IB for longer tem trading - okay so far

Discussion in 'Interactive Brokers' started by FanOfFridays, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. I took the plunge with an IB acccount after a few years of hesitation because of all the negativity that I read here. I am not a scalper.

    My experience thus far - account opening smooth, although the contract leaves them the option of simply saying 'Sue me' if anything goes wrong on their end and winds up costing you money. However, technically speaking, any brokerage contract you sign is the same way.

    Most importantly, I have been able to get someone to answer the phone within a few minutes each time I called. I called with a bunch of 'I'm just starting out with TWS, can you help me with something' type calls. Admittedly, I know the language of instruments, exchanges, order types, etc. My experience was that the guys were business-like yet perfectly willing to help me out and explain things to me. I believe that a lot of people simply don't know how to talk to guys who are on these types of desks. They don't want to chat with you and hear your problems.

    Is my account still coded 'new' and will this service level end if the system shows that I call too much? Maybe.

    For Canadian traders, the question is this - how much is it worth to you to know your funds are protected?

    I am getting the feeling lately that of all the 'IB screwed me' threads, half are started by people who created their own problems and aren't getting any sympathy from IB. The only thing I actually believe in at this point is the ongoing problem with TWS, and this seems to be an issue for very short term traders as much as anyone. I have a backup account. Do you?

    Maybe Canadian customer support is better than the norm...
  2. I've been defending IB now for several years.

    I noticed a number of years ago that many of the negative threads were by people who really didn't understand the platform, and hadn't read the users guide.

    Let me give you an example: we used to have innumerable people on here who would come on, berating IB because their stop would not execute afterhours. Come to find out, they had not checked the box which allows triggering outside of regular trading hours. User error. That's just one example, but their have been many, many others.

    We've had lots of threads where "IB stole my money", because someone went wrong with the wire. Interesting, because I've been wiring money back and forth to IB for years with no hitches at all. But there are some simple rules about wire transfers, which are located on the website and/or in the user's manual. Screw the rules up, and a problem results. Hello?

    Customer service. People say that IB has terrible customer service. Sometimes they say it without having even experienced it. LOL! (I'm not kidding). Now admittedly, in the years I have been a client, I have not had many occasions to call IB. But I have had a few. When I did, I got hold of someone who was businesslike, and addressed my problem with no BSing around....just the way I like it. Granted, there's a little of that east coast, NYC "tinge"....but I like that personally because I don't have time to say howdy doody for several minutes so that everyone can feel good. I want my problem addressed, so I can get back to trading. And that is what IB has given me, again, the few times I've had to call.

    I would recommend you do some reading of the user manual. Then if I were you I would go through the TWS platform, pull the drop down boxes down, look through the options there in detail. Play with the software. That's what I've done to familiarize myself with the product. I think you will come to appreciate the platform, and the firm.

    By the way, I'm thrilled with the conservative nature of the firm. I think my money is as safe here as it would be anywhere....and that's an important consideration for me.

    Also, I think you will find that the software is fine for trading, not just long term stuff. You might need a front end. IB provides BookTrader, something to take a look at. Or you can use ButtonTrader, a 3rd party frontend, or some of the others out there.

    Good luck.

  3. Hi OT
    Thanks for the comments. Another thing is this - it's usually the squeaky mice or squeaky newbies that are squeaking about IB. The old hands around here are the ones who generally defend them. The only exception was kiwi trader a few days ago. He's usually a defender of IB but was apparently having some problems with TWS.

    Yes, there's a lot of reading to do and not enough time to do it. I just went to the Button Trader site and checked it out - it seems worth a try. I am most interested in trying to integrate the IB data feed with my Amibroker s/w. I'm off to check into that now.

    I'm kind of kicking myself for not trying IB sooner. The universal account is beyond convenient. It's the only way to trade.
  4. I've put pressure on IB a couple of times to improve something I felt was important. They were kind enough to implement 5 second data (true highs and lows) in response to pressure from me and agreement from lots of others.

