7 Important things about your trading platform
Trading is a fight. The trading floor is like a boxing ring in which millions of traders fight for winning or at least for survival. In order for you to succeed, you need all the help you can get and the first one is your trading platform. The trading platform should not be just a tool that helps you place orders, but it should be a weapon and a way of making a difference. In order for this to happen it must fulfill some requirements, different from trader to trader. Without saying that I have indentified all of them, below are listed those that are the most important for me.
1. The platform should have a friendly look
The trading platform must have a friendly look, it must be intuitive and it must be easy to understand and discover. It must be designed in a way that allows you to find instantly whatever you need. Since the trading platform is you ally, you have to be able to create a connection with it. Also, bear in mind that every trader has different requirements, which means that it is practically impossible to create a one-fits-all platform. In order to address this issue and still maintain the possibility of having a platform you fancy, you should make sure that it is fully customizable, so that is allows you to create your own screen
2. Integrated TA platform with all the features you need (charts, indicators, etc)
FX trading is more about momentum than stock trading. Also, FX trading usually is made on shorter timeframes. All of these imply that, like it or not, you need to have at least decent knowledge of technical analysis. Most of the platforms have good or great TA sections, but older ones may not. Your platform has to allow you to make technical analysis easy and in an efficient way. This means at least allowing to plot indicators, draw trend lines, channels and even adding notes on the charts.
3. Possibility to easily skip between tabs and windows
Your main screen is not large enough for all the information you will need or for all the charts you will follow, therefore you will need several windows and tabs. In order not to waste precious time, the platform must allow you to easily skip through them. Once I have tried a platform in which information was saved only on the main screen. I used a different tab for technical analysis and all the charts I would prepare were deleted when closing the platform. Make sure it’s not your case, as it is very disturbing to have to do the same work over and over again, morning after morning.
4. Connected to a real time news feed
Information is power. Currencies, as well as stocks and commodities, react strongly to news, so you always have to be up to date. The trading platform should give you this possibility, as otherwise you would be crippled. Imagine that the FED makes a decision of which you only find out the next day. Also, the feed must give you real time news, since even a delay of 5 minutes is enormous.
5. Possibility to place conditional orders
In the 21st century, trading is more than buy or sell, as innovation has touched this area also. Conditional orders may be a powerful weapon in the hands of those who mastered them. Stop loss, take profit, buy@, sell@, just to name a few, will help you stick to your strategy. They can be placed in advance in order to avoid changing your strategy because of emotions, or to allow you to leave without missing trading opportunities. The platform you need has all these encapsulated, easy to use and free of additional charges.
6. Mobility and possibility of receiving signals through e-mail or SMS
Mobility has become more than a nice thing to have – nowadays it is a necessity. You must be able to trade anytime and in anyplace from you mobile phone. That is why the trading platform should have a good mobile application: fast, reliable and easy to use. Also, the platform must provide you with additional features that enhance mobility. Among these, maybe the most notable are trading signals sent through e-mail or SMS, signals preset by you on the platform, given a set of conditions. These are needed because you may not always have your trading platform open, but you should always be aware of what happens on the trading floor. Also, if you intend to use heavily these features, check if they are free (most platforms provide e-mails for free) or at least make sure that the cost are bearable.
7. Indicator creator, scenario builder and back-testing platform
Again, remember that each of us is different, so a one-fits-all approach may not be applicable. Also, take into consideration that you compete with computers, so your strategy must be as close to perfection as possible. This is why you have to be able to customize and innovate. Out of experience you may want to create your own indicators and the platform should allow it. Also, you may want to implement your strategy: this means series of indicators, conditions, requirements, etc, that should happen before issuing a trading signal. All of these increase your chances to have winning trades. Furthermore, since trading is not mathematics, you must be able to test the indicators and strategies. You must test them to see how they work on each individual FX pair and also how they fit you profile, in order to make fine tunings.