Author Topic: IBKR - Interactive Brokers  (Read 171747 times)

Jurgis

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Re: IBKR - Interactive Brokers
« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2015, 07:59:43 AM »
If IBKR has spent tons of money for their backend in order to provide cheap trades, why don't they spend some money on improving the UI? Having good front end is cheaper than their backend systems and it would attract more customers. Right now their interface is atrocious. I would not recommend them to anyone except day traders desperate for low commissions. Fidelity experience is light years above IB. And I am fine with paying Fidelity commissions: it's still less than 0.2% drag on something like $5K trade, much less for bigger ones.

(Yeah, I know IB has couple advantages: some international markets with cheap commissions, international positions in IRAs, cheap options, great margin rates. Almost none of these apply to me or most people)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 08:02:16 AM by Jurgis »
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benhacker

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Re: IBKR - Interactive Brokers
« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2015, 08:16:12 AM »
I think perhaps IB has designed their offering / interface / business model in a way to encourage the kinds of customers they want, and also to discourage (and thus, leave with competitors) the kind of customer they don't want.

A business doesn't have to go after all customers to be successful, I think there is a place for Fidelity / SCHW... I just think in the long run, the more frequent traders, and investors desiring IB's rates / commissions will migrate.  This will allow IB to continue to grow, and probably have a disproportionate impact on the competition as these customers I would think tend to be higher margin.
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TwoCitiesCapital

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Re: IBKR - Interactive Brokers
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2015, 08:27:10 AM »
I think perhaps IB has designed their offering / interface / business model in a way to encourage the kinds of customers they want, and also to discourage (and thus, leave with competitors) the kind of customer they don't want.

A business doesn't have to go after all customers to be successful, I think there is a place for Fidelity / SCHW... I just think in the long run, the more frequent traders, and investors desiring IB's rates / commissions will migrate.  This will allow IB to continue to grow, and probably have a disproportionate impact on the competition as these customers I would think tend to be higher margin.

I can attest to this. I've recently opened an account with IB while I have two other accounts at Scottrade. The interface is a bit intimidating at first but I certainly appreciate the (generally) cheaper fills and the better execution. Limit trades with Scottrade take forever to get filled, and occasionally don't get filled, even if the price is below the limit price. I don't have this issue with IB and IB gives me greater access to foreign markets which Scottrade is lacking.

There are a few frustrations with IB, but as I learn the system more I'm seriously considering moving my other two accounts over to it and having them all with IB.

Jurgis

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Re: IBKR - Interactive Brokers
« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2015, 08:36:48 AM »
It's good to know that they don't want me as a customer. Makes me feel fuzzy and happy inside.  :-X
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philly value

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Re: IBKR - Interactive Brokers
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2015, 08:46:12 AM »
It's good to know that they don't want me as a customer. Makes me feel fuzzy and happy inside.  :-X

Honestly I'm wondering what is so bad about the interface, because this is a relatively common complaint from others. The only thing I found annoying about IB is the security card thing, which is a pain to have to look up / enter everytime I log in. Otherwise, things may not be as colorful as other brokers, but functionally I haven't had any real issues. And regardless of anything, bought 75 shares this morning for a grand total commission of $0.25, so screw the interface  :D

oddballstocks

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Re: IBKR - Interactive Brokers
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2015, 08:51:44 AM »
It's good to know that they don't want me as a customer. Makes me feel fuzzy and happy inside.  :-X

Maybe they're going the Bloomberg Terminal route.  Such a terrible UI and so cryptic that once users figure it out they feel like they have some special skill.  Bloomberg styles themselves as this black box super secret type of thing.  It's like they're telling users "sure you just move money around, but when you use our software you feel like a fighter jet pilot....you rockstar you...go get 'em."

Here's my guess.  IB had no idea how to design a UI when they started.  It just grew haphazardly.  Now users are used to the haphazard.  I don't think there's a science to it, it's just users get used to the pain.

I had a conversation with a few people last night about systems like this.  We'd all seen companies who had green-screen terminal systems that once users got up over an enormous learning curve they could be fast with the software.  Existing users who made the investment figured out tricks and ways to be fast.  But the system wasn't designed for that, it just grew that way.  We were sharing experiences of watching companies redesign those systems to be user friendly.  Power users, the ones who were well indoctrinated hated the new systems.  It slowed them down and they felt they couldn't get their job done as quickly.  Is that a failure for the new system?  It depends.  In one context it wasn't.  The company had high turnover and needed new employees to get up to speed fast.  Whatever productivity was lost with power users was more than made up by reduced training costs and reduced errors by new users.

The simplest interface to making a trade is picking up the phone and calling the broker.  Call the broker and say "buy 1,000 MSFT at 42".  Some brokers implement that phone type of interface online.  It's easy to make a straight forward trade.  And my guess is if you looked at usage patterns 90%+ of trades at brokers are simple trades.  It makes sense to make the simple things straight forward.  From my limited experience with IB's UI they wanted to cover all aspects.  They put all of the assumptions up front.  You want to buy MSFT, what type of MSFT?  Stock, option?  What market do you want to trade on?  And on and on.  This gives the power user a lot of options.  I'm idling wondering as I type this how many users actually use some of these options.  I've seen a lot of systems that provide a TON of configurability and no one uses it.  I'll share a story of my own.  In our product CompleteBankData.com we have the ability to search over 10,000 banks on 2,000 criteria over any quarter in the past 10 years.  A ton of power right?  It is, you can create the most customized searches on the planet for bank data.  So what do our users do?  99.9% search on ROE over the most recent quarter.  That's it.  I could remove all of that other functionality only include a ROE field and users would be happy.

