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Automate your investments with Interactive Brokers in 2024

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)

Interactive Brokers recently introduced a new feature to automate your investments: Recurring investments. Many people have been waiting for this feature for a long time.

Indeed, many people want to automate their investments as much as possible. And this was not possible before with Interactive Brokers. But now everything changed. You can entirely automate your investments!

So, we will see exactly how to automate your investments with Interactive Brokers and what that means.

IBKR Recurring Investments

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Until recently, you had to make all trades by hand with Interactive Brokers (IB). I do not think this is a big deal since I make all my trades directly on the interface, and it is only a few minutes a month. However, many people want an extra level of automation.

As of December 2022, automated investments are now possible. Indeed, IB introduced a new feature called Recurring Investments. This feature lets the user configure some investments that happen at regular intervals.

For instance, you could configure IB to invest 5000 USD in Vanguard Total World ETF (VT) monthly and 1000 CHF in Nestlé every two months.

You can use this feature with US and European stocks and ETFs. However, you can only use this feature on stocks that allow fractional trading. Indeed, the IBKR Recurring Investments feature is based on fractional trading.

Fractional trading allows users to buy a fraction of a share instead of a full share. This is important for the recurring investments feature to work. So, you must first get permission to trade fractional stocks (in your account settings) before using recurring investments.

For your automated investment, you can select different schedules, and IB will choose the proper day based on your start date and schedule. Currently, it is possible to use these schedules:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Biweekly
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Semiannually
  • Annually

The monthly recurring investment will make the most sense for most European people. In the US, people are paid twice a month, so a biweekly frequency makes sense.

Similar orders from all customers using this feature will be grouped and executed. This is done through Volume-Weighted Average Price (VWAP) orders. This is a special order type on IB. It is not important to know the details, but it is essential to know that All users with recurring investments in the same stock or ETF on the same day receive the same average price.

If the order starts on a day when the market is closed, the order will start the next open day.

It is also interesting to know that if you do not have the currency necessary for the trade, IB will convert the currency automatically. The documentation is not entirely clear as to how this will be performed. But I trust IB will use a similar kind of order on the Forex market and that execution will be suitable.

IB has two pricing schemes, Fixed and Tiered. Recurring investments should use the same scheme you have chosen for your manual operations. So, overall, fees will be extremely cheap and similar to what you are used to paying on your standard investments.

It is important to note that the fees on the fractional part of the share will be pricier than on the full part. If buy 1.2 shares, the fees on the 1 share will be standard but the fees on the 0.2 shares will be higher because there is a minimum of 1% for some shares (at least European shares). For large operations, this will not make a difference. But if you are trading a few shares, and especially for less than one full share, this may become pricier.

So, without further ado, here is how to automate your investments with IB.

Automate your investments with IB

If you already have an account, you can start automating your investments now. If you do not, you must first create an Interactive Brokers account.

Access the Recurring Investments feature from the menu
Access the Recurring Investments feature from the menu

Now that we know everything we need, it is time to learn how to automate your investments with IB! The new feature is available from the menu under Trade.

Before you automate your investments, the Recurring Investments should be empty
Before you automate your investments, the Recurring Investments should be empty

If that is your first use of this feature, you should arrive on a mostly empty page. Otherwise, you will see a list of your current recurring investments. From there, you can click the “Create Recurring Investment” button, and you will be able to create your first recurring investment.

Search the investment you want to automate
Search the investment you want to automate

First, you must search for the investment you want to automate. For instance, if you want to automate your investments in VT, you can put VT in Symbol and press Search. This is simple.

On the next screen, you can configure your recurring investment. First, you will need to select the start and end date. You can set them very far apart if you want to keep that recurring investments for a long time. In my example, I have set up one year.

Then, you can choose the amount. You cannot select the currency because this is fixed based on the asset you have selected in the previous step. If you had picked a Swiss share like UBS, you would have seen CHF on the second screen.

Finally, you can choose the interval. In my example, I have selected monthly, but you can choose whatever you want.

Once you are ready, press Continue, and you will get an overview of the investment before finalization.

