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10 minutes ago, Djtux said:

Just received a new email from Robinhood in case anyone is interested.

I have $0 fund in RH as i removed everything so it's going to be difficult for me to test it further for now.

That is exciting news! I finally have access to option spreads on robinhood now (Apparently, if you just remove access for options and then just re-request it, the app will ask you the trading experience questions again and by choosing the most aggressive answers, they give you option spread access), but am not seeing any way to construct spreads right now. I'm already on the latest version, unless they're slowly rolling out an update on google play.

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33 minutes ago, akito said:

That is exciting news! I finally have access to option spreads on robinhood now (Apparently, if you just remove access for options and then just re-request it, the app will ask you the trading experience questions again and by choosing the most aggressive answers, they give you option spread access), but am not seeing any way to construct spreads right now. I'm already on the latest version, unless they're slowly rolling out an update on google play.

I think you can opt-in in the beta as well on Google Play.

I can see that i can select 4 legs to create an iron butterfly on TLT for example.

I'm not sure i understand their bid/ask and credit/debit. Another thing to adapt.

I have $0 fund there, so i can't execute orders, and don't know how the position tracking works and how to do adjustments.

Maybe i will put some fund there to play around cheap calendars that is commission intensive with IB.

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I have a question for anyone who trades through IB.

If you happen to have "Unrealized P/L", and "Today's P/L" on your quote screen, have you noticed that those numbers are almost always totally incorrect?

For example.....I buy something for $1.50, and several days later, the market is 1.35/1.45.

It will be showing a positive p/l on that position, in both columns.

Or vice versa.

The market is 1.75/1.90, and it is showing a loss.

This seems to be the norm.

Anyone else notice this?

I need to call them.

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I'm new here and I'm wondering why TradeStation and OptionStation seem to be mostly ignored in this thread. I was an IB customer for years, and a two years ago, switched to TradeStation for equities and options, primarily for two reasons: 1) platform seems seamlessly integrated with data feeds and brokerage (except you have to have separate accounts for equities/options and futures), and a reasonably programmable platform (I'm a professional programmer, so EasyLangluage, especially with its new object oriented extensions may be ugly, but gets the job done). I use NinjaTrader for futures, and I like C# better than EasyLanguage, but I'm leaning towards switching most trades to options, using services like SteadyOptions or CMLViz, so algorithmic trading is less important to me now. Still I would like to program algorithmic fill procedures.

In addition, Tradestation commissions seem reasonably competitive ($1/contract for options with no ticket fee, or 5.00 + 0.50 per contract). Data fees are also competitive, and they have GREAT historical tick and minute data. The few options trades I've made (primarily ATM RUT options) have been filled within a few seconds at the mid point, but I really don't have enough experience there to generalize. Stock fills always seem spot on, less than 1 second.

Tradestation's OptionStation itself, which is now free, seems OK, although not nearly as good as OptionNet. I have a 4k monitor, and the graphics are really jagged and it's clumsy to enter and modify positions. I have no experience in modifying a multi-legged position after the fill, but have had no problems slowly increasing the limit on a spread until I get filled.

To me, I am primarily focused on the quality and speed of fills. It does little good to have "free" commissions if you lose 20 dollars a trade in slippage compared to paying an extra dollar per trade in commissions.

So, after this long winded intro, I'm trying to find the best combination of 1) great and speedy fills, 2) decent commission and data costs, 3) accurate trade and position reporting, and finally, 4) nice option analysis software (although I'm hoping SteadyOptions will just do most of that last one for me). I've seen the reports of Tradier+Tradehawk or Dynamic, and Tradier's $40 (or is it $50 now) fixed per month commissions, or TastyWorks $10 cap...but at what price. How are the fills compared with IB or TradeStation?

