IB Margin Violation Warning, because my closed positions are now open.


Junior member
I have been trying to contact Interactive Brokers but they don't offer any support until 16:00 EST, so I have thought that maybe someone here could help me. I'd really appreciate it, as I'm very worried.

Last Friday I had some in the money put options that expired that day. To close those positions, I bought an equivalent amount of shares and then manually exercised my puts. That way, I closed my October put options position. I no longer had shares nor October options. After that, I reinvested the new available money in some November puts.

Yesterday I received the following email notification from Interactive Brokers:

"Margin Violation Warning(Excess Liquidity) for acct

ALERT: URGENT: the financial capacity of this account is deficient compared to the margin requirement. Liquidation of positions may commence without further notice."

I didn't know what was going on, so I logged in the TWS. And there I saw (and still see) that I still have the shares that I bought on Friday (to close my puts), and also my October puts! It's completely absurd, I manually exercised my puts, and therefore closed both the puts and shares positions. And, even if I hadn't manually exercised them, all of them finished in the money, so they should be automatically exercised, closing also that way my shares and October options positions.

As I still in theory have those October puts and the equivalent amount of shares that I bought on Friday to close my puts, I'm being asked for an enormous margin. And, as I reinvested the money in new puts, now I don't have enough "excess liquidity" (it's negative). Everything was OK when the market closed on Friday, but yesterday suddenly I was again with the shares and options that I had already closed, therefore needing to have more money in my account.

Could somebody tell me if this is normal and will just be solved, or if I did something wrong? I'm very scared from that email, and I also received this one yesterday:

"Margin Violation Warning(Look Ahead Excess Liquidity) for acct

ALERT: URGENT: in less than 10 minutes there will be a change in margin requirements for one or more positions in your portfolio, and, based on current projections, your account will be in margin deficiency. The change may be due to the end of a reduced intraday margin period, or other regular schedule. To avoid possible forced liquidation of positions, please examine your portfolio and reduce your margin exposure. You can see the `lookahead' margin in the TWS Account Window."
Manually exercising your options to sell your shares is NOT the same as simply selling your shares. Exercise takes place after hours, therefore at the close of business on Friday you still show both the shares and the options. This will net out on the next business day. Meanwhile you used money you didn't have (because exercise is after hours, not immediate) to make new purchases. You need to have 100% cash available to purchase the options.

I have just seen that now all those shares and October put options are closed, and therefore my "excess liquidity" is again positive :D
I had that happen to me with IB. They use wierd models when it comes to calculating your margin on options. I tried to buy(close) a vertical spread and the system told me I can not 'buy' postions because of insufficient margin... Getting on a phone with them did not help much.. I had to deposit more cash))