Top managing a portfolio questions

  • Do I have to be a Registered Investment Adviser to become a Portfolio Manager on Covestor’s marketplace?
    Yes. You need to be a Registered Investment Adviser (“RIA”) or a Registered Hedge Fund Manager.
  • How much can I earn?
    We do not impose limits on the amount of compensation you may earn on our platform but your compensation depends on the number of Covestor clients and assets they decide to invest in your portfolio. We pass on to you most of the management fees we charge to Covestor clients investing in your portfolio. On standard portfolios, we keep 0.25% of the fee and pass the rest on to you. On portfolios that charge performance fees, we retain 2% of the 2%-12% charged to clients of their investment’s net positive performance.
  • Does Covestor support currency, futures or options trading?
    Covestor supports stock and options trading. We do not currently offer currency or futures trading.
  • I am not a US citizen. Can I manage a portfolio?
    Yes. Non-US citizens can manage portfolios. You must be registered as an investment adviser in the US with either the Securities and Exchange Commission or one or more US state securities regulators and be able to open a US-dollar-denominated brokerage account with Interactive Brokers. You are only able to establish positions in US listed equities (including ADRs), options and ETFs.
  • How do I send in my performance history?
    We are able to display historical performance history for RIAs and Registered Hedge Fund Managers with track records that are GIPS-verified, provided by Interactive Brokers with your permission or, audited by a third-party accountant or auditor. Once you have returned the agreement and portfolio profile form, our Manager Relations team will contact you about this.
  • Can I use my existing brokerage account?

    If you currently have an account with Interactive Brokers, you may be able to use that account and link it to Covestor or open another IB account.

    If you do not have an existing account with Interactive Brokers, you will need to establish one there before being able to offer a portfolio on Covestor.

    With your permission, Interactive Brokers is able to provide us with a real-time view of your trading activity and cash position for purposes of live replication in client accounts investing in your portfolio.

    Once you sign up to manage a portfolio on Covestor, we send you all the information needed to open an Interactive Brokers account linked to Covestor.

Top trial account questions

  • Is there any cost involved in opening a trial account?
    None at all. There is no cost and no obligation beyond completing the brief registration form.
  • Can I deposit more virtual dollars?
    To add more virtual money to your account contact us.
  • Can I reset my trial and start again?
    Yes, contact us to have your account reset with $100,000 in virtual money. You will, however, have no performance history.
  • Can I change my risk score?
    Yes. You can change your risk score at any time in your account settings.
  • How does a client account differ from a trial?
    Client accounts are funded accounts where real trades are executed on your behalf in your own brokerage account. To become a Covestor client account you will be required to open a brokerage account with Interactive Brokers and fund it with at least US$10,000. Learn more about opening a client account and detailed differences between trial and client accounts.
  • If I upgrade will I lose my trial account?
    Yes. When your client account is set up and funded your trial account will be disabled. You can always open a new trial account using a different email address.

Top general questions

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  • How do I submit feedback?
  • How do I report system abuse?

Performance drift

Top client account questions

  • What are the fees?
    Covestor only charges fees on investments you make in your account.  There are no entry fees, exit fees, load fees or other hidden charges. The only other fees you will be charged are those levied by the broker. Learn more about Covestor fees.
  • What is the minimum deposit required?
    To open an account you need to fund it with a minimum of $10,000.  If you plan to invest in a number of portfolios, or those that trade heavily we recommend that you fund the account with a minimum of $30,000 to prevent your account being locked under SEC pattern day trading rules.
  • Can I invest in more than one portfolio?
    Yes. You can invest in as many portfolios as you want in a single account. When you sign in to Covestor you can see your positions, both in aggregate and broken out by investment.
  • How long does it take to replicate a trade?
    Typically trades are replicated within one minute. Actual times may vary.
  • Why is there a difference between the manager's performance and my own?
    We call this drift. There are a number of causes of drift including replication time, risk score, and stock exclusions. Drift is typically caused by managers trading outside of the trading rules, or in securities that are not replicated for clients. Learn more about performance drift.
  • Will I be able to invest in all portfolios?
    The subset of portfolios you can invest in is determined by your risk score as well as the type of account you have opened with your broker. Some Portfolio Managers have opted for accounts with extended trading capabilities (e.g., immediate settlement of trades, ability to use leverage, etc.). If your account does not possess the same abilities, Covestor would not be able to replicate the Portfolio Manager's trades in your account. This is why some portfolios could be unavailable to you. For further details on account types, please contact us.

Top Smart Beta questions

  • How are Covestor Smart Beta portfolios different from other portfolios on Covestor?
    The Covestor Investment Management team, under the leadership of Chief Investment Officer Sanjoy Ghosh, manages Covestor’s Smart Beta portfolios. The team is responsible for undertaking a systematic process to select stocks, construct the portfolios, continually monitor for any relevant events and periodically (at least quarterly) rebalance the portfolios.

