Big negative return on cash with IB

Hey mustachians
I was recently comparing my IB portfolio-return with VT as benchmark and noticed that there is quite a big gap, which is worrying as I only own VT in there.

I then dug through all reports and figured out that the big negative return was coming from my cash positions (USD & CHF).


CHF has a negative return of 75%! USD isn’t much better either.
Could anyone of you explain me why that is? I’m really clueless. I figured that it could be due to currency fluctuations in USD/CHF but this seems quite extreme. Cash basically negated all returns I had on VT.

I greatly appreciate your help

1 Like

Are you negative in chf? IB charges 1.5% for borrowing it on the margin

And what’s the absolute amount? 227.68 P/L makes it sounds like you have a sub 10k account, so fees would eat a good chunk of your returns, but IB perhaps attributed that cost to cash in the report

My first though as well. And he/she indeed had (a sub-2k account even) back in May.

10$ a month for account keeping/minimum commission fees will quickly eat up most gains on the stock market.

It would help to know the absolute value of each position. Just like this I would guess you have a relatively small portfolio and the 10CHF monthly fees are eating all your profits.

Thanks a lot guys for your input. Indeed I only have ~ 2.5k invested currently with IB as I’m still evaluating a switch from my current Swiss broker and I was waiting to see if we can still buy VT in 2020.
I only pay 3$ monthly because I’m still under 25. But that would somewhat explain the difference.

It’s quite weird for me to see fees as negative return on cash however.

You should try to extract other reports under reports tab to have more detailed info to confirm the discussion

I doubt that Swiss brokers would be much cheaper than the 120$ IB charges you per year, unless you maybe trade just a few times a year.

True. Swissquote will charge a lot more for buying US ETFs on a regular basis.

I really tried but I can’t seem to find any report that would show me why my cash-position had such a big negative return.
The PortfolioAnalyst detailed report shows that a big chunk of the negative returns were right when I opened my account with IB, -2%.
Screenshot from 2019-12-18 20-08-18
But besides this I can’t figure out what exactly the negative return is coming from. The only thing I can hope to see is that when I add more funds, that the negative return will get smaller, as fees lose overall weight.

Are you somehow borrowing money? (you mentioned a margin account earlier)

I switched to a cash account pretty quickly after opening mine.

Detailed PortfolioAnalyst report has sections about Fees, Interests, Trade details with all per-trade fees. Sum them up.

If some sections are missing, you may have to dig deeper into reports generator settings to enable them.

I switched to a cash account pretty quickly after opening mine.

I don’t think that’s possible. AFAIK you can upgrade cash -> margin, but not the other way without opening a new account.

Anyway, Interest Details section of the report should have all the amounts of how much interest they credited/charged you

Check the Fee Summary section for whether you have charges for market data subscriptions etc & cancel them if you have

You can, my friend did it this week.

Alright I figured it out thanks to your help. The negative returns are indeed the monthly fees, which are represented as negative performance on your base-currency (as far as I can tell).

I used the PortfolioAnalyst to look at my Cash-position and when I set the timespan to one month, the loss on my CHF matches exactly with the fees I’ve paid.

So this problem should go away as soon as I transfer more funds.

Thank you all for your help.

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