SEC Tick Size Pilot Program FAQs

Tick Size Pilot ("TSP" or "Pilot") Program:

Under the TSP Program,  if IB receives any order in a Pilot Security that does not conform to the designated pricing increment (e.g., a limit price in a $0.01 increment for a security designated as trading $0.05 increments), IB will REJECT that order, subject to limited exceptions. IB strongly encourages a thorough review of your software or your vendor’s software to understand the criteria for what causes an order in a Pilot Security to be rejected to permit you or your vendor to make changes to correctly handle orders in Test Group Pilot Securities.
 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Q: What is the Tick Size Pilot?
A: On May 6, 2015 the SEC approved an amended TSP NMS Plan. The Pilot will be two years in length. Data collection for the Pilot began on April 4, 2016, 6 months prior to the implementation of the trading and quoting rules for the Pilot. Implementation of the trading and quoting rules for the Pilot will begin on October 3, 2016.

The Pilot will be conducted using a Control Group and three Test Groups where variations in quoting and trading rules exist between each group. Please see the TSP NMS Plan for additional information.

 

Q: Will the Pilot quoting and trading rules apply during regular market hours, pre-market hours and post market hours?
A: The Pilot rules apply during all operational hours (pre-market, regular hours, and post market hours trading).

 

Q: Will the Pilot quoting and trading rules apply to odd-lot and mixed-lot sizes?
A: Yes, the Pilot rules to all order sizes.

 

Q: Will orders in Control Group Securities be accepted in price increments of less than $0.05?
A: Yes, orders submitted in price increments of less than $0.05 will continue to be accepted in Control Group securities.

 

Q: Will orders in a Test Group 1, 2 or 3 Pilot Securities be accepted in price increments of less than $0.05?
A: No, unless covered by an exception, orders submitted in price increments of less than $0.05 will be rejected.

 

Q: Which Pilot Security Orders in Test Groups will Interactive Brokers accept at other than $0.05 increments?
        Midpoint orders with no explicitly stated limit price or impermissible offsets will be accepted
        VWAP orders which do not have an explicitly stated limit price or impermissible offsets will be accepted.
        Interactive Brokers will accept Exchange operated Retail Price Improvement orders as follows:
                  Test Group 1 in $0.001 price increments
                  Test Groups 2 and 3 in $0.005 price increments.

 

Q: Will there be any changes to the Opening / Closing processes on Exchanges?
A: Please refer to each of the exchange rules for details but in general there will be no changes to the Opening / Closing process. All orders entered and eligible to participate in Exchange Opening / Closing Cross will be accepted in increments of $0.05. The Exchanges will begin publishing all quotes in increments of $0.05; however, Net Order Imbalance Indicator prices may be published in increments of $0.025.

 

Q: What will happen to my GTC order that was placed prior to October 3rd in a Pilot Stock that was priced in impermissible tick increments?
A: Interactive Brokers will adjust outstanding limit and stop GTC orders in Pilot stocks in Test Groups that are not in permissible tick increments (e.g., a buy limit order at $5.01 will be adjusted to $5.00 and a sell limit at $5.01 adjusted to $5.05).

 

Q: What will happen to my GTC order placed after October 3rd that was placed and accepted in a nickel tick increment but the Pilot Stock moves from a Test Group to the Control Group which permits non-nickel increments?
A: The GTC order will automatically be able to be revised by the user in non-nickel increments on the date the Pilot stock moves from the Test Group to the Control Group. Similarly, if a stock gets added to Test Group due to a corporate action, IB will cancel the GTC order if it is priced in impermissible increments.

 

Q: Where can I find out more information?

A: See KB2752 or the FINRA website for additional details regarding the Pilot Program: http://www.finra.org/industry/tick-size-pilot-program

How to fix the error: "Library dbcapi.dll cannot be loaded"

Background: 
 
TWS users may receive the following error message upon configuring TWS to use the eSignal data feed:
 
 
This error may appear for the following reasons:
 
Issue A - You are not using the 32 bit version of TWS and/or eSignal:
The 32-bit versions of both TWS and eSignal have to be installed for the integration to work. In the section below you will find the instructions for installing the 32-bit TWS. Should you need assistance with the installation of the 32-bit eSignal, we suggest you to contact the eSignal customer support.
 
