Alternative Streaming Quotes for US Equities

Overview: 

The SEC Vendor Display Rule requires that brokers give clients access to the NBBO at the point of order entry. In order to provide users with free live streaming market data, we cannot display this free stream when entering an order without the client subscribing to the paid NBBO.

Background: 

Under the Rule 603(c) of Regulation NMS (Vendor Display Rule), when a broker is providing quotation information to clients that can be used to assess the current market or the quality of trade execution, reliance on non-consolidated market information as the source of that quotation would not be consistent with the Vendor Display Rule.

Therefore and according to FINRA's enforcement of the SEC rule, any client of a broker that is purchasing real-time quotes must buy the NBBO real-time services when making trading decisions.

All clients have access to streaming US equity quotes from the four CBOE exchanges and IEX at no charge. Since this data does not include all markets, we cannot show this quote when entering parameters for a US stock quote. Order routing will not change based on what is shown on the screen. If one is subscribed to NBBO quotes or not, by default the trade will still take place with the assistance of the SMART order router designed to provide the best price for the order.

Please see the sample screenshots below from TWS Classic and TWS Mosaic for what occurs when placing an order without the NBBO streaming subscription for US equities. 

TWS Classic:

1. Screenshot of quotes showing without order entry line item

2. Screenshot of quote going blank when putting in the order entry line item

TWS Mosaic:

1. Screenshot of quotes showing without order entry line item

2. Screenshot of quote going blank when putting in the order entry line item

Why do I receive a message stating market data is over the limit?

Background: 

When you open an account with IBKR, you are initially set to receive a minimum of 100 concurrent lines of market data. This means that, either on IB Trading Platforms (TWS, IBKR Mobile, Client Portal trading facility) or on API/third party interface, you can simultaneously feed 100 tickers with market data. As explained here, after the first month of trading, your allowance might be increased either automatically (based on your account equity/commission) or manually (by the purchase of Quote Booster packs.)

Note: The same market data allowance is set for all the users of the same account, since it is based on account-wise parameters such as commissions and equities. 

 

Table of contents

 

Why some financial instruments show question marks instead of data?

There are various functions and tools in TWS using market data: watchlists, charts, trading or analytical tools, alarms. In general, any foreground window which actively uses market data for display or for calculations, will increase the total number of market data channels currently opened. Once you have exceeded the maximum Market Data allowance for your account, you will be prevented from receiving additional market data. In this case, one or more tickers will show a "?" instead of actual quotes and your TWS will display the following warning message:

"You have requested data for XXX contracts simultaneously, which exceeds your account current limit of YYY. You may increase your limit by subscribing to market data Booster Packs."

Example 1

Note: If you have decided to hide the warning by ticking the checkbox "Don't display this message again", you will not see it again next times you exceed the market data limit. Nevertheless you will still see "?" for one or more tickers instead of the actual quotes.

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Where can I check the current market data allowance?

Within TWS, you can check how much of your total market data allowance you are currently consuming in the "Maximum Allowed" window. While in TWS, press the keys Ctrl_Alt_= (on a MAC click: Control_Option_=) and you will see the Maximum allowed pop-up indicating the market data allowance (the value close to "Simultaneous TWS market data subscriptions") and the market data lines currently used (the value close to "Currently subscribed top market data count".)

Example 2

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Which solutions are available to me?

 

  • Reduce the number of financial instruments displayed within the TWS

To overcome an excessive market data usage, the easiest solution is to reduce the amount of financial instruments present within your trading platform. Here below some ways to accomplish that:

a. Delete some tickers from your watchlist(s). There might be old tickers you are no longer interested in or expired contracts. Deleting those will reduce the overall market data usage

b. Minimize or hide one or more watchlist or other tools consuming market data. Only the TWS windows which are active and in the foreground contribute to market data count. If you have floating watchlists/charts and you minimize them or send them to the background, you will actually decrease the overall market data usage by the number of tickers present on those watchlists/charts

c. Use more restrictive filters within Option Trader / Option Chains / Strategy Builder. Those tools often become top market data consumers due to the high number of option contracts they display. All those tools provide filtering based on strike / expiry / trading class. By acting on those filters you can reduce the number of option contracts displayed