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4 hours ago, Larry said:

I'm new here and I'm wondering why TradeStation and OptionStation seem to be mostly ignored in this thread. I was an IB customer for years, and a two years ago, switched to TradeStation for equities and options, primarily for two reasons: 1) platform seems seamlessly integrated with data feeds and brokerage (except you have to have separate accounts for equities/options and futures), and a reasonably programmable platform (I'm a professional programmer, so EasyLangluage, especially with its new object oriented extensions may be ugly, but gets the job done). I use NinjaTrader for futures, and I like C# better than EasyLanguage, but I'm leaning towards switching most trades to options, using services like SteadyOptions or CMLViz, so algorithmic trading is less important to me now. Still I would like to program algorithmic fill procedures.

In addition, Tradestation commissions seem reasonably competitive ($1/contract for options with no ticket fee, or 5.00 + 0.50 per contract). Data fees are also competitive, and they have GREAT historical tick and minute data. The few options trades I've made (primarily ATM RUT options) have been filled within a few seconds at the mid point, but I really don't have enough experience there to generalize. Stock fills always seem spot on, less than 1 second.

Tradestation's OptionStation itself, which is now free, seems OK, although not nearly as good as OptionNet. I have a 4k monitor, and the graphics are really jagged and it's clumsy to enter and modify positions. I have no experience in modifying a multi-legged position after the fill, but have had no problems slowly increasing the limit on a spread until I get filled.

To me, I am primarily focused on the quality and speed of fills. It does little good to have "free" commissions if you lose 20 dollars a trade in slippage compared to paying an extra dollar per trade in commissions.

So, after this long winded intro, I'm trying to find the best combination of 1) great and speedy fills, 2) decent commission and data costs, 3) accurate trade and position reporting, and finally, 4) nice option analysis software (although I'm hoping SteadyOptions will just do most of that last one for me). I've seen the reports of Tradier+Tradehawk or Dynamic, and Tradier's $40 (or is it $50 now) fixed per month commissions, or TastyWorks $10 cap...but at what price. How are the fills compared with IB or TradeStation?

I'll jump in, I'm always interested in other traders ideas about brokers, especially fills. As far as your first few questions, I have an IT background, but I'm not a programmer so I'll default to anyone that wants to take those questions on.


As far as fills go, I'm not sure we've every come to a definitive answer. This question comes up very often, and considering we're on page 16 of this thread, and the question still comes up, I'm not sure if we'll every come to a conclusion about which broker provides the best fills. 

 

IB has their "SMART Routing" feature. Is that a feature or not? The way I understand it is, they can break apart a spread and send individual legs to different exchanges to get filled. If nobody knows how that algo really works, are we getting better fills and saving anything by going with IB because of the "hype" of SMART Routing? I really don't know.

 

Lets open this discussion again, I would love to hear their current ideas about fills/brokers/commission.

 

 

 

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Welcome @Larry

You are absolutely right that if the fills are not good, low commissions are not very useful. It is very difficult to compare apples to apples - unless you have accounts with both brokers and try to submit the same order to both at the same time.

Based on my personal experience and feedback from members, I still believe that IB provides best combination of fills, commissions and platform.   provides some feedback about Tradier. Based on members feedback, I would NOT recommend TOS, but tastyworks gets very good feedback.

Those are probably the best options available today. It doesn't mean other brokers are not good, and it is entirely possible that TradeStation and OptionStation have been overlooked in this discussion. Here is Barron's latest rankings - https://www.barrons.com/articles/interactive-brokers-takes-top-spot-in-online-broker-ranking-1521854071. IB is ranked #1, but TradeStation is pretty high as well.

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@Kim and anyone else that can help: Just leaving commissions aside as any move from my 3$ per option on Keytrade here in Belgium would be an improvement for me.  To give an idea I have done ca. 375 transactions this year so far (stocks and options) which cost about 9K in fees (and despite this I am up 40% but it could have been 46% if it wasnt for the fees)  I would be interested in a platform that:

 

- is suited to the more complex (read multi-legged) option strategies like we do on here (i have zero interest in futures)

- has access to R/T and historical data (ideally for stocks minute per minute) without gouging you on that

- can handle client from Europe and doesnt make impossible for me to get money back to my normal bank account should I need it (which shouldnt happen as I trade with money that I can miss but you never know.