Issue B - There is an incompatibility with the file C:\Jts\dbcapi.dll:
To use 32-bit eSignal version 12, an incompatibility with the C:\Jts\dbcapi.dll file must be fixed. This involves copying a file from the eSignal installation and renaming it to dbcapi.dll. 
 
Note: On certain systems you will need to apply the fixes for both issue A and B. If you applied the fix for issue A (or if you are already sure you are using the 32 bit version of both platforms) and you are still receiving the error message, then please apply as well the fix for issue B.
 
 
 
Instructions to resolve issue A
Installing 32-bit TWS
 
Please open the page http://www.ibkr.com in your browser and perform the steps below:

1) Click on the LOG IN button at the top right corner of the page.

2) Under the section TRADER WORKSTATION, click on TWS Latest.

3) On the next page, click on the link Download for Other Operating Systems.
 

4) Click on the item Windows 32-bit.

5) Make sure that the description under the DOWNLOAD button has changed to "Windows: 32 bit". Click now on DOWNLOAD.

6) Launch the downloaded file. The Trader Workstation installation will start. At this point you may see the warning message "Trader Workstation latest is already installed...". Ignore this warning and click on the button Next > to continue the installation.

 

7) Your "Trader Workstation" Desktop icon will be automatically updated. You can now launch the 32-bit Trader Workstation by a double click on that icon.

If you have launched the 32-bit TWS and the 32 bit version of eSignal but you still receive the same error message, please follow as well the instructions below

 
 
Instructions to resolve issue B
Replacing dbcapi.dll for compatibility between 32-bit TWS and 32-bit eSignal 12

To correct an incompatibility with the dbcapi.dll file, we will replace that file with another version of it taken from the eSignal installation folder. Please follow the steps below to perform the substitution:  

1) Navigate to C:\Jts and rename the file dbcapi.dll to dbcapi_old.dll

2) Navigate to the directory where 32-bit eSignal 12 is installed (most commonly C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Interactive Data\DM)

3) Copy dbcapi_vc8.dll from that directory into the C:\Jts directory.

4) Move to the C:\Jts directory

5) Right click on the dbcapi_vc8.dll file (now in the C:\Jts directory) and select rename. Type dbcapi.dll as the new filename.

6) TWS is now ready to accept the eSignal data feed.

 

How to install the TWS API Components on Mac / Unix

  1. Click the button below to access the download page for the API Software. 
  2. This will direct you to Interactive Brokers API License Agreement, please review it.
  3. Once you click I Agree, refer to the Mac / Unix section to download the API Software.
 
Instructions - API Version ≥ 9.72
  1. This will download twsapi_macunix.n.m.zip to your computer.
    (where n and m are the major and minor version numbers respectively.)
  2. Access the command line terminal.
    (On a MAC from the Applications menu. First select Utilities then select Terminal.)
  3. At the command line, unzip the contents of the zip file by typing:
    sudo unzip twsapi_macunix.n.m.jar -d /
  4. To access the sample and source files, change to the 'IBJts' directory by typing:
    cd IBJts/
 
Instructions - API Version ≤ 9.71
  1. This will download twsapi_macunix.n.m.jar to your computer.
    (where n and m are the major and minor version numbers respectively.)
  2. Access the command line terminal.
    (On a MAC from the Applications menu. First select Utilities then select Terminal.)
  3. At the command line, extract the contents of the jar file by typing:
    jar xf twsapi_macunix.n.m.jar
  4. To access the sample and source files, change to the 'IBJts' directory by typing:
    cd IBJts/
For Mac Users; Please see here for an instructional video to install the API Software.
 
 

Note: For details on creating a Sample Java Client, refer to the directions provided for Netbeans and Eclipse.

 

How to fix the error: "Ddedll.dll file missing or out of date"

Background: 

TWS users running add-on applications in Excel using DDE on a Windows 64-bit operating systems may receive the following error message upon log in or when enabling the DDE client:

 

This message is usually displayed for the following reasons:

Issue A - You are not using the 32-bit version of TWS

You running an instance of TWS that is using the 64-bit version of the Java Virtual Machine while attempting to load the ddedll.dll library which has been compiled for 32-bit Java. This error can be corrected by re-installing TWS 32-bit from IB website.

