Welcome to Interactive Brokers

Overview: 

Now that your account is funded and approved you can start trading. The information below will help you getting
started as a new customer of Interactive Brokers.

  1. Your Money
  2. Configure your account to trade
  3. How to trade
  4. Trade all over the World
  5. Five points to enrich your IB experience

 

1. Your Money
Deposits & Withdrawals General Info. All transactions are administered through your secure Account Management
Deposits
First, you create a deposit notification through your Account Management > Funding > Fund Transfers > Transaction Type: “Deposit” How to create a deposit notification. The second step is to instruct your Bank to do the wire transfer with the bank details provided in your Deposit Notification.
Withdrawals
Create a withdrawal instruction via your secure Account Management > Funding > Fund Transfers > Transaction Type: "Withdrawals" How to create a withdrawal instruction
If you instruct a withdrawal over the Withdrawal limits, it will be considered an exceptional withdrawal and we will therefore need to match bank account holder and IB account. If destination bank account has been used for a deposit, withdrawal will be processed; otherwise, you must contact customer service and provide the documents needed.
Troubleshooting
Deposits: My bank sent the money but I do not see it credited into my IB account. Possible reasons:
a) A fund transfer takes 1-4 business days
b) A Deposit Notification is missing. You have to create it via your Account Management and send a ticket to Customer Service
c) Amending details are missing. Your name or IB account number is missing in the transfer details. You have to contact your bank and ask for the full amending details.
d) ACH initiated by IB is limited to 100k USD in a 7 business period. If you opened a Portfolio Margin account where the initial requirement is 110k, a wire deposit might be the better deposit option to reduce wait time for your first trade. If selecting ACH a wait time of almost 2 weeks or a temporary downgrade to RegT can be possible solutions.
Withdrawals: I have requested a withdrawal but I do not see the money credited to my bank account. Possible reasons:
a) A fund transfer takes 1-4 business days
b) Rejected. Over the max it can be withdrawn. Please check your account cash balance. Note that for regulatory requirements, when the funds are deposited, there is a 3 day holding period before they can be withdrawn.
c) Your bank returned the funds. Probably because receiving bank account and remitting bank account names do not match.

 

2. Configure your account to trade
Difference between Cash and Margin accounts: If you have chosen the FastTrack application, by default your account type is a cash account with US stock permission. If you would like to get leverage and trade on margin, here how to upgrade to a RegT Margin account
Trading Permissions
In order to be able to trade a particular asset class in a particular country, you need to get the trading permission for it via your Account Management. Please note that trading permissions are free. You might however be asked to sign risk
disclosures required by local regulatory authorities. How to Request Trading Permissions
Market Data
If you want to have market data in real-time for a particular product/exchange, you need to subscribe to a market data package charged by the exchange. How to subscribe to Market data
The Market data assistant will help you choose the right package. Please watch this Video explaining how it works.
Customers have the option to receive delayed market data for free by clicking the Free Delayed Data button from a non-subscribed ticker row.
Advisor Accounts
Have a look at the user guide getting started as advisors. Here you see how to create additional users to your advisor account and grant them access and much more.

 

