Interactive Brokers Group is rolling out platform enhancements that it hopes will attract more financial advisors.

Known as a deep discounter catering to active traders and small hedge funds, the firm also has a growing RIA custody business.

As of mid-October, Interactive Brokers (IB) served 4,289 RIAs, up about 11 percent year over year, said Steve Sanders, executive vice president of product development.

One new platform enhancement is a CRM interface, now in beta test, that better integrates with account-management functions and works on mobile devices, Sanders said.

The old CRM software “is not as pretty and intuitive as the new one,” he added.

In September, IB opened up to non-clients its account-aggregation and portfolio-analysis system. The now-public Portfolio Analyst service lets potential advisors and customers check out the analytics and reports IB offers.

Portfolio Analyst is “phenomenal [and] extremely accurate,” said Parker Evans, president of Successful Portfolios of Clearwater, Fla., who custodies assets at IB. The one drawback is that the program lacks some asset classification functionality, he said, so it doesn’t yet match Morningstar’s portfolio X-Ray feature.

Over the last year, IB has also been shoring up its banking and cash managements services—an area advisors say had been lacking. The firm doesn’t offer check writing, but Sanders says that with bill-pay capability and a debit card that integrates with investment accounts, customers don’t need paper checks. Credit is extended with a loan against securities—at a current interest rate of 3.69 percent or lower, not the 19 percent charged by credit cards, Sanders said, adding that there’s no need to move money around when IB pays 1.69 percent on idle cash ($100,000 minimum required).

Firm-wide as of September, total customer equity in all channels increased 23 percent year over year, to $142.5 billion. IB’s institutional business, which includes RIAs and brokerage firms as well as hedge funds and proprietary trading groups, make up about 65 percent of total assets.

It’s still a small player compared to Schwab’s nearly $3.6 trillion in total assets and TD Ameritrade’s $1.3 trillion.

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