Overview of your new automated investment
Overview of your new automated investment

On this, you will get some disclosure information. You should read it at least once on your first recurring investment. Then, on the right part, you will get a summary of your automated investment.

For instance, for my example, we can see a monthly investment of 1000 USD in VT. Over one year, this will cost me 12’000 USD.

You should double-check all this data. Once you have checked everything, press “Save Investment,” and your recurring investment will become active.

Congratulations, you have automated your investments in VT!
Congratulations, you have automated your investments in VT!

Your recurring investment is now active! By this time, you have successfully automated your investments on IB! On the next screen, you can see the new active recurring investment.

All your automated investments in one place
All your automated investments in one place

From here, you can update your recurring investments if you want. And you can start adding more if your portfolio has more than one position.

And this is already the end of the process. The process is very simple and was made to help you automate your investments in the simplest way possible.

Automate your deposits with IB

If you want to automate your investments, you must also automate your deposits. Fortunately, automating your deposits with IB for a long time has been possible.

 

Access Transfer Funds from the Menu
Access Transfer Funds from the Menu

First, you can access the proper view from the menu Transfer & Pay and then Transfer Funds.

Choose Make a deposit
Choose Make a deposit

Then, you can choose “Make a Deposit”, as you would normally do a standard (non-recurring) deposit.

Choose a deposit method
Choose a deposit method

Then, you will need to choose a deposit method. Here, I only have my Migros bank account as a source. If you have not set up one, read my guide on investing with IB. It will help you.

Automate your deposits on IB
Automate your deposits on IB

Finally, this view is where you can set up the deposit as recurring. Just check the box “Make this a recurring transaction?” and your deposit will be set to recurring. You can then choose the frequency, start date, and end date, similar to automated investments.

Once you have configured everything, you can click on “Get Transfer Instructions” and this will take you to a confirmation page.

You must confirm your recurring deposit with your password and second authentication factor. Make sure you double-check the information before your click on Save.

Transfer instructions on your recurring deposit
Transfer instructions on your recurring deposit

Congratulations, you have now successfully set up an automated deposit on IB. You only have to automate it on your bank side, ensuring you are using the proper information in the message so that IB can identify you.

With these two parts (automated investments and recurring deposits), you can fully automate your investments!

Conclusion

The best broker
Interactive Brokers
5.0
No custody fees

The broker you need to buy stocks and ETFs reliably and at extremely affordable prices. Trade U.S. stocks for as little as 0.5 USD!

Pros:
  • Extremely affordable
  • Wide range of investing instruments
Invest your money Read My Review

It is now possible to automate your investments with Interactive Brokers! Many investors will be delighted with this feature. I have often been asked whether automated investments were possible, and now I can finally answer yes!

I do not intend to automate my investments. I do not think this is useful, since this makes people too complacent. Nevertheless, it is much better to automate your investments than not invest! And I know that many people disagree with me. Therefore, if this feature helps you invest, it is a great feature!

What about you? What do you think about this feature?

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Photo of Baptiste Wicht

Baptiste Wicht started thepoorswiss.com in 2017. He realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. Since 2019, he has been saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

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85 thoughts on “Automate your investments with Interactive Brokers in 2024”

  1. Hi! I want to close my account at IB. What steps shall I take? I was searching online, but couldn’t find practical steps. Thank you

  2. Hi Baptiste!

    Thank you for this article! I value very much all of your content :)
    Could you please elaborate on this comment?
    “I do not plan on automating my investments. I do not think this is useful since this makes people too complacent”

    Cheers

    1. Hi Camila,

      The problem with automation is that most people forget it. Let’s say you automate everything to invest 10% of your income. On year X, this may be 1000 CHF per month, if you earn 10’000 CHF. But if five years later, you earn 12’000 CHF, you are only investing about 8.2% instead of 10%.
      If you can manage to automate it but keep checking on it and update it (does not sound like much automation), then it’s probably fine.
      But keep in mind that I am in the minority. Most people in this community want as much automation as possible.

