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Looking to move brokers from TDA


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Looking to move brokers from TDA

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  #1 (permalink)
 JDS300 
Cincinnati, Ohio
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: ThinkOrSwim / TradingView
Trading: Futures. ES
 
Posts: 8 since Aug 2021
Thanks: 2 given, 3 received

Hi all,

I'm looking for any recommendations for brokers as I am looking to move away from TDA/ThinkOrSwim as I believe I can find lower margin for intraday trades as well as lower fees/commissions (and maybe a more futures friendly platform) elsewhere.

I've only been trading with TDA/ThinkOrSwim for about a year now and I also use TradingView for some charting, but outside of that I'm not married to either platform. I've also been reading/heard there are much better/powerful platforms however given my greenhorn status that's likely not a huge issue at this point. However my main trading machine is Mac and although I can run Windows stuff via Parallels I'd prefer the platform to be web or MacOS native if possible which may limit things quiet a bit.

Right now I'm paying $1.25/Fees + $2.25/Commissions 1 way which comes out to $7 round trip. It also requires full margin to trade /ES (which is all I'm looking at right now). I believe TDA may have an intraday margin that can be set/applied but I think it's still something like 25%.

So in summary, what I'm looking for in order is:
1. Lower intraday margin requirements. Specifically for /ES.
2. Lower commissions/fees than TDA.
3. MacOS or Web based platform (this is least important as I can make anything work)
4. Access to Asian Market/Australian index futures (this is forward thinking a little bit as these markets are more favorable to my free time but still in the research phase about them)

Tradovate, AMP (read some of the reviews here already), Optimus (found here), EdgeClear (found here), Ninja... there just seems like a lot and then trying to factor in data feeds if they are needed or not along with a platform, needless to say I'm a bit lost. Are there any recommendations that would be beginner friendly? I'm more than happy (and will keep) to go through additional reviews, but I figured maybe posting would be a little easier to weed out some choices to narrow things down a bit further.

Thanks for any replies in advance!
JD

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  #2 (permalink)
 BA 21 
Southern MD
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: TWS
Broker: Interactive Brokers
Trading: U.S. Treasury Futures
 
Posts: 40 since Feb 2017
Thanks: 12 given, 70 received


JDS300 View Post
Hi all,

I'm looking for any recommendations for brokers as I am looking to move away from TDA/ThinkOrSwim as I believe I can find lower margin for intraday trades as well as lower fees/commissions (and maybe a more futures friendly platform) elsewhere.

I've only been trading with TDA/ThinkOrSwim for about a year now and I also use TradingView for some charting, but outside of that I'm not married to either platform. I've also been reading/heard there are much better/powerful platforms however given my greenhorn status that's likely not a huge issue at this point. However my main trading machine is Mac and although I can run Windows stuff via Parallels I'd prefer the platform to be web or MacOS native if possible which may limit things quiet a bit.

Right now I'm paying $1.25/Fees + $2.25/Commissions 1 way which comes out to $7 round trip. It also requires full margin to trade /ES (which is all I'm looking at right now). I believe TDA may have an intraday margin that can be set/applied but I think it's still something like 25%.

So in summary, what I'm looking for in order is:
1. Lower intraday margin requirements. Specifically for /ES.
2. Lower commissions/fees than TDA.
3. MacOS or Web based platform (this is least important as I can make anything work)
4. Access to Asian Market/Australian index futures (this is forward thinking a little bit as these markets are more favorable to my free time but still in the research phase about them)

Tradovate, AMP (read some of the reviews here already), Optimus (found here), EdgeClear (found here), Ninja... there just seems like a lot and then trying to factor in data feeds if they are needed or not along with a platform, needless to say I'm a bit lost. Are there any recommendations that would be beginner friendly? I'm more than happy (and will keep) to go through additional reviews, but I figured maybe posting would be a little easier to weed out some choices to narrow things down a bit further.

Thanks for any replies in advance!
JD

You might want to check out Advantage Futures. They use CME's margin recommendations, their commissions are less than TDA, they support multiple platforms such as TT, which as a Web-based platform, and grant access to a wide range of markets in ICE, CME, CBOT, etc.