The experience on my system isn't unique.  In designing and working with complex IT systems for years I've seen this pattern repeated over and over.

In my view the best interface is actually two interfaces.  One is the simple path, a wizard or toolbar to do simple repeatable tasks that happen most of the time.  And an advanced view for complex behaviors that happen occasionally.  It seems IB took the advanced route and never implemented a simple route. 

I am probably the company's target user.  But after using their demo for a few days I decided it wasn't worth the time to learn the UI.  I'm satisfied with Fidelity and have no desire to learn some warped system.  I want to switch and IB offers a lot of features I want.  But the UI holds me back.  It's like handing someone an iPhone with a rotary dial attached.  Why limit yourself like that?
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oddballstocks

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Re: IBKR - Interactive Brokers
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2015, 08:53:14 AM »
It's good to know that they don't want me as a customer. Makes me feel fuzzy and happy inside.  :-X

Honestly I'm wondering what is so bad about the interface, because this is a relatively common complaint from others. The only thing I found annoying about IB is the security card thing, which is a pain to have to look up / enter everytime I log in. Otherwise, things may not be as colorful as other brokers, but functionally I haven't had any real issues. And regardless of anything, bought 75 shares this morning for a grand total commission of $0.25, so screw the interface  :D

Maybe this argument could be analogous to a Walmart/Target argument.  A Walmart shopper says "who cares that the store is dirty, aisles filled with crap and long lines at the cashier.  I saved $6 on my purchase so I could care less."  Verses the Target argument which is that the stores are nicer but you pay a bit more.  I prefer to shop at Target.  My guess is most IB users are Walmart shoppers?
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Ham Hockers

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Re: IBKR - Interactive Brokers
« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2015, 08:54:29 AM »

Maybe this argument could be analogous to a Walmart/Target argument.  A Walmart shopper says "who cares that the store is dirty, aisles filled with crap and long lines at the cashier.  I saved $6 on my purchase so I could care less."  Verses the Target argument which is that the stores are nicer but you pay a bit more.  I prefer to shop at Target.  My guess is most IB users are Walmart shoppers?

That seems so unlike you :)

writser

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Re: IBKR - Interactive Brokers
« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2015, 08:55:15 AM »
I am probably the company's target user.  But after using their demo for a few days I decided it wasn't worth the time to learn the UI.  I'm satisfied with Fidelity and have no desire to learn some warped system.  I want to switch and IB offers a lot of features I want.  But the UI holds me back.  It's like handing someone an iPhone with a rotary dial attached.  Why limit yourself like that?

I really don't understand why you, of all people, think this way. You're leaving a lot of money on the table in the long run just because you are too lazy to spend half a day on their software? Because, frankly, it's not _THAT_ difficult to use and if you get to know it actually works very good - I now prefer it above almost all alternatives.

Their software should appeal to deep value investors like you. It's ugly at first glance & unloved but very cheap! The Walmart comparison is way off the mark. IB is like a wholesale store compared to a retail store around the corner. Sure, it looks a little bit less cosy but if you are a professional you can't do without it.


Anyway, back ontopic: nobody likes my idea? Opinions would be appreciated.

Quote
Just a brainfart: I really like IB as a broker and I would love to own the stock but it just looks to expensive for my taste. Has anybody considered setting this up as a pair trade? E.g. long IBKR, short AMTD and/or ETFC. All brokers have relatively high valuations, if you can set this up with low margin requirements it might be a nice bet 'on the side' that IBKR will perform better than its competitors.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 09:05:57 AM by writser »
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philly value

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Re: IBKR - Interactive Brokers
« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2015, 09:02:20 AM »
It's good to know that they don't want me as a customer. Makes me feel fuzzy and happy inside.  :-X

Honestly I'm wondering what is so bad about the interface, because this is a relatively common complaint from others. The only thing I found annoying about IB is the security card thing, which is a pain to have to look up / enter everytime I log in. Otherwise, things may not be as colorful as other brokers, but functionally I haven't had any real issues. And regardless of anything, bought 75 shares this morning for a grand total commission of $0.25, so screw the interface  :D


Maybe this argument could be analogous to a Walmart/Target argument.  A Walmart shopper says "who cares that the store is dirty, aisles filled with crap and long lines at the cashier.  I saved $6 on my purchase so I could care less."  Verses the Target argument which is that the stores are nicer but you pay a bit more.  I prefer to shop at Target.  My guess is most IB users are Walmart shoppers?

I look at it a bit differently. Personally at least I look at choice of a broker almost like I would buying car insurance. I need access to the exchanges to invest, and a broker provides me that, but I don't get much pleasure out of the relationship. I want a broker that I can trust is a stable institution, gives me flexibility in accessing many different markets/products from one platform, and most importantly gives me the lowest cost (both in terms of fees and in terms of execution).

On the other hand, shopping for food or shopping for clothes is much closer to a "pleasure" activity. I suppose if I looked at food and clothes as merely means to survival, then the function of the stores would be similiar to the function of the auto insurer / broker I outlined. But instead, I am inclined to spend way more on food than I need to survive because it's enjoyable.

So bottom line is, I shop at Whole Foods much more than Wal-Mart, but I use Interactive Brokers.