Goodbye Questrade, Hello Interactive Brokers!
As you know by my complete lack of posting, I haven’t been doing any trading lately. Some of that is because of the summer and I tend to spend my days either working, drinking or hungover. Mostly, it is because I finally accepted that things were not going to work with Questrade. I FINALLY ended that relationship and made the move to IB. My main requirement is hit by staying with a broker registered in Canada because of our 1 Million dollar insurance on accounts. I like that security. Here is how I see things…
Man, I really wanted to like this company! I am looking back at this breakup with a positive view. This was my first experience with an equities broker so I will always have a place in my heart for them. Opening the account was easy. They had a very clean site to navigate for all your account details and what not. I found the IQ Edge platform to be very easy to manipulate to my liking and the trade executions on the long side were fantastic. I will also say that customer service was polite and did always try to help me. I say try because many things are outside of their power.
Now, I have to admit to the problems we developed in our time together. I was unfortunately a victim of a massive level 2 issue they suffered one day. Fine. I’m a former techie, I can live with a one day outage. My problem was that this was a random ongoing issue for me that would strike one or two symbols every day. I went all the way through their tech support chain and the last guy just told me that it’s a known issue with some customers. I asked for updates. I never got one. Every month I would complain and I got 50% of my data fees rebated which seemed fair to me. I didn’t care about the fee. I wanted stable data, dammit! You can read about my battle with this HERE and HERE.
What really ended this relationship? Short selling. I have to say I never had a problem with my longs. Execution was always great. My shorts were another story completely. At first, I would just get a message at order entry saying this stock is not shortable to and to contact their trade desk if I need a locate. No way I am going to add an over-the-phone order fee for stocks that trade well over a million shares every day. Near the end they added the “risk review” message when I threw in a short order. It would take them 5-15 minutes to find the shares and then allow the order through. Maybe if I had a larger account I could afford to put orders in for every stock I want to short at a very high price and then alter the price when it comes time to execute. But my account couldn’t afford all those open orders and sometimes I come up with a last minute idea and I need to be able to execute it NOW! I missed many movements because of this and I got tired of it. At the end, I would check the IB website and see hundreds of thousands of shares available to short and I would just hang my head and cry. Our relationship was good. I deserve better than good. I deserve great! Also, not a native MAC platform – seriously, I shouldn’t have to run virtual machines just to use your platform. Get with it! Hire some Apple Developers.
It’s very early so I will reserve too much judgement on this broker. So far, the account opening process was pretty straight forward. They needed some extra documents and confirmations but this was clearly communicated and I was able to upload all the docs directly to them. As a result, the turn around time was very good. I was able to easily setup my banking info and fund my account. I’m starting with just over the 10 thousand US dollars required for margin accounts. Being in Canada, that cost me about 14 billion dollars because our loonie is in the toilet. The TWS platform took a bit of tinkering to get it functional for what I want. Still not perfect, but the level at which you can customize this thing is insane! I also like that their scanners operate in real time and not the 15 minute delay I faced at Questrade. The absolute best part? I can run this natively on my Mac!
I am also going to make a few changes to my trade desk. This is my current setup…
I have added a new MacBook Pro to replace my Mac Mini and am going to pick up a larger desk this weekend. Hopefully I can have this all done and ready to go for Monday morning. I’ll make sure to get a picture up ASAP.
Today was spent tinkering with TWS during the market open so I could see how things looked with all the data flooding in. I’m at work tomorrow and Friday might be packed so there is only a slight chance I will trade then. Most likely, I’ll be posting something on Monday. Have a great weekend! Oh, feel free to follow my Instagram (on the right) to see what I’m up to when I’m not trading.