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^^^

I don't know but http://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/p.php?f=minimumDeposits mentions a $10K min deposit to open an individual account.

I think from http://individuals.interactivebrokers.com/en/pagemap/pagemap_login.php, I had to select either Finish an Application or Account Management. II think there were a bunch of funding choice on the left side (e.g. ACH to IB from your bank, IB doing the ACH, wiring, etc.)

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Im at the exact same area. I went into account management and selected "finish an application" and now I'm currently on the 3rd step, funding. Which option did you select? I was just going to do the ACAT service option. I have enough liquid cash in my account to meet the minimum deposit amount, but I dont want to go through the issues with my stocks and other positions being in complete limbo in the mean time. Is there a way to do the micro deposits before I undergo the ACAT? I'd like to go ahead and get that stuff out of the way if there is. If not, I'll have to liquidate my positions before transferring for peace of mind.

Edited by Thaze

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I think micro-deposits are done when you setup an ACH account at IB. So, basically go to account mgmt, select funding, deposit funds, and setup an ACH initiated at IB. Enter your bank details etc. It will then do two micro-deposits to your bank, which you will then verify after coming back to Account mgmt. Once bank is verified, you can do cash transfers using ACH, initiated at IB.

Note that IB will withhold your ACH transfers for 4 business days after receiving them - so you won't be able to use those funds for 4 days. So, just plan accordingly.

Edited by guarneri

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Sorry, I think the UI/portions are accessible change after the account's been funded.

I know it wasn't that straightforward for me. I originally started and had to delete my 1st ACH attempt (would've needed me to push an ACH from my bank via a goofy method to IB). I then had to add the bank account info on IB to initiate the microdeposits.

There ought to be a way to do ACH before ACAT since I didn't do ACAT at all and have no plans to.

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Thanks guys. I'll see what I can come up with and let ya know how it turns out. Appreciate the help.

Edit: Finally initiated the ACH transfer to begin the process, I'll try to keep this up to date on the process for anyone else interested in potentially switching.

Edited by Thaze

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Have been looking over the demo version while waiting for the account to be approved and it seems quite overwhelming. I'm used to much more user-friendly UI's and this is definitely not one from what I've experienced so far. Wish someone could come out with a UI as user friendly as OH with the fill capacity of IB. Looks like I've got a lot to learn before I even consider trading with this account.

Edited by Thaze

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Another note re: IB: this was at the bottom of an email I received from IB today.

(1) If you funded your account with an ACATS transaction, you will have limited trading access on your posted assets until delivery is made, usually within three (3) business days. You can monitor the status of the transfer using the View Transaction History screen, located in the Funds Management section of Account Management.

Side question re: IB: Is anyone willing to report whether they receive significant income from their "Stock Yield Enhancement Program" (http://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/p.php?f=shortableStocks&p=stockYield-default) and how often they end up with payments in lieu instead of qualified dividends? I'd never heard of any brokerage doing this before, but it sounds enticing for a bit of extra income on the side...

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I've filled out the IB applications up to the funding level also but I need to wait for a slow period to close out my positions in OH before I can change over. I'm curious to how you find the IB platform to trade. I downloaded the demo versions of their iPad and iPhone apps to play with this week.

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No wonder my ears where burning this weekend. That was some heavy conversation for a Saturday. Y'all seriously need to do more fishin'.

Seriously, I hope pgrace is still reading this forum, even if not posting, because I understand his frustration, as do all IB users. The exchange fees are a pain, especially their unpredictability. But I went through my commissions and they are starting to come down and the average is dropping. I don't know why, but at first I was getting many 1.17 contracts and a few 0.96s, never at 0.70 to 0.75. Now I am getting more 0.70 to 0.75 and a few below that (so liquidity rebates must have been applied). I have been with IB for about a month now and my average cost has dropped from over a dollar to about 0.92. Since my later trades have been cheaper, the average should keep coming down some more. So, some of it may have been just luck. My orders have not changed.

