Don't Use Multicharts with MBTrading

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multichartsUser23
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Don't Use Multicharts with MBTrading

Postby multichartsUser23 » 05 Feb 2019

Hi guys,

I've been experiencing some major issues using MB Trading's brokerage service with MC since well into last year, and I was curious if anyone else out there uses MBTrading and has experienced the same thing and perhaps found a solution.

I've been told at some points by MC tech support that I'm the only person who uses this brokerage. I find this surprising, as it's the only brokerage compatible with MC that offers competitive, low-cost equity trade commissions. Nevertheless, MC has been unable to fix the issues I will describe in the 3-4 months that I've been working on them with the tech support team, thus making MC unusable as a trading platform. For this reason, I would highly caution potential MC purchasers away from buying Multicharts until these issues have been resolved if it is indeed your intent to use MBTrading as your brokerage.

First, running the same workspaces that I used to run successfully with Interactive Brokers with MBTrading as the broker invariably leads to the stoppage of signal calculation in the middle of autotrading. MC tech support had given me an output-producing signal to track the health of my data feed into my signals for calculation, and the output reflects that signal calculation will arbitrarily stop at some point in the trading day, usually after the first trade has been made. They are completely dumbfounded as to why this happens, and months later, I still can't use MC because of this issue. They are unable to give me even the slightest idea of when it will be fixed.

Second, today's autotrading session saw a short position taken via 2 market orders, one for 600 shares and one for 100 shares. This is the first time I have ever seen an entry via 2 separate orders, as my signals enter via market order, which in all my years of using them (before MC, on the TS platform) have only required one order to accomplish. Despite the order and position tracker showing just 700 shares total, the Open position tab of Order and position tracker showed a position of 2650. No position was held in this security before autotrading had me enter it at that moment, and no one else has access to my brokerage to effect a similar trade. Even more strangely, order and position tracker showed a manual trade (how it was manual I have no idea, as I didn't make it) attempting to make up the difference, which is bizarre, as I use none of the !BrokerSync signals that would do something similar.

Exiting this position was, as you can imagine, a nightmare. MC tech support was on via remote at this time, and they were completely stumped as to why this was happening. Entering errant orders during autotrading is something that I think would make anyone hesitate to use Multichartsfor ANY brokerage, yet for some reason, Multicharts has not felt the need to alert people to this issue so as to avoid autotrading with MBTrading. It seems that this would be the ethical thing to do unless this issue is to be fixed imminently, but as I mentioned, they seem to have no idea when this will be fixed.

Has anyone else experienced such a problem with MBTrading, and if so, how have you managed it?

Input is welcome, and if you are at all considering using Multicharts with MBTrading, my advice is to hold off until you get an update on this thread, where I will keep everyone informed of my effort to get Multicharts doing what it says it's supposed to do when we spend out heard-earned money on it.

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TJ
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Re: Don't Use Multicharts with MBTrading

Postby TJ » 05 Feb 2019

The problem you describe does not make sense.

The different between MBT and IB or other brokers is the interface. The MultiCharts core is the same. Your indicators or strategies are merely scripts that execute line-by-line. If an order that was not executed in MBT, it will not execute in IB either.

There is one simple way to isolate the problem -- you need to insert PRINT statements into your script.

Every time a BUY/SELL condition is met, you fire off a PRINT before the BUY/SELL statement.
Then you will know if YOUR script is at fault, or MultiCharts is at fault, or MBT is at fault.

Right now, there is not enough information to jump to any conclusions.

multichartsUser23
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Re: Don't Use Multicharts with MBTrading

Postby multichartsUser23 » 06 Feb 2019

Hi TJ,

Thank you for your response, but you seem to skip the part where I mention using a standalone print signal that MC themselves created for analyzing the situation. That signal stops calculating/outputting in the manner I describe above (usually after the first trade of the day has been made). It is this signal, their very own, that shows that script calculation stops, in addition to my own, with its own copious print statements.

MC acknowledges the issue is on their end, which I also mentioned. To give further color on this, they say that this is part of a 2-part issue, one of which was supposedly fixed in the last release, though I have not found this to be the case (this is the case where not only does calculation stop on new bars, but output becomes hyperactive, printing out literally millions of lines of output for the last bar available before calculation stopped). According to Multicharts, they are trying to fix this issue urgently, though this urgent pace has evidently persisted for the better part of 3 months with no solution. And as far as I can tell, no effort has been made to warn anyone who might be using MBTrading that their signals may stop calculating in the middle of autotrading, which I describe above as unethical. I stand by that.

