I plan to continue trading stocks, ETF's, and options while I hope to take my futures paper trading live, at some point. And with respect to futures, would all four of these apply, or more accurately, when?
CBOT Futures Complete CBOT Exchange (Includes Mini) $55 (Free with 55 trades*)
CBOT Mini Futures Mini-Sized Package $10 (Free with 10 trades*) CME Futures CME Full Sized Products (Includes E-mini) $40 (Free with 40 trades*)
CME Mini Futures E-mini Equity Package $25 (Free with 25 trades*)
I realize it will depend on what futures I will want to play. If for example I wanted to just focus on the ES, at least initially, I'd need both the CBOT and CME Mini Futures?
The commissions at TD Ameritrade are relatively high, and one of the main reasons I'm securing another broker is to lower my costs. So, understanding what fees and expenses await me is important, and I need to educate myself. Between reading this forum and yet another book I just ordered (on the emini by Gutmann), I hope to ramp-up my futures knowledge....
The other reason I'm securing another broker is to make use of MultiCharts. MC currently doest not have a relationship with TDA. After speaking with Jeff at MC a couple days ago, they have been in extended talks with TDA though...
Oh, and ICE also seems to be futures. When is this $65 / month charge needed? Don't get me wrong, I don't mind paying to play, I just want to understand what these all are, how the differ. Plus, I'm not keen on paying for more than what I need during my initial learning stages.
Each futures exchange (CME, CBOT, ICE) charges you (through your brokerage) an exchange fee for the use of live data from their exchange.
So if you were trading the ES you would be charged by the CME for the package that includes e-mini products (since ES is an e-mini). This would be $40. However, if you take the specified amount of trades (for each trade you take you pay your broker a commission), the broker will waive this fee. Otherwise you would pay the $40.
Yes the ICE is another futures exchange most popular for containing the TF (Russell 2000) futures. Most likely you would need to pay the $65 up front to have access to this exchange. Also it looks like they do not have a program where your broker can waive the fee if you take a certain amount of trades. However, you can and should confirm this with MB if you sign up with them.
Lastly, don't be afraid to get MB on the phone and confirm everything I've mentioned and any other questions you have. My experience with them is that they have excellent customer service over the phone. Frankly any broker you deal with should have excellent service and be willing to answer your questions. If they don't you might consider whether you want to have them as your broker.
As a beginner, you should try to minimize the cost as much as possible. Most brokers don't charge exchange fees for futures. Examples of brokers are Open E Cry, Velocity, Optimus, Mirus, AMP, Infinity, Zaner, etc. Interactive Brokers charges $10/mo data fees if your total commission for the month is less than $30, IB charges $1/mo for ICE feed which includes TF and DX.
I've decided, right or wrong, to have a platform-centric approach here. What I've come to learn, and please correct me if wrong, is that these three components are integral:
The platform is where we all work our magic, create charts, draw our lines, add indicators, backtest, and pull-the-trigger on trades. After reading much here, coupled with my limited experiences, I have an appreciation for the time investment into a platform. It is within such that allows us to base our decisions, to buy and sell and when. MultiCharts seems to be one heck of a platform, enough so to where NT guys are making the jump. I'd like to invest my time, energy and money into a platform that ideally I won't need to abandon later due to various issues. I've decided upon MC, but I can't use it as it doesn't marry-up with my current broker, TDA. It's tempting to delve into NT now as it connects to TDA, but I've had to refrain from setting it up, customizing it, and just learning how to use it because I've made MC the platform of choice. This has been my logic and I welcome any input, and wont't take it wrong...
Unless I can be convinced otherwise, MC will be my platform. I now need to build around that to finally start using it, thus MB Trading. I thought the data would be included and "free" so I wouldn't need to also secure a separate data provider, like most seem to do here. As I stated earlier, and omaha786 did also, as a beginner, I want to minimize my costs during this learning curve...
Some of these brokers are strictly futures and/ or forex. Since I still plan now to be doing stock and options, my thinking is to secure a broker that does them all (stock, options, futures and forex). Maybe I'm alone here in that approach? I was thinking that it might be prudent to simplify and have it "all" under one umbrella, doing what I need to do through one broker, and one platform. I'd be curious to get input from others on this thinking. I'm guessing / hoping you all have retirement accounst, like IRA's. I just learned that MBT has a $30 annual maintenance fee. Do you have such accounts with the same broker you use for trading? I'm not so keen on that fee as I'm not paying one now; but as we all know, intelligent trading of one's retirement account has its benefits...