Based on IB customer service advice, I have changed my Global Configuration to Highest Rebate, instead of SMART. I have not noticed any change in the fills I'm getting and since commissions vary so much, there is no way to know if it has affected commissions or not. But I'll stick with IB for now. It is nice to not have a per trade fee, so I can make smaller trades while I am still learning the SO strategy. When I feel comfortable scalling up my trades, I'll re-evaluate commissions.

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Does anyone know of any discount brokers in Canada where I can use my RRSP funds? Most brokerage firms charge astronomical fees for options trading here.

Do a search to be sure, but I don't believe it's permissible to do the type of trading we do here in registered (RRSP/TFSA) accounts. I believe only outright call purchases are allowed, though again, check with the CRA to be sure. I use IB and Optionsxpress.ca in taxable accounts.

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So I moved some money over to IB to open an account there and left a little in OptionsHouse just because I like the platform and I didn't want to close the account out yet. I called them last week to make sure I wouldn't run afoul of the PDT rules since I wouldn't have more than 25K in that account for now and they say, "Oh no, no problem, you'll still be able to trade in your account.". I log in this morning to a nice PDT Margin Call notice. I call their customer service back up and they tell me they can reset it but of course that won't happen until tomorrow! I wouldn't be so frustrated except that I proactively called them to specifically prevent this from happening. I know missing one or two trades isn't the end of the world but GMCR looked pretty attractive this morning :huh:

/Rant Off

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Guest listolyman

got my TOS account switched to $1.25/contract, given that I will probably stay put.

Great. What are the min requirements for the $1.25/contract? I am in discussion with Ameritrade and it seems to be highly subjective. The agent told me that a recent client with $700k and trading over 500/contracts a month only received $6/trade +.75/contract

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Great. What are the min requirements for the $1.25/contract? I am in discussion with Ameritrade and it seems to be highly subjective. The agent told me that a recent client with $700k and trading over 500/contracts a month only received $6/trade +.75/contract

no idea. I don't think the account size is that important to them, just the volume. I do trade a lot so that might factor into it.. I just put a "worth a try" support ticket in expecting it to be rejected.

Make sure you emphasize that your are looking into switching brokers and that you hate the etrade baby..

Edited by Scott Rogers

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Guest listolyman

It sounds like i need to be an existing customer and pay excess fees for a while to be considered for the lower rate.

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My suggestion for TOS is to go to thinkorswim.com and chat with the guys at the trade desk. I believe their rule of thumb for $1.25/contract is 1500 contracts per month. At 5000 contracts per month I know they will go down to $.85/contract. They will also match trade king at $.65/contract and $4.95 per leg. Don't believe there is a minimum volume requirement for that one.

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My suggestion for TOS is to go to thinkorswim.com and chat with the guys at the trade desk. I believe their rule of thumb for $1.25/contract is 1500 contracts per month. At 5000 contracts per month I know they will go down to $.85/contract. They will also match trade king at $.65/contract and $4.95 per leg. Don't believe there is a minimum volume requirement for that one.

Wow. I wasn't doing 1500 contracts/month and they lowered me from $2.95/contract (TOS rates I was grandfathered into) to $1.25. One of my friends was doing $500+/month in commissions w/TOS and he got it down that low. I was doing $700+/month in commissions.

I do have a lot of assets (in the hundreds of thousands of $) w/them across my TOS account, old TD AM account and a TOS IRA account.

I think listolyman is right. I think it'd be hard to argue for lower commissions if you haven't even been a customer w/them.

I posted a more complete story at http://steadyoptions...tes/#entry5414.

Edited by cwerdna

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They actually gave me the .85 rate without meeting the rule of thumb. Thats why it's worth a shot chatting with the trade desk.

Wow! You must either do a a lot of business w/them (more than me?) or have a lot of assets.

If mine were $0.85, I'd probably stop trading options at the IB account I opened recently or close it.

Some of IB's features like Stock Yield Enhancement (http://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/p.php?f=shortableStocks&p=stockYield-default) sound cool but I at that point wouldn't be doing enough business w/them in stock trading to even meet IB's minimums and thus have to pay for market data feeds.

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Wow! You must either do a a lot of business w/them (more than me?) or have a lot of assets.

If mine were $0.85, I'd probably stop trading options at the IB account I opened recently or close it.

