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TopstepTrader's Michael Patak (Founder) - Ask Me Anything (AMA)


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TopstepTrader's Michael Patak (Founder) - Ask Me Anything (AMA)

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  #1041 (permalink)
Site Moderator
Sarasota FL
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Chart
Trading: ES, YM
 
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canoekoh View Post
What I found out is this has been a persistent issue for quite some time and it is an issue on CTS's end. Sierrachart has become so fed up with dealing with CTS that they are recently created their own order routing solution partnering with TT and are working on their own futures evaluator service.

See here for all the threads from people complaining about this issue while using CTS+Sierrachart with TST:

https://www.sierrachart.com/SupportBoard.php?ThreadID=40824
https://www.sierrachart.com/SupportBoard.php?ThreadID=40825
https://www.sierrachart.com/SupportBoard.php?ThreadID=40472
https://www.sierrachart.com/SupportBoard.php?ThreadID=40473
https://www.sierrachart.com/SupportBoard.php?ThreadID=40480
https://www.sierrachart.com/SupportBoard.php?ThreadID=40163
https://www.sierrachart.com/SupportBoard.php?ThreadID=39706

Importantly, Topsteptrader just confirmed with me today via email exchange that Sierrachart had already informed TST that SC would cease development support for CTS. So it is clear that even TST is aware that at the very least, the CTS T4 SIM server has problems and that Sierrachart is no longer providing additional support for it.

YET you guys still forced new users (who had never used CTS before) like me who selected SC as their platform to set up with the CTS T4 data feed.

Then when I asked Topsteptrader support over email if they could switch me over to the Rithmic feed, they replied:

"Thanks for reaching out to us!
You are able to use Rithmic data feed for SierraCharts.
In order to do this, you will need to purchase a new Trading Combine with NinjaTrader and connect with SeirraCharts. You will be able to use this in the Funded Account as well."

...
I went with TST over Oneuptrader because TST seemed to be the more professional and transparent company but this is just ridiculous.

@TopstepTrader, I hope you realize that this issue is a major business issue for you, not just a support issue with one Combine user.

I have followed each of the links that @canoekoh provided to Sierra Chart support board posts. It is clear that Sierra Chart knows of the CTS freezing issue, and has found that it is not being solved by CTS. Sierra is going to discontinue support for CTS and is in the process of providing an alternative service. Here is a quote from one of the Sierra Chart replies to one of the posts:


Quoting 
We see you are using CTS. If you are doing live trading, starting next week we can move you over to this new solution:
https://www.sierrachart.com/index.php?page=doc/SierraChartOrderRoutingServiceWithData.php


If you are using CTS with Top Step Trader and do not have a funded futures trading account, we will have a new solution out we hope in about two months which will use our reliable futures trading evaluator service.

If you do have a funded futures trading account do let us know and we will give you further instructions.

There is not anything we can do about the CTS issue and our plan is to gradually be phasing out CTS.

(Link: https://www.sierrachart.com/SupportBoard.php?ThreadID=40473 This post is from Feb. 14, two weeks ago now, so the issue has gone on for some time, and is closer to resolution by SC.)

I cannot comment on the solution that a support rep offered to @canoekoh, except to say that I would not have liked it either -- it basically is "too bad for you, sign up and pay (again) for one of our other options," which is definitely not the level of responsiveness and reasonableness that I am used to from TST support. I assume someone can look at the issue and make some more reasonable accommodation, given the nature of the situation.

But I am writing to point out the importance of this issue right now to all traders who use or are contemplating using the Combine and who use Sierra Chart. TST is facing a serious loss of business if there is no alternative provided, other than just wait for it. At a minimum, the sign-up on the TST website should inform potential customers of the issue, and frankly, it is up to TST to proactively find a way forward -- and to make sure no one else starts a Combine using Sierra Chart without knowing what they are getting into, and to inform current users what they have gotten into. There must be some rational solution for anyone affected by the problem. I'm sure you can find one if you make the effort.