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  #3 (permalink)
 josh 
Legendary Market Wizard
Georgia, US
 
Experience: None
Platform: SC
Broker: AMP+CQG
Trading: ES, Nikkei
 
josh's Avatar
 
Posts: 5,697 since Jan 2011
Thanks: 6,302 given, 15,738 received



JDS300 View Post
Right now I'm paying $1.25/Fees + $2.25/Commissions 1 way which comes out to $7 round trip. It also requires full margin to trade /ES (which is all I'm looking at right now). I believe TDA may have an intraday margin that can be set/applied but I think it's still something like 25%.
...
4. Access to Asian Market/Australian index futures (this is forward thinking a little bit as these markets are more favorable to my free time but still in the research phase about them)

Yeah, TDA is not for intraday futures traders.

You named some brokers, but most importantly for your #4 requirements is that you will need CQG. I don't know anyone else who offers access to the mini Nikkei contract (the real one, OSE/JPX) though maybe someone does. Unfortunately if you're in the US, you can't trade the HSI due to sanctions, but CQG offers it. There are some other asian indices, and the ASX 200, but honestly I can't really recommend them because they're just not very liquid. Mini nikkei, on the other hand, is the most tradeable, and has 500K to 1M volume per day, about 50-70% of what the ES does. Whether or not you will enjoy trading it, or whether it will work for you, is another matter altogether.

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  #4 (permalink)
 JDS300 
Cincinnati, Ohio
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: ThinkOrSwim / TradingView
Trading: Futures. ES
 
Posts: 8 since Aug 2021
Thanks: 2 given, 3 received


BA 21 View Post
You might want to check out Advantage Futures. They use CME's margin recommendations, and they commissions less than TDA, they support multiple platforms such as TT, which as a Web-based platform, and grant access to a wide range of markets in ICE, CME, CBOT, etc.

Thanks. I will take a look at them as well.

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  #5 (permalink)
 JDS300 
Cincinnati, Ohio
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: ThinkOrSwim / TradingView
Trading: Futures. ES
 
Posts: 8 since Aug 2021
Thanks: 2 given, 3 received


josh View Post
Yeah, TDA is not for intraday futures traders.

You named some brokers, but most importantly for your #4 requirements is that you will need CQG. I don't know anyone else who offers access to the mini Nikkei contract (the real one, OSE/JPX) though maybe someone does. Unfortunately if you're in the US, you can't trade the HSI due to sanctions, but CQG offers it. There are some other asian indices, and the ASX 200, but honestly I can't really recommend them because they're just not very liquid. Mini nikkei, on the other hand, is the most tradeable, and has 500K to 1M volume per day, about 50-70% of what the ES does. Whether or not you will enjoy trading it, or whether it will work for you, is another matter altogether.

So this is where I get a bit lost. I'd need CQG for data correct? Then still a FCM that works with CQG? For example, I could use CQG and then AMP. Fees/Commissions would be based on AMP and CQG would simply supply the data and potentially the platform but I could also use any platform that supports CQG and AMP. Is that right? CQG looks like they can do it all as well if you pay for some of their platforms.

I was looking at Ninjatrader a little harder but I believe that would rule out any Mac client and trading anything but the US Markets.

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  #6 (permalink)
 josh 
Legendary Market Wizard
Georgia, US
 
Experience: None
Platform: SC
Broker: AMP+CQG
Trading: ES, Nikkei
 
josh's Avatar
 
Posts: 5,697 since Jan 2011
Thanks: 6,302 given, 15,738 received


JDS300 View Post
So this is where I get a bit lost. I'd need CQG for data correct? Then still a FCM that works with CQG? For example, I could use CQG and then AMP. Fees/Commissions would be based on AMP and CQG would simply supply the data and potentially the platform but I could also use any platform that supports CQG and AMP. Is that right? CQG looks like they can do it all as well if you pay for some of their platforms.

I was looking at Ninjatrader a little harder but I believe that would rule out any Mac client and trading anything but the US Markets.

CQG, TT, Rithmic, are all technologies which provide: (1) data, and (2) order routing. DTN IQFeed is an example of a data-only technology (no order routing capabilities).

AMP, Gain, Advantage, Wedbush, Dorman are clearing firms (FCMs), and some of them are also broker-dealers.

If you use an introducing broker (Edge Clear, Optimus, etc.), they will be able to clear through possibly several FCMs. For a little extra cost, usually, you get more personal service and someone who can operate on your behalf in the event of issues.

Your FCM must support CQG, if you want to use that data and their order routing facilities. If you want to use TT, your FCM must support that. And so on.

You would use a given data/order feed if you felt that (1) their proprietary platform, which only runs on their data of course (think CQG IC or Tradestation or CTS T4), provided you the tools you need, or (2) it provided access to markets which you wanted to trade (like the OSE via CQG, which not many/any other providers offer), or (3) their data was accurate and fast, if this is important to you (for example, the bid/ask flag is accurate, compared to utter trash data like is offered by IBKR, which is a step above quotes by telegraph).