Some of IB's features like Stock Yield Enhancement (http://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/p.php?f=shortableStocks&p=stockYield-default) sound cool but I at that point wouldn't be doing enough business w/them in stock trading to even meet IB's minimums and thus have to pay for market data feeds.

As a private investor you should be able to use their 'US bundle' which is 10$ a month and free if you do more than 30$ a month commission. It has all the major US stock and option exchanges. So data feeds shouldn't be a major expense

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Ok my IB account funds just showed up in IB so I'm good to go. Now to tackle the learning curve. Mosaic isn't as intuitive as OH's platform but it is set up similarly. I think I'm going to try that for now instead of their Advanced Platform unless there is a good reason not to?

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As a private investor you should be able to use their 'US bundle' which is 10$ a month and free if you do more than 30$ a month commission. It has all the major US stock and option exchanges. So data feeds shouldn't be a major expense

No, but unfortunately, I've been so far taking on pretty small positions on Steady Options trades and I've not had much luck in getting fills on many of the plays. :( I don't think I'll be able to meet even $30/month in commissions on IB for my 1st month. I'm not sure what other plays go on here after "earnings season" is over for the quarter, but I fear I may have trouble meeting that $30 once that happens.

Prior to joining this forum, I did (and still do) sell naked way OTM puts (pretty low return, admittedly) on certain stocks that I wouldn't mind owning, using TOS. I do need to modify the orders fairly often. TOS doesn't have cancel/modify fees (unheard to me of until I found out about IB). That's strike 1 against IB. TOS also lets me close out short positions of a nickel or less for no commission. It helps reduce risk once I've taken profits and frees up buying power so I can move on. I don't think IB has that. So, that's strike 2.

Most of my trades on TOS are the above, so, it seems like they're not a good idea on IB. This feeds back into not even being able to hit $30/month in commissions.

So far, my commissions on IB haven't been outstanding vs. $1.25/contract on TOS. This isn't a weighted average, but this is what I've been paying per contract:

RUT: 1.24 (IC that I got a bad fill on because of the IB's goofy negative values and what not)

MS: 1.26 (bear put spread)

MS: 1.06 (bear put spread)

LNKD: 1.06 (bear put spread)

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You also need to remember that they have $1 minimum per order, so if you do just one contract, that's $1 (plus the fees) and not $0.70. And they don't consider a spread as an order for commissions, they still charge per leg. However, they don't charge modify/cancel fees on spreads.

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^^^

I knew about the $1 minimum, but didn't realize your other points. So, if I do a 2-legged spread w/1 contract for each leg, my commission should be $2 min (in total)? A RIC or IC of 1 contract per leg would be $4 min (in total)?

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Cwerdna,

No, the IB $1 minimum is per order, not per leg. A four-legged position would cost $0.70 * 4 = $2.80 (plus/minus fees).

If you're only doing small orders, you might as well stick with TOS if you're getting $1.25/contract and are happy with their service. However, IB's Smart algorithm should give you better fills since it can intelligently fill a spread on separate exchanges. And, as Kim has pointed out, there are no cancel/modify fees for spreads on IB.

Edited by RobertB

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Robert,

Here is the response from IB:

Please note, IB commissions are .70 per order with a minimum of 1 per order.

Options commissions are charged per leg. IB doesn't take into consideration when you enter spreads. "

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Have decided on TOS based on reading info here as i'm not ready to be on my own yet with IB, even if it means higher fees in the short term. Thank you. Just noticed that TOS has a referral code box, so first person to respond here with their referral code, I'll add it in. I think you'll get $50.

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Have decided on TOS based on reading info here as i'm not ready to be on my own yet with IB, even if it means higher fees in the short term. Thank you. Just noticed that TOS has a referral code box, so first person to respond here with their referral code, I'll add it in. I think you'll get $50.

It looks like I can't send referrals from my TOS account (have to login from the TD AM web page). But on my old TD AM account, I can. They need a first name, last name and email address. If I'm the first, send it to me via private message.

Hope you're ok w/whatever commission you're going to get.