So there is one conclusion to jump to in my mind if you trade with real money- don't use MC with MBTrading until they fix it. Of course, I will be the first one to happily report that the platform is safe to use when it is successfully fixed. All MC has to do is fix it.

And by the way, for anyone out there that subscribes to the notion that TJ echoed above-- that MC is just a program that faithfully executes code, and that any problems lie in user-created scripts-- I have a whole folder full of hotfixes provided to me by MC's engineers to deal with the huge examples of dysfunction that this platform boasts. Moreover, I'd also offer as proof of this dysfunction the fact that MC has offered me a refund on the platform many times, despite their claim that "all sales are final." If this platform were not a deficient mess, I doubt they would do this. I would take them up on this refund if only they could also refund me the hours of my life spent troubleshooting issues in which I was first told to "use print statements" on my code, only to find that a hotfix from their engineers was the only solution.

This platform is not ready for primetime. It is deficient in its current form, and the engineers have proven incapable of fixing the issue I describe above despite their daily protestations that it is being addressed. If I were a prospective customer, that fact alone would likely scare me away. But 3 months of waiting for a fix that allows signals to finally calculate, whether they are dafault MC signals or my own, speaks to something else that is perhaps more worrying than any one bug. And not warning anyone who might find themselves using MBTrading and losing money?... that's reprehensible.

So again, I urge people not to use MC with MBTrading at least until I have reported that they have fixed this bug. Stay tuned.

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Re: Don't Use Multicharts with MBTrading

Postby rrams » 06 Feb 2019

I have used MBTrading with Multicharts in the past for autotrading futures only. When they were acquired by TradeKing then Ally.com I moved my account.

I am also familiar with programming the MBTrading api with its single threaded, asynchronous, event-driven order handling mechanism in Delphi Pascal for another platform. I feel sorry for MC having to deal with whomever they are now.

I am not surprised you are getting data stream interruptions causing signal freeze up and 'Manual Trading' orders. I'm not surprised MBTrading is splitting up your market orders. I'm only surprised you didn't mention having price spikes.
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I appreciate hearing about your live autotrading experience.

multichartsUser23
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Re: Don't Use Multicharts with MBTrading

Postby multichartsUser23 » 06 Feb 2019

Hey rrams,

This is really useful to know; thank you for your reply. Have you had that 'manual order' thing happen too?

I wasn't aware of these dynamics on the MBTrading side, and the engineers don't share any such details with me, though I wish they would if applicable to my situation.

I think I might call over to MB and let them know about the problems I'm having and the problems that the engineers are having in finding a solution.

Was I right when I said that MBTrading is the only platform MC works with that offers low-cost flat-fee commission structure for equities? Would be great to dump them for someone else because between the issues you're talking about and the problems the engineers are having fixing things in a timely manner, it would be so much nicer to just go elsewhere for a broker.

Thanks a lot!

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Re: Don't Use Multicharts with MBTrading

Postby rrams » 06 Feb 2019

Hi multichartsUser23,

I really don't want to take any sides on this issue. I will try to stick to the facts. I'm not an equity trader, so I can't comment on if MBT's low flat fee commission structure makes enough of a difference. I don't even see how you stock people can trade without using All-Or-None or Fill-Or-Kill orders.

The unintentional 'Manual Trading' problem can be handled if you DID use !From Broker To Strategy MP Synchronizer! AND coded your signal correctly to handle position sizing. You have to do this when experiencing data interruptions.

Do you see below my attached Portfolio Manager has some 'Manual Trading' strategy name orders as well as multiple position (2 contracts) size for XW micro wheat even though I am NOT using the synchronizer signal AND my Maximum shares/contracts per position is set to one AND I am NOT allowing up to [ ] entry orders in the same direction as the currently held position?

This is my fault for not coding the signal carefully enough. Well, also because Multicharts apparently doesn't think the english sentence 'maximum contracts per position' should hold true indefinitely. But you get the point; I don't know what's going on until your entire code is checked out.
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Anna MultiCharts
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Re: Don't Use Multicharts with MBTrading

Postby Anna MultiCharts » 08 Feb 2019

Hello, multichartsUser23!


Let us give our insight of the situation.
You have stated, “I've been told at some point by MC tech support that I'm the only person who uses this brokerage” – there must have been some misunderstanding. It is hard to find the exact wording that was used due to the amount of time that it takes to read through the hundreds of Live Chats that you have created in the past year. For our customers’ privacy, we do not log the user activity, therefore, we have no way of knowing what vendors customers are using unless they tell us. What we can say is that no one else has reported any issues with MBTrading in quite a while, meaning that your issue with MBTrading is the only issue that we are aware of.

