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Platform that supports grouped, linked, compound, or trigger-based orders?


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Platform that supports grouped, linked, compound, or trigger-based orders?

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  #1 (permalink)
Detroit, Michigan
 
 
Posts: 3 since Jan 2021
Thanks: 3 given, 0 received

Background: I've recently gotten back into futures after having been away from them a long time (when I first traded I was primarily using a newspaper for data, to give you the general idea). I started back learning the new tools of the trade, and have most extensively used TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim platform, as well as Interactive Broker's TWS platform (less extensively).

Now that I've worked out some trading strategies that work well for my style and temperament, I realized TD Ameritrade doesn't offer all the products I'm interested in trading long-term, so I need to learn at least one new general trading platform that isn't locked to a single broker. But in trying out different platforms, I'm having a very hard time finding platforms that actually support the server-side orders my strategies rely on!

I'm hoping that if I describe what I want to do, someone would be able to kindly point me towards a platform that supports it or something roughly equivalent. I've tried searching for the terminology used in thinkorswim, but only found references to thinkorswim itself, and one generic Fidelity education page that doesn't reference any platform (at fidelity dot com slash learning-center/trading-investing/trading/conditional-order-types - but it only explains the concept, so doesn't help me).

How I trade now:

In thinkorswim I create an Advanced Order entry called 1st Triggers OCO (documentation for this feature is at tlc.thinkorswim dot com slash center/howToTos/thinkManual/Trade/Order-Entry-Tools/Order-Types ). As an example, I created an order for ES that will use a trailing stop as an entry point, with a 5 point delta, which will buy 1 contract at market when triggered. I would do this when the market is currently moving down on the immediate time scale (say, the last half-hour), but I'd like to take a long position as soon as that movement reverses by X points.

When the first order is triggered (trailing stop is hit and order is filled), the OCO is placed, with two legs:
Leg A) Stop order to sell to close if the price moves against my newly opened position and falls to 5 points below the order-entry price. This is a "cut losses short" rule.
Leg B) Trailing stop with a larger delta of 20, which will sell to close. This is a modified take-profit, but that doesn't require me to decide in advance what the profit amount is - it just lets it run until a spike/reversal of specified size occurs to close me out.

I also often use a time-delayed conditional submit on the 1st order, but I figure if a platform supports the above it'll most likely support that logic as well.

Platform Requirements:
  • Supports orders as described above, which might be called linked, grouped, multi-conditional, custom triggered, etc.
  • Orders are held server-side, so does not rely on my internet connection
  • Platform is not proprietary (available for use only with a single broker). If I have no choice I could wave this requirement, but would prefer not to be so dependent since that is how I ended up needing to ask this question in the first place.
  • I'm open to needing to needing a premium extension or plugin, but it would have to not violate the server-side order holding requirement.
  • Available to retail traders (individual, small-to-medium account sizes) in the USA

Potential alternatives I've looked at so far:
  • Advanced Orders: Many platforms say they offer this, but seem to generally just mean things like OCO and trailing stops. While this is necessary for what I want to do, it is not sufficient as the OCO cannot be connected to another order as a trigger.
  • Bracket Orders: This comes very close to what I want to accomplish, but it seems like most platforms that say they offer this strictly implement the Bracket as consisting of all limit orders, and they must be of the form {Entry Limit, Stop Loss Limit, Take Profit Limit} - and they provide no obvious option to change that. So this won't suffice if the bracket can't be further customized.
  • Interactive Brokers TWS: Supports multi-conditional features that might do what I want, but I'd again be back to proprietary software even if it would work, and IB discourages some products I'm interested in with extremely high margins (3X+ exchange minimums at times).
  • Firetip X, with its "Custom Order Types & Strategies", possibly using their Auto Trader formulas: From looking at a screenshot this might work, but I'm only guessing and it seems hard to find additional information about this platform. Though the website doesn't say so, it seems like only one broker (Ironbeam) offers it?
  • Moving to Algorithmic Trading platforms: It seems like this should be possible using TT Pro Algorithmic Design Lab, or any other algorithmic trading solution. While I'm inclined to do this eventually as programming is no obstacle (just a time sink), I wanted to avoid going down a potential rabbit hole when I'm otherwise ready to live trade now.

