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Brokerage Checklist
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Brokerage Checklist

  #1 (permalink)
Elite Member
San Francisco
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Multicharts, Investor R/T, RTrader
 
Posts: 13 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 11 given, 17 received

Brokerage Checklist

I've been evaluating futures brokers for a backup account after the two-day data feed outage at thinkorswim in late August. In the process, I've come up with a list of criteria important to me and want to get feedback from others about a) firms that meet these criteria and b) other things I should be thinking about.

Essentials:
- Financial stability.
- Segregated account funds.
- Orders that cannot rest on the exchange are held server-side (not on my workstation).
- Ability to have stop order placed automatically upon fill of limit or market order (without necessarily having to place a target order at the same time).

Important:
- Futures Commissions Merchant (FCM) rather than an Introducing Broker.
- Choice of strong trading platforms.
- Competitive commissions.
- Solid execution and customer service.
- Authoritative record of trade executions, including execution times and ideally including order placement times.
Context on this: I had become accustomed to thinkorswim's server-side order and trade logs, which allow the user to select a date range up to a year back and get dates / times for all orders, cancellations and executions. Since thinkorswim uses only their software to execute trades, this log is authoritative - they agree that it's valid. When I opened an account at Mirus clearing through Dorman, I found that they state that the daily statements are the only authoritative record of trades - but those statements show only the total number of contracts bought / sold at a given price, not execution times. Trade execution times are available in NinjaTrader for trades executed through Ninja, and all trade execution times are avaialble through RTrader (but not order placement times).
- Ability to move funds via ACH, not only by wire / check.

I am interested in these details not just for use in dispute resolution but also for post-trade analysis - it's useful to know not just when an order was filled but also when it was placed.

After calling several brokers, the only ones that I've found that include trade execution times on their daily statements are IB and Transact. Not sure if they also provide a way to get order placement times, and I don't know what other brokers provide re order history besides their daily statements.

Regarding orders being held server-side, I've found that a surprising number of trading platforms don't do this. Ninja does not, and in many situations neither does X-Trader. The need for this goes further than I had thought - not just for OCO brackets, but for stops in general: a TT rep I talked with this week said that Globex accepts only market and limit orders, and so stops must be held either server-side or on the trader's workstation.

So Ninja and other tools that don't provide server-side order placement present an unacceptable risk for me. RTrader and IB's TWS (along with compatible front-ends like ButtonTrader) do this, as do a number of other tools.

Would be interested in thoughts on these criteria, what else you think is important, and what you've found in terms of brokers that provide detailed trade records and server-side order placement.

Thanks -

Dave


Last edited by TideRip; September 19th, 2010 at 08:41 PM.
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  #2 (permalink)
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  #3 (permalink)
Elite Member
CA
 
Futures Experience: Master
Platform: Marketdelta and Ninja
Broker/Data: Velocity
Favorite Futures: NQ
 
Posts: 670 since Apr 2010
Thanks: 64 given, 521 received


Sorry to burst your bubble but i haven't seen any retail accounts that does OCO order exchange side....... Their all limit/market orders that are simulated on your PC, im pretty sure that even IB does it this way... This is becuase globex doesn't accept OCO orders on their exchange.

Stop order are technically market orders so don't know what you mean by that... If globex accepts market orders, they do stop orders...

Transact is no better than ninja or x trader. Only difference is that you don't pay a platform fee for transact ATM functionality, with ninja and xtrader you usually do for advanced order entry, thats it. I think i currently have an account with pretty much everyone now since i've changed so much throughout the past 10 years, there's good and bad in everything.

As far as entry/exit times, its true that transact does that. Dorman, RCG don't do that, but velocity TT feed for ninja does.

I was also one of the very few to open a thinkorswim account when they first came out, and while their the best in options and platform functionality, their futures feed is shit, to put it nicely. I wouldn't even swing trade with that.
I think your bottom line should be customer service and most importantly commission(this should have the greatest weight, since most brokers are pretty decent).
Good luck

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  #4 (permalink)
Just starting out...
Louisiana mostly
 
Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: MultiCharts, Excel
Broker/Data: IB, AMTD
Favorite Futures: TF, IWM, Options, ES
 
Posts: 10 since Aug 2010
Thanks: 3 given, 17 received

TR -

If I understand your question correctly- that you'd like to be able to execute a market order, then have corresponding Stop Loss and/or Target (limit) orders placed simultaneously, with these orders residing on the server so they're not dependent on your PC, electricity, weather and internet connection - then I'd suggest giving IB a closer look.

Very often I enter a Buy Stop and then bracket it to trigger Stop Loss Sell and Limit Sell (target) orders when it executes, with the latter two OCO.... and then I close TWS, turn off my PC and go about my business. Never had a problem with the orders executing as entered if they are triggered.

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  #5 (permalink)
Elite Member
CA
 
Futures Experience: Master
Platform: Marketdelta and Ninja
Broker/Data: Velocity
Favorite Futures: NQ
 
Posts: 670 since Apr 2010
Thanks: 64 given, 521 received

If you guys are talking about futures trading(not talking about stocks), then you have to understand that cme/globex doesn't accept OCO orders( i hear that Eurex does have OCO order capability exchange side). Your orders are either simulated on you computer, or simulated on your brokers computers, not on the exchanges.

