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Help with selecting brokers and tools required for futures trading (I'm Canadian)

  #1 (permalink)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
 
 
Posts: 7 since Oct 2018
Thanks: 1 given, 1 received

Help with selecting brokers and tools required for futures trading (I'm Canadian)

Hello,

I have been a short term lurker here, decided to finally create an account and ask this question because I could not find any clear cut answers to what I was looking for.

I have been a profitable cryptocurrency trader until now but I am looking to diversify into stocks or futures due to dry up of liquidity and declining volume/volatility in the crypto market.

My first thought was to get into stocks since all the information required for day trading stocks is readily available. For example, if I were to trade US stocks from Canada, my best option as far as a broker is concerned is Interactive Brokers and additionally the tools required are DAS Pro for charting and Trade Ideas for scanning. However, I decided against it because to trade stocks you have to trade the open at 9-11 AM EST since volatility is maximum at that time but unfortunately those hours don't suit my schedule particularly well. With futures, with the variety of products offered, I could trade instruments in the Asian and European market, not to mention I would have to focus only on 1 instrument and forget about the scanning etc.

Similarly, I am looking to find the best broker to choose as a Canadian and also the tools required for trading futures. From the research I have done so far on this forum and elsewhere, this is what I could come up with:

Broker:
As a Canadian, I think its again going to be Interactive Brokers or GFF Brokers. Who has better fees? Canadian brokers are CPIF insured up to $1,000,000. So I am looking for a broker that not only has low fees but is also CPIF insured. Would appreciate if active Canadian futures traders could chime in.

Charting:
As far as charting is concerned, the most popular ones seem to be NT, Sierra Charts and Multicharts. I am assuming that most of these platforms can be connected to your broker for order execution. Correct me if I am wrong. I like that NinjaTrader has the 'Automated Trade Management'. What are the pros and cons of the platforms I have mentioned (or any other for that matter)?

Order Book Visualization:
From what I have read, most successful scalpers are using the order book to scalp for a few ticks. Again, many tools are available for order book visualization like Jigsaw, Bookmap, Market Delta, Rancho Dinero etc. I have no idea on how to choose one, what are the pros and cons of each of them?

Finally, are there any other tools that are required for futures trading?

I do not intend to trade with real money initially anyway but I would still like to use the tools to simulate the experience as closely as possible vis a vis the tools that I would have at my disposal while trading with real money.

Thanks a lot for the help! Would appreciate if Canadians could chime in.

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  #3 (permalink)
Raleigh NC USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Chart
Broker: Optimus
Trading: Emini, gold, currency
 
Posts: 34 since May 2018
Thanks: 95 given, 27 received



gambleditall View Post
Hello,

I have been a short term lurker here, decided to finally create an account and ask this question because I could not find any clear cut answers to what I was looking for.

I have been a profitable cryptocurrency trader until now but I am looking to diversify into stocks or futures due to dry up of liquidity and declining volume/volatility in the crypto market.

My first thought was to get into stocks since all the information required for day trading stocks is readily available. For example, if I were to trade US stocks from Canada, my best option as far as a broker is concerned is Interactive Brokers and additionally the tools required are DAS Pro for charting and Trade Ideas for scanning. However, I decided against it because to trade stocks you have to trade the open at 9-11 AM EST since volatility is maximum at that time but unfortunately those hours don't suit my schedule particularly well. With futures, with the variety of products offered, I could trade instruments in the Asian and European market, not to mention I would have to focus only on 1 instrument and forget about the scanning etc.

Similarly, I am looking to find the best broker to choose as a Canadian and also the tools required for trading futures. From the research I have done so far on this forum and elsewhere, this is what I could come up with:

Broker:
As a Canadian, I think its again going to be Interactive Brokers or GFF Brokers. Who has better fees? Canadian brokers are CPIF insured up to $1,000,000. So I am looking for a broker that not only has low fees but is also CPIF insured. Would appreciate if active Canadian futures traders could chime in.

