Registered: Sep 2012
09-11-12 06:14 PM
Hi - A few notes distilled from personal experience plus researching the "Trading Software" and "Options" forums on Elite Trader:
1. CQG has a good reputation and a high price. If you're just starting out, it might be overkill if they lock you into a year up front.
2. OptionVue. Again, a good reputation and 20+ yrs in the biz. Will cost about $2000 in year one and a third to a half of that amount on a recurring basis. They offer a free trial (fully functioning for 30 days, I believe).
3. There seems to be a near universal opinion from posters that ThinkorSwim from TDAmeritrade is a good/very good program for beginners up to large, independent traders, i.e. you work for yourself and live off your trading. There are numerous positive comments about the TOS analytics, charts, etc. Negatives seem to be a long learning curve (but that's not unusual if you're doing something exotic) and that their "rack rate" commissions are a bit on the steep side. On the latter point, several posters have said they've been successful in getting the rates down and per-ticket minimums eliminated.
4. Hoadley.net and their Excel add-in. I've downloaded the trial version but haven't done anything with it yet. Full version is about $150 and has free, live data feeds from several brokers and data providers. I think poster CDCaveman recently purchased it and uses it regularly.
5. OptionStar. Similar to the above (the Excel and data feed parts), although I haven't looked at their trial version yet. Full version is $200.
6. Interactive Brokers. No shortage of opinions about IB on this site. I'm a satisfied customer and trade commodity options through IB, but nothing exotic. As others have noted, if you're going to do exotics or trade in many commodity markets, you will probably want to research applications that link to IB for the analytics and post-trade portfolio mgmt.