Note: Some derivatives contracts (Futures, Options, Future Options) will often consume two market data channel, one for the contract himself and one for the underlying, since the underlying contract is used for Greeks / Volatility calculations

 

  • Purchase Quote Booster pack(s)

 Each Quote Booster pack will cost you 30 USD monthly and will entitle you to 100 additional market data lines (on the top of your current allotment). The maximum number of Quote Booster packs you can purchase for your account is 10.

 

  • Increase your account equity or commissions

Each 8 USD increase of your monthly commission will entitle you to receive 1 additional line of market data (on the top of your current allotment). If your monthly commissions increased by 80 USD, you will receive 10 additional lines, if by 800 USD, you will receive 100 additional lines.

Each 10K USD increase of your account equity will entitle you to receive 1 additional line of market data (on the top of your current allotment). If your equity increased by 100K USD, you will receive 10 additional lines, if by 1M USD, you will receive 100 additional lines.

The recalculation of the market data allowance happens at the beginning of each month.

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How to fix the "Cannot create ... file" error during TWS installation on MacOS

Background: 

The filesystem permissions are controlled by your machines operating system. One of their functions is to secure your files, preventing unauthorized access or undesired modifications to the system and to your personal data.   

Some software on your computer may modify or override the permissions assigned by the operating system. Under certain circumstances, this prevents the TWS installer from accessing the folder where the application core files have to be created (/users/youruser/home/Applications). In such cases, the TWS installation usually displays the error "Cannot create ... file. Shall I try again?"

In this article we explain how to reset the filesystem permission of the "Applications" folder located under your user home folder in order to allow a smooth run of the TWS installation.
 

Procedure:

 
1. On your keyboard, press ⌘CMD + ⇧Shift +H to open your home folder
 Figure 1
 
2. Select the folder "Applications" within your home folder and press ⌘CMD + I to open the Info panel
 Figure 2
 
2. At the bottom right of the panel, click on the padlock
 Figure 3
 
3. To unlock the permissions panel, enter your MacOS credentials and click OK
 Figure 4
 
4. In the line correspondent to "everyone", click on "No Access" (Figure 5) and then select "Read & Write" (Figure 6)
 Figure 5                                                                            Figure 6
 
 
5. Click on the icon bellow the permissions panel and select “Apply to enclosed items..."
 Figure 7
 
6. Now run the TWS installer and click on Next> until you complete the installation
 Figure 8

7. Once the installation has completed successfully, repeat the previous steps from 1. to 5. setting back the permissions of “everyone” to “Read Only” to revert your changes to the initial status

 

 

Complex Position Size

For complex, multi-leg options positions comprising two or more legs, TWS might not track all changes to this position, e.g. a vertical spread where the short leg is assigned and the user re-writes the same leg the next day, or if the user creates a the position over multiple trades, or if the order is not filled as a native combination at the exchange.

If you received a message because you are submitting an order to close a position, roll a position, or modify a position using the “% Change” feature, it means that the maximum quantity of option positions in your account that are available to close for this order is different from that of the original position tracked by TWS.
Before submitting, you should review the order and confirm that the order quantity we have calculated is the correct quantity that you want to trade.

How to overcome the "Downloading settings from server failed" error

Background: 

Store settings on server allows clients the ability to store their Trader Workstation (TWS) settings/configuration on the cloud and retrieve them at anytime from another computer. This feature allows you to use the layout of a specific user on two or more machines.

In some specific circumstances, the operation which stores/downloads the settings to/from the cloud may fail and the following error message may appear shortly after the TWS has loaded on the screen:

 

 

 How to overcome this error message?

