Warning: Don't trust IB's TWS Portfolio page or Trades Report for positions

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by chud, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. chud


    Any IB users, Learn from my recent experience and don't trust what the TWS Portfolio page or the Trades window and report states your position is.

    I scale in and out and add to and lighten positions all day so I have always counted on my execution software to keep track of my current position for me. One day about 2 months ago now, I closed TWS with the Portfolio page and Trades report saying I was flat ES. The next morning when I started TWS I was long 1 ES contract. As luck would have it, ES was down close to 20 points overnight. I called IB to make sure the position was mine and hadn't been accidentally moved to my account by some system glitch before closing it and flattening out. IB verified that it was mine and told me I must have overlooked the position the previous day.

    After a month of sending log files and execution reports to IB, the customer service rep confirmed that there had been a bug in that version of TWS that caused some executions to not be reported, and this issue had been reported by other users.

    When I made a compensation request, however, I was rejected with the message that the review of my activity did not conclusively show an error with TWS; and that I should have checked my trade confirmations on the website. I was told that an experienced trader should always know his position. Of course I agree with this, but with any execution software I've ever used, I've been able to rely on the execution log to correctly display trades. And in 5+ years of using IB, I'd never had a trade not show up in the Portfolio page or Trades report.

    I've always been happy with IB and have recommended it numerous times, but I was very disappointed in them throughout the whole process of dealing with this issue. I've never had much dealing with customer support -- I've only ever contacted them a few times, but I now know why there are so many complaints here about their condescending and arrogant manner. One example: on my first call to verify that the position was real I was told "You wouldn't be calling if it had moved in your direction." Then several times while trying to track down the problem I was told the programmers would look into something. After a week or more without hearing from anybody, I would have to contact support again to find out the status.

    I've never asked for compensation from a broker before this issue, though I've had other brokers voluntarily compensate me after software problems. This, though, seemed like a very reasonable request to me. I know I'm a smalltime trader, but given that I did $55,000 in commission at IB last year, asking for $1000 in compensation for a loss directly caused by a confirmed software bug seems fair. After initially rejecting my request, IB did later make a partial compensation offer, though I didn't accept it out of (foolish) principle. I guess I should be happy that the position was only 1 contract.

    Overall, I still think IB is a good broker, but their customer service department suffers from an apparent culture of arrogance and "the customer is always wrong" attitude. It's unreasonable to expect any trading platform to always be completely bug-free, but I do expect issues to be handled in a much better manner than this one was.
  2. Wow, good to know.

    I've had one execution issue with IB in about 3 years - a limit order on ES not filling despite being inside the spread for several minutes. After I asked IB to look into it, they did cover my small loss (about 2 days later).

    In your case did the trade in question show up on your trades page that day, and just not in the positions/PnL, or nowhere at all? If the latter, how did you finally spot the trade?

    edit: Oops, nevermind the 1st question ... I guess rthe thread title answers that.

    So how did you finally identify the trade that wasn't showing up?
  3. Thanks for the post and sorry for your situation. This unfortunately seems to be more common with newer versions of TWS. I am not an IB basher either... far from it but these types of issues are intolerable frankly.

    I have noticed that with versions of TWS after January that the Trades window frequently does not show all executions for a given day. For some reason, IB decided to add a day of the week filter as an option. This would be nice however sometimes it doesn't always show the current day's executions even though you have "All" checked. I don't know why they changed this function because it has never had problems in the past and this seems to have introduced yet another glitch that we must watch out for.

    I guess we should never trust TWS according to IB and manually verify all positions with the account statements. This is a reasonable workaround and probably prudent but not having a reliable front-end to give you accurate positions and executions is not exactly confidence inspiring either. They should really put a freeze on adding any new features to TWS until the basic functions are rock solid and these glitches have been resolved.
  4. gold@42


    The IB/clearing firm should be picking up the error
  5. chud


    It was listed in the trade confirmation report on the website but not in the execution report available through the Trades window.
  6. Thanks.
  7. calirip


    I can state that I have had the exact same experience w/ IB in the past, including one today!

    Back in Aug/Sept of last year I had an experience extremely similar to Chud's. Trading overnight - place buy order(not filled) - cancel buy order(absolutely certain I cancelled it) and see it no longer displays on tws - log out of tws for the night - wake up in the morning down 20 handles on an open long es position- Immediately exit and realize $1000 loss-call IB and received very much the same kind of treatment from customer service(just shit)-never received compensation offer much less an acknowledgement of software issues on the IB side.

    Fast forward to today and I'll be damned if it didn't happen again. However, this time is the deal breaker. After the first episode, I began the practice of executing a "CANCEL ALL" order via the order tab after cancelling an order directly from the order management page, or before logging off of tws. I figured this would cancel all open orders, including those that may not be displayed due to a software issue. But... I guess not! Not after today anyway. This time it only cost me $20, but it's time to move on. Just riduculous! Anyone w/ a quality broker reccomendation?
  8. nassau


    We have had this issues for a while now and more since the mandatory upgrade.
    as previously posted very frustrating for the traders especially trading futures where the trader is doing several hundred trades a day.

  9. This was likely a problem with their backend server and not just TWS. Definitely try to restart TWS after the midnight disconnect. It seems to come and goes as IB try out their 'advance features' on the beta users. :mad:


    A skeptic would say that IB is trying to make their customers become uninformed traders. When traders become uninformed, they are trading against their brokers. Read the paper on "The winners and losers of the zero-sum game" by Lawrence Harris.
  10. What does your audit trail show? Does the audit trail show the cancel order and that the cancel order was acknowledged? Or does the audit trail show only the cancel order and that the cancel order was never acknowledged?

    IB should be asking any customer with a problem like this to look at and send in their audit trail and daily log files in order to get this problem fixed.
    #10     Apr 14, 2009