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It looks like I can't send referrals from my TOS account (have to login from the TD AM web page). But on my old TD AM account, I can. They need a first name, last name and email address. If I'm the first, send it to me via private message.

Hope you're ok w/whatever commission you're going to get.

Ok - that works - will sign up today.

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So I moved some money over to IB to open an account there and left a little in OptionsHouse just because I like the platform and I didn't want to close the account out yet. I called them last week to make sure I wouldn't run afoul of the PDT rules since I wouldn't have more than 25K in that account for now and they say, "Oh no, no problem, you'll still be able to trade in your account.". I log in this morning to a nice PDT Margin Call notice. I call their customer service back up and they tell me they can reset it but of course that won't happen until tomorrow! I wouldn't be so frustrated except that I proactively called them to specifically prevent this from happening. I know missing one or two trades isn't the end of the world but GMCR looked pretty attractive this morning :huh:

/Rant Off

This just happened to me too. Technically I only traded once where there was a round trip in the same day (LNKD RIC #2 today), but I guess the fact that it is four separate contracts is enough to trigger the PDT rules. I'd never heard of them till just now. Not sure what to do now.

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Yes, sometimes trading option spreads triggers the pattern day trading rule (PDT) even when you are not logically thinking of your trades this way. For instance, if all within one day you open a vertical spread and roll it up a few strikes, and some of the new rolled-up strikes are identical to the old strikes, you will, in effect, have done a day trade on the identical strikes. The rules do not make exceptions for spreads; the rules see only the legs. This is something to consider when rolling a position that you opened that same day.

I believe that if your account is above $25,000, the rule doesn't apply.

Edited by RobertB

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ok - my initial experience with ameritrade/TOS isnt too positive....besides the false positive RegT violation greeting me upon logon, I am having problem getting orders filled. Maybe I'm still trying to explore the best ways to place limit orders...but when a mark goes 2 cents below my price, im very surprised my orders are still pending.

K - figured out how to watch all order that were filled....guess its not too bad. I was probably just undercutting the price.

Edited by artie

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ok - my initial experience with ameritrade/TOS isnt too positive....besides the false positive RegT violation greeting me upon logon

During the earlier days of the TOS/TD AM integration, once all the account management stuff went away from https://www.thinkorswim.com and TOS accounts had to go to www.tdameritrade.com instead, I'd get false positive Reg T violations ALL the time on the TD AM web site.

I called them about it since I didn't even understand what it meant. In my cases, after talking to them, they were false alarms for me and I just learned to ignore it for months. I knew I had plenty of cash in the account, I don't short stocks and it wasn't in danger of going into margin call.

dwilliams8649 http://steadyoptions.com/forum/topic/454-jeff-augen-weekly-strats/#entry7224 asserts

I think TOS is negotiable down to .50 with no ticket (you would have to have a large account and trade a lot of volume to get this

I wonder how large it needs to be. I know of nobody having it that low. If I had that type of deal, I'd probably close my IB account.

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Getting a good deal on comms is now difficult at TOS since TDA bought them. Previously, with relatively high volume, you were able to get under $1. I know several people who have gotten $0.75 (and that includes the exchange fee, unlike IB, so $0.75 is really $0.75). I have one friend who has gotten less than $0.75, but he runs a multi-million dollar hedge fund and trades around 10,000 contracts per month. Since the TDA takeover, I think they'll only give you about $1.00 if you are trading >1000 contracts per month. They'll do $1.25 if you do a few hundred per month.

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Well... As of June, I paid 57k in commissions, I spread my account across multiple brokers since then, and my commissions rate has increased. I am currently at .70c with no ticket.

Well, some quick math says that you're averaging over 13,000 contracts per month. That's sizable as well. But you make a good point. Most of us mere mortals aren't going to get the claimed $0.50 per contract no ticket any time soon.

It was a few years ago that I was >1000 contracts per month when I went from $1.00, to $0.80, to $0.75. Now I'm trading a bit smaller, averaging only about 500 contracts per month, but still enjoy the $0.75/contract no ticket.

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FYI, some people are getting $0.50/contract no ticket at Trade Monster with $25k account with group affiliation. But like IB, there are some exchange fees, as high as $0.60 per contract on SPX, but only like $0.025 on RUT. I don't know where their exchange fees are listed.

