Does IB Hide ISE quotes on some stocks. Is this fraud?

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by BobG, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. BobG


    On my TWS, I have both the SMART and the Directed quotes showing. I realized recently that ISE never shows a bid or offer for several of my stocks. I checked the quotes from my other brokers and saw that ISE is showing bids and offers, I just can't see them through IB.

    These are stocks that IB claims on its website can be traded through IB and IB allows me to create an ISE data line for them. (Two examples are TIP and EFA).

    I assumed that this was a tech issue and opened a ticket. Customer "service" claims that this is deliberate and that IB chooses not to support routing trades for these securities to ISE or to display the ISE quotes for them.

    This sounds like fraud to me. If they don't want to support routing trades to ISE, they shouldn't list it on their website. The also shouldn't allow the creation of a dataline for ISE which displays blanks regardless of what the actual ISE quote is.

    Even if it's not fraud, I think most people would be surprised to learn that IB would prevent them from routing their trade to an exchange to which IB belongs and which has liquidity. I certainly was. It's not quite what one expects from a "direct access" broker.
  2. Are you looking for vicious attacks from all undercover IB "traders" on this website? :)
  3. BobG


    I'm not sure exactly what you meant by that.

    I was hoping that someone would confirm that this is a tech problem rather than a deliberate policy by IB. That would save me the trouble of filing a complaint with the NASD.
  4. samaritan

    samaritan Interactive Brokers

    Customer service gave you an erroneous answer. This is a problem with the way we are getting the ISE market data for the ARCA-listed stocks. We are not deliberately filtering the market data nor are we preventing your orders from being routed to ISE. If fact, if you direct route an order to ISE you will see it go "green".
    The market data issue will be fixed for Monday.
  5. BobG


    Well, that's interesting. We'll see if it really is fixed on Monday.

    It isn't as if this was a one-shot incorrect answer. I exchanged 20 messages back and forth after the obligatory 2 week wait for IB to address my ticket.

    I shouldn't be terribly surprised that IB, as usual, has no policies and procedures in place to ensure that its customer service people actually answer questions correctly or on a timely basis. Perhaps there should actually be some supervision or oversight?

    BTW, I find it very interesting that IB customer service reps thinks it's entirely reasonable and within the IB culture that IB would deliberately prevent its customers from seeing quotes from certain markets and prevent them from routing there.
  6. Say Bob, I assume that answered your question. One wouldn't know because you're still bitching. I will also assume that you no longer think it's "fraud". LOL!

    By the way, there are any number of brokers that don't show quotes from specific exchanges to their customers. Nor do they allow their customers the right to route to specific exchanges either. As far as I know, there's no requirement that they do so. Just thought you might be interested in that perspective. That said, I would also say that it's difficult to control what a customer service rep says at any particular time. What would you like IB to do exactly? Have a manager sitting beside each rep to make sure he doesn't give some ridiculous answer?


  7. BobG


    Interesting. On most message boards, posts by long time members with low post counts are quite informative. Those are the people who only post when they have something substantive to say.

    I guess you're the exception that proves the rule. The only content in your post is that you didn't like the fact that I posted again.

    Lets respond to your comments one at a time

    Well, actually not yet. What I have now is two IB employees who disagree. I don't yet have any reason to conclude that Samaritan is correct and IB customer service incorrect.

    If I believe Samaritan, then either a) IB knew about this data issue for weeks and didn't feel the need to alert people through one of their ubiquitous "bulletins"; or b) IB found out about the issue through my posting on this board.

    If I believe IB customer service, then IB deliberately reports false information on the ISE quote line.

    As I said in the post which you didn't like, we may find out on Monday. If the problem goes away on Monday, then I'll believe Samaritan was correct. (BTW, would you like to make a wager as to whether that's going to happen?)

    Even if the problem goes away on Monday, it should hardly be surprising that I would be annoyed about wasting hours trying to correct a problem through IB's designated channel and only getting it fixed after posting on a public message board.

    If IB customer service turns out to be correct, I'll be letting the NASD make that call.

    I agree that it would be entirely IB's choice not to offer trading through ISE. I think it would be fraud to claim to offer ISE, but falsely show that there are no bids and offers on ISE.

    Yes, I'm well aware of that. Your clue to that effect might have been in the OP when I referred to "direct access broker" which is what IB claims to be. (Those other brokers are the ones that aren't direct access.) I'm not sure why that's relevant to my complaint that IB isn't offering the service they claim to offer.

    I guess you're not aware that, in the securities industry, interaction with retail clients is subject to extensive compliance requirements. There actually is a regulatory requirement to supervise these discussions. While an individual CS may be off the reservation, it shouldn't continue for days without any managerial intervention. Perhaps IB should train their reps that if a customer's inquiry is unusual, and particularly if a customer strongly disagrees with the response, the answer should be reviewed with a supervisor.

    Unfortunately, IB has made a business decision to offer only the bare minimum of customer service with the excuse that they don't deal with people who need "hand holding".
  8. def

    def Interactive Brokers


    IB routes to over 70 exchanges worldwide. While it would be ideal for each CS to know the details of every exchange, it isn't practical. However, they should know when to pass along an item to programming when they aren't sure. In this case, they didn't understand the issue and as a result provided inaccurate information. Samaritan, intimately knows the code and I would go with his comments.
  9. Everybody knows IB market data sucks. Use third-party market data and IB to route out your orders.
  10. BobG


    Thanks for responding Def.

    I've seen your IB related posts for years, so I think you have a lot of credibility. If you vouch for Samaritan's reponse, I'm willing to assume it's correct. (I'd certainly revise the odds on my offer to bet that IB won't correct the problem by Monday as he promised.)

    Unfortunately, this is not an isolated instance of a single customer service rep mistaken about an obscure question. IB appears to have made a conscious business decision to disregard its obligations to communicate accurately and effectively with clients.

    This case is just one of many examples of IB's poor supervision of its customer service function. In this particular case, IB's designated rep repeatedly claimed that IB had made a deliberate decision to block access to a large exchange for particular high volume securities. Apparently neither his training, nor his awareness of IB's mission, nor my repeated expressions of disbelief led him to think he should consult with a supervisor about this question.

    Even Samaritan's response begs a serious question. How long has IB know about this routing/quote problem? I first complained to IB about it in December. IB never alerted its customers about it. Miraculously, however, it will be fixed on the next business day after I complained about it on a public forum.
    #10     Mar 14, 2008