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Experieces with interactive brokers


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Experieces with interactive brokers

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  #1 (permalink)
Bamberg, Germany
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Sierra Chart
Broker: IB, SierraCharts data
Trading: MES, FDXM
 
Posts: 1,088 since Oct 2014
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Last week my internet went down and I had a live trade on. I called the Interactive Broker hot line and got to a live person within seconds and she checked my account and the trade was closed out. Typically any technical issue or question that I have had with IB TWS is usually quickly and thoroughly answered. Overall I have had a positive experience with IB. Has anyone else had a similar experience? It would be interesting to know.

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  #3 (permalink)
Sydney, NSW, Australia
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader with Jigsaw DOM
Trading: CL, 6E, ES, Piano
 
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Hey wondering if any of you trade with them? Are they trustworthy/reliable? What's their platform like? They look attractive because of all the asset classes they offer.

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  #4 (permalink)
hickory hills
 
 
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I've been using them for the past 3 years and I love them. Very reliable and huge company that you could trust. Highly recommend and have no problems with them. Their platform is nice as well. It doesn't have as many features as other ones do but it is more than enough.

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  #5 (permalink)
Vancouver, WA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Jigsaw, MC.NET, ToS, IB
Broker: St5/IronBm/Rithmic, IB, ToS
Trading: Emini ES
 
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My nightmare with Interactive Brokers (IB):

I am trading an IRA account. IB has many rules for IRA accounts including no shorting. The way they enforce that rule makes it so I cannot add both a stop-loss and profit target to a trade on Trader Workstation (TWS), IB's "super-duper" trading platform.

So I went looking and found DAS Trader. That was an expensive and frustrating experience with an outfit affiliated with some hole-in-the-wall offshore broker.

More searching led me back to MultiCharts.NET (MC), for which I have a lifetime license. With the IB TWS API connection, I could enter stop-loss and take-profit strategies on MC that IB would accept.

Then, I noticed some odd things. My “Portfolio” in TWS was going wacky. The individual profit & losses (PnL’s) for instruments in the Portfolio did not update nor did they add up correctly when compared with the running total displayed in the Portfolio view. Netflix took a big drop one day and I sat there confused and trying to figure out why my total was dropping. I did not know Netflix was tanking because I was relying on my Portfolio to keep abreast of my transactions with IB.

IB’s data has been very bad for many years – so bad that Jigsaw was not able to connect to it and use it reliably. Recently, Jigsaw thinks IB’s data is better and now usable with Jigsaw connected via API to IB. Fortunately, I was paper trading ES when I tried it on a very fast PC with a top-of-the-line AMD multi-threading processor, 32 GB of RAM, and flash SSD. It was like when the turbocharger fails on a diesel – the Jigsaw DOM, connected to TWS, was in limp mode. Orders entered on the DOM took something like 5 seconds to display. BTW, 5 seconds to get an order entered, when price is moving and you are scalping, is a very long time and is unworkable.

I decided to transfer my IRA to TD Ameritrade (TDA), combining it with my IRA account at TDA. But the name on my account at TDA is the shortened version of my name and IB has my full name in the account there. So IB refused the transfer and said they needed to verify the two names are one and the same. This had come up before and I had a signed One-and-the-Same (OAS) document I sent to them on 8/17/20. On Friday, 8/21/20, I got a message from IB telling me there had been a transfer request and they needed my to verify to them the OAS. I replied that I had sent the document to them the previous Monday. Then I got a message from IB indicating there was an outbound transfer happening and if I had initiated it, there was nothing more to do.

By Tuesday, 8/25/20, I noticed the transfer IB said was happening, wasn’t. By this time, I had cancelled all my data services – IB’s crappy data costs a lot of $$$, my account had drifted below the PDT level, and IB is all over the PDT thing. And, IB does not start counting after you drop below $25K. I’m not crying foul – just letting you know another frustrating factor -- the transactions made before the account falls below $25K count in ID-ing you as a Pattern Day Trader (PDT).

Combining the account from IB with the account at TDA would have resolved the whole PDT thing. But IB just will not relinquish the funds. I called IB yesterday afternoon and went over the whole name thing. The phone rep assured me 3 times, IB had what they needed and there was nothing more I needed to do for the transfer to happen. And, due to our troubles, he would expedite the transfer request. WOW – finally!

Shortly before noon (PST, 3 PM EST) today, I got a message from IB telling me I needed to have TDA resubmit the transfer request. Of course, I was busy and had IB’s assurance there was nothing more I had to do – 3X, so I did not see the message until after market close.

I sent a frantic message to TDA letting them know I needed them to quickly resubmit the transfer request because I have options positions that expire this Friday and time is getting short on this request I initiated 1-1/2 weeks or more ago. Incredibly, I got a reply from TDA, the same form reply I got the previous week, telling me there was a name problem between the IB and TDA accounts and I would have to submit a ticket to IB to get this resolved.