3. How to trade
The Trader's University is the place to go when you want to learn how to use our Platforms. Here you will find our webinars, live and recorded in 10 languages and tours and documentation about our various Trading Platforms.
Trader Workstation (TWS)
Traders who require more sophisticated trading tools can use our market maker-designed Trader Workstation (TWS), which optimizes your trading speed and efficiency with an easy-to-use spreadsheet interface, support for more than 60 order types, task-specific trading tools for all trading styles, and real-time account balance and activity monitoring. Try the two models
TWS Mosaic: for intuitive usability, easy trading access, order management, watchlist, charts all in one window or
TWS Classic: the Advanced Order Management for traders who need more advanced tools and algos.
General Description and Information / Quick start guide / Usersguide
Interactive Tours: TWS Basics / TWS configuration / TWS Mosaic
How to place a trade:  Video Classic TWS / Video Mosaic
Trading tools: General Description and InformationUsers guide
Requirements: How to install Java for WindowsHow to install Java for MAC / Port 4000 and 4001 needs to be open
Login TWSDownload TWS
WebTrader
Traders who prefer a clean and simple interface can use our HTML-based WebTrader, which makes it easy to view market data, submit orders, and monitor your account and executions. Use the latest WebTrader from every browser
Quick Start Guide / WebTrader User's Guide
Introduction: Video WebTrader
How to place a Trade: Video WebTrader
Login WebTrader
MobileTrader
Our mobile solutions allow you to trade your IB account on the go. The mobileTWS for iOS and the mobileTWS for BlackBerry are custom-designed for these popular models, while the generic MobileTrader supports most other Smart phones.
General Description and Information
Order Types Order Types available and Description / Videos / Tour / Users guide
Paper Trading General Description and Information / How to get a Paper Trading Account
Once your paper account is created, you can share the market data of your real account with your paper trading account: Account Management > Manage Account > Settings > Paper trading

 
4. Trade all over the World
IB accounts are multi-currency accounts. Your account can hold different currencies at the same time, this allows you to trade multiple products around the world from a single account.
Base Currency
Your base currency determines the currency of translation for your statements and the currency used for determining margin requirements. Base currency is determined when you open an account. Customers may change their base currency at any time through Account Management.
We do not automatically convert currencies into your Base currency
Currency conversions must be done manually by the customer. In this video you can learn how to do a currency conversion.
In order to open a position denominated in a currency that you do not have in your account, you have two possibilities:
A) Currency conversion.
B) IB Margin Loan. (Not available for Cash Accounts)
Please see this course explaining the mechanics of a foreign transaction.

 

5. Five points to enrich your IB experience
1. Contract Search
Here you will find all our products, symbols and specifications.
2. IB Knowledge Base
The Knowledge Base is a repository of glossary terms, how-to articles, troubleshooting tips and guidelines designed to assist IB customers with the management of their IB accounts. Just enter in the search button what you are looking for and you will get the answer.
3. Account Management
As our trading platforms give you access to the markets, the Account Management grants you access to your IB account. Use Account Management to manage account-related tasks such as depositing or withdrawing funds, viewing your statements, modifying market data and news subscriptions, changing your trading permissions, and verifying or changing your personal information.
Log In Account Management / AM Quick Start Guide / AM Users Guide
4. Secure Login System
To provide you with the highest level of online security, Interactive Brokers has implemented a Secure Login System (SLS) through which access to your account is subject to two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication serves to confirm your identity at the point of login using two security factors: 1) Something you know (your username and password combination); and 2) Something you have (an IB issued security device which generates a random, single-use security code). As both knowledge of your username/password and physical possession of the security device are required to login to your account, participation in the Secure Login System virtually eliminates the possibility of anyone other than you accessing your account.
How to Activate your Security Device / How to Obtain a Security Code Card / How to return Security device
In case you forgot your password or lost your security code card, please call us for immediate assistance.
5. Statements and Reports
Easy to view and customize, our statements and reports cover all aspects of your Interactive Brokers account. How to view an Activity Statement 

 

When and how should I increase the memory allocation for TWS?

Overview: 
Java Virtual Machine memory allocation

The Trader Workstation is a Java-based application. As any other Java applications, it executes within a Java virtual machine (JVM) which manages the interactions between the program and the underlying Operating System (OS).

The memory (RAM) which is allocated by the operating system to the JVM constitutes the heap space. That is the area where all the class instances and arrays needed by the application are allocated. The heap space is created when the JVM is started and it is dynamically freed-up by the Garbage Collector (GC), the Java memory manager. When the need arises, the Garbage Collector is invoked to free up the heap space by unloading Java classes and other code structures no longer used by the application.

