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Interactive Brokers: please, please, just stay away


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Interactive Brokers: please, please, just stay away

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  #1 (permalink)
 josh 
Legendary Market Wizard
Georgia, US
 
Experience: None
Platform: SC
Broker: AMP+CQG
Trading: ES, Nikkei
 
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Posts: 5,697 since Jan 2011
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I've been a member of this forum for 10 years. I have only dogged one vendor (relentlessly) previously, and have called out another broker previously for bad service. I'm not in the habit of writing bad reviews just because I'm upset. I'm not upset in the least, just shocked that a company can be so awful at what they do.

I'll just enumerate my grievances:

1. Every day you must log off the platform and log back on. For me, when I wake up, IBKR has shut down at 5am. This is expected, yes. But it really sucks.

2. Every night at midnight Eastern I lose quotes for several minutes. Half the time I have to shut down the platform and bring it back up just to get data.

3. A few weeks ago I put a stop in, woke up to an open position in the red, and saw that while some stops were triggered, one wasn't... the reason? "Insufficient credit." A call to IBKR had them promise to "figure it out" and call me back. I'm still waiting. Why haven't I persisted on this? Because I'd rather take a loss than... see #4.

4. Calling them is a guaranteed 45 minute wait, every time. That hold music... a beautiful song, ruined. When you get someone, it's hit or miss. I've had helpful people, I've had not-so-helpful people.

5. Fast moving markets absolutely kill the platform (and API). Orders are often in an "order sent" status for several seconds at a time in fast moving markets. By the time the order is sent, I either don't want it anymore, or it's already gone. Comparing fills on IBKR with most any other broker is guaranteed to provide clarity about what responsive order routing should feel like.

6. World famous for absolute trash data. If you only need to see OHLC, or something close to actual OHLC, it's ok. If you require anything else, do not use IB data, under any circumstances, ever. This is not a secret and has been discussed ad nauseam, so I won't even discuss.

7. The worst: the outages (also see #2 above). A couple of months ago the whole system went down (worldwide) at 3:55pm ET on a Friday. I was basically told, "sorry", but got lucky and got in at 4:55 and got flat minutes before the close. Tonight, I'm unable to log onto the web site or platform. I have positions on, but I guess I'll just cross my fingers. No, I can't hedge even if I wanted to using another account -- it's not that simple in my scenario.

In short, if you are an infrequent trader, you don't need precision for your entry, you *really* need a combined commodities+equities account, or something along those lines, then IBKR should suit you just fine. If you expect to be able to reliably manage your risk using stops, to be able to consistently log into the platform any time of day, or be active in any way, consider looking elsewhere.

They always seem to have defenders who pop up to say "stuff like that has never happened to me." Fair enough. Every broker has issues, and no broker is perfect. But IBKR, in my honest and unbiased opinion, is simply the worst I've ever used (that I can remember, anyway). I'll be withdrawing 100% within a month or so.



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  #2 (permalink)
 MrMojoRisin 
Graz/Austria
 
Experience: Beginner
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Trading: MES
 
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Posts: 241 since Apr 2021
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To be honest, I'm pretty upset right now! I'm using IB on a daily basis for only about 6 months by now, and this is the first time that I experience them being completely down.
For most Europeans, their IB- subsidiary is in Luxembourg, but yesterday I got a message, that they move it to Hungary for some regulatory reasons. I didn't take the link in the E-Mail on purpose, because it was written in such a weird appearing way, that I thought it could be a scam.
If I didn't know that they were a large and established broker and would just judge them based on how they present themselves, I probably would have doubts trusting them with my money.
Customer service is for the most part a joke, even though every now and then you catch someone who appears to be actually really trying to help you and the way their website is built and they write their E-Mails feels kinda outdated.
In my opinion they put quantity too much over quality. They seem to me to bee too large a broker, so that they have problems handling it.
Though about executions, I can't complain. Couldn't be much better.

In Europe they are running again now. What I've learned is, that you just have to expect the worst happening at any time and have to have a backup-plan. For me it's more my Internet connection that is giving me headaches at times.

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  #3 (permalink)
 Mich62 
Netherlands
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: NinjaTrader 8
Broker: NinjaTrader Brokerage
Trading: Commodities, (crypto)currencies & equities
 
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I was a customer with two (not very active) accounts for over 10 years with Interactive Brokers (IB) but closed both accounts begin this year mainly because of Brexit and IB moving accounts from London (IBUK) to Luxembourg (IBLUX), Ireland (IBIE) and Hungary (IBCE) (https://ibkr.info/article/3635). I had some questions but was unable to contact IB in any way. No response at all. No support at all. I was worried about 1. the quality of their services provided throught this new entities but most off all about 2. the protection of assets against loss.