Here you go..

https://futures.io/platforms-indicators/3717-server-side-synthetic-orders-oco-trailing-stops.html#post39675

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  #6 (permalink)
Just starting out...
Louisiana mostly
 
Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: MultiCharts, Excel
Broker/Data: IB, AMTD
Favorite Futures: TF, IWM, Options, ES
 
Posts: 10 since Aug 2010
Thanks: 3 given, 17 received


Michael.H View Post
If you guys are talking about futures trading(not talking about stocks), then you have to understand that cme/globex doesn't accept OCO orders...

You're answering a question that's not being asked.

TR said since the exchanges don't hold blah blah blah that it's important that his orders be held server-side by the broker and not on his workstation, and executed reliably, and preferably that the broker be able to provide detailed execution records. And he's started this thread seeking input on brokers that meet his criteria.

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  #7 (permalink)
Elite Member
San Francisco
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Multicharts, Investor R/T, RTrader
 
Posts: 13 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 11 given, 17 received

Thanks MH.


Michael.H View Post
Sorry to burst your bubble but i haven't seen any retail accounts that does OCO order exchange side....... Their all limit/market orders that are simulated on your PC, im pretty sure that even IB does it this way... This is becuase globex doesn't accept OCO orders on their exchange.

I'm pretty sure that IB's OCO orders reside on their servers, will confirm. I know that all TOS orders that aren't on the exchange are on their servers, same for Zen-Fire's webtrader (now in beta).


Michael.H View Post
Stop order are technically market orders so don't know what you mean by that... If globex accepts market orders, they do stop orders...

Stops become market orders when triggered, but are obviously different before then. Contrary to what the TT rep said, Globex does accept stops according to page 11 of the attached PDF.


Michael.H View Post
Transact is no better than ninja or x trader. Only difference is that you don't pay a platform fee for transact ATM functionality, with ninja and xtrader you usually do for advanced order entry, thats it. I think i currently have an account with pretty much everyone now since i've changed so much throughout the past 10 years, there's good and bad in everything.

Good info. By the way, a Ninja support rep said today that their orders do rest at the exchange with the exception of the cancellation part of the OCO. That was news to me.


Michael.H View Post
As far as entry/exit times, its true that transact does that. Dorman, RCG don't do that, but velocity TT feed for ninja does.

Good to know. Seems like I'm unusual in caring about this. Have you had situations where you have wanted these details but didn't have them, or is this more of a non-issue to you?


Michael.H View Post
I was also one of the very few to open a thinkorswim account when they first came out, and while their the best in options and platform functionality, their futures feed is shit, to put it nicely. I wouldn't even swing trade with that.
I think your bottom line should be customer service and most importantly commission(this should have the greatest weight, since most brokers are pretty decent).
Good luck

Agree the TOS futures feed is unacceptable - that's why I'm moving most of my funds from them to another account. Am inclined to go with IB since they meet most of my criteria and will enable me to trade equity options with idle capital that's not dedicated to futures margin. The compromise with IB is on trading platforms and customer service. As for futures brokers, Advantage Futures seems to be the most solid in terms of technical infrastructure, which is another key factor that I didn't note in the original post. But no detailed reporting and they require transfers by check or wire only.

Best,

Dave

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  #8 (permalink)
Elite Member
San Francisco
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Multicharts, Investor R/T, RTrader
 
Posts: 13 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 11 given, 17 received


Michael.H View Post
If you guys are talking about futures trading(not talking about stocks), then you have to understand that cme/globex doesn't accept OCO orders( i hear that Eurex does have OCO order capability exchange side). Your orders are either simulated on you computer, or simulated on your brokers computers, not on the exchanges.

Here you go..

https://futures.io/platforms-indicators/3717-server-side-synthetic-orders-oco-trailing-stops.html#post39675

Appreciate the link, useful info. I'm OK with orders residing on brokerage servers (though prefer on the exchange when possible). I just don't want any pending orders on my computer.

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  #9 (permalink)
Elite Member
San Francisco
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Multicharts, Investor R/T, RTrader
 
Posts: 13 since Sep 2010
Thanks: 11 given, 17 received


DummyWill View Post
TR -

If I understand your question correctly- that you'd like to be able to execute a market order, then have corresponding Stop Loss and/or Target (limit) orders placed simultaneously, with these orders residing on the server so they're not dependent on your PC, electricity, weather and internet connection - then I'd suggest giving IB a closer look.

Very often I enter a Buy Stop and then bracket it to trigger Stop Loss Sell and Limit Sell (target) orders when it executes, with the latter two OCO.... and then I close TWS, turn off my PC and go about my business. Never had a problem with the orders executing as entered if they are triggered.

Exactly what I have in mind - thanks. Also inclined toward IB given that with them I can trade equities and equity options with capital not tied up in futures margin.

What's your experience been with IB's reliability, execution quality, and trade reporting?

Dave

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  #10 (permalink)
Administrator: Retired Backtester
 Vendor: speedytradingservers.com 
Rennes France
 
Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: NinjaTrader
Broker/Data: IB/Kinetick
Favorite Futures: Futures
 
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TideRip View Post
Exactly what I have in mind - thanks. Also inclined toward IB given that with them I can trade equities and equity options with capital not tied up in futures margin.

What's your experience been with IB's reliability, execution quality, and trade reporting?

Dave

For me, the only bad thing with IB is the quality of their data feed. You can find smaller margin/commissions somewhere else, but it's not bad.
IB is a good choice, you just need another datafeed, and another front-end (some people are able to trade with the TWS, but it's not the best trading platform in the World...).

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