Early review of Vision Financial Markets
|August 30th, 2012, 06:33 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Futures Experience: Beginner
Broker/Data: TD Ameritrade
Favorite Futures: Stocks
Posts: 838 since Jul 2012
Thanks: 579 given, 1,647 received
Early review of Vision Financial Markets
I have been seeking another brokerage to handle my order executions for automated trading and I decided to go with Vision. I found it unfortunate that their only one major thread is old and had negative biases, so I'll write a proper review.
I need to do some contextual explanation. To begin, I personally prefer to see the commissions clearly stated on the website; I hate negotiating for commissions because that is not in my nature. I think it is silly to haggle for cents given that the leverage is huge. If you trade high volume then you should get a membership at the exchange. (However, I acknowledge that there's a narrow band of 'middle ground' where you are neither low or high volume.)
When I have to, I typically give the impression that I will be a very small customer and ask for the commissions given to the minimum volume tier. The responses I get typically reflect a lot upon the broker's service attitude towards their customers. I inquired with two other brokers before this (one is a FCM and another is an IB) - I will only say that they are two very popular brokers on this forum and Mirus is not one of them - and I was left very unimpressed by both.
Running out of choices, I remembered the Zerohedge article that ranked FCMs according to blow-up possibility (First MFG(lobal), Now PFG: Who Is Next? | ZeroHedge), and not that I believe in their methodology, I scanned up the list and came across Vision entirely by chance. Never heard of them. I made a search of reviews on them and only found four at Elitetrader (Ratings for Vision Financial Markets), although they were highly positive and consistent over recent years. The next thing was to check NFA/CFTC regulatory cases against them or their main members, and it seemed clean. They appear to be a fine operation. The other thing I did was to look them up on Facebook - my criteria are strange, but I like some degree of transparency and shy away from family-owned partnerships. It is good to see the faces of people handling your account.
I sent an inquiry via the webform after office hours, and received a reply immediately in the morning (9.37 AM). My questions were mostly technical, involving the use of R | API and seeking quotations for their commission schedule.
I was impressed with the quality of the replies that I received. One of the things contained in the email was that they are selective about permitting their clients to utilize TT FIX because of its risk management structure. I knew for fact that this is true - for instance, TT FIX needs a user-end workaround for reconciling overnight positions (you need either a programming solution or to be connected directly to their gateways, or both).
I also had full explanations regarding sticky issues, liquidity, SIPC coverage, Rithmic vs TT, most of which I was (and anyone seeking to open an account should be) already aware of, but I am very pleased that no stone was left unturned. The other thing was that I received my commissions quote in proper breakdown, none of it sounded arbitrary.
I get the feeling that their customer service staff were knowledgeable in the technical matters, as the replies came in long paragraphs, under 30 minutes each time.
What really bought me over was that the guy took the trouble to discuss my intended uses and helped liaise with Rithmic and sponsor my access to R | API's documentation before I even filed an application to open my account. It took me 2 weeks doubting some of the other highly reviewed and known brokerages on this forum, but only 2 hours for me to accept the ring and say yes to Vision.
Anyway, some of the nice features include:
There aren't many options if you are dead sure that you want to use Rithmic's feed. Zen-Fire's great, except Rithmic is equal or better in everything, especially when it comes to R | API vs Zen-Fire API.
This is a huge plus for me. Many retail brokerages only offer futures accounts, and some of you have been wondering how to protect your accounts from losses if your futures broker turned insolvent (see PFG thread).
There are several inconveniences with doing this manually through your bank that I'm sure all of you are already familiar with. My biggest gripe is that there's always a delay between the bank initiating the wire and the treasury department at my brokerage keeping tabs of the change. Then there's that $20-$25 domestic wiring fee. If your bank doesn't have an internet wiring option, then woe be unto you. If you have an account with Valartis it's even more (75 CHF + 0.125% of amount wired)! Those leeches.
One easy workaround - Interactive Brokers does this automatically - is to sweep your funds held in a futures account into a securities account. Your funds in the securities account are thereby SIPC-insured. Now, I need to remind you that there are differences between the FDIC and SIPC and the claims filing process, but it is absolutely better than leaving your cash naked with a futures brokerage.
I've confirmed that you can set up a securities account together just for the express purpose of sweeping excess funds (above margin requirements) between futures and securities. However, it's not automated as in Interactive Brokers, you have to make manual requests to transfer the funds, which will be carried out within the working day... It isn't difficult to set up a recurring email, I guess. Vision offers the BATS and CBOE for those who trade equities or options/futures on equities.
Wide choice of platforms
They support nearly all of the platforms and provide several quality feeds. Rithmic, TT, CQG. API-routed orders available for all of them. (Note: Eurex is available through CQG, but not Rithmic or TT.) The only other brokerage that I reminded of with a comparable range of platforms is DDT/Crossland.
ACH transfers for funds
I think this is a case of a small step goes a long distance. I wish more brokerages would offer this.
Disclaimer: I have no financial connections with Vision. I have yet to file my application even. The other reviewer of Vision was visibly upset with the time taken in the delay taken to create his account, and I will soon see if this is true and follow-up on this thread.