IB Best-ECN is a joke

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by trader1, Jul 19, 2001.

  1. trader1


    I have only been using IB for a short time but I'm already dying to go back to a real broker with Realtick. The commissions are great but the software stinks. Today I tried to grab a stock right at the bottom, I bid .20 cents above the best ask with best ecn. There were plenty of shares on several ecn's (I was watching on level 2) and trades were going of .15 cents below my bid. But the order just froze., No execution and when I tried to cancel, It wouldn't cancel either. I called support and they lay the blame of on ARCA getting hung up. After everything I still dont know for sure if the order cancelled or excuted or anything. Arca told them they can't find the order but that doesn't mean anything. They better not tell me tommorrow that I was actually executed because the stock went up almost a point from where I tried to buy it but now tanked much lower. I was under the impression that with best ecn limit orders, it either hits another ecn if the price is within limit, or goes and sits on the island book, so I dont understand how it could possibly have gotten lost in the arca system. Has anyone else had these kind of problems with IB. I can put up with just about any technical problems with brokers, but not knowing whether I'm in a position or not, is unexcusable. What a waste!
  2. huby


    I've been using best ecn for a few weeks now. When it first came out it really sucked. It has been a lot better though lately. For the most part I can usually save a few pennies on each execution over island (depending on the stock) but I've noticed if the stock is really moving it is a bit slow and sometimes it misses all together. So if I'm trying to catch a fast mover I stick to island.
  3. fleance


    Unfortunately, IB has not documented the algorithm that BEST_ECN uses, so it is hard to speculate what the problem might be.

    There was a discussion in the thread "How Good is BEST" (65 messages).

    One theory was that IB's BEST_ECN does not use IOC (Immediate Or Cancel) orders when routing to ARCA and/or REDI. Some brokers call them ARCA NOW orders.

    One poster (Klaorman) said that Tradescape and Hold Brothers both use IOC orders when routing to ARCA.

    Sniper_Trader1 gave a link that Terranova uses ARCA NOW orders.

    dlinkke wrote "There is a bug with BEST_ECN that is currently being addressed by IB with regard to orders sent to REDI or ARCA when the targeted liquidity trades ahead. Since orders sent to those ECNs by BEST_ECN were not marked as IOC they could invoke those ECNs' proactive order handling algorithms and thus potentially end up with an MM (see the discussion above)."

    Overall, I have been happy with the BEST_ECN route compared to my experience with CyberTrader. I have executed 1000s of trades over the past few months now solely with BEST_ECN and 98% of the time I got a good execution. For order execution and clearing I give them high marks. My only issue is the user interface, which has horrible relatime position mgmt and difficult order entry, and compares poorly across the board when compared to CyberTrader or RealTick software.

    I have noticed that in a fast moving market, I have had situtations as you describe where I put in a buy limit order 10c above the offer, and didn't get a fill. I then entered another duplicate order and immediately got a fill while the first order is unfilled. There are definately situations where ther BEST_ECN get stuck or confused in a fast market..


  4. fleance


  5. dlincke


    This problem was fixed a while ago. Unfortunately, IB went way beyond what was needed in the process by crippling those ECNs functionality instead of simply sending IOC orders. ARCA NOW does not have anything to do with IOC, it's ARCA's implementation of a BEST_ECN type routing.

    There in fact was a problem with ARCA getting stuck right around the time the NDX bottomed this afternoon. It caused me to miss a very nice trade myself because BEST and BEST_ECN got stuck.

    I guess now that IB has taken REDI and ARCA routing away from us in order to force us to use their inferior BEST routing we'll just have to accept to learn to live with "worse execution" or move our business elsewhere.
  6. trader1


    Thanks for the replies. This did happen to me right about the time the NDX bottomed today. They really have to figure out what they are doing with the best ECN and let traders in on their little "secret" algorithm so we know how and when best to use the system. There is no more helpless feeling then not knowing wheather you are filled or not and not being able to cancel out an order. That is simply unexcusable. I cant understand why they would not set the system up as immediate or kill for the best ecn when you cross the market and just put it on the island book when your ouside the market. I think that would make the most sense, then orders would never get stuck at the different exchanges. A trader can't be put into a position of being afraid to pull the trigger in a fast market because there is a chance of getting your order lost by the system. Not only did I miss a great trade but playing telephone tag with customer support basiclly took me out of the market for the last half hour or so when there were many great trading opportunities. I also think that the broker shouold take some of the responsibility for their screwed up system. They tell me that on the of chance that the order did fill and I get it put to my account tommorrow, it's my responsibility, one of the customer reps tells me thats part of "market risk". I think in situations where there screwed up system malfunctions, they should be the ones responsible for that trade if it comes out that it did get excuted and was lost on another exchange, instead of sticking the customer with it. I'm gettin the feeling that I'll be back looking for another broker very soon.
  7. dlincke


    That's basically how BEST_ECN works. Your problem was most likely due to the technical difficulties that ARCA experienced which prevented it from responding to your cancel request. This particular case does not seem to be a problem with BEST_ECN but would have happened with any other broker as well that sent your order to ARCA.

    Now that the early quirks have been worked out BEST_ECN has become a very reliable execution vehicle. The problems are with BEST, its use of SOES and SNet and rerouting delays especially around the open. Furthermore it's no longer possible to trade with MMs after hours and in the pre-market now that REDI and ARCA routing haven been disabled and whenever IB suffers from quote disruptions or one of their ECN links goes down there's no backup routing option available anymore.

    Good luck trying to find a broker that will take on responsibility for executions that are reported late.

  8. mamt8r


    From what I understand ARCA's modified orders (ie. NOW)
    are not available via a FIX connection. They are only available via Realtick. So I don't think that logic would be available on the BEST_ECN route. It could be true that ARCA was stuck in the pref. mode, and any experienced ARCA users know how that goes.
  9. dlincke


    As stated earlier on this thread, IB has globally disabled all active routing functions of ARCA. So even if they don't flag orders as IOC that BEST_ECN sends there those orders are never preferenced anywhere and are automatically rejected if they can't be filled from the book.
  10. mamt8r


    So it always goes out IOC? and if the route does not accept
    it (IOC) then it just moves on through the alogrithm to other routes?
    #10     Jul 20, 2001