Stocks and Commodities Magazine

Main features for popular commodity trading platforms

What are the highlights of some popular trading platforms?

Futures brokerage firms typically offer traders various trading platform options including a “free to use” version along with an array of premium platforms available for an additional cost. Last month we discussed the various types of platform subscriptions and capabilities. This month we’ll focus on a few of the more popular trading environments available to traders, their costs, and highlights.

The "free to use" trading platforms provided to brokerage clients are often developed in house and are, therefore, only available at the particular firm offering it. Don’t assume the free platform is automatically inferior to the high-cost options. In fact, one of the most efficient and feature-rich platforms we’ve made available to our clients at DeCarley Trading is accessible at no cost to clients. Don’t forget, brokerage firms only make money when their clients trade, so great strides are made to ensure it is as easy as possible for clients to pull the trigger.

Premium platforms are developed by third parties whose sole purpose is to generate revenue via platform subscriptions, sales, and fees. These third party vendors don’t benefit from trading commission, or any other fees you might pay to your brokerage firm; accordingly, they have a large incentive to continually improve their product to make it attractive to traders. If they didn’t, traders would opt for the free options. For those looking for upgraded charting, complex order types, the ability to save settings or host contingent orders on a server, or other convenience features, a premium platform might be able to better accommodate.

Some of the most popular "pay to use" trading platforms are QST (Quick Screen Trading), Cunningham Trading System's T4, and Rithmic's R-Trader. Each of these platforms has significant capabilities with various strengths; consequently, I've arranged to offer all of them to my brokerage clients along with multiple "free" platform choices. I cannot do any of these platforms justice in a brief description, but felt it worthwhile to provide a brief synopsis.


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