Interactive Brokers: Currency conversion warning

Yes, even if you use it actively otherwise, they do not seem to like it at all if you use the currency exchange feature. I recently sold ~500k of equities and swapped the resulting USD to CHF (including another 100k that I just received, maybe that has triggered it) and received this message afterwards:

This was on an account where I bought equities monthly and never converted currency before…


Might also trigger some anti money laundering alerts and get your account blocked.


Do you think you triggered it for the large amount?

I’ve done “currency conversions” operations only once in the past 6 months (1k CHF) and I’ve never received a complaint.

I’m asking this because I plan to use this “trick” in the future again (maybe when I’ll need to purchase an apartment outside Switzerland and I need cash in EUR)

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Not sure if it’s related to the amount, my trading volume on this account is pretty high and I bought equities for ~80k every month for a year, so the amount should not be extraordinary and trigger any anomaly detection system. I think it might be related because 100k was never invested there, but only transferred, swapped, and transferred out again. Even if you mix it up with funds that were invested for a long time, their system seems to flag those transactions. Maybe it would be sufficient to invest those funds for a short period, but it’s hard to tell what their exact criteria is.


Think so, too.

I’ve been doing a few conversions a year. I may convert 8‘000 CHF every three or four months. Neither withdrawing immediately nor the amount converted. Though since I‘m having a standing order for a monthly withdrawal of 1500 or 2000 Euros, it can somewhat obviously be inferred that I’m converting for withdrawal.

I either never received a complaint - or must have ignored the message.


After reading up on here on effective ways to convert EUR to CHF, I went ahead and did so via IBKR.

After wiring myself back the money I got the following message:

" Dear Client,

Our records indicate that you have recently used your account (U********) to primarily convert deposited funds to another currency and then withdraw those funds. IBKR offers currency conversion as a convenience to clients who largely trade securities or commodities. **Please use your IBKR account for investing in securities or commodities, in order to avoid restrictions on your ability to convert currency."

I guess it’s not so much a good option anymore then…

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As has been reported here on the forum recently.


Well, was your account restricted?

It’s only a warning I believe.

N.B. I use IBKR usually otherwise for my regular investments. The FX operation was a larger one for a RE downpayment.

My feedback, as I also would like to understand what triggers the warning.

In May I transferred to IB 80k euro, exchanged 40k to CHF (which is my base currency, in case it makes a difference), and withdraw those. No warning. I left the other 40k with IB, to be exchanged at the end of June.

I did the same in January (70k euro in, 40k chf out), no warning, and in February 40k euro in, 20k chf out. Never had the warning.

Could it be that leaving a decent amount of cash into the account prevents the warning?


In comparison to those money transfers, How much asset did you keep investing at IB ?
How much annual salary did you declare when you register ?

As an example I wired every few months 1/15th of the ETF capitalisation invested at IB.

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I have 250k invested, adding 15k/month. I don’t remember the salary declared, but it was coherent with the amounts transferred.

I have already converted large amounts of CHF on IB to transfer to a EU account after converting to EUR without issue. As long as you are doing trades on the platform that’s no issue, they only complain when doing this is the sole purpose of your account…

I would use IB, but you will get a warning message from them for doing this transaction

They are much more strict now, FYI.

Can you please elaborate?

IB used to be pretty popular for conversion for some of my coworkers, and a lot of them report getting much sterner warning or account lock in the past few months

Even when having some investment held with IB.

I still do conversions for the sole purpose of converting and I have never received any inquiries. I am far from being a high net worth individual ^^, yet I trade options regularly although fees on those are rather small especially for my rather low volume lol.

Same experience here. Last year I traded maybe 10K and deposited-converted-withdrew ~200K. No complaints.

Are there some specific rules/guidelines?