to a great university and had academic credentials in addition to time in the trenches.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I wish I had filed a law suit. I now regret taking the high road.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 9 people found this helpful  

    Horrible! Real devils in here!

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

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    There is some really good engineering work being done

    Cons

    - No internet at all. Not even restricted/moderated internet. You cannot get a glimpse of what is happening in the outside world from morning 9am-6pm for a near 365 days a year. In today's world, this is like stringing up a person without allowing air to breathe.
    - Adding to the internet policy, the culture is one of the worst. The managers are horrible with absolutely no humane feelings. They expect you to be like slaves, no question asked, no issue raised against your head. With the internet policy, I feel people who work for a few years will loose any sense of emotion and become extremely apathetic. People this will have very adverse affects on your personal lives. So please read this and do not take an offer at this company even though the money they give is somewhat above the average market value.
    - The head of the one of the departments even sometimes makes this explicit when hiring you: "Being social is not good in the company". So not take this lightly. The culture will drain any life from you. You work in the company for 10 years and not know anything about the guy sitting next to you.
    - H1B/Work visa permit holders... READ THIS!!: They only give 10 days of vacation for the whole year for the first 5 years! Yes just 10 days a year! So, you will have no time to prepare for interviews leave alone actually interviewing with companies to get out of the place if you don't like the culture. I have seen many people who are stuck there because of this situation. This will drive you crazy leading to many psychological problems.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give your employees internet if they need. You can give them the tradeoff of reducing their salary for having their internet monitored if security is a concern.
    Get a life guys. Treat your employees like they are humans and remember they have feelings too. They need to get a life where they can smile once they get home and not think about why they ever got stuck at this company.

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

    I wish I had left earlier.

    • 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 (more than a year)

    Pros

    Salaries are good. You can learn a lot about trading. Co-workers are smart. New Year's party is nice.

    Cons

    Work environment is poisonous. Communication is discouraged among employees; you are expected to solve your problems with minimal external help. There are no trainings no working from home. Tools and development processes are very old. Career advancement is very slow. Employee stock incentive plan seems good at first but it locks you in with the company. Once you announce to leave the firm they will screw with you wherever they can.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees with respect.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 6 people found this helpful  

    rigid management and culture

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

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers full-time

    Pros

    - some great engineers.
    - free lunch (at a cost)

    Cons

    - free lunch at the cost of your lunch break.
    - no growth and they don't care. same sh*t everyday.
    - rigid management. you better be a machine that functions only to finish tasks.
    - expect to work all time. eyes on you.
    - don't expect help or communication. they are non-existent.
    - many more....

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 5 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 (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greenwich, CT (US)

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (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
  8.  

    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

  9. 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 (US)
    Former Employee - Operations in Greenwich, CT (US)

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (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
  10. 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 (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greenwich, CT (US)

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (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
  11. 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 (US)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Greenwich, CT (US)

    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

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