Charting:
As far as charting is concerned, the most popular ones seem to be NT, Sierra Charts and Multicharts. I am assuming that most of these platforms can be connected to your broker for order execution. Correct me if I am wrong. I like that NinjaTrader has the 'Automated Trade Management'. What are the pros and cons of the platforms I have mentioned (or any other for that matter)?

Order Book Visualization:
From what I have read, most successful scalpers are using the order book to scalp for a few ticks. Again, many tools are available for order book visualization like Jigsaw, Bookmap, Market Delta, Rancho Dinero etc. I have no idea on how to choose one, what are the pros and cons of each of them?

Finally, are there any other tools that are required for futures trading?

I do not intend to trade with real money initially anyway but I would still like to use the tools to simulate the experience as closely as possible vis a vis the tools that I would have at my disposal while trading with real money.

Thanks a lot for the help! Would appreciate if Canadians could chime in.

Hi,

I have just gone through this process. For me the big question is platform. Once you decide on your platform the other choices become easier. I looked at all the different platforms and found that Sierra Chart has the ability designed in that allows you to customize it to you and your trading style. You don't have to be a programmer to make modifications and prototype trading strategies and backtest it. Frankly, it isn't the easiest platform to learn how to use. I think the initial investment is worth it. I've been working at it for a couple of months now.

The second step is choosing your broker. After reading these pages on futures.io and utube as well as others I contacted Optimus. I am glad I did. I got very sound advice about what was in my best interest. A rare commodity these days. I also looked very closely at IB and was the other finalist. For an individual, I want excellent customer service and support. I think Optimus has demonstrated that in spades. I have followed Matt and Jake's recommendations and I have SC data CME full package and indexes. The clearing broker for me is AMP but talk with Optimus about a Canadian clearing broker for you.

Sent using the futures.io mobile app

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  #4 (permalink)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
 
 
Posts: 7 since Oct 2018
Thanks: 1 given, 1 received


Tunetyme View Post
Hi,

I have just gone through this process. For me the big question is platform. Once you decide on your platform the other choices become easier. I looked at all the different platforms and found that Sierra Chart has the ability designed in that allows you to customize it to you and your trading style. You don't have to be a programmer to make modifications and prototype trading strategies and backtest it. Frankly, it isn't the easiest platform to learn how to use. I think the initial investment is worth it. I've been working at it for a couple of months now.

The second step is choosing your broker. After reading these pages on futures.io and utube as well as others I contacted Optimus. I am glad I did. I got very sound advice about what was in my best interest. A rare commodity these days. I also looked very closely at IB and was the other finalist. For an individual, I want excellent customer service and support. I think Optimus has demonstrated that in spades. I have followed Matt and Jake's recommendations and I have SC data CME full package and indexes. The clearing broker for me is AMP but talk with Optimus about a Canadian clearing broker for you.

Thanks, could you explain the difference between using Optimus as your broker and Amp as your clearing broker vs just directly using Amp Futures as your broker? Is Optimus giving you cheaper rates than if you directly went to Amp Futures?

Sierra seems like the best choice for retail, but TT is great too if one can afford it.

Thanks for the info.

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  #5 (permalink)
Raleigh NC USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Chart
Broker: Optimus
Trading: Emini, gold, currency
 
Posts: 34 since May 2018
Thanks: 95 given, 27 received


gambleditall View Post
Thanks, could you explain the difference between using Optimus as your broker and Amp as your clearing broker vs just directly using Amp Futures as your broker? Is Optimus giving you cheaper rates than if you directly went to Amp Futures?

Sierra seems like the best choice for retail, but TT is great too if one can afford it.

Thanks for the info.

Candidly, I didn't try to talk with AMP directly. I was very impressed with the advice and support that I have received from them that I would pay more to have them in the loop. With that said I do believe I get a better price.