With regard to IBIE it said under Part B (https://ibkr.info/article/3550):

<Start quote>

"4. How am I protected against loss? Are there any material differences that will apply to my relationship with IBIE compared to those that apply to my existing relationship with IBUK?

Currently, your eligible assets are protected from loss either under the US Securities Investor Protection Corporation at an amount of up to USD 500,000 (subject to a cash sublimit of USD 250,000) or the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme at an amount up to £50,000 (which regime applies depends on the relevant segment of your IBUK account, as explained in the response to Question B2 above). After the Proposed Transfer, the Irish Investor Compensation Scheme, which is administered by The Investor Compensation Company DAC, may protect your assets from loss should IBIE default and be unable to meet its obligations to you.

Usually, you can only make a claim after a firm goes out of business and its assets have been liquidated and distributed to those who are owed money. Please check the details of the schemes for any limits that apply – not all losses will be covered as there are maximum levels of compensation. The ICCL will pay you compensation for 90% of the amount you have lost, up to a maximum of €20,000.
"

With regard to IBLUX it said (https://ibkr.info/article/3544):

"4. How am I protected against loss? Are there any material differences that apply to my relationship with IBLUX when compared to my existing relationship led by IBUK in this context?

Currently your eligible assets are protected from loss either under the US Securities Investor Protection Corporation or the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (which regime applies depends on the relevant segment of your IBUK account, as explained above in B2). After the Proposed Transfer, the Luxembourg Investor Compensation Scheme (Système d’indemnisation des investisseurs, SIIL) will protect your assets from loss should IBLUX default and be unable to meet its obligations to you.

Usually you can only make a claim after a firm goes out of business and its assets have been liquidated and distributed to those who are owed money. Check the details of the schemes for any limits that apply – not all losses will be covered as there are maximum levels of compensation. The Luxembourg Investor Compensation Scheme (Système d’indemnisation des investisseurs, SIIL) will pay you compensation for the amount you have lost, up to a maximum of €20,000.
"

<End quote>

Max €20.000 is what you can get compensated, if lucky.

How many shares can I hold for €20.000? Not that many. When something goes wrong with those new underperforming entities big chance you lose it all. They just don't answer. So, I am out.

IBCE protection seems more attractive (max €100.000, https://ibkr.info/node/3587) albeit still less than US protection and the question is, can I trust it? I think not. I mean, Hungary?

They are not cheap except maybe for stocks, offer no customer support, their software (TWS) is a disaster and now customers are complaining about their bad services. I just wonder what made them so big.

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  #4 (permalink)
 MNSTrading 
Grand Rapids, Michigan
 
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I can agree with all of this Josh, having used them for many years, but as you say, if you are a trend trader and dont care that much about your entries its ok. Its a lot like trading in the 1970s

I am fairly lazy and will not move unless I am forced to.

Coming, they can't be denied. Going, they can't be detained.
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  #5 (permalink)
 Anagami 
Legendary Market Hustler
Cancun, Mexico
 
Experience: Advanced
Trading: MES
 
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josh View Post
I've been a member of this forum for 10 years. I have only dogged one vendor (relentlessly) previously, and have called out another broker previously for bad service. I'm not in the habit of writing bad reviews just because I'm upset. I'm not upset in the least, just shocked that a company can be so awful at what they do.

I'll just enumerate my grievances:

1. Every day you must log off the platform and log back on. For me, when I wake up, IBKR has shut down at 5am. This is expected, yes. But it really sucks.

2. Every night at midnight Eastern I lose quotes for several minutes. Half the time I have to shut down the platform and bring it back up just to get data.

3. A few weeks ago I put a stop in, woke up to an open position in the red, and saw that while some stops were triggered, one wasn't... the reason? "Insufficient credit." A call to IBKR had them promise to "figure it out" and call me back. I'm still waiting. Why haven't I persisted on this? Because I'd rather take a loss than... see #4.

4. Calling them is a guaranteed 45 minute wait, every time. That hold music... a beautiful song, ruined. When you get someone, it's hit or miss. I've had helpful people, I've had not-so-helpful people.

