Choosing The Best Trading Platform
In the arena of online trading, new entrants to the marketplace are faced with the task of selecting a software trading platform. The platform is a crucial component to the potential success of the trading operation, because it's the trader's tool for accessing and interacting within the marketplace.
Platforms vary from one to the next, each offering unique features and functionality to the user. In order to choose the "best fit" for one's foray into the market, a few basic questions must be thoroughly addressed:
- What is my experience level? Being a novice, intermediate or advanced trader will determine the platform's desired functionality. A novice trader likely requires a platform that is user-friendly and inexpensive while valuable experience is gained. Intermediate and advanced traders typically demand robust functionality and sophisticated options to satisfy their needs.
- What type of trader am I? Traders come in all shapes and sizes, with a number of distinct requisites. For instance, an individual retail trader's necessities are vastly different from those of a large institutional trader. Size and scope are important considerations when selecting the appropriate platform.
- What is my adopted methodology or style of trading? The trading approach is a key element in selecting the proper platform. If one is a selective discretionary trader, then order entry options and trade automation are not deal breakers. However, if one specialises in high-frequency trading, then automation coupled with low latency technology becomes important.
It is common for equities, futures and forex brokerage firms to provide specialised trading software suites to their customers. Some of the software options are complementary, and others are available for a fee. No matter which type of platform is selected, it is important that the trader's wants and needs are adequately satisfied.
Since its release to the public in 2005 by MetaQuotes Software1, MetaTrader 4 (MT4) has become one of the most widely used platforms by forex traders. MT4 provides functionality for all levels of retail traders, including advanced analytics and a vast array of order entry options.
MT4 offers the following features to users:
- Market entry: A wide range of order entry options is supported, customisable to any market condition.
- Technical analysis: Advanced charting applications, including 9 timeframes and 24 varieties of analytical objects (Gann and Fibonacci tools, lines, channels, etc.) are available. A technical analysis package consisting of 30 built-in indicators, 2,000 free custom indicators and 700 available for purchase indicators is also available.
- Algorithmic and automated trading: Customised system and strategy development is supported, in addition to trade automation.
- Mobile trading: Trading via smartphone or tablet is supported.
MT4 is offered by most forex brokerage firms, and its pricing varies according to numerous account-based factors. MT4 is commonly viewed as the industry standard of forex trading platforms, serving all levels of trader sophistication.
NinjaTrader is an all-in-one trading platform that supports the trading of futures, forex and equities. NinjaTrader is offered by many online trading brokerage firms as a platform option, and is a popular choice for individuals who are new to online trading.
A few of NinjaTrader's prominent features:
- Charting: Highly customisable charting applications are available.
- Strategy building: Custom strategy building with access to thousands of third-party indicators and strategies is possible.
- Simulation: The backtesting and optimisation of developed strategies is supported. In addition, traders can practice making trades in real-time via simulated live market conditions through the "market replay" feature.
- Automation: Algorithmic-based trading and automated trade management is available.
With an advanced "ecosystem" of over 40,000 users, 450+ professional app developers and thousands of platform add-ons, NinjaTrader offers sophisticated functionality at competitive prices. Additionally, the NinjaTrader Direct version is offered to customers free of charge.
FXCM's flagship forex trading platform, Trading Station, provides currency traders from around the world market access and superior functionality. An award-winning platform, Trading Station is a robust software suite that caters to the needs of both new and veteran traders alike.
The following are a few of the platform's unique features:
- Advanced charting: Users of Trading Station are able to place trades directly from charts through accessing the chart-based trading application. Execution of sophisticated technical analysis is possible through the utilisation of dozens of preprogrammed tools and indicators.
- Automation: Automated trading capabilities are readily available. Strategy backtesting and optimisation features enable individuals to develop custom trading approaches for use in the live market.
- Supreme market accessibility: Trading Station offers forex market accessibility through web-based, desktop and mobile applications.
- Market information: Streaming global news and low latency pricing feeds are supported by Trading Station. The proprietary Real Volume indicators give traders a view of market sentiment and participation from FXCM's client base.
Trading Station also offers a free demo account and forex trading guide to individuals interested in trying out the software or getting started in the industry.
The selection of the "right" trading platform is a crucial part of building toward success in the marketplace. Each platform supplies unique functionality, which may or may not be suited to an individual trader's needs. It is important for an individual interested in online trading to perform the necessary due diligence regarding which features will be required before the commencement of active trading.
Any opinions, news, research, analyses, prices, other information, or links to third-party sites are provided as general market commentary and do not constitute investment advice. FXCM will not accept liability for any loss or damage including, without limitation, to any loss of profit which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information.
1MT4 FXCM Independency: Forex Capital Markets, LLC. ("FXCM LLC") is an independent legal entity and is not affiliated with MetaQuotes Software Corp. ("MT4"). MT4 is not owned, controlled, or operated by FXCM LLC. Therefore, FXCM LLC does not make any warranties regarding any product MT4 or service and has not reviewed or verified any performance results that may be presented and/or described on this website in relation to MT4.
Senior Market Specialist
Russell Shor (MSTA, CFTe, MFTA) is a Senior Market Specialist at FXCM. He joined the firm in October 2017 and has an Honours Degree in Economics from the University of South Africa and holds the coveted Certified Financial Technician and Master of Financial Technical Analysis qualifications from the International Federation…