 The underlying causes of this message are usually the following:

  • ACCESS TO THE LOCAL MACHINE IS BLOCKED: A security setup, such as a firewall or antivirus, prevents the access of this computer to the cloud storage. This prevents TWS from accessing the remote server, thus disallowing the settings file upload or download. Recommended workaround: set up an exception on the firewall or antivirus in order to exclude the TWS executable file (c:\Jts\tws.exe) or the entire TWS folder (C:\Jts) from the real time security scan. The procedure to set an exclusion may vary, according to the software you are using, therefore we recommend consulting the user guide or the on-line documentation of your specific security program.
     
  • ACCESS TO THE REMOTE SERVER IS BLOCKED: A firewall or proxy service blocks the communication with the cloud storage through the network on which this computer is. In this scenario, you (or your IT / Networking departments, in case you do not have the rights for such an operation) can modify the firewall or proxy settings to allow the computer to communicate with the cloud server s3.amazonaws.com on the TCP port 443. For additional details about the hosts/ports which needs to be allowed for the proper TWS operation, please see as well the section "DESKTOP TWS" of KB2816. Please refer to the documentation of your specific software in order to create specific rules for your firewall or proxy system.

 

See KB2323 for instructions on how to restore TWS settings from external storage
See KB2320 for instructions on transferring settings from one user to another

 

Why is my chart delayed, showing question marks or only partially populated?

Background: 
What  are SMART Charts and how are they generated?

The SMART charting mechanism analyzes and compares the market data coming from all venues a given contract is traded on and graphically displays the most favorable quotes.

When all the data streams are live, the data points are available for all sources and for each time point, thus they can be fully compared. The resulting SMART chart will be up to date and fully populated, moreover it will constantly and automatically update1.  

The comparison between non synchronized market data streams (some live and some delayed) is just partially possible, since the delayed feeds are lacking data points for the last 15 or 20 minutes. Therefore, within that time frame, the SMART chart will usually display a series of yellow question marks to indicate unavailability of source data. In this case the SMART Chart will not update automatically.

When the lack of data points is more extensive or when the Exchange does not distribute delayed data for a given contract, the correspondent SMART Chart may be completely blank.

What should I do to obtain a fully populated, up-to-date chart?

If your trading method is based on SMART charts, you would need to activate the live market data subscriptions for all the marketplaces your financial instruments are traded on. For additional details, please see KB1201

If your trading method does not require SMART charts, you can decide to use Direct chart routing as a workaround.

A Directed Chart will allow you to graphically represent the market data coming from a single, specific Exchange. When possible, we suggest to select the primary marketplace for the product for this purpose, since this is usually the one offering the highest liquidity and trade volume, hence normally providing the most favorable quotes. If you have subscribed the market data for that venue, the resulting Directed Chart will be fully populated, up to date and it will update automatically1.

 
How do I set up a Directed Chart?

1.  Within a watchlist, type the contract symbol and press Enter on your keyboard.


2.  When then contract selection menu appears, select the item Stock (Directed). If you do not see this item, click on the small down arrow at the bottom of the menu to reveal the hidden menu items.


3.  The Exchange selection screen will appear. You can now select the main Exchange for the product or the Exchange for which you have an active live market data subscription. Once done, click OK.


4.  Within your watchlist you will see a newly created Directed Ticker line. It will contain the contract symbol and, preceded by the @ sign, the Exchange you selected at the previous step. Right click on that directed ticker line and select Chart > New Chart

 

5. The chart will be shown. On the left side of the toolbar, after the contract symbol, you will see the Exchange you selected preceeded by a @ sign, indicating that this is a Directed Chart.
 

Notes
1. In order for the chart to update automatically, the checkbox "Keep chart up to date" has to be activated in the Chart Parameters panel. The panel is reachable directly within the chart window, from the top menu Edit.

IB TWS and IB Key Merger into IBKR Mobile

OVERVIEW

The migration for your user depends upon your current use of the apps as follows:

1. Your Smartphone is solely used for trading (IB TWS installed) - Click Here
2. Your Smartphone is solely used for authentication (IB Key installed) -  Click Here
3. Your Smartphone is used for both trading and authentication (IB TWS and IB Key installed) - Click Here
4. Your Smartphone is used for Debit Card transactions (IB Key installed) -  Click Here
 

You are a user of IB TWS

You have been trading on your smartphone with IB TWS and you have not used IB Key.
1. Upon first launch of the application you will see the following new Home Screen.
Figure 1 is the Home Screen of IBKR Mobile for iOS devices. Figure 2 is the Android device version.