 

Does IB fit that bill or is there a more options oriented platform that would be better

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29 minutes ago, TrustyJules said:

@Kim and anyone else that can help: Just leaving commissions aside as any move from my 3$ per option on Keytrade here in Belgium would be an improvement for me.  To give an idea I have done ca. 375 transactions this year so far (stocks and options) which cost about 9K in fees (and despite this I am up 40% but it could have been 46% if it wasnt for the fees)  I would be interested in a platform that:

 

- is suited to the more complex (read multi-legged) option strategies like we do on here (i have zero interest in futures)

- has access to R/T and historical data (ideally for stocks minute per minute) without gouging you on that

- can handle client from Europe and doesnt make impossible for me to get money back to my normal bank account should I need it (which shouldnt happen as I trade with money that I can miss but you never know.

 

Does IB fit that bill or is there a more options oriented platform that would be better

I have been with IB since they first started, and from all I know, they seem like what you are looking for.

But, I haven't looked into the particulars of whether there are any countries that cannot open an account.

I just went to their website, and typed in "foreign accounts", but it didn't give me what I was looking for.

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46 minutes ago, TrustyJules said:

@Kim and anyone else that can help: Just leaving commissions aside as any move from my 3$ per option on Keytrade here in Belgium would be an improvement for me.  To give an idea I have done ca. 375 transactions this year so far (stocks and options) which cost about 9K in fees (and despite this I am up 40% but it could have been 46% if it wasnt for the fees)  I would be interested in a platform that:

 

- is suited to the more complex (read multi-legged) option strategies like we do on here (i have zero interest in futures)

- has access to R/T and historical data (ideally for stocks minute per minute) without gouging you on that

- can handle client from Europe and doesnt make impossible for me to get money back to my normal bank account should I need it (which shouldnt happen as I trade with money that I can miss but you never know.

 

Does IB fit that bill or is there a more options oriented platform that would be better

You can take a look at this trade as well : https://steadyoptions.com/forums/forum/topic/420-trading-form-netherlands/?do=findComment&comment=80126

 

It seems that for european customers, depending on the country there are : IB, TastyWorks, Tradier.

I'm based in the US so i can't help more than that (i'm using IB, but i have a Tastyworks account as well that i don't use).

Many on SO forum are on one of those 3 brokers (IB, TastyWorks, Tradier).

One thing that could be of interest to you is that you can buy shares/ETF in non-US exchanges as well with IB.

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11 minutes ago, Djtux said:

You can take a look at this trade as well : https://steadyoptions.com/forums/forum/topic/420-trading-form-netherlands/?do=findComment&comment=80126

 

It seems that for european customers, depending on the country there are : IB, TastyWorks, Tradier.

I'm based in the US so i can't help more than that (i'm using IB, but i have a Tastyworks account as well that i don't use).

Many on SO forum are on one of those 3 brokers (IB, TastyWorks, Tradier).

One thing that could be of interest to you is that you can buy shares/ETF in non-US exchanges as well with IB.

IB is very big, and covers a lot of financial instruments, and niche areas as well.

They clear multi billion dollar hedge funds.

Tastyworks, and Tradier, are good, but they just cover the kind of niche area of the market that SO type trading involves, which can be very commission intensive.

I like to trade many other products that are not talked about here (sugar, crude, and others), and, with IB, if I have a thought about almost anything in the world, I can pull up charts, and options chains, and all sorts of analysis, about whatever comes to my mind.

Like ,what is the IV skew in Crude oil, or Natural Gas ....they cover so much territory, and their commissions can be very competitive with anyone else.

