Note: this i a little off topic, so to say. It is NOT about short term trading.
Ok, here we go. I am considering all kinds of investment opportunities at the moment for mid to long term engagements (timefram e 5 to 10 years). Basically I happen to have some funds flowing in that have no short tem use, so I just think of various ways to invest them.
On the table, among other things, are long term stock engagements. The idea is a strategy mix of buying value stocks, possbily together with the idea of writing covered calls against them to raise the yield a little, though those have to be quite ouf ot the money.
The account wont be anything of interest for a trading oriented broker - I think of doing monthly revaluations,. We possibly talk of 20-30 trades all in all per year, excelt when I put in more money over time, which obviously would yield additional orders.
What I want is:
* A decent web interface. I prefer a good web interface to a local client here mostly because I dont want to deal with updates for something that just is bacsically an operation per week
* Decent low comissions. Not hunting fort the lowest of the lowe here, obviously. But i dont want to stick to the last full comission broker on the planet.
* Internatioal operations. I dont want to be limited to one country items. This is where IE seems to shine.
* Decent access to funds. ETF's clarly, but i would not object some others.
Nice to have:
* Decent research. Not about picks, but when I go through like all dow socks it would be nice to have a central well organized place to get current opinions and mostly the last financial info without going to yahoo.
* Combination to be able to use futures and forex in the mix. Again, this is not for "active trading", but if you mix stocks in different countries.... sometimes it makes sense to hedge the currency risk. Or to hedge stocks with some futures
Any reason not to use IB? Any better offer out there.
I have an account with vision etc. - for trading. This seriously is NOT the daytrading part. Heck, I may even buy bonds there at times
So IB it is for now. The international aspect is very strong for me - I am not american, not living in a USD country. While I prefer the US stock market for some stuff. long term investment in some EU things is not a bad option either
if you do happen to have 7 figures account, then why not go to newedge or GSET? you will be able to then use TT/CQG and REDIplus which might be better for you.. they only accept 7 figures accounts.. $1MM min I was quoted for GSET via one of their IB's...
as to the risk management from IB; yes, they are quick to cut the cord if their levels are violated.. that is how they keep their costs down.. they dont want to absorb or have their customers absorb anyone else's losses... I know that i would be upset if I had to pay for a risk management failure; and margin is only enforced if you are over leveraged anyhow... and you can always opt for portfolio margin to give you more wiggle room, just need to respect the rules which are documented with examples even.
people always complain about their customer service, I never had any issues.. but then again I dont use their customer service all that often, I mainly deal with their funding department when I have to make some type of weird transfer between IRA accounts, and they are pretty patient and they have saved me $$$ from a few mistakes when I opened the wrong account and would have had a nice tax bill if I had done it how I thought it should have been done..
their software is indeed crap... but you can code your own platform and trade via their API, and use third party platforms...
since as you stated options trader is just awful... I have been looking at the hoadley.net excel plug in for the analytics and exceltrader.net ATS spreadsheet for the order entry... I have not yet figured out how to glue them together, and I am still playing with it... my goal is to in the end have something simple that allows me to view the information I care about in a dashboard format and then enter and track the portfolio...
the other alternative that I have been investigating for option only is using tradeMONSTER... but the platform is not there 100%, yet it is an improvement from TWS IMO..
IBKR is indeed the most accessible to retail investors.. even with all their flaws and sucky platform for day traders.. and keeping always in mind that there are plenty of alternative platforms that support IBKR as the broker... their margin rates alone will save you $$$ and increase your profits.. and the variety of markets and financial products is second to none within retail.
short of that, you would need significant funds to trade with non-retail (NewEdge, UBS, CSFB, GS, etc.)
I think TradeStation would be a viable alternative. I have friends in the Middle East trading with them, and they're serviced by one of TradeStation's offices in Europe - London if I'm not mistaken. And they're quite happy.
Personally I prefer IB, and my only gripe with them is automatic liquidation of positions if you're hit by a margin call. I don't know if they still do that now, but when I traded with IB, any positions not covered would be automatically liquidated when the clock struck 3.45. My current broker gives me six days to fund the account in case I'm overleveraged - plenty of time for a position to go back and work in your favour.
In a nutshell, with IB you've got to think a 100 times not to bite more than you can chew.