    The other portfolios on the Covestor platform are managed by third-party investment advisers or hedge fund managers. These portfolio managers fund and trade a proprietary manager-owned brokerage account. In contrast, for each Covestor Smart Beta portfolio, Covestor funds and trades a proprietary Covestor-owned brokerage account. In both cases, each trade made by the portfolio manager (or Covestor) is automatically replicated in clients’ brokerage accounts based on which portfolios the clients have selected to invest in.

  • What is a 'fractional share'?
    A fractional share is a unit of stock that amounts to less than one full share. More information here Nasdaq
  • Can fractional shares be traded on public exchanges?
    Stocks cannot be traded in fractions on public exchanges, which means that you need a counterparty willing to transact with you in fractional shares.
  • What is the ‘lockout period’ and how does it apply to my Covestor account?
    A lockout period starts 3 business days before each Smart Beta portfolio rebalance and ends right after each rebalance. During each lockout period, we will not allow clients to make any initial, additional or recurring investments in any Smart Beta portfolios. If you request such a transaction during a lockout period, Covestor will send your transaction request for execution on the first trading day following a rebalance.
  • Does this mean I cannot redeem my money from Smart Beta in the lockout period?
    No. The lockout period does not affect any partial or full redemption instructions for Smart Beta portfolio investments you place in your Covestor account (i.e. partial or full divestments from any of the Smart Beta portfolios). You may redeem some or all of your investments in any Smart Beta portfolio at any time. But, if you have a cash (rather than margin) brokerage account at Interactive Brokers and engage in redemptions less than 3 business days after a rebalance, Interactive Brokers may require you to fully pay for any purchases in your account on the date of each trade for the next 90 days.
  • How will I know whether one of my investment instructions has occurred during a lockout period?
    The confirmation you receive when you submit an investment instruction will indicate that the portfolio is under lockout and will also inform you of the date on which your instruction will be processed.

Top trading options questions

  • How do I become eligible for investing in portfolios that trade options at Covestor?
    To be eligible to invest in portfolios that trade options, you will first need options trading permission at Interactive Brokers. This is an opt-in permission that you must set in your IB account after confirming that you have received and read a document by the Options Clearing Corporation. Additionally, to enable options trading in your Covestor account, you will also need to enable options trading in your Covestor account by reviewing, acknowledging and signing the enable options screen.
  • What are some of the risks of trading options?

    Options trading involves a high degree of risk, is highly speculative, and is not suitable for all investors.

    Trading options may result in the total loss of premiums and transaction costs.

    Options have an inherent leverage because each contract provides derivative exposure to a larger number of the underlying security (usually 100 shares). Each option contract is inexpensive relative to the value of the underlying exposure but a small change in the value of the underlying stock may cause a significantly larger move in the value of the option.

    Options have an ‘asymmetrical payoff’, which means that, as the underlying security price changes, the option may change in price by a different amount. This rate varies depending on whether you are long or short as well as a variety of other factors.

    Options are time-sensitive investments. If you buy an option, you could lose your entire investment even with a correct prediction about the direction and magnitude of a particular price change. For example, the price change does not occur in the relevant time period (i.e. before the option expires).

    Trading halts in the underlying security or other trading conditions (e.g., volatility, system failures) may cause the trading market for one or all options to be unavailable, in which case the holder or writer of an option would not be able to engage in a closing transaction, and would remain obligated until expiration or assignment.

    Options are less tangible than some other investments. Stocks offer certificates, and trade on liquid exchanges, but an option is a book entry-only investment without a paper certificate of ownership. While you are not required to hold an option through expiration, the opportunity to relinquish it may be limited depending on market conditions.

    You should carefully review The Options Clearing Corporation’s ("OCC") disclosure document “Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options” and Interactive Brokers LLC’s “OCC Risk Disclosure Statement and Acknowledgements.”

    If you are uncomfortable with the level of risk associated with options trading, you should not trade options and should contact Covestor at 1.866.825.3005 to let us know.

  • Can my performance be different from my Portfolio Manager's performance?

    Yes. Covestor will attempt to mirror the options trading in the portfolio a client invests in but may not be able to perfectly replicate the same proportion of options in the client’s account that the Portfolio Manager holds in his account. The performance in the client’s account may be significantly different or worse than that of the Portfolio Manager’s account for several reasons, including but not limited to the following:

    Integer replication:Covestor is unable to transact partial options contracts. This will result in the client’s account holding proportionally less or more options than the Portfolio Manager. As options are leveraged instruments and options positions often have associated stock positions, this position imbalance between the client’s and the Portfolio Manager’s accounts could result in the client account having significantly different performance, leverage, levels of risk and trading costs than the portfolio he invests in.

    Illiquidity:The liquidity of options contracts in a portfolio varies from one day to the next. Depending on when a client chooses to invest in an options portfolio, certain contracts may or may not be easily traded, which may result in the client’s account having different performance, leverage, levels of risk and trading costs than the portfolio he invests in.

    Frequent cash flows:If a client frequently redeems options investments from his account, his account will have proportionally more or less options and associated stock positions than that of the Portfolio Manager, as certain positions are liquidated or additional margin is utilized in order to generate cash for redemptions. Performance drift will also result from frequent cash additions to the options investments in the client’s account.