     
Figure 1                                                     Figure 2

2. Tap on the Trade button.
3. The rest of the application experience is identical to what you have already used in the past.
 

 

Access to the other functions from the Trading Screen

If you wish to access the other functions of the IBKR Mobile, such as the Authentication module or the
Debit Card functions:

For iOS (Figure 3)
1. Open the menu ‘More’ (lower right-hand corner of your screen).
2. Scroll to the very bottom of this page
For Android (Figure 4)
1. Open the Application menu
2. Scroll to the bottom section - App Settings

       

Figure 3

    

Figure 4
 

You are an IB Key user

Activation

1. Launch the IBKR Mobile and tap on Authentication.
2. The app will detect the installation of the IB Key and will suggest a course of action - either an
automated migration (Figure 5) on an update and then automated migration.
You can as well choose to manually migrate at a later point.

     
Figure 5                                                 Figure 6                                                 Figure 7

After the migration is completed, should you run the IB Key standalone application - the one you have
authenticated with in the past - you will see the following screen (Figure 8).


Figure 8

 

Daily Operation


A. Nothing changes in the daily login experience if you have an Internet connection - the Seamless
Authentication process will be used:
1. Enter your credentials in the corresponding fields (in the TWS, Account Management, WebTrader or
IBKR Mobile). Click on Login.
2. The system will send you a notification on your smartphone’s screen - tap on it.
3. Depending on your device, present your face to the camera or fingerprint on the sensor (iOS) or
enter your PIN code (Android). The system will the automatically proceed with the login.


B. If you have no Internet connection, you will use the IBKR Mobile in Challenge-Response mode:
1. Enter your credentials in the corresponding fields (in the TWS, Account Management, WebTrader or
IBKR Mobile). Click on ‘Login'.
2. Click on the link saying “I did not receive a notification”.
3. Launch the IBKR Mobile and tap on ‘Authentication’.
4. In the field Challenge of your smartphone application enter the values displayed on the Login
Screen. Tap the ‘Generate’ button.
5. Enter the values displayed by your smartphone app into the field Response string on the Login
Screen. Click ‘Login’.

 

You are a user of both IB TWS and IB Key

1. Please complete first the procedure for the activation of the Authentication module of the IBKR
Mobile app (Click Here).
2. Login to the trading screen by taping on the Trade button of the Home Screen in your new IBKR
Mobile app (Click Here).

 

You use an IB Debit Card

1. Please complete first the procedure for the activation of the Authentication module of the IBKR
Mobile app (Click Here).
2. On the Home Screen of the IBKR Mobile app tap on the Debit Card button. The rest of the experience
is identical to what you have already used in the past.

 

 

Delayed Market Data Timing

Overview: 

Market data vendors typically offer exchange data in two categories, real-time and delayed. Real-time market data is disseminated as soon as the information is publicly available. Delayed market data is on a time lag that is usually 10-20 minutes behind real-time quotes.

Some exchanges allow delayed data to be displayed without any market data subscription, free of charge. A list of the exchanges we provide delayed data for at no cost and without formal request (i.e., the delayed data will be displayed upon entry of the product symbol on the trading platform) are outlined in the table below. The table also includes the corresponding real-time subscription, the fees for which are posted on IBKR's public website

Please Note:

  • Delayed quotes are not provided for U.S. stocks on live accounts due to FINRA regulations.
  • Delayed quotes should be used for indicative purposes and not necessarily for trading. The times mentioned may be subject to further delays without notice.