You really get quite alot for your money

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@TrustyJules 

If you plan for very active multi-legged option trading, with frequent adjustments, it should be noted that on the PureVolatility forums, where such trading is done, they recommend one of Tradier, TastyWorks, EOption OR RobinHood rather than Interactive Brokers, it looks like IB's commissions are still too high for very active option trading. Unfortunately, as far as I can see, only TastyWorks out of these four accepts customers from Belgium. You might be interested in their capped commissions program, too:

https://tastyworks.desk.com/customer/en/portal/articles/2802397-international-accounts
https://tastyworks.com/pricing.html#capComm

I personally have an IB account and am pleased with their service so far.

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58 minutes ago, cuegis said:

Here is a case of great irony.

I just bought a few calls on IBKR, and checked the commission.

It was -.05.

I guess I should mention that I trade through IB, so they paid me to make the trade.

Yes we discussed that in the past, i noticed it only works for single option leg, not spreads.

You can also change the Smart routing settings for single option leg to try to force the order to be routed to an exchange with more rebates at the risk of not getting filled or other slippage.

 

On 9/13/2017 at 3:25 PM, Djtux said:

You are talking about rebates ?

Sometimes you could even get 0 commission or negative commissions (rare)

On 9/13/2017 at 3:27 PM, Djtux said:

For single option like a call, there is the routing option https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/software/tws/usersguidebook/configuretws/configure_smartrouting.htm to try to get more rebate.

Quote

 

Choose how to route a smart-routed, non-marketable options order.

SMART Multipurpose (SMART) - This is the basic smart-routing algorithm. Routes your non-marketable order to the default exchange for the instrument .
SMART Maximize Rebate (SMART MaxRebate) - Routes the order to the exchange offering the highest rebate.
SMART Prefer Rebate (SMART PreferRebate) - Routes the order with the bias toward getting a rebate vs. getting the order filled.
SMART Prefer Fill (SMART PreferFill) - Routes the order with the bias toward getting a fill vs. getting a rebate.
SMART Maximize Fill (SMART MaxFill) - Routes the order with the sole objective of getting a fill.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Djtux said:

 

Yes we discussed that in the past, i noticed it only works for single option leg, not spreads.

You can also change the Smart routing settings for single option leg to try to force the order to be routed to an exchange with more rebates at the risk of not getting filled or other slippage.

 

 

In this case it was just outright buying calls on IBKR. Not spreads.

I checked the exchange and it was NASDAQOM.

I was thinking that IB probably took the other side and filled it "in house".

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8 minutes ago, cuegis said:

In this case it was just outright buying calls on IBKR. Not spreads.

I checked the exchange and it was NASDAQOM.

I was thinking that IB probably took the other side and filled it "in house".

I'm not an expert, but if you add liquidity you get the rebate :

https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=1201&nhf=T

But from that you might need to pay some regulatory fee, not sure.

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Just now, Djtux said:

I'm not an expert, but if you add liquidity you get the rebate :

https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=1201&nhf=T

But from that you might need to pay some regulatory fee, not sure.

I just thought it was kind of funny that I was buying calls on IBKR through IB!

I rarely just buy calls.

If I make a directional trade I usually prefer to buy a vertical, so that I have "neutralized" 80% of the "greek" exposure, and make or lose money just based on delta.

But IBKR was at $61, and they only have monthlies, and $5 wide strikes, so there is virtually no premium to sell on the upside,  I was in a rare situation where I just bought calls.

Anyway, the stock rallied .60 cents right after I bought them.

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Just now, cuegis said:

I just thought it was kind of funny that I was buying calls on IBKR through IB!

I rarely just buy calls.

If I make a directional trade I usually prefer to buy a vertical, so that I have "neutralized" 80% of the "greek" exposure, and make or lose money just based on delta.

But IBKR was at $61, and they only have monthlies, and $5 wide strikes, so there is virtually no premium to sell on the upside,  I was in a rare situation where I just bought calls.

Anyway, the stock rallied .60 cents right after I bought them.

Sorry i just got the joke about buying calls on IB using IB :).

Did you get the rebate both on the entry and the exit ?

