Questions and Answers

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1. Can IB-Matlab be used with other brokers?

IB-Matlab only connects to Interactive Brokers. It can be adapted for other brokers, but some development is obviously required since other brokers have different APIs. Contact me by email and I’ll see if I can help.

2. Does IB-Matlab impose limitations on historical data or streaming quotes?

IB-Matlab does not impose any limitations, but the IB server does impose limitations on the frequency of the requests and the amount of returned data (details). The limitations depend on your specific IB subscription. The basic IB subscription allows 2000 historical data bars, once every 10 seconds, going back up to one year. If you request more bars then IB returns nothing, and if you request more frequently then IB returns a pacing violation error. Additional data, going back up to 4 years, can be requested from IB based on your trading volume and subscription level. Again, the limitations are imposed by the IB server based on your account; IB-Matlab supports whatever subscription you have in your account and does not limit the information in any manner.

3. Can I see a demo of IB-Matlab?

You can see a webinar showing a demo of IB-Matlab here (along with presentation slides and the demo’s source code). In addition, you are most welcome to request a fully-functional trial of IB-Matlab, that you can use to run the demo yourself, or to test your own trading strategies.

4. How does IB-Matlab compare to alternative products?

IB-Matlab is currently the market leader in the niche of Matlab-to-IB integration. There are other alternatives available, but IB-Matlab provides by far the best functionality, value and cost-effectiveness. A detailed comparison is provided. You are most welcome to validate all the comparison items when you test IB-Matlab’s free trial.

5. How do you know that IB-Matlab trades $100M daily?

A few of the IB-Matlab users have chosen to tell me how they use the product, since they were very proud of how it enabled them to scale-up their trading. I have no way of verifying this information, because IB-Matlab does not send any information except to IB. IB-Matlab is used by hundreds of traders, ranging from individuals, through hedge-funds and even some banks. So the total daily trading volume by all IB-Matlab users may possibly be much higher than $100M.

6. Does IB-Matlab send you any information?

No – IB-Matlab only communicates with IB. The only communication that is done with this server is a verification of the computer’s IB-Matlab activation (a single hash-code).

7. How can I be sure that IB-Matlab does not contain bugs that will affect my trades?

Well, there is never a 100% guarantee. The product is rigorously tested. IB-Matlab has been live since 2010 and is actively used by hundreds of users on a daily basis. So far nothing major has been reported. IB-Matlab is a very stable and robust product, despite the fact that new functionality is being added on a constant basis. In fact, the professional review by the Automated Trader magazine has purposely tried to find limitations and bugs in IB-Matlab by specifying invalid parameter combinations etc., and reported (downloadable PDF) that it could not break IB-Matlab’s robustness.

8. Is IB-Matlab being maintained? supported?

Yes, actively. Features and improvements are added on a regular basis, and I support the users personally. You can see the list of ongoing improvements in IB-Matlab’s change-log, listed in Appendix B of the IB-Matlab User Guide.

9. I saw in the online User Guide that IB-Matlab added a nice new feature – can I get it?

You get the very latest version of IB-Matlab, including all the latest additions and improvements, when you purchase a new license or renew an existing one. If you do not wish to wait for the end of your license year, you can always renew immediately for $99. However, the new license year will start from that moment onward (in other words, you will lose the unused portion of your current annual license). For example, if you purchased the license on 1/1/2014 then it is good until 1/1/2015. If you choose to renew and get the latest IB-Matlab version on 9/9/2014, then your new license will expire on 9/9/2015, so you gain the latest IB-Matlab version but you lose about 4 months of your current annual license (worth about ~$30). The choice is yours.

10. What happens when the licensed year is over?

When you purchase the IB-Matlab license (or renewal), it will work for a full year. A short time before the year is over, you will start seeing a notification message in your Matlab console (Command Window) alerting you about this. This message will only appear during the initial connection to IB, so it will not affect your regular trading session. When the year is over, IB-Matlab will stop working. You can renew the license for additional years for only $99 per year. If you wish to be independent of such annual renewals, you can purchase multi-year renewals in advance, for a reduced cost.

11. I purchased a new computer – can I transfer my IB-Matlab license?

Yes: you will need to first deactivate IB-Matlab on your existing computer (I will walk you through this procedure) and then activate it on the new computer. In other words, don’t format your old disk before you deactivate IB-Matlab, otherwise you will not be able to activate the new computer… You can make up to 3 such activations at no extra cost; additional switches incur a small handling fee.

