WHAT is the main reason to use interactive brokers?

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by larrybf, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. I have been an interactive brokers customers since 2000..... over the years i have opened accounts at other brokers to compensate for IB serious deficiences in certain areas od lack of customer service .... Right now the only tremendous asset IB offers me is an incredible low overnight margin % rate... should I stop using the need for margin, I have concluded there is no other good reason for me to tolerate the horrific customer service that IB seems to offer customers without any apology.... THEREFORE , before I close my account DEF or anyone else for that matter should post here some advantages that IB offers that I may be overlooking..............THANKS IN ADVANCE
  2. If you gave them up you wouldn't get to use that bird shit coloured interface.
  3. Depending on your equity, you can go elsewhere and get a rate that should be enough for you. For me, the advantages are the Universal account and the insurance I have on my funds (which I believe is not available in the States). The other thing is stability; I was very happy that my funds were at IB during the extreme vol we saw last year. When Refco and others go down, you know that your funds on deposit at a futures broker are at risk in different ways.

    I do understand about the CS issues. They just don't give you the impression that they give a crap, even if you have north of 6 figures in your account. TWS isn't exactly designed to inspire confidence; in fact I don't think any serious scalpers would be using it. It works for my time frames. I absolutely loved Advantage when I was there. Phone answered in 2 or 3 rings without fail and real attention to detail in their CS protocols.
  4. I have been an IB customer now for about the same time period...since 2000. I'm always surprised to hear about how "horrific" IB's customer service is from an experienced trader. In the time I've been a customer, I've rarely had a customer service issue at all. Probably no more than a handful. And when I have called my interaction with their customer service people has been satisfactory to me. I do think it has gotten better though, I think they've made an attempt to improve in this area.

    Recently I posted in a thread here about a difficulty I was having with BookTrader. Not something so problematic that I had even contacted them, just something irritable. I was contacted via the PM system here on ET by DAV with IB. We exchanged a number of emails while IB worked on the problem. And by the way, I've had other minor issues addressed by posts here on ET as well. To me, customer service has been almost a complete non-issue. I'm not attempting to invalidate your experience, but just letting you know that some of us have not had your experience, in fact, have had quite the opposite.

    The big issue for me is safety of my funds. In that regard, I think IB is well ahead of other electronic brokers. I mostly trade futures, my cash is mostly held in IB's universal account, with insurance. You can't get that at any futures only brokers. In fact, you can't get it at a broker you does not have the universal account setup.

    I like the ability to trade a wide range of products anywhere in the world from one account. I mostly have not used this advantage, but I like the fact that it's there.

    I even like TWS, believe it or not, although I don't use most of the new additions they've added in the last several years.

    Over the years beginning back in the 60s, I've been with many, many brokers. As far as I'm concerned IB is the best. They all have problems from time to time though.

  5. rwk


    Safety is an important issue for me too. It's my understanding that the added insurance applies to U.S. accounts as well, though it's not clear how well it would work in the event of a worldwide meltdown. And I don't think we are out of danger yet.

    The universal account was a huge plus at one time, though I think other brokers have it now. The biggest advantage for me is the free API and active developer community. I do autotrading, and before I started, I assumed that it would be much harder than it turn out to be.

    The biggest disadvantages are poor sofware QA/change control, and the often poor/indifferent customer support. I have thousands of hours invested in my apps, so changing brokers is not a very attractive option.
  6. I echo the sentiments of OldTrader, have had little to no problems with CS.

    The main advantages I see with IB are:

    - safety of funds
    - reasonable margin rates
    - good fills (I trade index futures mostly, fills at top/bottom tick of pivot not uncommon)

    The main disadvantages are:

    - hyperactive software development department (way too many TWS updates before thoroughly tested), though improving in this regard
    - somewhat disappointing commission rates on futures
  7. The last time I looked for a broker which offered a Universal account with all the markets available at IB, I couldn't find one. I think there was a place called Red Sky (?) that advertised one but they never returned my email. In any case, if you know of an actual alternative, I'd be interested in checking it out.

    I was just posting in another thread that I too am moving toward automation and this is another reason to stick with IB, as it will be easier for me to get programming help.
  8. rwk


    I posted on another ET thread about a recent cock-up in autotrading through IB. I got lucky and didn't lose any money, but I am still fuming about it. They introduced a new "feature" a while back that pops up a message dialog and blocks autotrading. They buried a very brief mention of it in one of the release notes, and now they're doing another forced upgrade which will likely break customers' apps, as it did mine. IB has always been mostly unsupportive of autotrading, but I sometimes I wonder if they are deliberately sabotaging us?
  9. i think you have to give credit where credit is due to IB. They are doing an incredibly complex array of things offering the basket of products they do. also managing risk, computer malfunctions, programming errors, frequently changing regulations, wicked volatility, time zones etc... coupled with the fact that idiots who are overleveraged or small accounts want to blame them when they get taken out of their positions or lose money.

    i have never found the service to be overly friendly but its a discount model and the idea is they push a lot of the responsibility of being informed to the user. every question i have phoned in to ask could have been answered by going online but i am lazy...

    for no or little monthly cost i have access to an amazing amount of products:futures, options, commodities, etc.. and feel my money is safe... personally i like the interface...
  10. you can hold your account in a few different currencies, such as Euros or Swiss francs...
    #10     Oct 11, 2009