  3. Can I start a dividend portfolio on IBKR beeing an European (Portuguese) citizen and reinvest all my dividends (supposing that there is a limit like 10$ to make an auto-invest) on a pie of stocks that I choose the percentage of investmnet?
    Like… Can I make a Pie where i choose wich percentage goes to a certain stock (like 10% on stock A, 40% on stock B and 50% on stock C) and the broker will automatically reinvest my divedends over time (like if i have some cash on IBKR, it will automatically invest that percentages if I have a certain minimum amount of cash)?

    1. Hi Pedro,

      No, you can’t do that. You can do auto-invest operations for each of your stocks, but you will to have to set fixed amount of dollars for each. so, as your dividend grows, you can update these numbers.
      You can also enable dividend reinvesting, but this wont’ respect a percentage, will just reinvest in each stock.

  4. I have set up a recurring investment however, it does not convert the currency and execute the trades automatically. How can I solve the issue?

      1. The problem is solved now.
        Apparently the trade is executed later in the day instead of immediately after market open as mentioned by IBKR. Thanks for quick response.

  5. Just confirming, in order to set up recurring investments, I MUST have the recurring deposit feature set up as well? It said I wasn’t eligible for recurring investments after I allowed fractional investing on my account so I assume this fixes it.

    1. Hi Josh,

      The recurring deposit is just to automate deposits, it’s not mandatory for recurring investments.
      Normally, you only need the fractional trading permissions for recurring investments. What does the message say?

      1. For some reason it works now! I enabled fractional trading permissions and it all of a sudden decided to work today. Thank you for the quick response.

      2. Some permissions need a day to be enabled and many of the permissions are checked by humans, so they make taken even longer. This may explain it.

        Glad that it worked!

  6. Useful info thanks :-). If you Trade just for 1000 CHF you pay each time min. 2 dollar to transfer CHF to USD (Tier1) or 0.20 Basis Pts.

    Do you know what happen if you make 2 Orders for example

    1x ETF A 750 CHF
    1x ETF B 250 CHF

    Do you pay then twice for changing CHF to USD (4USD) ;-)?

  7. Thanks a lot for sharing such a valuable info!
    Can the currency translation be automated too?
    If I transfer in CHF and invest in USD, do I need to manually translate every month?
    Cheers

      1. Somehow it does not work so for me.

        When I attempt to setup the recurring buy, either it prompt an error that says:

        You cannot create a recurring investment for VPP at ACCA.

        Then I tried manually converting my SGD to USD and now, rather than prompting the error, it simply just refreshes the page everytime I press Continue after filling up the create new recurring investment settings.

        It might be because my new account isn’t setup correctly. Manual transaction (With correct currency) works perfectly well though. So I dont think it has something to do with my trade permissions on the specific share.

        Either way IBKR is seems very glitchy and buggy and the GUI design is horribly amateurish with very little consideration for user experience.

        I wasted 2 full days on these.

      2. Sorry to hear about your experience.

        Could you share what ETF you are trying? There are indeed ETFs that do not support this feature.
        What’s VPP and ACCA?

      3. It is actually VOO VANGUARD S&P 500 ETF that I’m trying to trade. It didnt prompt me other error.

        If I trade a stock that doesnt support fractional shares, I would get an error prompting I cant trade recurring on that particular share. But not these ETF which are supposed to work well with recurring

      4. That’s very weird indeed. This ETF should work with recurring investments. I don’t know what you can do about it except continuing talking with IB support, they should be able to resolve.

  8. Too bad, this feature doesn’t apply to EU ETFs (since they do not allow fractional shares).

    1. Yes, indeed, this only applies to shares we can trade in fractions. But for a Swiss investor there is almost no reason to buy a EU ETF, so it’s not a big deal :) But not practical for Swiss ETFs.

      1. Hi Baptiste, many thanks for all the valuable hints! Could you elaborate on your comment “for a Swiss investor there is almost no reason to buy a EU ETF”? What are the advantages/disadvantages of EU ETFs vs US ETFs in terms of fees, taxes, etc.? Thanks!

  9. When setting a recurring investment, is there any particular day, or week, in a month where stocks are cheaper? I’d assume that price has some positive correlation to when people get their salary but not sure if there is rule of thumb here. Thanks!

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