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Anybody else start having problems with IB?   My active IB TWS session had a window with authentication failed and kept retrying (to no avail).   I closed down TWS and tried restarting but I'm getting the same authentication problem on login (doesn't even get to the point where I put in my codes from the card)

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4 minutes ago, Yowster said:

Anybody else start having problems with IB?   My active IB TWS session had a window with authentication failed and kept retrying (to no avail).   I closed down TWS and tried restarting but I'm getting the same authentication problem on login (doesn't even get to the point where I put in my codes from the card)

I just logged out and in of IB TWS without issues. I use the ib app on my Phone to receive the confirmation code.

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21 minutes ago, Yowster said:

Anybody else start having problems with IB?   My active IB TWS session had a window with authentication failed and kept retrying (to no avail).   I closed down TWS and tried restarting but I'm getting the same authentication problem on login (doesn't even get to the point where I put in my codes from the card)

Same here...haven't been able to log into TWS for a few minutes now.

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25 minutes ago, Yowster said:

Anybody else start having problems with IB?   My active IB TWS session had a window with authentication failed and kept retrying (to no avail).   I closed down TWS and tried restarting but I'm getting the same authentication problem on login (doesn't even get to the point where I put in my codes from the card)

Time to switch to Tradier @Yowster :B

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IB support acknowledged the problem and said they are working on it.   I never had a problem getting logged into TWS prior to this.   Interesting that I was able to login to Account Management (and DjTux was able to login to mobile app) but my Windows TWS login couldn't authenticate.    Good that I was able to close the ORCL trade before this connectivity problem.

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4 minutes ago, Yowster said:

IB support acknowledged the problem and said they are working on it.   I never had a problem getting logged into TWS prior to this.   Interesting that I was able to login to Account Management (and DjTux was able to login to mobile app) but my Windows TWS login couldn't authenticate.    Good that I was able to close the ORCL trade before this connectivity problem.

what authentication method do you use? Last month I was having a terrible time with the sms code verification. I switch to the mobile app authentication and haven't had any problems since.

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2 minutes ago, cuegis said:

That's strange, I have had no problems today, or any other day, with IB.

It's even more strange that they acknowledged it and nothing happened here.

I did tell them that TWS is running on Amazon AWS server since I'm physically at work today (but all other internet access is working fine from that server)...  maybe the AWS has something to do with this issue?

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1 minute ago, bossTrader said:

what authentication method do you use? Last month I was having a terrible time with the sms code verification. I switch to the mobile app authentication and haven't had any problems since.

In this case, I never get to the point where I enter the codes - the login can't authenticate on the ID/password screen.

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3 minutes ago, Yowster said:

I did tell them that TWS is running on Amazon AWS server since I'm physically at work today (but all other internet access is working fine from that server)...  maybe the AWS has something to do with this issue?

Is this page all green for your aws instance ? http://www.interactivebrokers.com/cgi-bin/conn_test.pl (don't know if you have a browser in your instance).

Found the page on https://ibkr.info/node/2816

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2 minutes ago, bossTrader said:

I also use AWS (thanks to you :Content:) with no problem today. But again, I use the mobile app authentication method

I don't use AWS but use the mobile app authentication as well (i use the IB mobile app and not the old IB key app), and no problem earlier.

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4 minutes ago, Yowster said:

I'm back on TWS, down about an hour.   Maybe it does have something to do with me not switching over to the mobile app for authentication?   I thought not because I was never prompted for my codes, but maybe it is involved. 

had no problems today (am in Europe), I still log in with the Security Code Card, so don't think not having the mobile app authentication would cause this problem, but I remember having this problem a few months ago, contacted IB support, they advised me to re-install TWS, after that problem was solved

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21 minutes ago, Yowster said:

I'm back on TWS, down about an hour.   Maybe it does have something to do with me not switching over to the mobile app for authentication?   I thought not because I was never prompted for my codes, but maybe it is involved. 

