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Interactive Brokers for Spot Forex
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Interactive Brokers for Spot Forex

  #1 (permalink)
Elite Member
Ventura, California
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NT7
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Posts: 12 since Jul 2011
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Interactive Brokers for Spot Forex

I'm considering IB for spot forex trading and have a few questions for those that are trading spot with them.

1. I use range charts - do they have histoical data for backfill? If so, how many days?

2. Is their price data reliable - especially at 8:30 ET US market open and during important news? Is there any zig-zagging of price data across the chart at high volume times?

3. They state that their spreads are very tight. Is this true? If you have used other ECN-type spot forex brokers, how would you compare IBs spreads to theirs?

4. Any major issues with slippage.

Thank you.

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  #2 (permalink)
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  #3 (permalink)
Elite Member
Chicago Illinois USA
 
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Platform: Ninja Trader
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Also interested...


in hearing pro/con from current IB account holders. My current broker does more to piss me off than they do to offer answers or provide service. DB

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  #4 (permalink)
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las vegas
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Chart
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sasnak View Post
I'm considering IB for spot forex trading and have a few questions for those that are trading spot with them.

1. I use range charts - do they have histoical data for backfill? If so, how many days?

2. Is their price data reliable - especially at 8:30 ET US market open and during important news? Is there any zig-zagging of price data across the chart at high volume times?

3. They state that their spreads are very tight. Is this true? If you have used other ECN-type spot forex brokers, how would you compare IBs spreads to theirs?

4. Any major issues with slippage.

Thank you.

It has been a little while since I last traded spot forex through IB, but this was my experience.

1. No, no historical tick backfill and their real time data is filtered compared to other brokers. Because spot forex data can vary wildly from source to source, my preference was to leave my computer running. If you use Sierra Chart with IB, which is what I recommend, then you will get 2 Second backfill from Sierra Chart, which is good enough for populating charts for discretionary trading, but not good for backtesting.

2. Not exactly sure what you mean by this, but if there is zig zagging of price then there will be zig zagging of price.

3. Spreads and fills are good during NY hours, spreads are good but limit fills are slightly worse during London hours, and I can't speak to Asian hours. Spreads do get bigger during off hours and news times. The biggest advantage will come if you are trading off-pairs.

4. You can get slippage with market orders, but during primary hours I never found it to be excessive. You get the occasional wtf, but obviously that's the nature of market orders.

A couple of other things. First, I had very frequent and scary order execution problems with NT and TWS, which is why I switched to Sierra Chart. Maybe someone else can speak as to whether this has improved or not over the past 18 months. While it has some nice features, basically TWS is a huge pile of Java Poo that you are going have to get use to eating. Second, If you trade non-usd pairs, when you exit the trade your money will be left in the other base currency, e.g. an aud/jpy trade will result you owning yen, so you will have to pay additional commissions and spreads to convert it back to USD or subject yourself to the fluctuations of that currency. This is really freaking annoying. Third, unless things have changes, federal tax treatment for currency transactions is different than futures contracts and there are certain elections that you may need to make, so do your homework on this before you start trading.

It essentially comes down to whether no restrictions on scalping, no restrictions on news trades, and not having to worry about getting screwed by your broker/dealer, e.g. stop hunted, outweigh the crappy data, commissions, problems with NT and TWS???, pos TWS, and the ridiculously stupid currency conversion requirements.


Last edited by vegasfoster; September 10th, 2012 at 11:09 AM.
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  #5 (permalink)
Elite Member
Ventura, California
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
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Favorite Futures: ES
 
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wldman View Post
in hearing pro/con from current IB account holders. My current broker does more to piss me off than they do to offer answers or provide service. DB

wldman,

I see that you list MB Trading as your broker. Is this your current broker that you are talking about in your post?

I am currently demoing the MB Trading/NT combination. How is it that they piss you off? Sometimes I get "phantom" zig-zag data from them and that pisses me off - see attachment.

If I could ask, what problems are you having with MBT ?

Thanks

Attached Thumbnails
Interactive Brokers for Spot Forex-phantom-zig-zag.jpg  
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  #6 (permalink)
Elite Member
Ventura, California
 
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Platform: NT7
Favorite Futures: ES
 
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vegasfoster View Post
It has been a little while since I last traded spot forex through IB, but this was my experience.

1. No, no historical tick backfill and their real time data is filtered compared to other brokers. Because spot forex data can vary wildly from source to source, my preference was to leave my computer running. If you use Sierra Chart with IB, which is what I recommend, then you will get 2 Second backfill from Sierra Chart, which is good enough for populating charts for discretionary trading, but not good for backtesting.

2. Not exactly sure what you mean by this, but if there is zig zagging of price then there will be zig zagging of price.

3. Spreads and fills are good during NY hours, spreads are good but limit fills are slightly worse during London hours, and I can't speak to Asian hours. Spreads do get bigger during off hours and news times. The biggest advantage will come if you are trading off-pairs.

4. You can get slippage with market orders, but during primary hours I never found it to be excessive. You get the occasional wtf, but obviously that's the nature of market orders.