Issue B - The API components have not been installed

The API Components (and consequently the library ddedll.dll) have not yet been installed but you already enabled the DDE Client Connection for TWS. This error can be corrected by installing the API Components.

Note: On certain systems you will need to apply the fixes for both issue A and B. If you applied the fix for issue A (or if you are already sure you are using the 32 bit version of the TWS) and you are still receiving the error message, then please apply as well the fix for issue B.
 
 
 
Instructions to resolve issue A
Installing 32-bit TWS 
 
Please open the page http://www.ibkr.com in your browser and perform the steps below:

1) Click on the LOG IN button at the top right corner of the page.

2) Under the section TRADER WORKSTATION, click on the  TWS Latest.

 

3) Click on the link Download for Other Operating Systems.
 
 
4) Click on the item Windows 32-bit.
 
 
5) Please make sure that the description under the DOWNLOAD button has changed to "Windows: 32 bit". Then click on DOWNLOAD

 
6) Launch the downloaded file. The Trader Workstation installation will start. At this point you may see the warning message "Trader Workstation latest is already installed...". Ignore this warning and click on the button Next to continue the installation.
 
 
7) Your "Trader Workstation" Desktop icon will be automatically updated. You can now launch the 32-bit Trader Workstation by a double click on that icon.
 

Note: IB has recently updated the installer wizard for Trader Workstation (TWS) and now utilizes a new desktop icon (click here for Release Note). Clients using an older build of TWS and wish to run a DDE client connection, would need to install a newer build of TWS and start using the new desktop icon.

If you have installed and launched the 32-bit TWS but you are still receiving the same error message, please proceed with the instructions below

 

Instructions to resolve issue B
Installing the API components

Please open the page http://www.ibkr.com in your browser and click on the menu Trading --> API Solutions. Then at the bottom of the page, click on the button "LEARN MORE ABOUT IB API" and  perform the steps below:

8) Click the GET API SOFTWARE button below.

9) This will direct you to Interactive Brokers API License Agreement, please review.

10) Once you review the API License Agreement, click the I Agree button at the bottom.

11) Under the section "Windows" on the right side,  download one of the IB API packages listed and install it.

12) Once the installation has completed, log back into TWS.

 
 

Possible conflicting programs: 

Please be aware that there are some programs that can block the DDE Client connections, for example: Chrome, VLC Player or Adobe Creative Cloud. In case you are using these programs, please keep them closed while you are using the Excel DDE workbook.

 

 

Note: On certain systems you will need to apply the fixes for both issue A and B. If you applied the fix for issue A (or if you are already sure you are using the 32 bit version of TWS) and you are still receiving the error message, then please apply as well the fix for issue B.
 

Compatibility between MetaTrader and Interactive Brokers

概観: 

IB provides to its account holders a variety of proprietary trading platforms at no cost and therefore does not actively promote or offer the platforms or add-on software of other vendors. Nonetheless, as IB's principal trading platform, the TraderWorkstation (TWS), operates with an open API, there are numerous third-party vendors who create order entry, charting and various other analytical programs which operate in conjunction with the TWS for purposes of executing orders through IB. As these API specifications are made public, we are not necessarily aware of all vendors who create applications to integrate with the TWS but do operate a program referred to as the Investors Marketplace which operates as a self-service community bringing together third party vendors who have products and services to offer with IB customers seeking to fill a specific need.

While MetaQuotes Software is not a participant of IB's Investors Marketplace, on a collaboration with oneZero Financial System they offer the oneZero Hub Gateway to connect MetaTrader 5 with TWS. Clients interested would need to contact oneZero directly for additional assistance. Please refer to the Contact section from the following URL.

Note: Besides oneZero Hub Gateway, different vendors such as Trade-Commander and jTWSdata also offer a software which they represent, acts as a bridge between MetaTrader 4/5 and the TWS. As is the case with other third-party software applications, IB is not in a position to provide information or recommendations as to the compatibility or operation of such software.

