written by reader New to Interactive Brokers

By jbnaples, May 6, 2017

I have recently opened an acct. with Interactive Brokers service in order to buy some of the smaller Canadian exploration companies that have little liquidity or no opportunity to buy on the OTC or pinks in the US. I find myself a little intimidated with the IB platform or platforms as my other trading acct. is with Scottrade.
I know Travis uses IB and finds it easier to buy stock in different parts of the world. I wanted to ask those who use IB what you find the advantages are as well as any disadvantages you may have experienced using IB. Thanks in advance for any advice you may want to share. jbnaples

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Jeff
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Jeff
May 7, 2017 10:49 am

I used the Webtrader platform a year or so ago. You get used to it. Never had a problem with executions. Hard to beat their commissions for stocks and options. Even when I had a question, they got back to me, not necessarily immediately, but within a day or so. Not the most intuitive but would go back again if I traded frequently. When I closed my account, there was no hassle. Playing around with all the functions was the best way to learn.

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Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe
May 9, 2017 5:01 pm

It is much less user-friendly, but you do indeed get used to it eventually. I’d stick with the Webtrader system, that’s not as powerful as the downloadable trading platform but it’s much simpler. The easiest way to trade anything is to use “search” to find it by name, and do pay attention to what your trading permissions are within your account — you have to choose which markets you want to get access to, from Hong Kong futures to US equities, and some of those choices require some authorization. If you’re going to mostly buy things as long-term positions, it may not be worthwhile to pay for the various “real time quotes” subscriptions, if you’re not in a hurry and not often jumping in and out of positions, the delayed quotes are probably fine. Best of luck.

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dlb89us1
Member
dlb89us1
June 26, 2017 11:13 am

Travis,

I wanted to purchase CTEQ or CLQ through IB. I was informed I would have to exchange US for AUD and hold the stock in AUD. Not being familiar with this type of transaction and not fond of talking to IB, I thought of asking here if anyone had done this transaction before and what type of costs are involved. Is sounds like the potential value of holding CLQ is high, but are the costs of doing this through IB a huge negative. I saw that IB lists a number of OTC partners on their site and CTEQ is listed. Does the same thing apply(exchange US for Canadian) as for ASX.
Living in the US, where can I buy CTEQ and not jump through hoops?

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Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe
June 26, 2017 12:13 pm
Reply to  dlb89us1

I have never owned Clean Teq, but I have bought plenty of foreign positions through Interactive Brokers — and yes, if you are going to trade on an overseas exchange you must use their currency. I find the costs of these transactions through IB to be much lower than the cost through other US-based brokers, who often charge a substantial fee or commission for foreign stock trading, but I haven’t tried every broker so there may be better deals out there.

I would always suggest buying a stock on its home exchange if that’s a possibility, even if the costs are slightly higher than buying over the counter in the US — the volume is almost always much better in the home country, and the liquidity when you want to sell is likely to be much, much better, particularly if you want to sell at the same time that other folks want to sell.

Buying is relatively easy with less-liquid over the counter tickers for foreign stocks, like CTEQF, selling has the potential to be much harder because you’re counting on someone being willing to buy from you during hours when the stock is not trading on its home exchange… if the company releases bad news or their market crashes, there may not be any buyers in the US OTC market.

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dlb89us1
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dlb89us1
June 26, 2017 11:49 pm

Thanks Travis for the information and advice. I guess it’s time to get my feet wet! I have no complaints about IB. All my questions have been answered, some better than others and some a bit brusk. That’s life and we try to learn something new every day! Tomorrow I will visit the ASX exchange and hopefully purchase some CLQ!

lumpified
Member
June 27, 2017 4:52 am

Also worth noting on IB: if you have a cash account rather than a margin account, then you can buy with uncleared funds (i.e. as soon as you sell something else) but then you cannot sell the stock you just bought until the funds have cleared (3 days, normally).

If you do, the sale will go through, but then you won’t be allowed to trade with uncleared funds for 90 days, so every time you sell something you would then have to wait 3 days to buy something else with that money…

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smanuelm
smanuelm
June 27, 2017 6:49 am
Reply to  lumpified

Yep, just found that out the hard way, I’m gonna try and change my account to margin, don’t like to have to wait 3 days .

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