 

9 minutes ago, 4REAL said:

had no problems today (am in Europe), I still log in with the Security Code Card, so don't think not having the mobile app authentication would cause this problem, but I remember having this problem a few months ago, contacted IB support, they advised me to re-install TWS, after that problem was solved

@Yowster forgot to mention this, if you were to re-intall TWS, don't forget to save your settings first in a separate file,

(I am sure you won't, but just in case)

Edited by 4REAL

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1 minute ago, 4REAL said:

 

@Yowster forgot to mention this, if you were to re-intall TWS, I am sure you won't (but just in case), don't forget to save your settings first in separate file. 

Thanks... never had to re-install TWS as it typically auto-updates software level when it starts up

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4 minutes ago, Yowster said:

Thanks... never had to re-install TWS as it typically auto-updates software level when it starts up

Yeh, the IB support guy told me that sometimes the package gets broken, if an update is not installed properly

Edited by 4REAL

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Does anyone know of a broker that has their own, "sensible" way of dealing with the margin requirements on a reverse calendar?

I'm looking into the potential of this trade if it had some kind of margins that made sense.

I did find one way around it in some situations.

There are no margin requirements on reverse calendars on futures options (FOP).

So, for example, without getting into grains, crude oil etc.....you can do this trade on ES, which basically, in many ways, is the reverse of the VIX.

You can also do it on VIX as well, as it is based on underlying futures, and falls under the "futures options" category.

Another benefit to the actual potential of the trade itself, is that in these 2 cases, they are "cash settled" so there is no assignment risk.

When given the chance to change this margin rule a few years ago, the SEC opted to keep it prohibitive as it was.

But, the FTC/CFTC (Commodities regulators) chose to take the sensible approach and not impose any margin on this type of trade.

I thought there might be some "progressive" equity option brokers who found a "workaround" to this.

It might even be worth paying slightly higher commissions to be able to do this in a 2nd account.

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13 minutes ago, ChadK said:

I'm not able to model it at the moment, but wouldn't portfolio margin be a significant relief, especially at TDA?  Or you're looking for non-PM methods?

Yes..that's what I was looking for.

I suspect that there might be some "offbeat" brokers who have created a "workaround" to this.

But, even if there were, they probably have prohibitive commissions, and would be smaller, less known firms.

This has to be the dumbest margin rule out of all of them.

The risk is equal whether you do a "normal" calendar, or a reverse one.

They create this margin under the "assumption" that the long leg WILL expire first, and you WILL be holding a short, naked option.

I know in my case, and probably in the case of any "trader", they would be exiting this trade well before the expiration of any leg.

As long as both legs are open, and in place, the position should be margined as such.

If/when the day comes when the front leg expires, and you are holding 1 short option, THEN the margin should change to reflect that.

This is the way it works with all futures options.

So, ES might be a decent workaround for this.

After a spike in VIX ( a sharp drop in ES), when the IV on ES has spiked as well, this might be a good time to put on a reverse calendar because you get to sell IV that has spiked, and will also benefit from movement away from the current price, which is much more likely after a sharp drop in SP's..

So you have 2 things working for you, and no margin with ES

Edited by cuegis

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8 minutes ago, cuegis said:

Yes..that's what I was looking for.

I suspect that there might be some "offbeat" brokers who have created a "workaround" to this.

But, even if there were, they probably have prohibitive commissions, and would be smaller, less known firms.

This has to be the dumbest margin rule out of all of them.

The risk is equal whether you do a "normal" calendar, or a reverse one.

They create this margin under the "assumption" that the long leg WILL expire first, and you WILL be holding a short, naked option.

I know in my case, and probably in the case of any "trader", they would be exiting this trade well before the expiration of any leg.

As long as both legs are open, and in place, the position should be margined as such.

If/when the day comes when the front leg expires, and you are holding 1 short option, THEN the margin should change to reflect that.

This is the way it works with all futures options.

So, ES might be a decent workaround for this.

After a spike in VIX ( a sharp drop in ES), when the IV on ES has spiked as well, this might be a good time to put on a reverse calendar because you get to sell IV that has spiked, and will also benefit from movement away from the current price, which is much more likely after a sharp drop in SP's..