Ninja Trader Integration with TWS - FAQs

 

Q: Is Ninja Trader Compatible with the Trader Workstation (TWS)?
A: Yes. The TWS Application Program Interface (API) accommodates connection to a variety of third-party vendors, including Ninja Trader, who offer complementary order entry, charting, back-testing and analytics software programs designed to expand the functionality of TWS. Please refer to the following Ninja Trader website link for details: http://www.ninjatrader.com/ConnectionGuides/Interactive-Brokers-Connection-Guide
 
 
Q: Can Ninja Trader be tested with the TWS platform demo which IB makes available to prospective clients via the website?
A: Yes, but only on a limited basis as the platform demo is solely intended to demonstrate the functionality of the TWS and its API. As background, the TWS demo simulates a “live” stream of simulated market data using previous week's ticks and does not offer the historical data necessary to populate Ninja Trader charts requiring a combination of streaming and historical data.  Once your live IB account is approved and funded a paper trading account may be requested, the market data subscriptions to which will accommodate full testing of the Ninja Trader application.
 
 
Q: Is Ninja Trader compatible with all versions of TWS?
A: No. There is an inherent lag between the time IB releases a TWS update and that at which any third-party vendor can reasonably respond with a corresponding software upgrade. In the case of Ninja Trader, its application is compatible solely with the standalone TWS platform (not the browser based) and to determine the particular version currently supported, please refer to the following Ninja Trader website link: http://www.ninjatrader.com/ConnectionGuides/Interactive-Brokers-Connection-Guide 
 
 
Q: Can the free delayed market data feed from IB be used with Ninja Trader?
A: No. Delayed market data is not relayed through the IB API and account holders seeking to use IB as a data source must subscribe to a real-time data feed through Account Management.
 
 
Q: Is there any distinction between the rate at which Ninja Trader seeks to load chart data and that which the IB market data feed supports?
A: As queries which request the same historical data within a short period of time may result in excessive back end server load, IB imposes pacing restrictions which, if violated, will generate error codes. In certain circumstances, the pacing of data requests through IB may delay the loading of the data through Ninja Trader, particularly when multiple charts and or symbols are loaded simultaneously. For details regarding the limitations IB imposes with respect to historical data queries, please refer to the following IB API guide link: http://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/software/api/apiguide/api/historical_data_limitations.htm
 
 
Q: Does IB support the market data required to populate Ninja Trader Range Bar charts?
A: Range Bar charts generally depict the movement of price for a particular instrument over a defined time period (e.g. month, day, 5-minute, 3-minute, etc.) or tick increment. As these types of charts are built from tick data and IB does not support unfiltered tick-by-tick data on a real-time or historical basis, Ninja Trade Bar charts require an alternate data source to eliminate data gaps.
Please refer to the following Ninja Trader website link for a list of supported connectivity providers as well as the historical and real-time data provided by each: http://www.ninjatrader.com/support/helpGuides/nt7/index.html?historical_data.htm
 
 
Q: It is possible to use different data source vendor between TWS and Ninja Trader interface?
A: Yes. It should be noted that Ninja Trader does not operate as a vendor of market data and use of this application requires provision of data by a third-party connectivity provider. While IB can serve as this provider for real time prices, these prices are not provided on an unfiltered tick-by-tick basis, a prerequisite for fully populating Ninja Trader charts.  A common setup therefore, is to use Ninja Trader as a front-end order entry platform, routing orders to the TWS for execution and clearing by IB and bridge to a third-party vendor for market data.
  
 
Q: Is Ninja Trader compatible with IB’s paper trading (simulation) account?
A: Yes Ninja Trader connects to the paper trading account in the same manner as to the live account. To familiarize oneself with the configuration and operation of these applications, IB strongly recommends conducting test trades through the paper trading account prior to submitting orders through the live account.
 
 
Q: How can orders submitted through Ninja Trader for execution through TWS monitored with TWS?
A: The TWS contains a page denoted by a tab marked “API” within the main window through which open orders submitted via Ninja Trader or any third party software application may be monitored. 
  
 
Q:  Is Ninja Trader compatible with IB’s Financial Advisor and Friends & Family account type?
A:  Yes, although not with the full order allocation functionality provided directly through the TWS. While Ninja Trader can be used to submit orders for a client sub-account through the Advisor master account, it does not allow for a single order to be allocated to more than one sub-account. This is in contrast to the TWS user interface which provides for multi-client trade allocations from a single order (through the Account Group or Allocation Profile options).
 
