BannRonn's Stock Trading & Investment

MB Trading Review - What An Active Day Trader Thinks

MB Trading Award by BarronsMB Trading is a direct access brokerage firm founded in 1999 and based in El Segundo, CA. MBT Navigator, it's flagship trading platform, recently earned a top score in Barron's 2009 on-line broker review Trading Technology category. MB Trading also sponsors a very popular channel on the IRC Othernet network called #daytraders, which is a real-time online chat for professional stock traders.

Global One Account

One of MB Trading's key features is it's Global One account. With it, customers can trade stocks, futures, options, bonds, and mutual funds from the same account. Customers who have a varied stock portfolio now have the ability to easily hedge their open stock positions by using index futures like the emini S&P500 (ES), emini Nasdaq (NQ), emini Dow Jones (YM) and also equity and index options, if necessary. This offers much greater convenience and flexibility as compared to other brokers which require multiple accounts for different instruments. This is very similar to how accounts are managed at MB Trading's competitors like Interactive Brokers and optionsXpress.

Access to 3rd Party Charting Software

Customers are able to use 3rd party frontend real-time technical analysis charting programs like Quotetracker, to make real-time buy/sell decisions as well as implement fully integrated trading functionality. Access to a real time Level I datafeed is free to customers but a fee is charged for level II quotes (unlike optionsXpress which offer free level II access).

Flat Rate vs Per Share Plans

Based on customer's needs, MB Trading have structured two different types of commission plans and trading platforms for online investing and active stock trading as follows:

  • MBTR - Flat Rate Plan

    With the MBTR, flat fee trading, trades are routed through the proprietary MBTR routing engine and orders go through an internalized order matching system consisting of other MB Trading customers or market makers. This often results in price improvement compared to the current best market. For a single rate of $4.95, the MBTR Plan offers flat fee, up to 10,000 shares, trading with market and limit orders.

  • MBTX - Per Share Plan

    The MBTX Plan, on the other hand, sends orders to the exchange with the highest bid or lowest offer. The MBTX system is geared towards professional, institutional, and active stock traders. The MBTX Plan is justifiably slightly more expensive than the MBTR Plan as it offers the active trader access to more liquidity and more order types. The cost is $0.0075 per share and has a $4.95 minimum per trade.

MBT Navigator Trading Platform

MBT Navigator is MB Trading's fully-customizable trading platform. It can be used to buy, sell or even short sell stocks, futures, FOREX and options. This platform also includes the following features:

  • Smart Order Routing: MBTX one-button order routing for equities, futures, and options
  • Multiple Layouts: Customize and save multiple trading layouts for ease of use in different trading environments
  • FOREX Trading: No Deal Desk. Spreads as low as 1/10 of a PIP with ground-breaking order types
  • CME Futures Quotes: CME quotes free with a funded futures account
  • Seamless Integration: Use the Navigator with industry-leading market analytical programs
  • Advanced Orders: Server-sided trailing stops, TTOs, and more
  • Streaming Level II: See the depth of the market, including ECN book quotes in all markets
  • Real-time Updates: See your profit/loss and buying power updated in real-time

PC Requirements

Any modern computer or laptop with a Pentium 4, Core 2 Duo or better CPU with 1 GB (or more) of RAM can run MBT Navigator without any problems. Refer to How to Choose a Stock Trading PC and How to Choose Laptop for Stock Trading for more information about computer hardware specs required for active high volume traders.

Managed Account Trading

For traders wanting to manage multiple accounts based on one or multiple strategies, MB Trading's Managed Account Trading (MAT) tool is indispensible. For accounts with trading authorizations, funds or even a regular account plus an IRA can be grouped based on the trader's design. Once an account is authorized, the MAT functionality can be accessed directly from the MBT Navigator software. MAT allows trading from one to thousands of accounts and there is no minimum account size or minimum number of accounts required to use this it.

Comments on Reliability and Overall Experiences by Traders

The MBT Navigator trading platform has a well thought out design and layout. Order entry is much better than a few other brokers although it does suffer from the occasional data lag. A backup quote provider such as IQFeed or the free ADVFN is recommended if minute to minute reliability is needed. This said, the pricing and commissions at MB Trading are difficult to beat. Overall, many traders have the view that for for longer term investing, this broker is good but for intraday trading, a trader can consider other options like Interactive Brokers. Since there are no inactivity fees levied and any cash in the account is swept into a separate Scudder Funds money market account, this is a great broker to use especially for light traders or swing traders. Support staff is generally very helpful and there are no pre-recordings with customer service.

Daytraders Channel on IRC

To access this channel, download mirc, connect to OtherNet server, #daytraders room and get ready to chat in real-time with about 300-400 active day traders. Regular traders like ALman, McD5, Segman, AOS-Dave and sac, among many others, give out real-time tips on specific stocks and also general market direction. Make sure you are familiar with the chat guidelines before you join the chat.

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