I am trading ES futures options using the Road Trip Trade in an Interactive Brokers (IB) IRA and am researching switching to the separate custodian/broker route, primarily because IB inflates the margin requirements for IRA accounts. I have about $50K allocated for this.
I'd like to get feedback from those using another Custodian/Broker combination, especially if you have switched from IB. I'm looking into using Midland IRA with TradeStation or INTL FCStone, or Millenium Trust with Advantage Futures. Trading platform choices would include OptionsCity CityTrader, CQG Qtrader or CTS.
Reasons for staying with IB:
1. Familiar with platform
2. Less complexity/entities to deal with
3. Annual account cost could be greater using a custodian like Midland IRA?
4. Already up and running
Reasons to switch:
1. Decreased margin requirements
2. Possibly reduced overall costs?
Thanks and enjoy the holiday weekend,
IMO, the biggest risk you will have to face is the one from the custodian...
I am not a big fan of IBKR all the time, and I really dislike their 4x margin requirements, it keeps me out of some trade ideas a lot of times (which maybe is a good thing since I am still learning)... but I am a huge fan of their cost structure and funds safety... specially around their auto-sweep into the securities side... you have to keep in mind that FCM funds are not insured in any way (remember what happened to PFG and MFG)... and are also at risk at all times... not to mention, there has been over time a lot of fraud when it comes to SD IRA (which is what you will need for trading futures) custodians (and some failures as well..)..
now with all that said... what I found that worked the best for me was IRA Services Trust as a Custodian with Wedbush as an FCM.. that was after doing some research, and their costs are rather low. I dont trade options via them, but I wanted to CQG. I only trade calendars and flys outright seasonally. Keep in mind the custodian opens the account, and signs all documents, related to the trading account.
Their sites are as follows:
you can check the strength of any FCM here.. in case you are curious.
and some analysis around safety of funds when it comes to market risk.. (not fraud)