 
Q: How does one determine the cause of orders which have been submitted via Ninja Trader and subsequently canceled or rejected?
A: An order which has been canceled or rejected will be accompanied by an error message generated by Ninja Trader and/or TWS depending upon the source of the action. Order cancellations/rejections may be attributable to a variety of factors including IB credit policies, exchange restrictions or an invalid user request. In situations where the error message is not self explanatory, the user will need to contact the technical support teams of IB and Ninja Trader to diagnose and troubleshoot the problem.

 

Considerations for Optimizing Order Efficiency

Account holders are encouraged to routinely monitor their order submissions with the objective of optimizing efficiency and minimizing 'wasted' or non-executed orders.  As inefficient orders have the potential to consume a disproportionate amount of system resources. IB measures the effectiveness of client orders through the Order Efficiency Ratio (OER).  This ratio compares aggregate daily order activity relative to that portion of activity which results in an execution and is determined as follows:

 

OER = (Order Submissions + Order Revisions + Order Cancellations) / (Executed Orders + 1)

Outlined below is a list of considerations which can assist with optimizing (reducing) one's OER:

 

1. Cancellation of Day Orders - strategies which use 'Day' as the Time in Force setting and are restricted to Regular Trading Hours should not initiate order cancellations after 16:00 ET, but rather rely upon IB processes which automatically act to cancel such orders. While the client initiated cancellation request which serve to increase the OER, IB's cancellation will not.

2. Modification vs. Cancellation - logic which acts to cancel and subsequently replace orders should be substituted with logic which simply modifies the existing orders. This will serve to reduce the process from two order actions to a single order action, thereby improving the OER.

3. Conditional Orders - when utilizing strategies which involve the pricing of one product relative to another, consideration should be given to minimizing unnecessary price and quantity order modifications. As an example, an order modification based upon a price change should only be triggered if the prior price is no longer competitive and the new suggested price is competitive.

4. Meaningful Revisions – logic which serves to modify existing orders without substantially increasing the likelihood of the modified order interacting with the NBBO should be avoided. An example of this would be the modification of a buy order from $30.50 to $30.55 on a stock having a bid-ask of $31.25 - $31.26.

5. RTH Orders – logic which modifies orders set to execute solely during Regular Trading Hours based upon price changes taking place outside those hours should be optimized to only make such modifications during or just prior to the time at which the orders are activated.

6. Order Stacking - Any strategy that incorporates and transmits the stacking of orders on the same side of a particular underlying should minimize transmitting those that are not immediately marketable until the orders which have a greater likelihood of interacting with the NBBO have executed.

7. Use of IB Order Types - as the revision logic embedded within IB-supported order types is not considered an order action for the purposes of the OER, consideration should be given to using IB order types, whenever practical, as opposed to replicating such logic within the client order management logic. Logic which is commonly initiated by clients and whose behavior can be readily replicated by IB order types include: the dynamic management of orders expressed in terms of an options implied volatility (Volatility Orders), orders to set a stop price at a fixed amount relative to the market price (Trailing Stop Orders), and orders designed to automatically maintain a limit price relative to the NBBO (Pegged-to-Market Orders).

The above is not intended to be an exhaustive list of steps for optimizing one's orders but rather those which address the most frequently observed inefficiencies in client order management logic, are relatively simple to implement and which provide the opportunity for substantive and enduring improvements. For further information or questions, please contact the Customer Service Technical Assistance Center.

 

Order Management Overview

BACKGROUND

IB’s order management and routing systems are negatively impacted when the volume of orders submitted by clients is significant relative to those which are actually executed. Left unchecked, unproductive orders have the potential to slow system performance, adversely impact other clients and increase capacity requirements and costs. To minimize the load of such orders on internal systems and to comply with exchange policies, certain of which impose a surcharge for excessive messages, IB monitors order activity and may place restrictions upon clients who routinely submit a disproportionate number of unproductive orders.
 