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I think if you can get TOS to around 1.00 with no ticket, it's worth it to leave IB. After all is said and done, IB will be more expensive. If you use IB, most likely you have to go out and buy charting software and a good option's analytics / backtesting package. And most charting software (there are some exceptions) require separate exchange agreements. Plus the money you might lose trying to modify and adjust complicated trades.

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I have some concerns with TOS fills. I entered an order this morning to open the HPQ weekly straddle at $1.25. This was before Kim's alert. I never got a fill. I see that Kim was filled at 10:30 using IB while my order just sat there. This is not the 1st time that this has happened and others have reported similar experiences. So while I am "grandfathered" in TOS @ 1.00/contract, it really is not a bargain if I can't execute my trades at my prices.

I plan on keeping the TOS account minimally funded so I can still use their tools and opening an IB account which seems to have the best executions.

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I have some concerns with TOS fills. I entered an order this morning to open the HPQ weekly straddle at $1.25. This was before Kim's alert. I never got a fill. I see that Kim was filled at 10:30 using IB while my order just sat there. This is not the 1st time that this has happened and others have reported similar experiences. So while I am "grandfathered" in TOS @ 1.00/contract, it really is not a bargain if I can't execute my trades at my prices.

I plan on keeping the TOS account minimally funded so I can still use their tools and opening an IB account which seems to have the best executions.

That's why I switched from OptionsHouse. Any broker that is trying to fill orders off one exchange is not going to do as well as IB when they are getting you the best fill off multiple exchanges.

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I have some concerns with TOS fills. I entered an order this morning to open the HPQ weekly straddle at $1.25. This was before Kim's alert. I never got a fill. I see that Kim was filled at 10:30 using IB while my order just sat there. This is not the 1st time that this has happened and others have reported similar experiences. So while I am "grandfathered" in TOS @ 1.00/contract, it really is not a bargain if I can't execute my trades at my prices.

I plan on keeping the TOS account minimally funded so I can still use their tools and opening an IB account which seems to have the best executions.

Well, the reason for that is IBs SMART algorithm for routing orders is a bit SMARTer than TOS's... However, for complex orders, more than 2 legs, I seem to get better fills in TOS. Not sure if anyone else has such an experience. .

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I misspoke, it's not that they don't sell orders off multiple exchanges, it's that IB "combines" legs off different exchanges and (Options House at least) doesn't do that. Your spread has to be opened or closed on ONE exchange or it doesn't fill.

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Getting a good deal on comms is now difficult at TOS since TDA bought them. Previously, with relatively high volume, you were able to get under $1. I know several people who have gotten $0.75 (and that includes the exchange fee, unlike IB, so $0.75 is really $0.75). I have one friend who has gotten less than $0.75, but he runs a multi-million dollar hedge fund and trades around 10,000 contracts per month. Since the TDA takeover, I think they'll only give you about $1.00 if you are trading >1000 contracts per month. They'll do $1.25 if you do a few hundred per month.

I see. Well, I really missed the boat there since I joined TOS way after the buyout happened. :(

Re: hedge fund, ok, that's insane. I don't do anywhere close to that # of contracts a month.

I did get TOS to lower mine to $1.25/contract. When I was paying $2.95/contract on TOS, I was doing $700+/month in commissions.

Well, some quick math says that you're averaging over 13,000 contracts per month. That's sizable as well. But you make a good point. Most of us mere mortals aren't going to get the claimed $0.50 per contract no ticket any time soon.

It was a few years ago that I was >1000 contracts per month when I went from $1.00, to $0.80, to $0.75. Now I'm trading a bit smaller, averaging only about 500 contracts per month, but still enjoy the $0.75/contract no ticket.

Yeah, $0.50/contract seems impossible for mere mortals. You're lucky you lucked into such great rates. If I got $0.70 or $0.75/contract on TOS, I'd most likely leave IB.

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I'm paying $7(per spread) and .75/contract, going to try to get it reduced again in a month or 2. I got that without really trading that much, maybe 100 contracts per month. (most of the volume at the time was on eoptions..) I'm sure I can get another decrease since I'm around 400 a month right now.