It looks like Velocity and Optimus, where there are no exchange / data fees, are strictly futures. And, I don't see them on MC's broker list: Supported Brokers. This is confusing because on the Optimus website, it looks like it might work with MC: Multicharts Platform, Strategy Back Testing and Automated Trading. Now Open E Cry looks quite promising as it does stock, options, future and forex and is a supported broker for MC. If indeed they don't have data fees, that would seem to make them quite appealing. I had not heard of them before, but that doesn't mean anything... Interactive Brokers is who I contacted first, but I never heard back from my two email. Plus, I've read on here, their data seems to not be the most desirable. I'd say the primary reason I want the MC platform is for the backtesting, and maybe the eventual use of automation.
I had no idea that I'd have such a lengthy response. Please, I welcome any input and criticism. Open E Cry might be more appealing for me compared to MBT. I will inquire with them now... Thank you.
Interactive Brokers is certainly a good choice. It is universal (Futures, Stocks, Options and FOREX), you can access most of the exchanges in the world (including Europe and Asia) and they have competitive rates.
I think that MultiCharts is an excellent choice to start with, because it is simple, reliable and gets you access to the huge library of TradeStation indicators and strategies. I also use NinjaTrader, because of its potential linked to C#/NinjaScript. So with this dual approach, Interactive Brokers is just about right.
Last edited by Fat Tails; March 25th, 2011 at 03:13 PM.
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Sierra Chart also work with TDA. See the url below for supported feeds/brokers. Learning curve might be a little steeper than with MC, but imo is more flexible, is very robust and something that you won't be disappointed long term with investing time into. Their support staff is a bit quirky, but in general they fix any bugs/issues lightning fast.
Favorite Futures: Stock, Options and now Futures (ES)
Posts: 514 since Dec 2010
Thanks: 227 given,
So many responses, and so fast. In reverse order I guess...
I am reticent to consider another platform after the thought I put into it already, but I did not not dig into Sierra Chart though. Feature-wise, how do the offerings compare to MC? It does seem to be less expensive. I see only subscription though, not outright purchase. Cool that SC has TDA as a broker. That said, the high commissions at TDA are not appealing, but I can use the data though. Speaking of which, how good is TDA's data? I don't recall seeing a discussion on that here... Thanks for having me consider SC.
I just had a lengthy chat session with OEC. The guy was very helpful. A quick summary:
- confirmed that MC works and works well with OEC, and must be purchased separately (had to ask)
- maintenance fee on IRA accounts, due to a 3rd party IRA company charge [TDA doesn't charge though]
- and every single IRA company out there taxes on the yearly maintenance fee
- for futures most people who do IRA go through mtrust.com
- no account transfer fee
- the minimum account at the firm is 5,000US
- We do not charge any exchange/data fees
- There is no minimum amount of contracts to trade, shares, etc
- no inactivity fee
- rt for ES is 4.90 with all the exchange fees and nfa fees included
Roundtrip at MB Trading is less than $2, but does not include the exchange / data fees. You pay one way or another I suppose. For a new guy who might not be trading that much or at all initially, maybe OEC will be the better choice. From a pure data perspective, I'm not sure who might be more desirable though....
These seem to be data providers only, not brokers though, right? If wrong, and their exchange data is included, I'd need t consider those too. MC lists them as brokers too, so I'm confused as I don't see that when I visit their websites...
Fat Tails, thanks for reminding me about IB. They were my first choice. Indeed, they seem to be everywhere around the globe. For a newbie, not necessary, but I like the idea that I can grow into the broker's offerings. But, what about the data? You frequent this forum, and I might add contribute a lot (thank you), but I've heard a few times that their data is lacking and makes backtesting problematic. MC confirmed this too. What's the scoop on this topic? I mean, is this overblown, or only true for tick data? I mean, if the data is not reliable or dependable due to whatever reason/s, like lack of time stamps, how does that impact me? As a beginner, I don't speak from experience. I'm just mimicking what I've read, but maybe it should not concern me... I don't know.