As I continue to get more and more interested in building and backtesting trading systems, I am beginning to look into purchasing trading software. This is an overwhelming experience, to say the least. There is a seemingly endless selection of different software packages, and there doesn’t seem to be any clear guide to selecting which one would best fit my needs. To be honest, I don’t even know what my needs are at this point.
Products I Have Seen Recommended
- In Following The Trend, Andreas Clenow recommends Wealth Lab and RightEdge.
- My friend @Systemstrader95 suggested I check out Wealth Lab or Trading Blox.
- I have another acquaintance who programs systems using MetaTrader4 and NinjaTrader.
- I have seen and heard about Tradestation.
- In a personal email, Clenow also recommended OpenQuant, but noted that it has a high price point.
- I received a few emails recommending Amibroker, which I know Woodshedder uses and recommends.
With this as my universe of possibilities, I began to explore the details of each of these systems.
Products I Quickly Disqualified
Since Wealth Lab was the highest recommended product and is supposed to be the easiest to learn, I decided to start there. The pictures on the website look like the software is really cool, and I can even register and download a free trial. However, when I dug a little deeper, I discovered that US residents are required to have a Fidelity account to access Wealth Lab. The fine print specifies that this account must have a minimum balance of $25,000 and place at least 120 trades per year. That means I’m not going to be using Wealth Lab.
I like the idea of software that is already linked to a broker, so I decided to try Tradestation next. Here again, I ran into very high minimum account requirements, although they do offer a software only version for $250 / month that is limited to simulated trading. I think we can probably do better than that. I would prefer a one time fee to a monthly subscription.
I next looked at TradingBlox, which Clenow mentioned was started by former turtle Curtis Faith, who wrote a good book on system trading. At this point, I realized that my first question for each software package should be about the price. For TradingBlox, I found out that there were three different versions. The $1000 model came with a few systems already programmed. The $3000 system, which was “on sale” for $2490, came with 11 systems and the ability to adjust them. Then there was the big daddy $4000 system that came with all 11 systems and the ability to program your own.
I just couldn’t see the point of buying anything that I would eventually grow out of, and certainly not at those price points. I have read enough to know that in order to be successful, I will need to build my own systems from the ground up. I would never be successful trading someone else’s system.
At $400 / month, OpenQuant was out of my price range, and it didn’t help that their website looked like it was designed by a third grader.
This software appears to be limited to Forex, Gold, Silver, and Oil.
Products That Warrant Further Consideration
NinjaTrader is available for a one time fee of $1000, or you can lease it for $50 / month. I felt that both of these price points were more than reasonable, so I decided to download the free version that limits to simulation only and give it a spin. The problem was that it told me the license key they emailed me was not valid and I wasn’t able to get the software open to begin with. This makes me think that there might be bigger problems with the software.
Amibroker is highly recommended and sells an entire package of software for $409. This is the software that Woodshedder used to backtest my SPY 10/100 Trend Following System. The software came with data for the 30 Dow stocks preloaded, which let me play around a bit. Since I’m new at this I obviously had no clue how to use anything, but the software appears to have a decent help file and loads of videos under the support tab of its website. I could see this software working just find for what I would like to do.
RightEdge is available for a one time fee of $500 or a monthly subscription of $50. Both price points seem incredibly reasonable for software that was so highly recommended. There is also a 45 day free trial available. The software seems slightly more polished than Amibroker, and it appears to have an extensive help file as well as a PDF manual. I was able to load some charts and pull free data from Yahoo. Based on the strong recommendation from Andreas Clenow, I am probably going to move forward with this software, but will experiment further with Amibroker as well.