----------------

Edit: I just re-read the TST support rep's response, and saw that they suggested "a new Trading Combine[/B] with NinjaTrader and connect with SeirraCharts. You will be able to use this in the Funded Account as well." This sounds like a possible workaround, but instructions would have to be given when signing up on how to start a Combine with NT and then set some parameters in Sierra Chart or something to allow using SC in place of NT.

There still needs to be a solution for existing SC users who want to change, and it shouldn't involve paying again for a Combine. This type of solution probably can't involve transferring over the existing trade data because it would involve a new provider, but something could be worked out there too on TST's end if they worked on it.

----------------

I am not currently in a Combine, but I have planned to enter one again in the future. I am not going to go to NinjaTrader, which I left out of dissatisfaction with its version 8. I do not want to go to some other platform I have never even looked at, either.

I have posted often in support of TST on FIO in the past, and I think you have a very good and useful program. I hope you will pay attention to the needs of your many friends and current and future customers and get something going to fix a situation that is simply not workable.

We should not have found out about this by someone posting on this forum. You should be on top of it, and get on top of it now.

Bob.

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  #1042 (permalink)
Quebec
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader wt Rancho Dinero's profiling tools
Broker: AMP/CQG
Trading: ES, NQ, YM
 
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@bobwest

Why not simply use Sierra for charting and tradovate to manage your trades?

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  #1043 (permalink)
Site Moderator
Sarasota FL
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Chart
Trading: ES, YM
 
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Posts: 5,735 since Jan 2013
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trendisyourfriend View Post
@bobwest

Why not simply use Sierra for charting and tradovate to manage your trades?

Sure, you could get around the issue this way, by having one platform to follow the market and one to trade with.

Not the world's best solution, and, importantly, TST needs to inform people about the CTS issues before they go trustingly into a Sierra Chart Combine using CTS. They also should do something if someone is in a present Combine and is having problems.

Naturally, this will all get handled eventually. Bad solutions never last very long. I'm just arguing for a solution to be settled on sooner than it seems like it will be.

Bob.

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  #1044 (permalink)
Europe
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: TradeNavigator, BookMap
Trading: ES, CL, 6E, 6B
 
Posts: 357 since Jan 2017
Thanks: 0 given, 292 received

Bob, yes TST should inform their users about this CTS issue, but TST also allows to use Sierra with Rithmic-data.

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  #1045 (permalink)
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Sarasota FL
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Trading: ES, YM
 
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tr8er View Post
Bob, yes TST should inform their users about this CTS issue, but TST also allows to use Sierra with Rithmic-data.

Good. I assumed so, from the TST support response to @canoekoh. I edited my original post to mention that, but also to mention that if this is available, it should be explicitly offered, and should even be the preferred, or the only, option for connecting with Sierra Chart.

But I went to the TST website just now, and the only thing they have up there for Sierra Chart is connection instructions to CTS. If CTS has known issues, there should be something else available on the site and in the connection instructions that are sent to new Combiners.

If you have to first set up with NT and then change something to get to use SC, that's awkward but OK for now. If there is a way to initially just set up for Righmic without the NT thing first, that's much better. But whatever is available should be in the instructions. In fact, TST really ought to just drop CTS and give only instructions for another service, if there really are issues of CTS freezing up frequently. There also needs to be some pathway for current CTS/SC users that at least doesn't cost another Combine.

I'm sure it will get fixed, eventually.

My only point is that this whole thing needs to be addressed, right now. So I'm banging on the table a little bit.

Bob.

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  #1046 (permalink)
Reno, Nevada
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: ZN, ZB, CL
 
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trendisyourfriend View Post
@bobwest

Why not simply use Sierra for charting and tradovate to manage your trades?