A couple of other things. First, I had very frequent and scary order execution problems with NT and TWS, which is why I switched to Sierra Chart. Maybe someone else can speak as to whether this has improved or not over the past 18 months. While it has some nice features, basically TWS is a huge pile of Java Poo that you are going have to get use to eating. Second, If you trade non-usd pairs, when you exit the trade your money will be left in the other base currency, e.g. an aud/jpy trade will result you owning yen, so you will have to pay additional commissions and spreads to convert it back to USD or subject yourself to the fluctuations of that currency. This is really freaking annoying. Third, unless things have changes, federal tax treatment for currency transactions is different than futures contracts and there are certain elections that you may need to make, so do your homework on this before you start trading.

It essentially comes down to whether no restrictions on scalping, no restrictions on news trades, and not having to worry about getting screwed by your broker/dealer, e.g. stop hunted, outweigh the crappy data, commissions, problems with NT and TWS???, pos TWS, and the ridiculously stupid currency conversion requirements.

Thanks for your response.

In my previous post I attached an image of the zig-zagging of price I was referring to. It has occurred a few times already with the MB Trading/NT combination I have been demoing.

If I understand you correctly, if I want to run range charts with TWS/NT, then I can only capture this data in real time? And if I didn't have my computer running for 1 hr. during the day, I could not display that hour's range data?

Regarding trading non-US pairs and paying additional spreads and commissions to convert the foreign base currency back into USD, is this just the way IB handles the conversion? How do other brokers convert the foreign base currency back into USD?

What types of frequent order execution problems were you having with TWS/NT? Have these problems been resolved using Sierra Chart?

Thank you.

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  #7 (permalink)
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Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: Ninja Trader
Broker/Data: IB
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Thanks: 966 given, 2,596 received

MB is...

my current broker. Loyalty is waning and I have had to open the possibility of going somewhere else. Thanks @vegasfoster

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  #8 (permalink)
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Australia
 
Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: NinjaTrader, Multicharts
Favorite Futures: Spot Forex, Gold, Silver
 
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wldman View Post
my current broker. Loyalty is waning and I have had to open the possibility of going somewhere else. Thanks @vegasfoster


MB Trading is the absolute worst broker for providing consistent service. It's a coin toss whether their servers will fall over on daily basis or not. Last six months I don't think a week has gone past without them having some sort of technical outage - whether it is the quote servers or the order servers or logging into account management on their website or their smartphone trading app or even once when their whole phone system was out. And that's just in the last six months.

I trade during the Asia & London sessions and 95% chance that you will not get hold of their phone support during those hours. And I am not talking about staying on hold. The phones are simply not answered by anyone, they just keep ringing.

Even NY open time is not 100% for getting hold of them because they are in california and work on pacific time.

My recommendation stay the hell away. Check out LMAX if you want a good broker for forex.

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  #9 (permalink)
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Bala, PA, USA
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Broker/Data: Mirus, IB
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Traderji View Post
MB Trading is the absolute worst broker for providing consistent service. It's a coin toss whether their servers will fall over on daily basis or not. Last six months I don't think a week has gone past without them having some sort of technical outage - whether it is the quote servers or the order servers or logging into account management on their website or their smartphone trading app or even once when their whole phone system was out. And that's just in the last six months.

I trade during the Asia & London sessions and 95% chance that you will not get hold of their phone support during those hours. And I am not talking about staying on hold. The phones are simply not answered by anyone, they just keep ringing.

Even NY open time is not 100% for getting hold of them because they are in california and work on pacific time.

My recommendation stay the hell away. Check out LMAX if you want a good broker for forex.

I just got an email this week from MB Trading apologizing for an outage during the week because their Telco broke a line or something. I was experimenting with Forex with a live test account with them. My problem is that sometimes it took in excess of 6 seconds to modify an order, outrageous! I would also regularly see the market surpass my profit target by 4 or 5 ticks and come back again, and I would never get a fill.

I never had these bad experiences with Interarcive Brokers. For me the only drawback to IB is that they don't do micro lots, although you can trade the EUR/USD in 1/4 lots. I also believe you can do fractional in other pairs but they will route them differently and you will get worst spreads.


Last edited by monpere; September 20th, 2012 at 03:47 PM.
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  #10 (permalink)
Elite Member
Dartmouth NS
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: MC, MC.Net, NT, TWS
Broker/Data: IB / IQFeed / Kids
Favorite Futures: Forex, stocks
 
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Posts: 638 since Feb 2010
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I'm another IB user for spot Forex, agree with everything vegasfoster said, use them because I have a number of other accounts with them and find the quality of service for Forex acceptable. However, in my case data/order fulfillment quality is less of issue than simple spot Forex trading know-how. May rethink IB for Forex if and when I decide they're holding me back

My sons use other brokers (e.g., Gain) mainly because they cater to smaller accounts and because they interface with NinjaTrader. In general choice of a broker/data provider is dependent on your circumstances and your personal preferences. Unfortunately the Interwebz abounds with opinion and there is no real substitute for your own experience.

ETA: Also like vegasfoster I'm currently exploring other options than the NinjaTrader/IB combo.

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