Is IB that good or that bad?

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by richrf, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. richrf



    I do daytrading in S&Ps EFTs, and am looking for a broker which may offer better execution and pricing than Fidelity.

    All of the discussion seems to revolve around IB. Is this because

    1) everyone uses IB and there really isn't any good alternative,
    2) is it because all of the other brokers are providing satisfactory service and there is no reason to talk about them, while IB is providing unsatisfactory service (e.g. reliability and service), and thereby creates all of the discussion.


  2. I would imagine if you took a poll, that the vast majority of traders here use IB. What that means is that anything IB related is going to get a tremendous amount of discussion. Some of that discussion is informed, alot of it isn't. Some of the problems are rooted in the fact that some of IBs users have failed to read the Users Manual, or in general avail themselves of the many opportunities to educate themselves on TWS (Trader Work Station).

    I have had many brokers over the years. I like IB. I've been using them now for around 7 years. Good costs. Good reliability. Variety of products to trade. Good executions via the smart system. And, importantly, a financially stable broker with a Universal account.

    But you can check brokers out on the home page of ET.

  3. richrf


    Hi OldTrader,

    Thanks for the feedback. I have looked at all of the reviews, and I would say that ThinkorSwim is the real standout, however, I see little discussion about them on this forum. So I wonder why? Is it because they are doing a good job and there is no reason to beef, or is it that no one is using them. If so, it begs the question, Why?

    As for IB, there seems to be two thoughts that keep resonating:

    1) They have poor customer service (I have heard this from friends of mine also).

    2) The platform has a habit of crashing at the most unfortunate times.

    From your comments, I gather, that these problems are much more marginal than presented on this forum. It's always tough to say, and I might have to try them out just to find out myself. But I usually like to avoid errors by listening to others, rather than discovering them myself by trial by fire.

    I appreciate your comments.

  4. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, IB is the worst broker except for all the others.
  5. I don't know much about TOS but comparing Fidelity and IB is comparing day and night. Fidelity routes his options through IB (Most of the time). IB may have some problems but others have tons of problem (actually I call them cheating and not problem).
  6. I can't speak for why TOS doesn't get "more recognition" here.

    Perhaps it's because they are primarily an options platform with stocks and futures added on. If they add a DOM, and simplify order placement I think they will seriously take off.

    Perhaps it's because of the setup of the platform it's difficult to enter orders QUICKLY. Especially in fast moving markets.

    What I doesn't take anything away from the. Excellent options platform... workable everything else.

    I chose IB for the range of products. I can trade almost everything I want from one place. Order placement is very simple. 2 clicks order plaed. TOS is a bit more cumbersome.

    IB isn't perfect, but then no BROKER is. Aside from exchange outages and broker problems, they all have their issues. My issues with IB have been extremely NON-frequent.

    Pink outs last April. The outage after Christmas. Otherwise relatively smooth sailing. Minor bugs with the platform that get sorted out fairly quickly...But all programs even MAJOR OS's have these issues.

    Have they caused me to lose money?? No.
  7. richrf --
    I too am pondering the same questions you've raised.
    One thing I have noticed b/w the various well known brokers is the differences b/w their platforms. I have "test-driven" several: Scottrade Elite, MB Trading's Navigator, Schwab Streetsmart Pro, IB TraderWorkstation, among others.
    IB TWS easily stands out -- as the slowest of them all. And before someone asks, no, its not my system.

    TraderWorkstation is Java based, Java is "heavy", and I can see and feel the lag. Both the web-based demo version and the locally installed demo version of TWS are cumbersome and slow. I am not talking about order execution, but rather, the actual interface and platform itself.

    If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. Download all the demo versions from the different companies. Compare. Try clicking around on menu's, opening up charts and trading windows, etc... Then go try the same steps on a different computer, to assure yourself that the results are consistent.
    I can't work with a platform in which I can visibly see the lag b/w the time when I try to open a menu by clicking on it and the time when it actually opens the menu or the associated dialog window.

    As for IB, I too read the negative and positive reports, and will continue reading and forming opinions.

    Meanwhile, I won't touch TWS with a 10 ft pole.

    Those other platforms may suck, but at least they respond quickly enough where my eyes can't notice the lag.
  8. IB is good.

    The customer service base level can be as frustrating as dealing with a bank. But the extra support you get here can make up for it.
  9. Try IB for yourself. Don't listen to others especially if they come on here with their first post bashing IB.
  10. If you have enough money, open two accounts, so if one has a bug or is suffering several disconnections per day/each day of the year, you won't waste time and be prepared to something awkward(when it takes up to 4 minutes to transmit an order to an exchange, like today for me, you are getting at least irritated...and no, I didn't lost money, because of that)
    I am an IB customer for several years now ( I already used 17 brokers) and the one and only platform that never ever had any bug of any kind was the one of CMC (but with a marketmaker it is about who is trying to screw who)
    #10     Jan 28, 2008