Of course, many platforms support multiple data/order routing technologies like CQG, Rithmic, and TT, so point one above is not often applicable. Some are proprietary, like Tradestation, and AFAIK is not available outside of the TS platform itself. Others provide FIX gateway access (like CTS). In short, you must choose the best combination of data/order routing, platform, and market access that meets your needs.

Your fees go into one of these buckets:

1) commission (can be zero possibly)
2) NFA fees - a couple of pennies
3) clearing - AMP is a clearing firm, for example
4) CQG - for them, it's $0.10 per side for low volume IIRC
5) exchange - the bulk of the fees, and varies, but think 25 cents or so per side for MES, 1.40 for ES, 40 yen for mini nikkei

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  #7 (permalink)
 JDS300 
Cincinnati, Ohio
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: ThinkOrSwim / TradingView
Trading: Futures. ES
 
Posts: 8 since Aug 2021
Thanks: 2 given, 3 received


josh View Post
CQG, TT, Rithmic, are all technologies which provide: (1) data, and (2) order routing. DTN IQFeed is an example of a data-only technology (no order routing capabilities).



AMP, Gain, Advantage, Wedbush, Dorman are clearing firms (FCMs), and some of them are also broker-dealers.



If you use an introducing broker (Edge Clear, Optimus, etc.), they will be able to clear through possibly several FCMs. For a little extra cost, usually, you get more personal service and someone who can operate on your behalf in the event of issues.



Your FCM must support CQG, if you want to use that data and their order routing facilities. If you want to use TT, your FCM must support that. And so on.



You would use a given data/order feed if you felt that (1) their proprietary platform, which only runs on their data of course (think CQG IC or Tradestation or CTS T4), provided you the tools you need, or (2) it provided access to markets which you wanted to trade (like the OSE via CQG, which not many/any other providers offer), or (3) their data was accurate and fast, if this is important to you (for example, the bid/ask flag is accurate, compared to utter trash data like is offered by IBKR, which is a step above quotes by telegraph).



Of course, many platforms support multiple data/order routing technologies like CQG, Rithmic, and TT, so point one above is not often applicable. Some are proprietary, like Tradestation, and AFAIK is not available outside of the TS platform itself. Others provide FIX gateway access (like CTS). In short, you must choose the best combination of data/order routing, platform, and market access that meets your needs.



Your fees go into one of these buckets:



1) commission (can be zero possibly)

2) NFA fees - a couple of pennies

3) clearing - AMP is a clearing firm, for example

4) CQG - for them, it's $0.10 per side for low volume IIRC

5) exchange - the bulk of the fees, and varies, but think 25 cents or so per side for MES, 1.40 for ES, 40 yen for mini nikkei



Thanks josh! Very helpful and I think I’ve got a direction to start moving towards.


Sent using the futures.io mobile app

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  #8 (permalink)
 JDS300 
Cincinnati, Ohio
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: ThinkOrSwim / TradingView
Trading: Futures. ES
 
Posts: 8 since Aug 2021
Thanks: 2 given, 3 received

I thought I should come back and post an update. I have ended up with Optimus Futures and AMP w/ CQG. I've reached out to the Optimus folks a few times about things and couldn't have been happier with the level of support so far.

Thanks to those that posted and helped out!

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  #9 (permalink)
Merkd1904
Atlanta, Georgia
 
 
Posts: 94 since May 2021
Thanks: 55 given, 120 received


JDS300 View Post
I thought I should come back and post an update. I have ended up with Optimus Futures and AMP w/ CQG. I've reached out to the Optimus folks a few times about things and couldn't have been happier with the level of support so far.

Thanks to those that posted and helped out!


Everything going well so far? Just demo’d their platform and i loved all of the features/tools but the data was taking forever to populate. Any complaints a month in?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  #10 (permalink)
 JDS300 
Cincinnati, Ohio
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: ThinkOrSwim / TradingView
Trading: Futures. ES
 
Posts: 8 since Aug 2021
Thanks: 2 given, 3 received



Merkd1904 View Post
Everything going well so far? Just demo’d their platform and i loved all of the features/tools but the data was taking forever to populate. Any complaints a month in?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I've been using MotiveWave as the platform/software and haven't had any complaints. MotiveWave has it's quirks, but as far as AMP/CQG/Optimus Futures goes everything has been fine. I wish I had more platform options to try/look at that were Mac OS friendly, but so far I'm still pleased with everything.

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