    I got really irascible the other day because they pulled 876 (which had cosmetic issues for me but messed up button trader) leaving me without a TWS that met my needs but they pulled finger and worked thru a couple of releases of 877 double quick so now I'm happy again. It was really very responsive.

    Also, they've been addressing queries on the internal IB bulletin boards which was my other bitch.

    So now I'm back to playing with the fools in the rating board (some of them are so so stupid). I've got teenagers so I love to take my frustrations out on the idiots here rather than my children ... a real win win :)
  5. Kiwi or OT, I could do a search and get a concensus, but since you guys are right here... aside from your recent thing (kiwi) do you guys download the app and run it from your computer or do you use the web-based version? I know what the answer should be but I just wanted to check...
  6. I use the standalone. Frankly I don't really know if there's a difference, but I've always used the standalone. Kiwi probably knows all the ins and outs of that.

    By the way, on the ButtonTrader, it's really a trading front-end. If you were only doing long term stuff I don't think you would really need it. Then too, BookTrader is IB's frontend, it's free, and may well suit anything you might need. There's a few others out there....zeroline, Ninja Trader (I think), etc etc.

    I started using ButtonTrader personally about 6 months ago I think, after I had a few problems with BookTrader at the time. Prior to that I had used BookTrader for a very long time. Since the switch however, I'm sold on ButtonTrader. I'm just saying you should probably check them all out, including the free BookTrader.

  7. Ok, thanks OT

    I was going to say, in my post above, that for most of my trading, the TWS setup as it is would work for me - it worked for the past day or two with no problems. Again, as you pointed out, you just have to make sure you know what you're doing. However, there are days when I am looking to enter and exit very quickly and I'll check out BT for that reason. I found that stops were a little slow to change on the TWS web-based version that I was working with today. However, the data seemed generally up to speed with my CQG feed.

    Tomasz from Amibroker explained how IB delivers data in 0.2 second packets as opposed to every tick.

    Right at this moment, I am trying to log into the Web-based version. The main order entry window has opened but the deployment seems to be hanging....


    Wow! I guess it was - I was sitting here trying to figure out how to get the empty window to populate with the two open positions I have and the other instruments I was watching, when bang!! They all popped open. That was about 5 minutes from the time I requested the app to launch until it fully launched...
  8. I use standalone normally but use the web version if I want the latest enhancement (and possible bugs).

    I would recommend getting the standalone version and running it until you need a newer version for some reason (or it becomes obsolete and IB tell you to upgrade it). 875.5 seems pretty good and got rid of bugs from earlier versions.

    The web version uses cached java jars if there hasn't been an update so its reasonably efficient but jts.jar is 10Mbytes or so if it has to download it (that could be your "hanging").

    I use zeroline trader for trading (cheaper, flexible) but would just use IB's TWS if I was only doing long term. ZLT etc are really about fast order entry for day trading IMO.
  9. TWS shuts down once a day around 11PM CST for maintenance. Something to keep in the back of your mind.

  10. I am a long term investor and desire to diversify my investment strategies to include shorter term position and swing trading (days-weeks) primarily in equities and indices until I gain more experience in direct access platforms. I intend to trade options in 6-12 months. I do not see myself as becoming a day trader.

    I have activated an IB account, however, have not configured or associated it with any front ends or other software. i.e. amibroker, quotetracker, button trader etc...

    I am looking at Tradestation, but unable to find a comparison to an IB combination to justify the subscription fees.

    I would appreciate any advice on an appropriate platform, broker, datafeed and charting program. If possible the pros and cons to each as well.

    Customer service is important, however, I am a quick study and will not require "hand holding". I am mostly interested in efficiency, reliability and simplicity. I would prefer an intuitive method of programing, (setting up trading rules, parameters, and charting preferences). I am unfamiliar with writing code.

    I have read all the reviews, but find them rather unreliable, due to all the biased troll postings, as you are acutely aware.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you kindly.
    #10     Sep 19, 2007