MEASUREMENT & REPORTING
The Order Efficiency Ratio (OER) allows IB to evaluate order productivity by comparing aggregate daily order activity relative to that portion of activity which results in an execution. This ratio is as follows:
 
OER   =   (Order Submissions + Order Revisions + Order Cancellations) / (Executed Orders + 1)
 
An OER above 20 is generally considered excessive and indicative of inefficient order management logic. Clients who routinely report an OER above 20 will receive notification of their ratio and are advised to review and optimize their logic and those who fail to take action or who report a particularly egregious ratio may be subject to trade restrictions or bandwidth usage fees.1
 
TAKING CORRECTIVE ACTION
Clients submitting orders through an API can often realize significant declines in their OER through slight modifications to their order logic.  Please review KB1765 for a list of the most common techniques for optimizing this ratio.  
 
 
 
1 It should be noted that these actions are not aimed at the client who submits 200 orders and receives 10 executions but rather those using automated systems to submit thousands of orders with negligible interaction with the NBBO.

 

Security considerations following SLS opt out

Account holders who have elected to opt out of IB's Secure Login System (SLS), and effectively relinquish the protections afforded by two factor authentication, are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with and utilize alternative best practice security measures, a number of which are discussed below. 

It's important to note that while none of these measures, on either an individual or collective basis, is deemed equivalent to the SLS in terms of protection and, in fact, are recommended as complementary measures, opting out of SLS serves to increase their relevance.

 

IP Restrictions:

One way to add protection or a level of security to your IB Trading account while not utilizing a Secure Login Device would be to setup IP restrictions.  By selecting this setting through Account Management you're telling Interactive Brokers that you only want access to your trading account(s) from a specified IP address, or a range of IP addresses. In addition, should you have multiple authorized traders for a given account, these restrictions can be set at the individual trader level. 

To implement IP restrictions you will need to log into Account Management using your security device and mouse-over the Manage Account menu then click on Security and then on IP Restrictions. This will take you to the "Manage IP Address Restrictions" screen. From there click on the Add IP Address Restriction button, select the trader user name from the drop-down list, enter the IP address from which you connect (xx.xx.xx.xx.xx.xx) and click on the Submit button. Note that any updates do not take effect immediately but rather the following business day.

To find the IP address of your PC please follow the below steps.  (Please note that the below will only give you the local PC address. If you are using any type of router in your home network please make sure you use your WAN IP address.   Any IP address that starts with 192.XXX.XXX.XXX is most likely your LAN IP, and not your WAN IP.  You can find your WAN IP by calling your ISP and asking them for it.)

  • Click on the Start button in the lower left hand corner f your screen;
  • Click on Run;
  • Type “cmd” in the Run box and then click enter on your keyboard.  An MS DOS Window will   open
  • Type “ipconfig” into the MS DOS Window and then click enter on your keyboard.  Your IP address will be displayed.

Important Notes:

The IP restriction feature is only intended where the IP address is static, or remains constant.  In certain instances your computer’s IP address may be assigned automatically and in a dynamic or changing manner by your network administrator or Internet Service Provider.  IB recommends that you confirm that your address is static prior to using this restriction feature.


While the use of the IP restriction feature will restrict access to the IP address(es) you specify, you must be aware it isn't 100% full proof against very advanced electronic thieves who know how to spoof, and or mask an IP Address. it should be noted that this feature alone will not necessarily prevent unauthorized access by any hacker having your user name and password along with the ability to ‘spoof’ your IP address.



Securing Your Network

  • Use a firewall making sure ports 4000 and 4001 are open for TWS access.
  • Never use a wireless session (WI-FI) which is unsecured or not operated by you. If the use of a unsecured network (e.g. public Wi-Fi hotspot) becomes necessary, do not log into any financial institution account you may have including your IB account.
  • When logging into the TWS, check the “Use SSL” box on the login screen.  By using SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, all information passed to and from your computer is protected using 128-bit encryption.  Note, however, that checking this box may cause you to experience minor performance impacts depending on the capabilities of your PC.
  • Use antivirus software to identify and eliminate viruses you may have downloaded to your computer accidentally.  As new viruses are constantly being created, you need to update your antivirus software regularly.
  • Use anti-spyware software to detect and remove spyware programs which can collect various types of personal information, monitor your browsing activity and interfere with the control of your computer.

 

If you have any other questions please feel free to contact IB's Technical Support center. 

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