Edited by Dawajmeister

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      TD Ameritrade is even worse:



      I'm sorry, but this is a robbery. Those brokers simply don't deserve your business.

      IB used to be the cheapest broker, but there are few other excellent options today in terms of cost.

      SteadyOptions members might consider Tradier Brokerage Special Offer. Tradier offers a special $40/Month of Flat Price Trading for SteadyOptions Clients. For $40/month the SteadyOptions client can trade unlimited options trades and there will be no per trade commissions. Please review the link for details.

      eOption also offers a special rate of $1.99 per options trade (or equity trade) plus 10₵ per options contract.to our members. Please see eOption Brokerage Special Offer for more details.

      tastyworks is also an excellent option, especially for larger accounts. They charge $1.00 per contract for opening trades, $0.00 for closing trades (so just slightly cheaper than IB), but they also capped the commissions to $10 per leg. For larger accounts, this means huge savings.
      Execution
      What's the point to have low commissions if your execution sucks?

      Well, IB has one of the best executions in the industry, thanks to its "Smart Routing":
      Unlike smart routers from other online brokers, IB SmartRouting never routes and forgets about your order. It continuously evaluates fast changing market conditions and dynamically re-routes all or parts of your order seeking to achieve optimal execution and maximize your rebate. IB SmartRouting represents each leg of a spread order independently and submits each leg at the best possible venue. From my experience, and based on members feedback, this algorithm does indeed provide an advantage compared to most other brokers. However, members who used Tradier and tastyworks also reported pretty good results.
      Platform
      Having a good and intuitive platform is the third factor that you should consider.
      It should be stable, intuitive and offer fast way to place trades. IB platform requires some learning curve, and some users consider it outdated, but personally, I like it. I might be biased as I have been using for over 10 years now, but I believe the learning curve is well worth it.
      Many users praise TD Ameritrade (thinkorswim) platform for its expensive features, but their current commissions structure makes it terrible for active options traders. Unless you were grandfathered at their older rates, or can negotiate commissions under $1.00/contract with no ticket fee, I would avoid them.
      Other Considerations
      There are some other things that you should consider, such as:
      How is the Customer service? Unfortunately, IB has one of the worst customer services in the industry. Don't expect any hand holding, and don't expect any help in case you have some trading issue. Their philosophy is "our algorithm is always right, obviously you (the customer) did something wrong."  Does the broker charge extra for real time data and how much? How about assignment fee and exercise fee? IB charges ZERO for both, while some other brokers charge $15-20. What are the margin rates? IB has the lowest margin rates in the industry. What happens in case of margin call? IB has the strictest rules regarding margin rules. When you get a margin call (in case of assignment for example), they might liquidate your positions within minutes. It's an automated process, nothing you can do about it, so try not to get a margin call with IB. What about Global Markets? IB is rated #1 by Stockbrokers.com in the Best for International Traders category. It offers very wide range of international markets and products, and also accepts clients from all around the Globe. Many other brokers have limited exposure in terms of countries they accept clients from.  Conclusion
      In this article, I tried to offer some personal perspective on selecting an options broker. In my opinion, Interactive Brokers, tastyworks and Tradier offer the best combination of cost, execution and platform. 

      That doesn't mean there are no other good brokers. This conclusion is based on my personal experience and feedback from hundreds of members.
       
      Additional reading:
      Brokers And Commissions Trading and getting fills with Interactive Brokers Executing Orders in Interactive Brokers Tradier Brokerage Special Offer Tastyworks A New Brokerage Firm eOption Brokerage Special Offer
    • By cuegis
      Have all of the IB customers received the email last night (Mar 17) informing us that we have to change our data feed subscriptions by
      April 1, 2017, otherwise we are going to be defaulted to 20 minute delayed quotes? With each quote being a "snapshot" of a moment in time and no longer "streaming" info?
      I was not 100% sure what I needed to do but, I added a $4.50 package that appears to turn the delayed data back into real-time streaming data.
      I think that was the correct choice, but I just wanted to hear from others
    • By Crazy ayzo
      I'm looking for someone that is a power user of some of the following... Tradehawk with Tradier, Interactive Brokers, Optionnetexplorer ONE, CMLviz TradeMachine... and any other tools that you find particularly useful.   My schedule is fairly flexible.  I'm in the pacific time zone.
      If this is something that interests you either post here or PM me with an hourly rate.  It's ok if you only know some of the tools, I don't expect anyone to know them all.  I can pay via paypal.
      After I get a better handle on the tools, I'd also be interest in working with someone on strategy of non-directional trades.
       