Sent using the futures.io mobile app

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  #6 (permalink)
Denver, CO
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: NinjaTrader
Broker: NinjaTrader Brokerage
Trading: ES
 
NinjaTrader's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,509 since May 2010
Thanks: 177 given, 2,280 received

NinjaTrader can be used with both GFF and Interactive Brokers. Additionally, NinjaTrader has Order Flow+ with the purchase of a Lifetime license that includes the order book visualization (https://ninjatrader.com/Order-Flow-Trading) you seek or there are many 3rd party options available as well.

Disclosure: This communication is sent to you by NinjaTrader, LLC, a software development company which owns and supports all proprietary technology relating to and including the NinjaTrader trading platform.
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  #7 (permalink)
Raleigh NC USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Chart
Broker: Optimus
Trading: Emini, gold, currency
 
Posts: 34 since May 2018
Thanks: 95 given, 27 received


NinjaTrader View Post
NinjaTrader can be used with both GFF and Interactive Brokers. Additionally, NinjaTrader has Order Flow+ with the purchase of a Lifetime license that includes the order book visualization (https://ninjatrader.com/Order-Flow-Trading) you seek or there are many 3rd party options available as well.

Ninja Trader

I agree you have those things. I trialed NT. Pretty slick interface. The reasons I rejected NT was you are futures only. I can't do pairs trading with an ETF for example. Yes you have a lot of 3rd party development people very few provide a money back guarantee. Many reviews that I have read for the addons could be sumed up as "it sure looks pretty" .

Sierra Chart has an incredible variety of indicators no additional cost. I would have to spend between $7 - 10k to get some of the indictors if I chose NT. Where's the value?

For me, I would want NT to guarantee the addons work and only allow vendors that have a money back guarantee.

Another feature is I can prototype and back test a trading method or algo in a spreadsheet. Work out the bugs before coding.

I made the right decision.

Sent using the futures.io mobile app

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  #8 (permalink)
Denver, CO
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: NinjaTrader
Broker: NinjaTrader Brokerage
Trading: ES
 
NinjaTrader's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,509 since May 2010
Thanks: 177 given, 2,280 received


Tunetyme View Post
Ninja Trader

The reasons I rejected NT was you are futures only.

...

I made the right decision.

Sent using the futures.io mobile app

Glad you found a platform that meets your requirements and delivers you value. I did want to clarify that NinjaTrader can be used with stocks, forex and cryptocurrencies (data only) in addition to futures.

Disclosure: This communication is sent to you by NinjaTrader, LLC, a software development company which owns and supports all proprietary technology relating to and including the NinjaTrader trading platform.
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  #9 (permalink)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
 
 
Posts: 7 since Oct 2018
Thanks: 1 given, 1 received

Thanks for the info, I will definitely look at both Ninja and Sierra before making a decision. The Order Flow visualization on NT looks pretty neat, I must say.

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  #10 (permalink)
Boca Raton
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: Optimus Flow
Broker: Optimus Futures, LLC
Trading: Futures
 
mattz's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,452 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 2,380 given, 3,649 received


@gambleditall
You are overwhelming yourself.

Choose a FREE platform, either Multicharts, R Trader, or low-cost Sierra. Save money in the initial stages. Then you can add specialty platforms. Learn how execution works, and what markets you have the ability to trade. Develop a method that works for you. There are traders who need basic data, and some need to dig into each bar analysis. Find your time frame, that is for starters.

A few more points:
Fees on futures are fixed per contract and not based on amount traded (as in Crypto). Futures are cheaper.

Second, you are not going to trade all assets through one platform. I do not know many who do.
Decide what is right for each asset class. All the platforms you mentioned (with the exception of DAS) are futures related. Stocks and Futures are a world apart when it comes to margin trading.

The Canadian Investor Protection Funds does not apply to you if you trade in the USA.

I hope this helps and remember the KISS concept.

Thanks,
Matt Z
Optimus Futures

There is a substantial risk of loss in futures trading. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

PM with any questions about optimusfutures (800) 771-6748 (561) 367 8686. THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS IN FUTURES TRADING.
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