Futures trading with Gen3 at IB

Hi guys,

I’ve been trying to figure out how to configure my account at IB for Gen3. This post is the best information I’ve found on the C2 website, but I’m still a little unclear on the best procedure to do this. I currently have an IB account where I can trade stocks. If I understand correctly, I need to (in the following order):

1) Open up a brand new IB account that is not linked to my existing one - i.e. I can’t use the Account Management feature to create a new account, but rather have to start from scratch as if I was a new client

2) Once the account is setup contact admin@bulldogfx.com and let them know I have a non-linked Futures account at IB and would like to setup Gen3 for C2. Do I need to apply and create another new account with them too?

3) Once I have both setup, I need to login into my IB account and link my IB futures account to my BulldogFX account.

4) After all this, I can go into C2 and configure AutoTrade for my selected system(s), setting it up to my BulldogFX account.

Is this right? Any other tips to efficiently configure IB for Gen3?

Looking at this now (particuarly if I have to apply for another new account at BulldogFX in addition to one at IB), I’m wondering if it would just be easier to open a new account at MB, OpenECry or one of the other Gen3 brokers?

Thanks much for any input.


IB makes you jump through too many hoops to do business with them. I don’t want to setup yet another segregated account to use them for auto-trading. For regular trading, it is probably worth it because of their low commissions. But for C2, they are no cheaper than OEC and OEC is much simpler to setup. No extra software, no introducing broker etc.

Dear Chris,

Yes, IB requires several things of the accounts being enabled for AutoTrading, but the process has been fine tuned a bit since the release of Gen3. Making sure that an existing IB account is a stand alone account AND is approved for only futures permissions and capabilities are the two main things required for Gen3 AutoTrading. After that, its just linking to BulldogFX or simply opening a new account.

Depending on what you’re looking for, other brokers may provide a better platform that meets your trading needs. Select a broker you feel comfortable with. That is the important thing. Although we are fortunate to periodically bring on new C2 compatible brokers, the most important benefit to remember is that this gives C2 users a larger broker selection.

- Melissa

Hi Melissa, can you provide any insight as to why IB requires an introducing broker as opposed to directly with IB; and why IB customers can only trade futures? They are not making it very easy to remain a customer of theirs.

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the information. Judging from this, it sounds like it may be best to open a new account with another Gen3 broker and just keep IB for manual trading.

Along those lines, I’m looking at either MB or Open ECry. Initially I plan to start AutoTrading Futures systems, then probably Forex. From what I can find online, I can’t seem to find anything that significantly leans me more toward one or the other.

Does anyone who has previously debated between the two have an opinion or suggestion, particularly with things such as quality of execution, ease of opening an account, customer service, broker problems, or anything else they found significant (that often goes unpublished).

Many thanks,



I tried both OEC and MB for autotrading futures (not forex) at C2. I’m not crazy about either platform (much prefer IB’s software), but OEC was my final choice. One reason is that they have the broadest coverage of futures markets and contracts - even exceeding IB’s. Second, they don’t charge any market data fees - whether you trade or not. Third, although their software is not the best, it is much more modern than MB’s, IMO. Their support is pretty OK, too.

Hope this helps.


Dear Janice,

It just depends on the clearing broker themselves. Some brokers, like MBTrading, accept AutoTraders directly from C2, while other brokers, like FXCM, require that the AutoTrader goes through an Introducing Broker.

BulldogFX is currently the only Introducing Broker at IB offering Gen3 technology and cannot support stock and options for regulatory reasons.

- Melissa

Thanks, Dan. I really appreciate your sharing that info.



Is that to say that C2 is not working on IB for Gen3 to trade stocks? If not, is C2 working on providing other brokers to trade stocks? It just seems strange that there are now only three Gen3 compatible brokers for stocks, which are the most basic instrument to trade. I understand from previous posts that OptionsXpress is permanently gone, and that TD Ameritrade refuses to work with C2. That said, there are still many brokers available with an API (e.g. E-Trade, Tradeking, OptionsHouse, JunoTrade, Lightspeed, etc.) that should be explored. I speak both as a client who wishes more options in trading systems here on C2, and also as a system developer who wishes to have the broadest possible client base to which to market. If Cool-Trade.com has these sorts of relationships, and Cool-Trade also has a partnership with C2, it seems like a slam dunk.


Completely agree, C2 doesn’t seem to realize how difficult it is for their customers to consume their product.


Melissa’s post was from several months ago – when we just starting to work with Interactive Brokers (IB) and their very strict, process-oriented way of turning on accounts. I think we’re all a little more knowledgable about the process nowadays (though it doesn’t make the process any less annoying).

