Most brokers in the UK have to abide by rules set by FSA.
These rules are very strict, they can lose license if rules are broken.
One of the rules is! > the broker must always act in the best interest of the customer first and NOT the company interests. In the USA it seems the rules are the other way around
Example if the customer was in hospital for any reason accident or operation etc etc and could not possibly know whats happenning with the position the brokers would have phoned him about the problem if there was NO reply and time was a major factor to position?! They would have acted to close position to close and the client would NOT have suffered a loss at all.
He had the wrong broker its that simple!! I would NOT use IB for derivatives.
I think that this has nothing to do with acting in the best interest of the customer. How does the broker know what is the best interest of the customer? If ITM options were let expire worthless customers will complain about that and you would probably claim overhere that the broker did not act in the best interest of the customer. And close the position? When and how should that be done? No matter how they choose to do it there will be some-one complaining because it's not in there best interest.
I think IB has done it the best way they can. They've set clear rules and stick to it. It's clear and imho clearity is in the best interest of the customer. Customers may prefer a different set of rules, if so, they're free to choose another broker. If this customer is so stupid not to inform himself its not the fault of IB, it's the personal responsibility of this particular customer.