I suspect I'm pushing the limits of what can be done without moving to writing my own code and looking into hosted algorithmic trading solutions, but it sure would be nice if I didn't need to go there just for this! This is basically the last piece of the puzzle I need to find before being able to start live trading again (once I've learned the new platform sufficiently, of course).

I greatly appreciate any pointers, tips, or advice anyone can offer. Thanks!

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  #2 (permalink)
Legendary Market Wizard
Houston, TX
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: Trading Technologies
Broker: Primary Advantage Futures. Also ED&F and Tradestation
Trading: Primarily Energy but also a little GE, GC, SI & Bitcoin
 
Posts: 3,972 since Dec 2013
Thanks: 3,273 given, 7,790 received

Trading Technologies TT Platform can do all that. Some of it might require the ADL addin.
https://www.tradingtechnologies.com/trading/tt-platform/
Not cheap though.

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  #3 (permalink)
Detroit, Michigan
 
 
Posts: 3 since Jan 2021
Thanks: 3 given, 0 received



SMCJB View Post
Trading Technologies TT Platform can do all that. Some of it might require the ADL addin. [/url]
Not cheap though.

Thanks for that, it does seem like TT with ADL would take care of everything I'm looking for. It's really a pity that seems to require the Pro version to get the ADL, so looks like $400 a month minimum commitment. If they had a kind of "TT Lite" plan for small/new accounts (beyond just a 30 day trail), I'd probably switch today. That would be unless there were "Third-party algos" that covered this functionality, which would then allow it to work under the Standard plan. Might have to check our their free trial at some point to see how far such features can go without the full ADL.

As an update for anyone else looking for similar functionality, I did find a stop-gap set of features that at least gets me some of the functions I was looking for. It seems that CQG's software offers "bracket" orders that are customizable. I'm using QTrader right now, so not sure if the functionality is available on their other software versions.

In QTrader one can go to Trading Preferences -> Smart Orders, and enable/customize Trailing Stops and Trailing Limit orders, OCO orders, and then Brackets (which CQG describes as a "a multiple leg Order Places Order (OPO)"). Under Brackets the Target Order can be assigned as a Limit, Trailing Limit, or Iceberg, and be based on Profit, Price, or Tick. The Stop Loss Order portion can be a Stop, Trailing Stop, or Stop Limit, Trailing Stop Limit, or a similar set of orders based on the DOM's Bid/Ask quantities. When one goes to place an order in a screen like the Order Desk, one can choose the main triggering order to be any of the available order types (Market, Limit, Trailing Limit, Stop, Trailing Stop, etc.), and then one just needs to click "Bracket" to enable the bracket function on this order.

The main limitation I've noticed is that CQG's implementation of "Trailing Limit" does not allow GTC as a time in effect, which limits the usefulness of that. One also does not appear to be able to schedule orders to be placed at a set time with conditions, triggers, times, etc., and the price/trigger-based features are not as robust as in thinkorswim. But at this gets 90%+ of the way to what I was trying to achieve, at least.

I suppose it goes to show how good the thinkorswim software really is at this sort of task. I'd happily pay to be able to use it with other brokers/FCMs, but that appears to be something TD Ameritrade is not interested in

Also for those who end up on a similar quest, I've been pointed to look at the MultiCharts feature called "Master Strategy". I haven't tried it yet and have trouble getting solid information on exactly what is technically implemented on the server vs client, but its the only other platform I've been told might get close without having to write my own algorithm or get my own server setup.

I'm continuing with QTrader for now, but the quest for "almost-algorithmic" platforms continues. I might end up just needing to accept a move into algorithmic/auto-trading to get everything I want, but trying to exhaust the other options first.