So you have 2 things working for you, and no margin with ES

I have had the exact same thought of selling a reverse calendar in many different situations bu the margin requirement makes the trade extremely unattractive. I think their would be great opportunities with index trades to take advantage of the skew. TDA portfolio margin is probably your best bet

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Just now, rayray16 said:

I have had the exact same thought of selling a reverse calendar in many different situations bu the margin requirement makes the trade extremely unattractive. I think their would be great opportunities with index trades to take advantage of the skew. TDA portfolio margin is probably your best bet

The margin is so beyond insane.

The margin you 1- on an outright short option, and 2- you also pay the debit for the (front) long leg.

So you are paying individually for both.

I did find out, by accident, something interesting regarding this.

I have a "regular" calendar in GS, at one strike.

Just to see what the margin would be on a "reverse calendar", I setup that trade in GS at another strike, and the margin would be $500, which is not that much different than the debit on a "normal" calendar.

But, then I tried the same thing with a stock that I have no position in, and it was crazy..like $4000 or something like that.

The point is, if you are holding a regular calendar, at one strike , they will give you a "normal" margin on a reverse calendar on another strike.

Just a fluke of margin rules.

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38 minutes ago, cuegis said:

The margin is so beyond insane.

The margin you 1- on an outright short option, and 2- you also pay the debit for the (front) long leg.

So you are paying individually for both.

I did find out, by accident, something interesting regarding this.

I have a "regular" calendar in GS, at one strike.

Just to see what the margin would be on a "reverse calendar", I setup that trade in GS at another strike, and the margin would be $500, which is not that much different than the debit on a "normal" calendar.

But, then I tried the same thing with a stock that I have no position in, and it was crazy..like $4000 or something like that.

The point is, if you are holding a regular calendar, at one strike , they will give you a "normal" margin on a reverse calendar on another strike.

Just a fluke of margin rules.

This makes perfect sense, because if you have long calendar and a short calendar using the same expirations but different strikes, you also have (another way of looking at it) a debit/credit vertical spread in the front month and a debit/credit vertical spread in the back month.

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1 minute ago, Yowster said:

This makes perfect sense, because if you have long calendar and a short calendar using the same expirations but different strikes, you also have (another way of looking at it) a debit/credit vertical spread in the front month and a debit/credit vertical spread in the back month.

Right..that is what it comes down to. And that is where the $500 margin came from....It was the distance between the strikes , since I used the next ($5) strike in my test.

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I happen to be with TOS. One of the benefits of IB that has been mentioned is "Smart Routing". Today I called TOS and asked them about smart routing. Specifically, I asked whether the legs of a multilegged position would be sent to different exchanges in order to facilitate a fill. He said that TOS, like IB, does do it this way.

Does anyone happen to know whether this is true or not?

 

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38 minutes ago, Alan said:

I happen to be with TOS. One of the benefits of IB that has been mentioned is "Smart Routing". Today I called TOS and asked them about smart routing. Specifically, I asked whether the legs of a multilegged position would be sent to different exchanges in order to facilitate a fill. He said that TOS, like IB, does do it this way.

Does anyone happen to know whether this is true or not?

 

I don't know whether TOS does the same kind of routing, to different exchanges, for spreads, that IB does.

But, since people are very commission conscious , as they should be...I am at IB, and don't know what is going on but, in the past few weeks, the commissions on most 2 leg spreads, have been .57 cents, which is .28 cents per leg.

Maybe this has something to do with their routing systems, but this is about as low as I have seen.

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TOS is not competitive from a commissions standpoint.  I know with TW, I save 50-75% in commissions over TOS, and that is based on the negotiated rate of $1.25 per contract price.  However, it seems like I don't get quite as good of fills as is reported here with IB.  

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Guest Sakura

You can negotiate even lower with TOS. I know for a fact some retail traders pay $1 a contract. Probably still more than other brokers, but lower than $1.25.

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