Basically, IB requires that - if you AutoTrade using C2 - you use an “introducing broker” registered with the NFA. BulldogFX serves that function.

There are really only two scenarios:

1) A brand new customer wants to open a brand new account to AutoTrade C2 futures systems at IB. In this scenario, Melissa can point you to the right IB forms to fill out to open the account. You’ll designate Bulldog as your introducing broker. This part is relatively straightforward (for IB, anyway).

2) You already have an IB account, and you want to start AutoTrading C2 futures systems. Here things get a little trickier. If your account is enabled only for futures, then all that needs to happen, I believe, is that Melissa will need to help you “attach” Bulldog as your IB. That is not a very common situation, though, as most people have IB accounts that allow trading of multiple instrument classes. I believe, in this case, Melissa will need to help you open a distinct sub-account (or linked account) that is futures-only. Then you can link Bulldog to it and start trading.

To trade at Interactive Brokers, you do not need to deal with FXCM or Gain. You just need to make Bulldog your “introducing broker.” This is a somewhat mysterious process, but one that I believe Melissa can help you with, now that we’ve been working with IB for a couple months.

Overall, my candid assessment is that IB is a very very difficult firm to work with. They make everyone (account holders, partner companies, etc.) jump through hoops in order to work with them. We added IB compatibility because our customers asked us to, and we like pleasing our customers, but sometimes I wish they could try just a little harder to please theirs.

Anyway, I think the main message here is the following. If you want to AutoTrade C2 futures systems at IB using our Gen3 technology, you definitely can do so. I would recommend that the very first step is to contact Melissa (melissa at bulldogfx dot com) and let her guide you through the process.


Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

I’ve been auto-trading futures via Bulldog and IB for a number of months. After the initial administrative starts and stops, the trading generally goes smoothly.

Unless the process has changed, however, a linked account or sub-account will NOT work. It has to be a totally new account, not linked to – and totally separate from – any existing IB account one may have.

Ultimately, of course, Melissa’s the go-to gal. I’m sure the sign-up process has smoothed out over the months.


Adding another thought:

I so appreciate that one can sign on to C2 effortlessly. Thanks for that, Matthew, et al.

With IB, signing on to one’s account – whether to see actual and pending trades via Trader Workstation or just to see account information – is a super pain in the butt, involving little code cards and entering a bunch of unique number-letter combinations each time you sign on.

I’m guessing it not only increases security (good), but depresses the number of sign-ons to IB (bad).


Dear Cameron,

I understand your frustration, but like Matthew said, we’ve really fine tuned the process. If you are interested in opening an IB account for Gen3 futures AutoTrading, you can find the link here: http://bulldogfx.autotradenow.com/cgi-perl/white_label/account_urls.mpl

As you will see the very first type of brokerage account available is Interactive Brokers. Further down the list you begin to your other choices like GAIN and FXCM.

The URL you mentioned in your first post is actually an invalid link found on the basic BulldogFX.com. The basic site is intended for more informational purposes rather then function. Thank you for bringing that to our attention. It will be fixed. BulldogFX clients and traders interested in AutoTrading with BulldogFX should always go to: http://bulldogfx.autotradenow.com.

I would like to add thing to Matthew’s previous post…A key factor to having a IB account for Gen3 AutoTrading is that it needs to be a stand alone account as well. Sub accounts or accounts that are already linked to another account will not be accepted.

I invite you to visit the links I provided above and then we can go from there. Let me know if you have any questions.

Best Regards,


Hi Melissa,

Maybe something needs to be clarified when opening an IB account and the TWS in order to avoid possible confusion.

You stated: …A key factor to having a IB account for Gen3 AutoTrading is that it needs to be a stand alone account as well.

"stand alone" refers to the separate IB account and not to the stand alone version of the TWS. I remember that when I opened the Gen3 IB account you and Francis advised me to use the web version of the TWS and not the stand alone TWS version in order to avoid problems.

Can you please confirm that this is still correct?



I will add it was pretty quick when I set up IB Gen3. Took a couple of days and there were no real problems. I was able to also transfer funds from my existing account to the new account (since they had matching account owners).



You do not need TWS web anymore. IB had a bug in TWS stand-alone which they fixed months ago.

It would have been nice if someone had made an announcement to that effect, for example, by posting it on the forum.

You can use TWS web or TWS stand-alone to monitor trading, it does not matter to us.

Only 2 users were affected, you were one of them, and you were both informed the day IB fixed it. That as a long time ago. How would anyone else benefit from an announcement?

Hi Josh

Re: code card

You can ask IB to remove the code access for the TWS so you can go straight in, but keep it on for account management area.

I have done this for my manual trading account. (I don’t have a gen 3 account, so I can’t be sure about that.)