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  #4 (permalink)
Legendary Market Wizard
Houston, TX
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: Trading Technologies
Broker: Primary Advantage Futures. Also ED&F and Tradestation
Trading: Primarily Energy but also a little GE, GC, SI & Bitcoin
 
Posts: 3,972 since Dec 2013
Thanks: 3,273 given, 7,790 received


Quasitrader View Post
Thanks for that, it does seem like TT with ADL would take care of everything I'm looking for. It's really a pity that seems to require the Pro version to get the ADL, so looks like $400 a month minimum commitment. If they had a kind of "TT Lite" plan for small/new accounts (beyond just a 30 day trail), I'd probably switch today. That would be unless there were "Third-party algos" that covered this functionality, which would then allow it to work under the Standard plan. Might have to check our their free trial at some point to see how far such features can go without the full ADL.

What your really looking for is probably OTA/Order Ticker Algo's but I'm not sure if they work without ADL. A hidden cost with TT can be MAP fees. In the fine print at the bottom
TT will apply MAP charges of $250/user per Exchange plus flat $3,000 per Exchange for FIX order routing; MAP fees not to exceed $5,000 per Exchange.

This is a fee that TT charge your broker. You will note it is capped at $5,000, so if a broker has more than 20 TT clients they hit the cap. One of my brokers passes on the MAP fee to me (even though I am very sure they have more than 20 clients on TT) while the other doesn't as they view it as a cost. So some brokers they will pass on the $250 MAP fee.

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  #5 (permalink)
Detroit, Michigan
 
 
Posts: 3 since Jan 2021
Thanks: 3 given, 0 received


SMCJB View Post
What your really looking for is probably OTA/Order Ticker Algo's but I'm not sure if they work without ADL.

From looking at the documentation, that does appear to be what I need - either Order Ticket Algo or Synthetic Order Algo. From digging around a bit more, it looks like the special TT Order Types get really close to everything I want, such as TT Bracket with triggers set, TT Timed, TT Stop, TT Trailing Limit, or TT OCO, etc. Its just hard to see from the docs just how far it goes without passing out of the Standard plan features. It seems like the algos would definitely support everything, but seems like that crosses into the ADL/Pro territory.

Seems like it is really sitting on the edge of what feature falls into which plan. Amusingly the free-trial is for Pro, so its not clear how one would know for sure if the functions would work under the Standard plan without switching to it for a month live - or, well, I suppose just asking their support directly.



SMCJB View Post
A hidden cost with TT can be MAP fees. In the fine print at the bottom
TT will apply MAP charges of $250/user per Exchange plus flat $3,000 per Exchange for FIX order routing; MAP fees not to exceed $5,000 per Exchange.

This is a fee that TT charge your broker. You will note it is capped at $5,000, so if a broker has more than 20 TT clients they hit the cap. One of my brokers passes on the MAP fee to me (even though I am very sure they have more than 20 clients on TT) while the other doesn't as they view it as a cost. So some brokers they will pass on the $250 MAP fee.

Thanks for the warning, I'm always on the lookout for sneaky fees like that. My main current broker has an all-in cost calculator that shows only the per-contract fee and monthly fees, but I'd be sure to check with them explicitly if I were to try to move to a TT platform. Seems like anything derivatives-related tends to take caveat emptor to its logical extreme!

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  #6 (permalink)
NYC, NY
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Qtrader TT
Broker: Amp/CQG/TT, Optimus, ADM
Trading: Mainly CL. Spread researcher currently
 
Posts: 633 since May 2013
Thanks: 535 given, 338 received

I too trade with Qtrader but I'm getting to the limit which as discussed is the need for automation. The other main limitation is the one screen and having to constantly switch "pages". I also use TT so can go a bit more...

If you trade complex spreads or try algos in SIM etc, TT standard will allow you to switch to SIm and do that before you committ the $400/month

Also CQG does not allow you to trade certain symbols or spreads in SIM

One good thing with Qtrader is that u can historical data into Excel and u cannot do that in TT

Regarding the MAP fee for TT pro as stated it's based on relationship with broker/brokerage house




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