This is exactly what I do with all of them - I have Ninja 7 and 8 and I only use the prop's order DOM for order execution. This makes your life a lot easier because you can develop on any platform you wish - Sierra, TradeStation, Ninja - and just use the prop order execution for live trades.

It's also easier if you're trading a live personal account along side the prop.

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  #1047 (permalink)
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phantomtrader View Post

It's also easier if you're trading a live personal account along side the prop.

Which may be the only way to do both.

Bob.

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  #1048 (permalink)
Chicago, IL
 
 
Posts: 55 since May 2018
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bobwest View Post
Good. I assumed so, from the TST support response to @canoekoh. I edited my original post to mention that, but also to mention that if this is available, it should be explicitly offered, and should even be the preferred, or the only, option for connecting with Sierra Chart.

But I went to the TST website just now, and the only thing they have up there for Sierra Chart is connection instructions to CTS. If CTS has known issues, there should be something else available on the site and in the connection instructions that are sent to new Combiners.

If you have to first set up with NT and then change something to get to use SC, that's awkward but OK for now. If there is a way to initially just set up for Righmic without the NT thing first, that's much better. But whatever is available should be in the instructions. In fact, TST really ought to just drop CTS and give only instructions for another service, if there really are issues of CTS freezing up frequently. There also needs to be some pathway for current CTS/SC users that at least doesn't cost another Combine.

I'm sure it will get fixed, eventually.

My only point is that this whole thing needs to be addressed, right now. So I'm banging on the table a little bit.

Bob.

Part of TST's reply was: "I'm sorry to hear of the troubles you had while trading. Unfortunately, we have been informed by Sierra Chart that they will no longer be supporting the CTS data connection in the near future. As a part of this, you may notice issues from time to time."

So it's not like TST didn't know about this issue in the first place.

Yet when you first sign up for the Combine and select SC as your platform, you're only set up with CTS T4. At the very least, what they should have done is offer an option like you said, and at this point, the only sensible option would be to set up all new SC accounts with Rithmic by default and inform users about CTS T4 SIM server problems.

How are first-time users like me supposed to know that the CTS SIM feed + SC would be problematic? Then going one step further and trying to charge us another $165 for a new combine to switch datafeeds due to no fault of our own is really, crossing the line.

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  #1049 (permalink)
Chicago, IL
 
 
Posts: 55 since May 2018
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phantomtrader View Post
This is exactly what I do with all of them - I have Ninja 7 and 8 and I only use the prop's order DOM for order execution. This makes your life a lot easier because you can develop on any platform you wish - Sierra, TradeStation, Ninja - and just use the prop order execution for live trades.

It's also easier if you're trading a live personal account along side the prop.

This is a good point since you don't need to worry about datafeed + order routing integration problems with your personal platform.

Tradovate, or "TSTrader" as it's known on Topsteptrader, even has lower commissions (on the funded account) than when using other platforms so that is one other benefit to those considering.

Personally though, there are certain things about SC (advanced order type/management, custom order hotkeys) that compel me to enter orders from SC (this would be less of an issue if I was a longer-term trader) and SC also makes it super easy to run multiple data/trading services on one computer.

Right now I have a personal AMP account with CQG, TST with CTS, and Earn2Trade with Rithmic. You simply need to create 3 separate installations of SC (at no additional cost) and connect each one to a different data/trading service. Then you can run all 3 at the same time. You can have all your main charts+dom from the first installation displayed on the screen, and just a small single order entry chart for the second and third installations.

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  #1050 (permalink)
Chicago, IL
 
 
Posts: 55 since May 2018
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Just to give an update on my issue:

I talked with Ryan from Topsteptrader over the phone and he took care of the issue for me.

It was technically not feasible to transfer the account balance after switching data feeds but what he did was delete my current Combine account and give me a 100% off promo code to create a new Combine account. Then I set up this new account with Rithmic and although my account balance was reset, my billing date was also reset to +1 month from today so at the very least, I haven't 'lost' trading days, if that makes sense.

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