Friday, 13 January 2012

Interactive Brokers - first issue with WebTrader

As you may have noticed from previous posts I recently signed up with Interactive Brokers and have been reviewing the product right from set up through to my discovery of all the pros and cons.

As a recap, the pros so far have included amazingly low transaction costs and the speed at which funds are credited to your account after the first transfer. The cons so far have included the time taken to set up the account, the fact that you can't invest in DRPs.

Unfortunately today I am adding another con to the list and this one is more of an issue with the acutal WebTrader platform. I tend to use WebTrader instead of the Trader Workstation because I mostly trade when I'm at work and am unable to download the software onto my computer. Yesterday I was attempting to put through a trade on the LSE and WebTrader would not give me any pricing data about the stock (not even the current market price). Given that I had only transfered a limited amount of money into GBP for the trade I wanted to make sure that the market had not gone against me (i.e. so I wasnt entering a trade where I did not have enough GBP) to cover it.

In the end I was forced to underestimate the number of shares that I could buy based on the delayed price from yahoo finance. Further the price had actually moved in my favour so I could have bough significantly more than I had originally anticipated. I was also forced to enter a market order and not a limit order as I didnt know how close to the market price the delayed data available elsewhere was. These combined to leave me with excess GBP which I can't invest in anything else (and the transaction costs mean there is no point moving them back to my home currency yet).

This is the first time that I have had this particular problem with WebTrader. I have traded stocks on the ASX and Xetra exchanges and have not had this issue before. I am surprised that it exists for an exchange as large as the LSE. Any comments on how to get around this issue would be much appreciated.

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