Best Options Broker/Software?

Discussion in 'Options' started by Laconic, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Laconic


    I am a long time futures trader studying expanding into options? What recommendations do you have as far as the best analytics and best broker for options?

    I use Tradestation for futures, but their options technology seems very limited.

  2. 1245


    For Options on Futures, traders seem to like CQG.

  3. Laconic


    I've heard OptionVue and Think or Swim... any thoughts?

  4. Brighton


    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. 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.
  5. IB is probably your best bet for execution. TOS has a nice platform, but comms are too high (can negotiate based on volume). I use hoadley and livevol pro for analysis. Hoadley's pretty slick, but nothing one can't build himself. Livevol is good for vol analysis. They actually just launched a brokerage which has really low comms, especially if you trade size. Optionvue is cool, but too expensive, you can get a free trial if you want to test it out.
  6. smile



    "Livevol is good for vol analysis. They actually just launched a brokerage which has really low comms, especially if you trade size. "

    Do you know ballpark commissions for Livevol? I see they require a min acct size of $125K.

    Many thanks.
  7. Send them an email inquiring about commissions. They usually reply in a timely fashion. Comms are based on volume of contracts traded. I am pretty sure they just introduced Reg. T accounts for $35k minimum, clearing through IB. But they offer other setups.