Interactive Brokers: which profile do you have Retail or Professional?

Hello all!
I’m new to the forum and I’m new to the Mustachian philosophy.
After reading the blog and some articles here and there for the past months, I’ve decided to eventually get started with investing.
So, a couple of days ago, I have created an account on Interactive Brokers.
Since I want to use the account just to invest some savings, I set up my profile as “Retail”.
As Mr Mustachian suggested, I “embellished” my experience a little bit, but I tried to be as honest as possible (I did not brag on my experience with investments, which is actually pretty limited).
Then I transferred money to the IB account and I converted them into USD. All good.
Then I tried to buy some shares of VT… and there: disaster! Every time I tried to buy, I got a popup saying “unknown error”.
I’ve tried to boost my experience level in my profile, thinking that the lack of privileges in trading was coming from that. But the popup is still there. And I cannot carry any transaction to buy any VT share.
I’ve contacted the Interactive Brokers support through the chat on the website and I was answered that “Switzerland accounts are under IB UK entity at IBKR, and PRIIP and MiFID is applicable”, which means that I have to upgrade my account from “Retail” to “Professional”.
I have thus tried to do that.
But to change the account to Professional, I have to upload documents (KB articles, brokerage statements and pay slips from a financial employer) proving that I have extensive experience in the domain and that I am already working as a professional.
And apparently, after providing proofs that I already am a professional trader, I have to take a sort of quiz-exam for proving that.
This sound a lot to me and I don’t think I can do all of that.
Has any of you encountered such issues with Interactive Brokers?
How did you circumvent them?

Have you tried with the Workstation (software on your pc) or the web interface?

Until end of 2020, “Switzerland accounts are under IB UK entity at IBKR, and PRIIP and MiFID is applicable” was not the case. Maybe this has changed or maybe the customer agent is wrong (this happened in the past).

I don’t know if @Leap @Voodoo @MUFC_OK have the same issue as there are new clients

Thank you for your answer, @wapiti

I did everything on the web interface as I don’t have the privileges to install software on the PC that I am using every day.
Do you think it can make a difference?
If so, I can try to find another PC to download and install the software…

But it’s good to know that the customer agent could be wrong (it leaves some room for hope at least) :sweat_smile:

I hope you’re not using your job pc to do trading.
If you are not in a hurry, you can maybe wait for the feedbacks of the other members

I’m In Switzerland, account in IB UK, official residence in Switzerland.

I sent a buy order for Vanguard ETF right now (13:48) without problems.


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I will wait a bit for feedback from other members.
I have not planned to retire before 10 years from now :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Thanks for the feedback @Tino
Do you have a “Retail” profile in IB?

Yes but you are an existing customer with transaction history and a (maybe :wink: ) quite fat portfolio already…

Yes. Standard one when you open the account.

Was it a US ETF?
(according to the IB support agent that is what makes all the difference)

Yes. I am. I don’t think that is something related to the size of the portfolio…could be if you have already the ETF.
FYI, in Degiro, despite I was in Switzerland, they didn’t let me buy VT… There you didn’t see the stock in the system.

Absolutely, was VXUS. VT = VTI + VXUS. I buy separately depending of the moment.

Yes, this is the reason why I eventually chose IB even though it looks more complex to manage and less user friendly

It is something I always wondered, why not use your job pc? It is probably more secure than your personal pc, isn’t it?

Yes in general, but you won’t be able to install software
In most companies, personnal stuff is forbidden even more for trading. You could potentially have issue with IT

And most likely, they (IT guys) could see your password. (–> use 2FA :slight_smile: )

For me it worked just fine. Transfered money, converted to USD and bought ETF, but I added my experience that I have

At my place of work, some light personal use is tolerated and the system installation are regulary redeployed, i.e. resetting. I still don‘t want to be the one catching a virus on the work PC.

Banking, online trading and financial services are explicitly forbidden by internal regulations though.
(We are dealing with money)

But are you actually allowed to trade at all? :sweat_smile:

I have bought 3 different US domiciled ETFs (including VT) on IB this January. No issues. I’m a retail customer with a cash account and passed the required knowledge tests when I opened my account the second half of last year (September I think). Therefore I still have a modest account there.

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