If the heap space is undersized, the Garbage Collector may not be able reclaim memory at the needed pace or may have to be called too often, draining the processor (CPU) resources. When this happens, the application may slow down, be unresponsive or even crash completely.

To ensure a smooth TWS run, it is therefore sometimes necessary to change the memory allocation, according to the layout complexity and the needs of the application itself.

Background: 
In which case I should change the TWS memory allocation?
If your TWS layout contains a considerable number of elements (Analytical/Trading Tools, Chart windows, News panels, Watchlists, Layout tabs...) and your platform is slow or poorly responsive, you may want to increase the memory allocation in order to achieve better performances. If your TWS freezes or crashes, we also recommend increasing the heap space as the first corrective action to attempt. 
 
How much memory should I allocate to TWS?
In general we recommend to start with a conservative memory allocation and test the TWS performances with that set up. If the performances improvement is less noticeable then expected or not yet satisfactory, you can switch gradually to higher values until you find the best fit for your platform.
Please consider the following:
  • The memory you allocate to the TWS has to be available on your system. For details, please see Note 1. Allocation values above 2048 are not supported by 32-bit OS. For details, please see Note 2. 
Considering the above, we suggest to initially reserve 1.5 GB of system RAM the TWS, as explained in the guide below.
This amount of free memory is usually available on any modern computer and should be a good fit for most of the cases. Should you still notice slowness, freezing or crashes during the TWS execution, you can raise the value to 1792.
In any case, we do not recommend to set the value above 2048 since this will produce an unnecessary overhead and may thus even decrease the overall performances of the application.

 

 
How can I change the memory allocation for the TWS?

Please follow one of the links below for the instructions, according to the Operating System and TWS release you are using

 
     Any Operating System
 
     B.1 Your Operating System is Windows      
     B.2 Your Operating System is Mac OS

 

 

 

A. TWS version 972 and higher

The steps below are valid for all Operating Systems
1) In the TWS, click on the top menu File (or Edit if you are using Classic TWS) and select Global Configuration...

2) On the left side menu of the Global Configuration panel, click on General

3) In the panel on the right side, in the Memory Allocation field, replace the existing value with 1536

4) Click on Apply and then on OK

5) Shut down the TWS

6) Launch the TWS with a double click on the Desktop shortcut Trader Workstation (Should you receive an error message, please see Note 3.
 

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B. TWS versions previous to 972

B.1 Your Operating System is Windows

1) Close TWS in case it is running

2) On your keyboard, press WIN+R (the WIN key is the key with the windows flag located on the left side of tour keyboard,  between the keys CTRL and ALT) 
3) Type C:\Jts\tws.vmoptions and Click OK
4) Should the system ask you which program to use to open the file, select Notepad and click OK
5) Cut the line -Xmx768m and paste it below the line ### Keep on update
6) Change then the value of the parameter Xmx from 768 to 1536
7) Save the changes by clicking on the top menu File --> Save
8) Close the file clicking on the X icon on the right side of the toolbar
9) Launch the TWS with a double click on the Desktop shortcut Trader Workstation (Should you receive an error message, please see Note 3.
 
 

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B.2 Your Operating System is Mac OS
 
1) Close the TWS if it is running
 
2) Use the Spotlight search (the magnifier glass on the top right of your Desktop) to find the file tws.vmoptions
Normally the file is located within the Jts folder (a subfolder of your home folder)

3) On the Spotlight results panel, click on tws.vmoptions to open it. Should the system ask you how to open this file, click Choose Application... select  a text editor (TextEdit, Smultron, TextWrangler...) of your choice and click Open
 
 
4) Locate the line -Xmx768m. Cut it and paste it below the line ### Keep on update
 
6) Modify the value 768 in to 1536
 
7) Save and close the file

8) Launch the TWS with a double click on the Desktop shortcut Trader Workstation (Should you receive an error message, please see Note 3.
 