 

 

The Americas

External Exchange Name IB Exchange Name Delay Period Real Time Subscription
CBOT ECBOT 10 minutes CBOT Real-Time
CBOE Futures Exchange CFE 10 minutes CFE Enhanced
Market Data Express (MDX) CBOE 10 minutes CBOE Market Data Express Indices
CME GLOBEX 10 minutes CME Real-Time
COMEX NYMEX 10 minutes COMEX Real-Time
ICE US NYBOT 10 minutes ICE Futures U.S. (NYBOT)
Mexican Derivatives Exchange MEXDER 15 minutes Mexican Derivatives Exchange
Mexican Stock Exchange MEXI 20 minutes Mexican Stock Exchange
Montreal Exchange CDE 15 minutes Montreal Exchange
NYMEX NYMEX 10 minutes NYMEX Real-Time
NYSE GIF NYSE 15 minutes NYSE Global Index Feed
One Chicago ONE 10 minutes OneChicago
OPRA OPRA 15 minutes OPRA Top of Book (L1) (US Option Exchanges)
OTC Markets PINK 15 minutes OTC Markets
Toronto Stock Exchange TSE 15 minutes Toronto Stock Exchange
Venture Exchange VENTURE 15 minutes TSX Venture Exchange

 

Europe

External Exchange Name IB Exchange Name Delay Period Real Time Subscription
BATS Europe BATE/CHIX 15 minutes European (BATS/Chi-X) Equities
Boerse Stuttgart SWB 15 minutes Stuttgart Boerse incl. Euwax (SWB)
Bolsa de Madrid BM 15 minutes Bolsa de Madrid
Borsa Italiana BVME/IDEM 15 minutes Borsa Italiana (BVME stock / SEDEX / IDEM deriv)
Budapest Stock Exchange BUX 15 minutes Budapest Stock Exchange
Eurex DTB/SOFFEX 15 minutes Eurex Real-Time Information
Euronext AEB/SBF/MATIF/BELFOX 15 minutes Euronext Cash
Euronext AEB/SBF/MATIF/BELFOX 15 minutes Euronext Data Bundle
Frankfurt Stock Exchange and XETRA FWB/IBIS/XETRA 15 minutes Spot Market Germany (Frankfurt/Xetra)
ICE Futures Europe (Commodities) IPE 10 minutes ICE Futures E.U. - Commodities (IPE)
ICE Futures Europe (Financials) ICEEU 10 minutes ICE Futures E.U. – Financials (LIFFE)
LSE LSE 15 minutes LSE UK
LSEIOB LSEIOB 15 minutes LSE International
MEFF MEFF 15 minutes BME (MEFF)
NASDAQ OMX Nordic Derivatives OMS 15 minutes Nordic Derivatives
Prague Stock Exchange PRA 15 minutes Prague Stock Exchange Cash Market
SWISS Exchange EBS/VIRTX 15 minutes SIX Swiss Exchange
Turquoise ECN TRQXCH/TRQXDE/TRQXEN 15 minutes Turquoise ECNs
Warsaw Stock Exchange WSE 15 minutes Warsaw Stock Exchange

 

Asia

External Exchange Name IB Exchange Name Delay Period Real Time Subscription
Australian Stock Exchange ASX 20 minutes ASX Total
Hang Seng Indices HKFE-IND 15 minutes Hang Seng Indexes
Hong Kong Futures Exchange HKFE 15 minutes Hong Kong Derivatives (Fut & Opt)
Hong Kong Stock Exchange SEHK 15 minutes Hong Kong Securities Exchange (Stocks, Warrants & Bonds)
Korea Stock Exchange KSE 20 minutes Korea Stock Exchange
National Stock Exchange of India NSE 15 minutes National Stock Exchange of India, Capital Market Segment
Osaka Securities Exchange OSE.JPN 20 minutes Osaka Exchange
SGX Derivatives SGX 10 minutes Singapore Exchange (SGX) - Derivatives
Shanghai Stock Exchange SEHKNTL 15 minutes Shanghai Stock Exchange
Shenzhen Stock Exchange SEHKSZSE 15 minutes Shenzhen Stock Exchange
Singapore Stock Exchange SGX 10 minutes Singapore Exchange (SGX) - Stocks
Sydney Futures Exchange SNFE 10 minutes ASX24 Commodities and Futures
Tokyo Stock Exchange TSEJ 20 minutes Tokyo Stock Exchange

Risk Navigator: Alternative Margin Calculator

Overview: 

IB routinely reviews margin levels and will implement changes which serve to increase requirements above statutory minimums as market conditions warrant.  To assist clients with understanding the effects of such changes on their portfolio, a feature referred to as the "Alternative Margin Calculator" is provided within the Risk Navigator application. Outlined below are the steps for creating a “what-if” portfolio for the purpose of determining the impact of such margin changes.

