Short of leasing an exchange membership, seat or what have you, the best deal I found for the small fry guy is Crossland discount at $3.30 for ES. Customer service is excellent, too. Great rates on other instruments as well.
best rate quoted to me was with Advantage Futures.. 70c RT for all futures.. plus exchange fees, etc... it came to around $3 for ES... you cant avoid the NinjaTrader transaction fees.. that ran you about 40c RT I think... TT was $700 for 1 market.. like $1000 for 3 markets... their transaction dropped to 10c RT after 20K cars per month... but honestly, if anyone is doing 20K cars per month, might as well lease a seat as you state.. it will cut the overall fees and make it anywhere from $1.7-$2 RT per car...
I started trading futures scalping TF for 2-3 ticks and trading anywhere form 1-5 cars... I would look at OVB,RSI, EMA and just scalp based on their movement, shorting produced the most profits.. I always got going long wrong... I basically tried to apply my understanding of day trading equities to futures (not always the best thing) ... my average was about 200+ RT per day and the most I ever made in a single day was $1K... but at the end of the month, my winning rate was about 55%, so at best I break even or loose $$$ depending how many days in a row my daily limit was hit... so I stopped doing that before I blew up that account when it hit 15% loss I think, given I didnt feel like paying that much tuition to the markets and since it proved not to be exactly like equities... and hence why now I am studing things trying to understand correlations to different internals and understand overall purpose of the future derivaties to have a clear understading of where they fit and who would trade it, besides mom's and pops...
trading 1000 cars is not all that hard depending on your account size ($15K,$30K, $50K, $100K) and trading style (ultra-short, short, medium, long term)... you can negotiate pretty well with any broker if you are doing 4K cars per month on average...in that regards it behaves just like equities... of course, if you are negotiating and then say that your account will be $5K-10K, it would be rather unrealistic to get any reasonable comms...IMO.. best to stick with Velocity or IB which have the lowest comms thus far, even with Ninja (~$3.8RT).. and they are volume tiered as well, just like everyone else and one can open an account with $5-$10K...
It's been sometime since this posting and we have done a lot in this area. If you have any feedback for us based upon what we currently offer, please contact us on our Support Board and that would be really appreciated.
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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:
Rithmic: 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.
Securities account: 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.
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I recently also was looking into Vision Financial, primarily because of the Rithmic data feed, but my impression from their NFA details was just the opposite of yours. Though they are long in this business (since 1988) and thus expected to have some NFA regulatory cases, I was put off by the amount of these. There were 4 NFA regulatory actions, 11 exchange regulatory actions, and a whopping 167 reparation cases.
Though these last ones are no enforcement actions, they are disputes with their customers (so I still find these important regarding ethics and operations quality). Also compared with other brokers, these are high (from my standpoint). For example, InteractiveBrokers, doing business since 1994 and with plenty more customers than Vision, only has 14 CFTC reparation cases due to such disputes.
But what really made me decide against Vision Financial was a $500.000 NFA fine they were given last year (see here). I sadly can't copy-paste the relevant parts of the PDF on that webpage since it's scanned as an image, but sentences as the following make me somewhat concerned about risk management and integrity after MF Global and PFG Best:
I completely understand that Vision can't do much about what their approximately 130 IBs do (though the NFA fine amount and conclusion suggests otherwise), but terms as "failure to supervise" and "questionable trading activities" make me somewhat scared.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying Vision Financial is bad or untrustworthy, I'm just offering my subjective impression I got from looking into them. Even if my impression is not correct, and the NFA fines and CFTC disputes don't mean anything, I wouldn't feel comfortable trading through them.
Disclaimer: I have no financial connection to Vision nor had any in the past. I'm currently a customer with InteractiveBrokers.
Last edited by Jura; August 31st, 2012 at 01:49 AM.
Reason: Added disclaimer
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Thanks for the warning. It indeed bothered me that a bunch of the actions against them were clustered between 2010 to 2011. Please hear my reasoning and give me your advice.
I have an account with Interactive Brokers as well, and I think they are really hard to beat. However, I had several practical constraints - it's simply impossible to implement the type of strategy that I will be running given their API-routed order cancellation fees, fills and data feed.
The API cancellation fee is absolutely the coup de grace. I will be bleeding cash like a US debt clock in order cancellation fees before I can get a trade executed. They are cleverly designed to kill competition to their Timber Hill market making business as far as I can understand. I've considered having a separate data feed, but it will significantly complicate the infrastructure. Moreover, I don't need the quality of Nanex ($500+++/month?) but I need lower latency than IQFeed for example.
By process of elimination, I am considering between TT and Rithmic, with preference to Rithmic because of the lower development time required. TT has nice features such as compatibility with SmartQuant, I'd admit. Other interesting choices are Lime Brokerage and Lightspeed, whose APIs I'm unfamiliar with so I didn't take a look. (Maybe I should?)
And there are really only two major Rithmic providers that I've found (correct me if I'm wrong) - Crossland and Vision. Against a futures-only account at Crossland, I think a securities account at Vision where I can sweep my excess funds gives a greater boost to my confidence, regardless of the count of regulatory actions.
I took a look at TT and the choices go back to TradePro (=Lightspeed) or Crossland. (I didn't like Velocity from the very first time I've communicated with them, to be honest. I don't want to go into detail but it seems that their [...] were [...] legal compliance while handling [...]. That, plus a practically unregulated futures account in the hands of a [...], who pleaded no contest in court to [...], [...], [...] and [...], unsettles me.) So it boils back down to Crossland vs Vision.
Given that I will open an account with Vision directly, I think a failure to regulate their introducing brokers is not as scary. Several of us are using RCG (BASIC Details) which has been registered as a FCM since 1979 and have had unproportionally more regulatory actions against them - although to be fair, these aren't as recent. Alternatively, some would think that recent regulatory action would imply that the firm would be less likely to repeat its offenses in the near future.
Edit: I removed a whole lot about Velocity. I decided to, not out of nicety or lack of legal basis but because I didn't know if they still have my personal details from old dealings.
Last edited by artemiso; August 31st, 2012 at 03:28 AM.
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The IB cancellation fee is indeed a big disadvantage. However, what kind of instruments do you intend to trade? In your previous post, you said you were happy that Vision offers an option to sweep futures capital into a securities account. From that, I take that you intend to trade futures. Unless you intend to trade Eurex futures, the IB cancellation fee won't apply to you (see here).
That's very hard - you've already done deep research and matched the available brokers to your needs. I'm not aware of a broker with a Rithmic quality like data feed and one that offers stocks (so you can sweep your account). Other brokers that offer Rithimic (Optimus Futures, Zaner, Deep Discount Trading, Olympus Futures, Progressive Trading Group) don't have these sweep functionalities that I'm aware off. Hopefully other futures.io (formerly BMT) members can provide more help with this.
That's all true, and that makes it hard to decide what the NFA details mean - they could have 'cleaned up' after a big fine, or just shrugged about it and continue operating. Logic and economic incentives and penalties suggest they would better their operations.
That's why I alluded in my post to 'soft' aspects about how it makes me feel and subjectively think about it, since it boils a lot down to just plain trust, which can be easily lost with something as "small" as a email conversation (like you had with Velocity) -- even if the website and other things look okay.
I'm not so knowledgeable to suggest something (and I don't want to do that even if I could), but perhaps (generally speaking), if someone has done as deep research as you have, and still feel totally comfortable with the potential broker, that's an important sign such a broker might be suited for that person. However, if you need to rationalise your decision because of a nagging concern, that also may be an important sign.
Sorry I can't be of actual help.
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