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Notes

 

1. Available system RAM
In order to check the amount of available system RAM on your computer, you can:
 - on Windows: use the key combination CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to start the Task Manager, click on the tab Performance and look for the "Available" Physical Memory. This will tell you the amount of unoccupied RAM in MB (1024 MB = 1GB)
 
 
- on Mac OS: Open Finder, go to Application --> Utilities and open Terminal. In the terminal type the command:
sudo purge
and press Enter. The system may ask you to enter your Mac user password. Enter the password. Once the command has completed, type the following command:
top -l 1| grep PhysMem
The "unused" value will tell you the amount of unoccupied RAM in MB (1024M = 1GB)

 

 

 2. Limitations of 32-bit Operating Systems
Please notice that 32-bit Operating Systems can normally only address a maximum of 2 GB of RAM per process (see table below for details). Because of this OS architecture limitation, if you have a 32-bit OS, the maximum memory allocation for the TWS must not exceed 2048 Mb.

 

3. Error: "Could not create the Java Virtual Machine"
This error may be displayed upon TWS startup if you set the memory allocation to a value higher than the available RAM of your system or if you set it higher than 2048 on a 32-bit Opertaing System. To overcome the error, you would need to decrease the memory allocation to a lower value using this procedure
 

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TWS Order Presets: Primary Order Fields

Brief video on Presets that are relevant to your Primary Order

Cloud Watchlists

Overview: 

This article explains how to setup Cloud Watchlists.

Background: 

It is now possible to synchronize the watchlists on your mobile devices with the watchlists of Trader Workstation on your computer. You will no longer need to worry about adding same tickers over and over again. The Cloud Watchlists feature is available in Trader Workstation build 936 and higher. Once the Cloud Watchlists have been enabled, they can be then imported in mobileTWS using the "Import" option from the Configuration menu.

Enable the Cloud Watchlists in Trader Workstation

  1. Login into the Trader Workstation
  2. Click on Edit in top menu, then on Global Configuration (or File -> Global Configuration if TWS is in the Mosaic layout)
  3. In the left column of the configuration window, click on Lock and Exit
  4. In the right pane, mark the checkbox "Save watchlists to cloud" (as shown in the screenshot below)
    Enable Cloud Watchlists in the TWS
  5. Click Apply, then OK to close the configuration window

Enable Cloud Watchlists on a mobile device

 

iPhone

  1. After the Cloud Watchlists feature has been enabled in TWS, login into mobileTWS
  2. Upon login, you will be prompted with a screen asking you to try the new feature
  3. Select "Try It", and then select the device/computer to import the watchlist from
  4. If you are not shown the "Try It" prompt, please go to the Configuration menu and select Watchlist Import and select the device/computer to import from
  5. In the Configuration meny, enable the option "Save Cloud Watchlists"

iPad

  1. After the Cloud Watchlists feature has been enabled in TWS, login into mobileTWS
  2. Upon login, you will be prompted with a screen asking you to try the new feature
  3. Select "Try It", and then select the device/computer to import the watchlist from
  4. If you are not shown the "Try It" prompt, tap on "Setup" in top left corner and enable "Save cloud watchlists"
  5. Back in the main screen, in top left section, tap on the Import button and select the device/computer from which to import the Cloud Watchlist

Android mobile or tablet

  1. After the Cloud Watchlists feature has been enabled in TWS, login into mobileTWS
  2. Upon login, you will be shown the Watchlist Import wizard
  3. Select the device/computer from which to import the watchlist
  4. To see the imported watchlists, navigate to Quotes and Charts from the main menu and select an imported watchlist from the dropdown

Please note that it is not possible to sync watchlists from mobileTWS to your desktop TWS.

 

 

 

 

Compatibility between MetaTrader and Interactive Brokers

Overview: 

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.

How to reset the TWS to the default settings on a Windows computer

Should you need to strip the TWS of any customization you did and revert to the default settings, use the instructions in this video.

Applicable to any TWS version under any operating system.

How to Create an Alarm

How to create price or volume based alarms in Trader Workstation

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