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TOS Paper vs Live - Any noted differences?
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TOS Paper vs Live - Any noted differences?

  #1 (permalink)
Go Bears!
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TOS Paper vs Live - Any noted differences?

I've been on the TOS platform for several years, and truly like it for my stock and option trades, for five linked accounts. I want nothing more than for it to be the solution I use going-forward, including for futures.

However, I play a lot in paper where I test my stock and option strategies and otherwise just experiment without risking capital, which is the point of course. I have a live, non-delayed feed, but after noticing some issues which tech support could not initially replicate (after many inquiries), I finally got a rep (just before the holidays), who finally asked me if I was in paper or live. The light went on, for me at least... She then was able to see what I saw, which was not seen in the live version.

I have these discrepancies noted on my other computer, but I'll give it a go from my memory...

I noticed in my left panel watchlist that the put / call ratio criteria that I had selected was static, day after day, week after week even. I wanted to use this data to aid me in my decision-making to see how worthwhile it might be, but it was, and remains useless, in my paper account. The rep saw that it was working properly, updating on the fly in the live account. She had no explanation as to why.

I had found other stuff too, which just has me very frustrated as I now feel like I can't use paper for its intended purpose. Here's one I remember, but I didn't make the time to confirm it against the live account. Either way, it's wrong... I have an EFT watchlist, I believe that focusses on option sizzle, and it constantly has the ticker FIO. This is not an ETF, but a stock.

I told TOS about this, and the put / call stuff months ago...

Anyone else notice differences (btween paper and live)? I find myself using TOS less now and I'm seriously contemplating something like MC or AB. I'd like to think that the two should mirror each other in all important ways...


Last edited by TonyB; March 5th, 2012 at 12:44 AM.
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  #2 (permalink)
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I too like to trade in paper for the reasons you suggest.

I noticed that the info in the Volume column in the Active Trader tab are wildly different between the Paper and Live versions. Level II screens are totally different too. I haven't bothered tech support about it, as I think ToS is not too concerned about their paper trading system. I heard in one ToS lecture that they run paper money so their backup servers have something to do all day.

Also others have noted very different fill responses between paper and live, especially with short term trading, but I'm still somewhat green, so I can't speak on that.

None of this makes me feel good about paper trading on ToS, beyond ruidmentary finding "which button does what."

If anyone can suggest an alternative platform where paper trading more realistically emulates live trading, I (and I bet others) are all ears.

Thanks!
-Bob

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  #3 (permalink)
Go Bears!
Bay Area, CA - US
 
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bob7123, thank you, and welcome to the forum.

If you have not checked, make sure your paper account is receiving real-time data, not delayed (top left corner). This might explain some, if not most of what you shared. Just a thought...

If it is indeed real-time, like your live account, the information is most helpful. If you happen to have taken screen shots like me, kindly share.

At some point soon, I plan to email TDA / TOS with such "evidence" and make it very clear that they are about to lose a customer. I have invested much time setting-up my paper account to test various strategies, and I'm unable to do so with any conviction.


Last edited by TonyB; March 6th, 2012 at 03:16 PM.
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  #4 (permalink)
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Of course fills in paper vs live will be different.
I haven't noticed any differences besides that.

I haven't traded any paper in a long time though.

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  #5 (permalink)
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TonyB View Post
bob7123, thank you, and welcome to the forum.

If you have not checked, make sure your paper account is receiving real-time data, not delayed (top left corner). This might explain some, if not most of what you shared. Just a thought...

If it is indeed real-time, like your live account, the information is most helpful. If you happen to have taken screen shots like me, kindly share.

At some point soon, I plan to email TDA / TOS with such "evidence" and make it very clear that they are about to lose a customer. I have invested much time setting-up my paper account to test various strategies, and I'm unable to do so with any conviction.

Good luck finding a platform that does as much as TOS already does in terms of their paper trading and ThinkBack capabilities... Ultimately, you want great fills and low commissions. This is where TOS is most vulnerable. But when it comes to whistles / bells / and paper trading.... TOS is as good as it gets.

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  #6 (permalink)
Go Bears!
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Massive l View Post
Of course fills in paper vs live will be different.
I haven't noticed any differences besides that.

I haven't traded any paper in a long time though.

When I was paper trading futures in TOS, fills were immediate when the price was reached, not FIFO. That is why I went elsewhere (OEC) for my futures sim education. While not ideal, I understand and get that though...

What I don't find acceptable is having supplied data, indicators not present the same information as what's seen in the live account.


timefreedom View Post
Good luck finding a platform that does as much as TOS already does in terms of their paper trading and ThinkBack capabilities... Ultimately, you want great fills and low commissions. This is where TOS is most vulnerable. But when it comes to whistles / bells / and paper trading.... TOS is as good as it gets.

And that is why I've been with them so long. As I said, I want nothing more than to have TOS get this aspect sorted-out. I really like options, so believe me when I say that...

I decided to check again as it has been a couple months.... About 45 minutes after the mkt close, SLB has a put / call ratio of 1.411 in paper. In live, it's .501. There are other examples, but we are not talking a minor difference here.

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  #7 (permalink)
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Here is a screenshot of the 5 minute /ES. It is early here in Europe, so the volume bars are not that different yet. (they will be way off by RTH) And obviously the Level II is totally different, as is the ladder.

BTW I always make the paper and live sessions different colors. Prevents me from having a nightmare that I'm in one when I think I'm in the other!

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  #8 (permalink)
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TOS futures/forex papertrading is a little better now. Used to be always like 10 seconds behind a couple of years ago. I asked them if they could fix it, and they said they couldn't. (pat answer). Glad to see TD Ameritrade has taken the TOS platform seriously and have invested in improving it. Now it still has unrealistic fills with no real simulated bid/ask orderflow but at least it requires passage through the tick and is more or less real time although still filtered compared to other real time feeds.

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  #9 (permalink)
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Only one tos .exe file should be opened at a time, otherwise the data will be off.

This is explained in their terms of service. If you have a special need, there is a work around.
I recommend contacting support.

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  #10 (permalink)
Go Bears!
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Massive l View Post
Only one tos .exe file should be opened at a time, otherwise the data will be off.

This is explained in their terms of service. If you have a special need, there is a work around.
I recommend contacting support.

I'm not sure if this in reference to something I shared, and if so, what exactly you are saying. I have a Watchlist in the left panel that has a column for the put / call ratio. That data is both static and grossly different than the figures in the live account... Same thing when a scan is performed on such, different results in live vs paper...

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