Auto-trade multiple Interactive Brokers (IB) accounts - which account type?

I'd like to have the option, while auto trading, to hold both long and short positions in the same stock. Thus, auto-trading with my 'individual' IB account alone is not an option.

After speaking with Interactive Brokers compliance and API folks, they suggested two options:

  1. Create a second 'individual' account and 'link' it to my current account.

  2. Create a Family & Friends Advisory account and configure my current account as a second account within the Family & Friend Advisory plan.

The IB folks indicated that option #1 above would be the easiest path (open a 2nd 'individual' account and link it to my current 'individual' account). They also mentioned a few benefits of this approach:

a. Multiple computers or virtual machines are not necessary. Can log into one account, on one computer and have API access to both linked accounts.

b. Only one instance of IBController is needed and it can send trade commands to both accounts.

I haven't spent much time with IBController yet, and via my searches I have only found references to folks using IB Advisory accounts for multi-account auto-trading. I'd appreciate comments from folks on this forum regarding the use of 2 linked 'individual' accounts for auto-trading. Sound reasonable?

Thanks in advance.


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i worked with F&F accounts years ago. So am not doing this actively right now but you just use the functions setaccount and setaccountinfo, see

just use your paper trading account to make the code, something like (see example below). It is all pretty straightforward

// list of accounts
StaticVarSetText( "AccountList_0", "U735058" );
StaticVarSetText( "AccountList_1", "U176532" );

ibc = GetTradingInterface( "IB" );

// loop through the accounts
for( i = 0; ( accountNumber = StaticVarGetText( "AccountList_" + i ) ) != ""; i++ )
    if( ibc.IsConnected() )
        ibc.SetAccount( accountNumber );
        // etc etc

Hi Mike,

I'm going to run into this problem shortly and have been thinking about it. I have a F&F structure, and it looks like Linking works effectively the same way. I use custom software for placing orders (I don't use AB).

Regarding a). That would seem to be the same for both options. Did they indicate the F&F would not allow API access to both accounts??

Regarding b). I'd also have thought this would function just as well for both?

In this case, I'd go with F&F and have the option of linking any number of sub accounts (whether in exactly the same name or not) as opposed to linking (where name / tax ID etc all has to be exactly the same)?

I'm curious to know what you find out. It's a real shame IB don't allow a way to do this in a single account.

From what I gathered from the IB folks, items a and b are true for the F&F accounts and for a scenario with 2 linked 'individual' accounts. So it seems that either option will work for me. If somebody wants to trade 3 or more accounts, then the F&F plan would be the way to go. Also, in both cases, it seems that I'll only need to pay for market data for one account. Market data from account IB X flows to Amibroker, trade commands go from Amibroker to IB accounts X and Y. It appears that this would be the case for F&F accounts and also for two linked individual accounts as long as the accounts are accessed by one person / one login.

@mcescher When auto-trading the F&F master account, should the client accounts be setup as IBKR Pro or IBKR Lite?

Lite doesn’t offer API access don’t believe.

@Metamega You're right, IBKR Lite does not offer API access, but I was wondering if having a Lite client account under the umbrella of a Pro master account would somehow enable the API. There are other differences: tiered commissions, smart routing, margin rates, etc.