      P.S.  I did get Kim's approval before making such an off-topic post.
    • By Kim
      The impact of commissions on your results can be astonishing.
       
      This excellent article by Business Insider is asking the right questions (and also answering some of them):
       
      When you pay commission fees for online stock trades, where does that money go? Do you get better execution by paying $9.99 to TD Ameritrade than by paying $1 to Interactive Brokers? How much better? Enough to justify the difference in price?
       
      Their conclusions:
      At least 17 million investors overpaying for online brokerage Only 12% of commission fee is used for trade execution at top brokerages Over $1.8 billion per year wasted on unused premium services Lets analyze one specific month, January 2015, and see how different commissions structure can impact the returns of our SteadyOptions model portfolio.
       
      SteadyOptions $10k model portfolio traded 228 contracts in January. If you paid $0.75/contract with no ticket fee, you spent $171 on commissions, which is 1.7% of your portfolio value. While not cheap, but considering the fact that we produced 20.7% ROI in January (12.4% return on the whole account assuming 10% allocation), it is completely reasonable.
       
      However, if you had a ticket fee of $8, in addition to $0.75/contract, you would pay $427 in commissions, more than double. In this case, your returns will be reduced by 4.3%.
       
      This will make HUGE difference in the long term. To see how huge, I went to pro-trading-profits.com, a third party website that tracks performance of 400+ newsletters. I clicked on SteadyOptions performance report and played with different parameters. Using the $0.75/contract with no ticket fee, a $10,000 portfolio would produce $35,693 gains since inception. Adding $8 ticket fee to each trade would reduce the gains to $23,869.
       
      The impact of the ticket fee is especially significant if you have relatively small account.
       
      Of course commissions is only part of the whole package. Other factors include tools, platform, customer service etc. Barron's publishes a comprehensive brokers review every year. Here is the last one. Interactive Brokers (IB) was ranked #1 by Barron's third year in a row. This is the broker I personally have been using for the last 7 years and I'm very happy.
       
      Barron's mention that "IB offers a lot more support to new clients, including individuals, especially those with larger accounts. Yes, using the word "support" in the same sentence as Interactive Brokers (without the modifier "dismal") is a change for us, but the firm has clearly made this a point of focus."
       
      Their conclusion:
       
      "Interactive Brokers continues to have extremely competitive pricing, and the lowest margin fees of any broker in our survey. You may incur some data fees, but the firm takes care of any options-exercise costs, which can generate unexpected fees at many other brokers."
       
      On the open section of our forum, we have couple very useful discussions about brokers:
       
      Brokers and commissions
      Interactive Brokers tips, tricks, webtrader etc.
       
      There is a consensus among our members that IB and TOS by TD Ameritrade offer the best combination of commissions, platform, and execution. If you decide to go with TOS, I highly recommend that you negotiate a commissions structure that does not include a ticket fee.
       
      Here are couple more good articles worth reading:
       
      The Truth Behind Broker Commissions - Learning Markets
      Comparison of online brokerages in the United States
      Relative Importance Of Options Brokerage Fees
       
      For Canadian traders, here is an excellent study on the commissions schemas offered by Canadian discount Brokers.
    • By Kim
      I tried to to buy 1 Apr SPX 1300 put and getting an error message that I have insufficient margin. The message indicates that the margin will increase by 53,985 (see attached image).

       

      I opened a ticket with IB. Their response was:

       

       

       

      I couldn't believe this, but the fact remains.
    • By Bschulz
      I'm opening an account at IB and wondering if there is a promotion code or partner code to use for SO members?
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