Step 1: Open a new “What-if” portfolio

From the Classic TWS trading platform, select the Analytical Tools, Risk Navigator, and then Open New What-If menu options (Exhibit1).

Exhibit 1
 

From the Mosaic TWS trading platform, select New Window, Risk Navigator, and then Open New What-If menu options.

Step 2: Define starting portfolio

A pop-up window will appear (Exhibit 2) from which you will be prompted to define whether you would like to create a hypothetical portfolio starting from your current portfolio or a newly created portfolio. Clicking on the "yes" button will serve to download existing positions to the new “What-If” portfolio.

Exhibit 2
 

Clicking on the "No" button will open up the “What – If” Portfolio with no positions.


Risk Dashboard

The Risk Dashboard is pinned along the top of the product tab-sets, and is and is available for what-if as well as active portfolios. The values are calculated on demand for what-if portfolios. The dashboard provides at-a-glance account information including:

1) Net Liquidation Value: The total Net Liquidation Value for the account
2) P&L: The total daily P&L for the entire portfolio
3) Maintenance Margin: Total current maintenance margin
4) Initial Margin: Total initial margin requirements
5) VAR: Shows the Value at risk for the entire portfolio
6) Expected Shortfall (ES): Expected Shortfall (average value at risk) is expected return of the portfolio in the worst case
 

 

Alternative Margin Calculator

The Alternative Margin Calculator, accessed from the Setting menu and clicking on the Margin Mode (Exhibit 3), shows how the margin change will affect the overall margin requirement, once fully implemented.

Exhibit 3
 

 

Step 3: Selecting Margin Mode Settings

A pop-up window will appear (Exhibit 4) entitled Margin Mode Setting. You can use the drop-down menu in that window to change the margin calculations from Default (being the current policy) to the new title of the new Margin Setting (being the new margin policy). Once you have made a selection click on the OK button in that window.

Exhibit 4
 

Once the new margin mode setting is specified, the Risk Navigator Dashboard will automatically update to reflect your choice. You can toggle back and forth between the Margin Mode settings. Note that the current Margin Mode will be shown in the lower left hand corner of the Risk Navigator window (Exhibit 5).

Exhibit 5
 

 

Step 4: Add Positions

To add a position to the "What - If" portfolio, click on the green row titled "New" and then enter the underlying symbol (Exhibit 6), define the product type (Exhibit 7) and enter position quantity (Exhibit 8)

Exhibit 6
 

 

Exhibit 7

 

Exhibit 8

 

You can modify the positions to see how that changes the margin. After you altered your positions you will need to click on the recalculate icon () to the right of the margin numbers in order to have them update. Whenever that icon is present the margin numbers are not up-to-date with the content of the What-If Portfolio.

 

20-Minute Reconnect Grace Period, Unless Fingerprint/PIN Device Lock is Enabled

We recently introduced 30-hour Extended Trading access for mobile users (see the Android or iOS release notes).

For your protection, this feature requires that fingerprint or PIN/Pattern security be enabled on your mobile device. If not enabled, a 20-minute inactivity grace period applies, after which you are disconnected from your trading session and logged into Read-Only mode (which can be disabled), and must perform a full login for trading access.
 
While we remain diligent in our efforts to keep your account protected, we understand that good security is also about striking a balance between safety and convenience. If you feel strongly that this change adds undue burden to your trading setup - we'd like to hear from you.  Please vote on the Enhancement Request available through our Features Poll.

 

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