Not trusting myself to talk with IB about this anymore and realizing the futility of dealing with IB, I called TDA and explained all this to them. So I sent TDA the same form I had sent last year to TDA when I split my TDA account and sent part of it to IB. But that was a customer service rep who would need to forward a message to the TDA account people to see if they can resolve this with IB. And, if I need anything else, the CS people at TDA are available 24/7, but the accounting people (who can really help me) work bankers’ hours. And I imagine that is the same at IB.

Not wanting to leave it there and rely on the TDA to carry the torch on this, I sent IB yet another message explaining all this, for all the good it will likely do...

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  #6 (permalink)
Legendary Market Wizard
Houston, TX
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: Trading Technologies
Broker: Primary Advantage Futures. Also ED&F and Tradestation
Trading: Primarily Energy but also a little ES, GE, GC, SI & Bitcoin
 
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Hi @redneck4Christ

Regarding the limitations on IRA accounts, many brokers are very strict on what you can trade in an IRA. The reason is if you blow up a normal trading account going negative equity they will go after you, but if you blow up an IRA account, they are very limited in what they can do, because IRS rules prevent you from adding more/unlimited funds to your IRA.

Regarding your issues with the transfer due to names, I do not think this is anything special either. With the increased Know Your Customer ("KYC") regulations, which are anti-money laundering laws, this is now a common problem and a problem that I have encountered multiple times with multiple brokers. My experience isn't with IRA's but I would suspect IRA's are more difficult rather than easier.

Specifically to IB, I would say that my perception of them over the years is great multi asset trading accounts, very competitive pricing, one of the best 'free' front ends, but very aggressive liquidation policies and generally poor customer service. I haven't had an IB account myself though in quiet a long time.

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  #7 (permalink)
Vancouver, WA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Jigsaw, MC.NET, ToS, IB
Broker: St5/IronBm/Rithmic, IB, ToS
Trading: Emini ES
 
Posts: 72 since Apr 2019
Thanks: 689 given, 111 received


SMCJB View Post
Hi @redneck4Christ

Regarding the limitations on IRA accounts, many brokers are very strict on what you can trade in an IRA. The reason is if you blow up a normal trading account going negative equity they will go after you, but if you blow up an IRA account, they are very limited in what they can do, because IRS rules prevent you from adding more/unlimited funds to your IRA.

Regarding your issues with the transfer due to names, I do not think this is anything special either. With the increased Know Your Customer ("KYC") regulations, which are anti-money laundering laws, this is now a common problem and a problem that I have encountered multiple times with multiple brokers. My experience isn't with IRA's but I would suspect IRA's are more difficult rather than easier.

Specifically to IB, I would say that my perception of them over the years is great multi asset trading accounts, very competitive pricing, one of the best 'free' front ends, but very aggressive liquidation policies and generally poor customer service. I haven't had an IB account myself though in quiet a long time.

Hi @SMCJB,

It looks like you missed the points, my friend. If IB is especially concerned about blowing up IRA accounts, why do they deny me the use of stop-losses and profit targets?

Sure, a name discrepancy is a hitch to get over, but to take 2 weeks of foot dragging and demand a second assurance after they get a signed document -- the same document used to transfer funds to IB???

I had similar perceptions as you until I actually experienced the things I described in my first post.

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  #8 (permalink)
Legendary Market Wizard
Houston, TX
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: Trading Technologies
Broker: Primary Advantage Futures. Also ED&F and Tradestation
Trading: Primarily Energy but also a little ES, GE, GC, SI & Bitcoin
 
Posts: 3,612 since Dec 2013
Thanks: 2,887 given, 6,801 received

Hey @redneck4Christ, wasn't trying to stir the issue, was just pointing out I don't think some of what your experiencing is that rare.

With regards to your question "why do they deny me the use of stop-losses and profit targets?". The answer is your risk and their risk is different. They don't really care if you lose every penny in your account, they only care if you lose more than is in your account. If your long, you can only lose 100% of your investment. This is why so many brokers don't allow short trading, options trading, futures trading or anything that can lose more than the initial investment in an IRA. A risk check of stop and profit target bracket order is treating that as two sell orders against a single long position and assumes that both could get executed and hence you could possibly be short and open to unlimited losses. Agree that is extremely unlikely but risk checks are not path dependent, they look at current position and open orders and they've obviously made the decision to not allow, or at least not go to the effort of addressing it in their risk system. If you read some of the other threads here (The Gauntlet I think is one), there are lots of complaints about this exact issue and how trading software treats bracket orders as a two orders, not a single order - even in futures trading accounts - hence messing with the available margin calculations.

If I was you I would be extremely frustrated by your account transfer situation. Even if there is a problem with the names, looks like you are trying to resolve it, but back office apathy is making that difficult. I have had two cash transfers rejected in the last few years because of account name issues. Not saying its right, just saying your experience isn't that unique.

Maybe you missed the end of my last sentence, "and generally poor customer service". I wasn't trying to support them, I was criticizing their customer service. I was actually being generous. I thought IBs customer service was terrible. Worst I've ever dealt with from a financial institution.

Anyway, good luck with your issue, I know if I was in your shoes I would be very frustrated as well.

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