Tradescape vs. IB

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by huby, May 10, 2001.

  1. huby


    I've been doing a lot of research on which direct access broker has the best combination of cheap commissions and fast executions. I'd like to get any opinions on how these two brokers compare to each other before I choose one.

    From everything I've read,IB seems to be everybody's favorite. It's a little cheaper and very reliable. The downsides are that it's interface isn't near as user friendly, there are no level II charts, and the "best route" feature isn't exactly the best.

    Tradescape's interface and order routing seem to be state of the art to me. Their simulator is awesome! Very fast and easy to use. Their smart order routing feature is also very impressive. I also like how above the level II screen it shows you which market makers/ecn's are moving from bid to ask, etc. It helps give you a better picture by just glancing at it.

    The big question is: is it this good in real life? If it is I think it would be worth a slightly higher commission to have such speed and user friendliness. However, I've also heard that their software isn't very reliable and the "real deal" isn't as neat or effective as the simulator.

    Any opinions on how these two compare?
  2. vikana

    vikana Moderator

    I have no experience with TradeScape! That being said ... you should not focus on the automatic routing if you're day-trading. If you're trading nasdaq you will have to route yourself; it simply takes too long with all the timeouts of SOES, Selectnet etc. to rely on any automated procedure.

    I switched to IB from CyberCorp and now route to ISLD for nasdaq and NYSE for NYSE. Works significantly better than any of the "smart route" software I have used. I therefore don't really find IB's simplistic routing much of an issue.

    My two cents ...
  3. Klaorman


    I've been using Tradescape since Nov 2000. Reliability -is- a problem. Since at least 2 weeks ago, I can't trade NYSE stocks using the software; I have to call in to do that. Something's broken in their backend software. Lately, there hasn't been a breakdown, except for the NYSE thing, but I remember earlier times in which breakdowns would occur maybe once a week or every 2 weeks. The customer service has been great in these instances, however, with the phone being answered by the second ring and the representative promptly getting me out of my positions, at no extra cost.

    The simulator does not give you an accurate picture of execution speed; it just delays for a random amount of time and then gives you an execution (I'm just assuming this; I haven't actually used the simulator, but I know most of them do this). I haven't used the smart order feature except accidentally; it should work similarly to ARCA or REDI in that if there are no ECNS on the inside, it'll get stuck using SOES or SNET. It's also biased towards the MarketXT ECN, which Tradescape owns, in that if you try to post a bid or offer, it'll use MarketXT instead of ISLD.

    The software has its good and bad points. I agree that the display showing the movements of the MMs is nice. You can click on a participant in the Level II display and the participant and his price will be loaded into the order section. You can also change the price while keeping the same participant loaded by just clicking on another price. Executions through ISLD are as instantaneous as at other brokers; however, if you post a bid or offer away from the inside, it gets cancelled after a short period of time (maybe 3 minutes) if it's not hit by then. INCA is a bit slower. ARCA and REDI, however, use IOC (immediate or cancel), meaning that if they are not there on the inside, your order will get cancelled immediately. IOC also means that you can't use the smart order features of ARCA/REDI, nor can you post bids and offers using ARCA/REDI (hmmm...come to think of it, I haven't actually tried that last part, so I may be wrong there).

    I don't like that there are no keyboard shortcuts. I usually have to click the right participant in the rapidly changing and tiny Level II, make sure the right number of share are set, make sure the tiny buy/sell toggle is set correctly (or else it's "Oh no! I've bought when I wanted to sell!), and then click the order button (which changes among Buy/Sell/Short). I want to quickly use ISLD most of the time, but every time I type in a new symbol, the order method defaults to the smart order, and I can't change the default (there are no preferences to set). Tradescape has said that it's keyboard shortcut-infused Lightspeed software is coming soon, but it never seems to arrive.

    Tradescape seemed really nice at first, but after missing many trades because I have to click so much, I'm getting tired of it. I want to be able to type in the name of a symbol and then whack a key to send out an order. So that's why I'm going to be trying out Hold Brothers, which I heard about from this board (thanks, guys!). They charge per share and have proprietary software that from the demo looks great (program your own keyboard shortcuts, program your own smart order that uses ECNs only, trade baskets of stocks, send orders to multiple participants at once in an effort to fill your large order, etc.). I'll write a report on them after I trade with them for awhile.
  4. lorisha


    I have accounts with both IB and Tradescape, IB I have now for about a year and Tradescape about a month. Tradescape software with the Level ll and Position Manager are great to have intergrated but their execution is not reliable they have problems constantly. It has been two weeks now that you can not trade NYSE and the Indexes do not show and You cannot trade AMEX. They encourage to get the most out of Daytrading by using the Smartmarket and that is the worse if you don't want to trade that would be the one to use since you cann't get the orders filled. IB the Best execution is the worse, their bid/ask gets crossed all the time. Execution wise if you use island is very fast and they have the advantage of the key strokes which makes it even faster. Their software is very simple. You only get level one and that is it. Tradescape customer service is great they are very helpful and understanding and answer their phone immediately. IB on the other hand you have to waite from 5-10 minutes to be able to talk to someone. They also have problems constantly with their data provider and sometime the figures you receive are totally erroneous. Since you have been doing some investigation about the brokers if you find one that is better then these two, please let us all know!
  5. dozu888


    Had account with tradescape for about a year.Closed recently.

    Pros: fast execution, good phone support, cheap commission, ticker alert feature shows you what are moving.

    Cons: no stop orders ! (how can you trade without it?), the position manager above the L2 screen is actually annoying to me, with so much poker game being played on L2, those are basically garbage info flashing by.