Think or Swim vs Lightspeed vs Interactive Brokers

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by bobbo2111, Jan 14, 2011.

Better Broker?

  1. Think or Swim

    29 vote(s)
  2. Lightspeed

    14 vote(s)
  3. Interactive Brokers

    78 vote(s)
  1. I have been a TOS customer for 3 years now and I've used many other platforms. I have some complaints but I've never experienced a platform freeze with them.

    I don't love their commisson structure nor their recent affiliation with groups like Investools which is a totally worthless sales organization selling education in trading I think. They've had some trully sleazy types on their afternoon chats too lately. The guys from Best Choice software was a real low point for them. Those chats used to be good but I guess the firm has grown so fast and there are so many new customers who need to know what a bid and an ask is, it was inevitable that the culture would change.

    So I'm not a company shill. Still, their pace of innovation is staggering. Customer service is A+ (I hear nightmares about IB on that). I'm trying to grasp their Prodigio robotic trading system with both hands. It's new and in development but awesome. It's a firm built by great traders for traders.
    #11     Jan 15, 2011
  2. Kubinec


    I regularly use TOS for charting purposes, but since the margins are set too high I don't trade with them. Never had a freeze.

    Has anyone here succeeded in getting them to lower the margins for futures?
    #12     Jan 16, 2011
  3. cstfx


    If "all in one" is what OP wants, then that only leaves IB with their universal account wjere you can trade anything. With the other brokers, you have to open separate accounts for your equity trading, your futures trading and your fx trading (can't speak for TOS, but Lightspeed's fx offering is just an intro broker for either one of the ubiquitous fx firms, FXCM or Gain Capital). If you need funds to trade something or another, i.e. more margin for futures, you have to transfer those funds from one account to another if there is not enough funds in your futures account.

    IB's rates for stocks are cheaper than Lightspeed (per share pricing), but Lightspeed has the better platform and their futures pricing appears cheaper. Also, IB's rules for intraday margins on futures is ridiculous - they only give you intraday rates during RTH hours, ignore the fact that most futures contracts trade around the clock and there is significant liquidity during these "off hours". :confused:

    TOS has great charting and no one beats them for options trading.
    #13     Jan 16, 2011
  4. Catoosa


    I think you can do it "all in one account" with MB Trading. I trade stocks and futures with them from one platform and one account. They also have check writing on accounts. But that is where the good ends. The trading platform, back office, customer service, Penson Financial Services for clearing all fall short of IB. IB has everything except check writing and a great charting software like Quote Tracker. I have been with IB for 11 years and have found their customer service and tech support to be very good (contrary to what many people post). IB's trading platform and safety of your account funds is the best in the business.

    I have looked into opening and account with Lightspeed but the slightly better rate on futures no way out ways all of the other shortfalls. As for TOS, it would be easy for me to use them since I have an account with TDA but TDA + TOS does not come close to IB.
    #14     Jan 16, 2011
  5. saico


    I'm using IB for their overall reliablility, fee structure, Euro based accounts, range of products, MS Excel based trading abilities.

    I'm using ToS for their charting and MS Excel linking ablilities for quote sheets.
    #15     Jan 16, 2011
  6. cstfx


    No. MBT requires different accounts (stocks and fx but pretty much only trade fx there now) even tho it is all thru Penson. I have accounts there too so this comes from experience.

    When did they start that? I have never heard of this with MBT (or never got the memo).

    edit: nevermind I see it. Since I only trade fx there, it never applied to me.
    #16     Jan 16, 2011
  7. Catoosa


    You may want to call MBT to see what they are currently doing if you can not confirm what I said from the MBT web site. I opened my MBT account several several years back. I had the choice of setting up individual accounts or a all in one. I did the "all in one" account and yes I write checks.
    #17     Jan 16, 2011
  8. cstfx



    Like I said, stocks and fx are different accounts. But they did verify that you can trade futures from the same stocks account. The benefit of this is that those funds fall under the SIPC protection umbrella, which just about every other futures broker can't offer. As to the chex thing, I already noted my ignorance since I never funded the equity account.
    #18     Jan 16, 2011
  9. Catoosa



    Thank you for sharing your research that shows FX trading is not included included in my MBT "all in one" account. I do not use the FX market for currencies. I use futures when I am trading currencies for several reasons (my main reason has been the IRS unclear description of how to report FX trades on my tax return at the time I last researched how to report the FX trades). Does the IRS now have a clear description on how to report FX trades?
    #19     Jan 16, 2011
  10. cstfx


    Close enough :D

    RG has a pretty good info on the current status of fx taxation. I can't answer directly about the tax implications as I trade thru an corp/LLC account setup but I know that I have always had to include the trades (accountant says so) with the reporting as the firms have not reported any gains or losses, only interest paid in/out. Don't know if the corp aspect makes reporting any different.
    #20     Jan 16, 2011