I'd really appreciate if members who use IB for order execution could comment on its reliability/quality regarding futures. I ask this for a few reasons because I scalp and swing trade.
1) Scalping: Not so worried about entry/exit issues to the tick as some may be. More concerned about a situation where the order server goes down and I need to call in. Is the response call-in quick to flatten a position? Does the order server go down often or rarely? Reliability here would be good to know. I've emailed them and the response is pretty generic. Personal experience from scalpers using them would be great.
2) Swing trading: OCO server side is offered by only a hand full of firms. IB seems to be the cheapest when one needs this feature. I assume it works very well if even if there is a connection issue? Traders responses who use them to swing trade would be great.
I appreciate everyone who replies that trades futures on IB for order execution. Thanks.
I never had any problems with execution through IB for futures or equities.
Their data is bad, however, so you need to use something else like IQFeed or etc if you are trading anything other than minute charts.
Execution wise, I guess the main reason I moved most of my trading away from IB is just the TWS interface. The whole thing is just a huge mess, having to have TWS open to trade anything even with other platforms like Ninja or MultiCharts etc.
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Hey Mike, so I have to have their platform running to use them for execution even through Sierra charts? Is this something that just connects easily once you have it setup like DTN does? Also not sure if you know this but would the continuous contracts at DTN and IB be exactly the same all the time (rolling in sync)? Thanks.
That is good to hear. What I was hoping to hear. With my current order execution provider the stop of an OCO order sits on your computer which is really no good since there are over night drops I have noticed. IB has server side which interests me greatly. So once the order is sent you could basically log off if you wanted and not worry.
On the flip side my current broker offers CTS who has server side but I see they are an extra $1 per order RT and min $25 additional fee per month. IB is cheaper. Although if CTS has the equivalent datafeed of DTN then it would be worth it since I pay for that feed currently. I have no clue about the biud/ask data of CTS though.
Agree about the comment about the TWS interface being a mess - they should have bought Tradestation when they had the chance. I highly recommend Buttontrader with IB for 'scalping' (though it may make you more likely to overtrade and some have concerns about the IB data quality, which BT uses) but then again, I don't really recommend scalping of futures for most people. IB's stuff is generally up 24X7 over the last few years and the executions are excellent; of course they have the big range of products with very minimal to no exchange fees and low commission for futures.
Away from the topic, I have some concerns about the insurance they are providing for cash swept from futures sales; they've recently changed what they are doing with that and I haven't been able to get clarification as to whether those funds are insured at all (but they might be.) Probably like most brokers, consider using the IB account for futures only (don't also trade equities in the same account because of insurance questions) and keeping the bare minimum of cash there, wiring out your profits monthly.
"The Future Ain't what it used to be"
Last edited by heywally; January 13th, 2012 at 09:28 AM.
IB does not offer continuous contracts. You can build your own (depending on your charting platform). IB offers expired futures contracts back about a year. IB is a broker, as opposed to a data seller, and doesn't hold themselves out as having the world's best data. However, I use IB to feed Multicharts and it works just fine for me.
My trading is unaffected if I miss one tick here or there, especially extremes - e.g., the there was a move up a tick and back down a tick within the 100\250 millisecond sampling time. You will only see the "resting" price. However, the if you had an order in at the "missed" tick, and you were in the right place in the exchanges queue, you would have been filled.
I haven't looked into it for a few years, but as I recall, IB also sends out a separate "volume" message. So if the price has not moved between updates, but there have been trades, your software package will get the total volume and can subtract the previous volume from the current volume to determine the volume change between price updates.
In a slower market I don't think anything is missed. IB began on-line trading in the days of dial-up modems. They developed their system to get traders the most current price and bid/ask. This was well before we had the home computing power to chart and track hundreds of issues in near-realtime. Their entire TWS is designed around the archaic datafeed concept. To change the TWS design, and upgrade/expand their server farms to give us a continuous, non-manipulated, data stream to feed the new TWS architecture,would be very costly. Plus their API would need to change and a lot of people would be very unhappy.
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