12. I have a laptop and desktop, and I use them interchangeably – can I use IB-Matlab on both?

Yes, but you will need to purchase two separate IB-Matlab licenses. IB-Matlab’s license is tied to a specific computer.

13. Can IB-Matlab be compiled and deployed?

Yes, IB-Matlab can indeed be compiled. You do not need a separate license for the compiled application on your development computer, since this computer is already licensed. However, any other deployed computer will require a separate IB-Matlab license, otherwise IB-Matlab will not run. If you wish to deploy IB-Matlab on a large scale, to multiple computers, then contact me to discuss alternatives.

14. Is IB-Matlab provided in source-code format?

IB-Matlab is provided in encrypted binary form, like any other commercial software. If you wish to get the source-code, then this is possible, subject to signing a separate agreement and a higher cost. The benefit is that the source-code version has no license fees and is not tied to any specific computer – you can install it on as many computers as you wish within your organization. Contact me for details.

15. Do you provide an escrow service for IB-Matlab’s source-code?

Yes. There are two alternative levels of escrow that you can select:

  1. At safe-keeping with a Wall-Street lawyer
  2. Using NCC Group‘s independent escrow service

Escrow services incur a non-negligible usage fee, but you may decide that it may be worth it for ensuring business continuity. The choice is entirely yours.

If you wish to ensure business continuity, consider purchasing multi-year renewals in advance, for a reduced cost. This will ensure that your license will be independent of annual renewals for as many years as you select.

16. Is feature ABC available in IB-Matlab?

IB-Matlab supports the entire IB API. This means that all the functionality that IB exposes in its API, is available in IB-Matlab. In most cases, this functionality is available using an easy-to-use Matlab wrapper function. This includes all the important trading and query functionalities. Some additional functionalities, which are less commonly used, are supported by a more capable underlying connector object that IB-Matlab provides. To check whether a specific feature is available in the IB API (and by extension, in IB-Matlab), please refer to IB-Matlab’s online User Guide, IB’s online reference, or contact IB customer service.

17. Can you add feature ABC for me?

I will be happy to do so, for a reasonable development fee that will be agreed with you in advance. After the development, this feature will be available to all others who purchase (or renew) the latest version of IB-Matlab, at no extra cost. Contact me by email if you have such a request, to get a proposed quote.

18. Can you develop trading strategy XYZ for me?

I will be happy to do so, for a reasonable development fee that will be agreed with you in advance. Unlike development of IB-Matlab features, strategy development will never be disclosed to others, and will not be integrated in IB-Matlab. They will be developed privately for you, and will be kept secret. Contact me by email if you have such a request, to get a proposed quote.

19. Does IB-Matlab include a back-testing engine?

No. IB-Matlab is only used for communication with the IB server (data from IB server; trade orders to IB server), it does not include any data analysis or back-testing functionalities. This is what makes the integration with Matlab so powerful, since Matlab is great at data analysis and visualization. So you can easily develop your own analysis programs in Matlab, that will get the data from IB-Matlab, analyze it, and send corresponding orders back to the IB server (again through IB-Matlab). If you’d rather use an off-the-shelf back-testing engine, then I could recommend TA Developer’s backtesting application or Walk-Forward Analysis Toolbox for MATLAB – both of these work in Matlab and can easily be connected to the data from IB-Matlab.

20. Does IB-Matlab work with the IB demo account?

Yes. However, note that IB’s demo account is limited in data, functionality and performance compared to a live or paper-trading account. Therefore, it is best to trial IB-Matlab and to test your strategies using a paper-trading account (which you receive with your live account).

21. Is IB-Matlab supported on my platform?

IB-Matlab works perfectly on any computer that runs TWS and Matlab (R2007a or newer). This includes Windows, MacOS and Linux computers, 32 or 64 bits. No special Matlab toolboxes are required – only the base Matlab and the IB-Matlab software.

4 Responses to Questions and Answers

  1. Jaime Rodriguez says:

    Are there some “extra” toolboxes of matlab needed?

  2. Eric D says:

    How does IB-Matlab compare to Matlab’s trading toolbox? (are their more features of the API implemented? better performance interface?) I’m trying to determine which one to go with, and Matlab’s trading toolbox for home use is actually cheaper ($45).

    • @Eric – IB-Matlab provides far better functionality, stability, robustness (i.e., no bugs), ease-of-use, performance, and platform and Matlab-release compatibility. Please refer to a detailed comparison. You are most welcome to validate all the comparison items when you test IB-Matlab’s free trial. Other users have done this and their unanimous findings are that IB-Matlab is a superior product (you can read their feedbacks on the above-mentioned product-comparison page).

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