You stated, “They are completely dumbfounded as to why this happens, and months later, I still can't use MC because of this issue. They are unable to give me even the slightest idea of when it will be fixed” – as we have told you numerous times this issue is a very complex one. Trying to reproduce it on our end took a lot of time because you would not provide the complete setup to us for us to be able to reproduce this easily and in a timely manner. The fix for it was created, but it requires thorough testing which is being performed at the moment and of which we have informed you. It is not related to MBT, please don’t mix different issues into one.

As for “Entering errant orders during autotrading” – as I wrote to you by email there were actually no errant orders. Your autotrading strategy generated a market order for 1675 contracts and this resulted in a 1675 contract position at the broker. According to the logs analysis (which was required to study this case), the order was filled by individual parts (which is an unexpected thing to happen) by the broker, several statuses for each of the partial order fillings were sent by the broker as smaller individual orders and they were displayed in the Order and Position Tracker, the first of them being marked as the strategy order, and the others as manual orders. As this was a situation that no one anticipated (we’ve never seen a broker fill a market order by separate order parts before) there was no precaution measure for it. Based upon your logs we have created a solution for this scenario should it ever reoccur.

You also stated, “This platform is not ready for primetime. It is deficient in its current form, and the engineers have proven incapable of fixing the issue I describe above despite their daily protestations that it is being addressed” – you are using a really complex and heavy setup, it takes time to single out the exact reason for the issues you are experiencing, and the main issues were caused by and observed only under the heavy load. Saying that we're not paying enough attention to your case, as well as posting the subjective information based solely on your specific and complex setup about the platform operability and your negative feedback about our staff is neither fair nor true to life.

We can prove that the issues you have experienced are being addressed in a timely manner and do not affect the majority of our clients.

Anyway, thanks for bringing them to our attention, we will be able to fix them and improve the platform’s performance.

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Re: Don't Use Multicharts with MBTrading

Postby multichartsUser23 » 10 Feb 2019

Hi Anna,

I am sorry to differ with you, but you said that I am giving "negative feedback" of the staff in this thread, and I don't think that's what I was doing. I really wrote this post to discuss the issue and see if anyone else experiences it, and in order to do so, the tortuously long amount of time I've been waiting for a fix of a truly major bug is unavoidable as a subject. In discussing this long period of time, I never offered any suppositions as to the origin of this brutally long wait time that might reflect negatively on the staff. I said they have proven incapable of fixing the issue in a reasonable amount of time, which is true; 3 months is a gravely long time to wait for a solution to such a fundamental issue. As someone who was depending on the program to function, it has affected me materially, and it is my right, and as I will discuss below, perhaps even a moral obligation to let people know that this problem exists so that they do not suffer the same material impact I have suffered.

Moreover, In my posts, I make clear that MC has acknowledged the issue. When another poster mentioned something that even tangentially suggested that I was claiming that MC was denying the problem existed, I went out of my way to specifically say that MC has done the right thing and acknowledged the issue. I wouldn't have done that if I was trying to personally badmouth anyone.

The only area where I made a judgment impugning MC is when I say that no one from MC has let the community know that this issue exists. I said that this is reprehensible. What else can you call it when a company knows of such a defect, yet doesn't inform people know that it exists? What if someone is using autotrading to exit a position and a calculation stoppage occurs? Unless they are running and monitoring printed output, they would have no way of even knowing that there is a problem, and the result could cause them unexpected and significant grief. I don't want to see that, and neither should MC.

I have no doubt that the MC engineers are addressing the issue and are doing so with the best of intentions, and I will be thankful to have the issue resolved hopefully sooner than later, but facts are facts, and 3 months is 3 months. I still cannot trade without this bug stopping calculation, which in my case means I can't trade. That is also a fact. Pointing that out is not "negative feedback," but a statement of fact, and if anyone says otherwise, it is only because he or she is unwittingly conceding that 3 months without a solution to a major bug is not a good look.

I also disagree if it is being insinuated that my system is in any way to blame, as we have tested the calculation stoppage under scenarios with many traded symbols and scenarios with few traded symbols, scenarios with my intense algorithms and scenarios with simple default MC signals, and the calculation stoppage issue occurred in all such scenarios.

As you and I talk often, hearing that the testing of the solution is progressing and that we are hopefully seeing "the light at the end of the tunnel" has made me hopeful, and there is no one looking forward more to being able to come back on to this thread to report that things are working well when that happens than me. Until then, I hope this thread can help serve anyone who might be affected by the glitch.


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