5. Fast moving markets absolutely kill the platform (and API). Orders are often in an "order sent" status for several seconds at a time in fast moving markets. By the time the order is sent, I either don't want it anymore, or it's already gone. Comparing fills on IBKR with most any other broker is guaranteed to provide clarity about what responsive order routing should feel like.

6. World famous for absolute trash data. If you only need to see OHLC, or something close to actual OHLC, it's ok. If you require anything else, do not use IB data, under any circumstances, ever. This is not a secret and has been discussed ad nauseam, so I won't even discuss.

7. The worst: the outages (also see #2 above). A couple of months ago the whole system went down (worldwide) at 3:55pm ET on a Friday. I was basically told, "sorry", but got lucky and got in at 4:55 and got flat minutes before the close. Tonight, I'm unable to log onto the web site or platform. I have positions on, but I guess I'll just cross my fingers. No, I can't hedge even if I wanted to using another account -- it's not that simple in my scenario.

In short, if you are an infrequent trader, you don't need precision for your entry, you *really* need a combined commodities+equities account, or something along those lines, then IBKR should suit you just fine. If you expect to be able to reliably manage your risk using stops, to be able to consistently log into the platform any time of day, or be active in any way, consider looking elsewhere.

They always seem to have defenders who pop up to say "stuff like that has never happened to me." Fair enough. Every broker has issues, and no broker is perfect. But IBKR, in my honest and unbiased opinion, is simply the worst I've ever used (that I can remember, anyway). I'll be withdrawing 100% within a month or so.



Hey Josh
Been with them for couple of months now, no issues so far. Not much choice anyway as a Canadian.

You are never in the wrong place... but sometimes you are in the right place looking at things in the wrong way.
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  #6 (permalink)
 josh 
Legendary Market Wizard
Georgia, US
 
Experience: None
Platform: SC
Broker: AMP+CQG
Trading: ES, Nikkei
 
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Posts: 5,697 since Jan 2011
Thanks: 6,302 given, 15,738 received


Anagami View Post
Hey Josh
Been with them for couple of months now, no issues so far. Not much choice anyway as a Canadian.

Good to hear from you my friend! I might have known that you, Mr. Positive, would back them up!! Haha ... of course, I'm glad that you are having a good experience with them. I hope it continues!

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  #7 (permalink)
 MrMojoRisin 
Graz/Austria
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Sierra Chart
Trading: MES
 
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Posts: 241 since Apr 2021
Thanks: 54 given, 125 received

I gotta let off some steam about IB here again. Almost every Saturday I can't log in to TWS. It sucks immensely! What do those guys think? Probably the majority of their customers are more likely to do research on weekends than during the week. It seems customer support got better lately, but it's a miracle for me, how this company managed to get so big with with so many issues.
I'm curious, but to me it feels like they are a hot candidate for a big company that can't hold pace with more flexible newcomers and will get down in the long run.

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  #8 (permalink)
 josh 
Legendary Market Wizard
Georgia, US
 
Experience: None
Platform: SC
Broker: AMP+CQG
Trading: ES, Nikkei
 
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Posts: 5,697 since Jan 2011
Thanks: 6,302 given, 15,738 received

lol, how nice of them to let clients know... 90 minutes after the session started.


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  #9 (permalink)
1BSD
Hamburg / Germany
 
 
Posts: 22 since Apr 2015
Thanks: 45 given, 72 received

Hi Josh, wow yup all that does sound like one gigantic friggin nightmare !!!

Thank God I haven't had any issues with them so far, been with them quite some years now but dont enter orders via their TWS, no idea if thats anything to do with it.

Main reason I went with them was their size, you know, in case sthg happens I'd rather trust my money with a big player than someone not quite as capitalized.

I'm sure Amp and Ninja and Tradestation and all the other names one hears regularly are great at what they do but, they just don't quite have that size thing going for them do they, at least from last time I had a closer look around which to be fair is awhile ago.

Assuming IB's size also played a role in your going with them too, mind me asking where or with what other well funded broker you'd consider going next, and that also allows you to link up with a decent third player charting / order software ?

Thanks and best of luck in the meantime !!!

:-)

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  #10 (permalink)
 Anagami 
Legendary Market Hustler
Cancun, Mexico
 
Experience: Advanced
Trading: MES
 
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Posts: 918 since Dec 2010
Thanks: 652 given, 2,122 received


Been scalping MES with them, (still) no issues. The platform is kinda clunky to say the least... but you get used to it.

You are never in the wrong place... but sometimes you are in the right place looking at things in the wrong way.
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