TradeStation - A risk to your business

Discussion in 'Forex Brokers' started by MidKnight, Mar 11, 2005.

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  1. Hello,

    I've been a customer of TS for just over a year now. I can now say without a doubt that there customer service is the worst I have ever experienced as an international customer (non USA). They have absolutely no concern or awareness for their current customer base, instead they are marketing driven, with insatiable desire to get new customers. In the process though, they greatly neglect their current customer base. The neglect is extreme and in my opinion is a serious risk to anyones trading business. I have posted prolifically about these topics in their online forum - they just don't care about the problems. This game of trading is hard enough without having a broker work against you.

    Let me start with some examples over the past year that I have had to put up with...

    When I first started with TRAD I was told that I would be able to trade FX automatically via programmable strategies. Of course after I opened the account, I found out that this wasn't true because FX order integration is not part of TRAD. All orders need to be placed via this really crappy third party RJO platform (early GFT technology) that crashes on a regular basis with CORBA communication errors. For ITX orders in a fast moving market a requote window appears and disappears so quickly that the Windows OS does not even get time to paint the screen (no kidding).

    Ok, fine then. I can't auto trade my strategies, at least I can backtest them! Well, sort of. At the time there was only 3 months worth of intraday data (took over 6 months to get more intraday data), so backtesting isn't going to do much good. Oh and if you want to use tick data, you can only backtest back 30 days!! They do not allow you to get anymore tick data then that - you have to build up your cache manually.

    Then there is the term they use called a 'reconnect'. This happens fairly often (for a while it was happening every night). The effects of a reconnect are an unusable tradestation as it does not receive any data - so your charting just stops working, your charts completely freeze. According to TRAD, a reconnect is a normal nightly procedure that "normally" goes unnoticed (this isn't the case though, it consistently is noticed). For quite a long period though, it was certainly noticed. You see, TRAD doesn't think it is a big deal because the reconnects all happened during the early morning of the USA. What time is that around the world though? It just so happens it was bang on the London open - terrible time for any FX trader to have no charts. Typically this would happen at 0900 GMT and last for 10-20 mins, sometimes up to 30 mins.

    The other day I wanted to go short CAD/CHF. When trying to enter the order via the crappy third party order entry platform, I got a divide by zero exception!! I used to be a programmer, so I know exactly what has happened here. Programmer error. A fatal exception like this happens when the programmer does not check that a divide by zero event can ever occur. I had already entered into the trade via ITX so getting in was no problem, however, now that I was in I wanted to place a stop and could not! I had to end up calling the trading desk (long distance from New Zealand), wait on hold for some time, have the guy put in an order for me. What a pain in the ass. Then to top it off, I couldn't modify the order without getting the same divide by zero exception. If I wanted to modify this stop I had to call their trading desk each time.

    Then there is the issue of EUREX data. There is one tradestation customer who was promised EUREX data something like 3 years ago. In fact, that is why he joined up back then. They still do not have EUREX data and give no hint to the customers when they might provide the service despite the pleas from the users.

    Finally, they have an online support forum which they host. Apparently users are able to ask questions and they get help from the community as well as employees from TRAD. Those guys there are probably really nice people, but the support they give is often useless. More times then I can count, they would reply with a response to call the trading desk. Most of the questions do not require the customer to call the desk and the TRAD customer service rep could easily assist the user on the forum. I complained about this on their forums and they moderate my post - delete it. I was in no violation of the forum rules, but yet they choose to moderate me. They will not have anyone criticize them on the forum, they will moderate you.

    What makes me most furious isn't so much the technical things that do not work, but rather the terrible customer service one receives. They either do not value their current clients and appear more focused on acquiring new clients. There must be some serious internal issues for them to be so inept in their customer service and understanding the needs of the customers.

    I'm off to another charting / brokering solution which is cheaper, has tighter spreads on FX and is not counter party to my trades, has a universal account (instead of a separate account for stocks, futures, FX), lets me hold my cash in a choice of currencies, and lets me trade on EUREX.

    MK
     
  2. Yes I nearly got sucked into reopening my TS account to trade forex only. Lucky I did some checking and found out they don't even use TS platform, they basically outsourse the whole forex account.
     
  3. Yes, this makes it easy for them to pass the buck on the problems that are present. Worst broker I have experienced to date and thought maybe a post like this will save some other people from the pain I went through.

    MK
     
  4. zdreg

    zdreg

    thx for a well written report.

    why not post on broker ratings on left
    side of home page. you will be doing a favor for many more people who did not see this post.
     
  5. vr82

    vr82

    why not do what i do. i use 2000i, TS8, and 100% of my trades are placed at another broker with a GOOD trading window. if you just accept the fact that the TS8 broker side is just not acceptable, you can do just fine. TS8 charting is a good package. just don't use their brokerage. there are a lot of us that do that.
     
  6. I do TRAD for charting and IB for trading. I think this is a winning combination.
    I use IB DDE API interface to excel for monitoring/money management only, but it can be used for trading from excel as well. If you can interface TRAD to excel, you can close the loop.

    personally, I wouldn't do it, but it's a thought.
     
  7. Initially that was my thought - use TRAD for charting and IB for trading. But their customer service was just so terribly abysimal that I thought, why pay these guys $100/month for charting when there are possibly better solutions out there? Everything I hear about something like an Ensign and IB solution is outstanding and the price is less then 1/2 of TRAD with more customization. This is where I am gravitating towards.

    Thanks for your suggestions.

    MK
     
  8. Ensign looks nice, but according to their site, they don't support FOREX and they don't mention options. TRAD have "time and sales book" which I find a great tool.
    I use TradeStation for over 10 years and I can program about anything on their platform, which is, BTW, extremely robust and powerful. Fortunately, I don't need their customer service.
    Another consideration is that I keep TRAD as a back-up broker for emergencies.
     
  9. Fair enough OptionsWizard. I agree it is nice to use something one is familiar with. Ensign certainly does do FOREX though. I don't know where you see it says they don't. If you look at the help | data pages they do have FOREX backfill available. I have exchanged some emails with Howard (the Ensign developer) about this and he says they will make use of the IB backfill once IB distributes the SDK. They apparently do not have this avail to them yet. Until then though, you can use it for FOREX just the backfill is not from IB but rather from DTN with Barclays and Tullet symbols.

    MK
     
  10. maxpi

    maxpi

    TS software is good, the brokerage is something I don't want to use right now. TS has a record of messing with the current custormers and actively recruiting new ones. Complaining is not likely to change anything but you should write a review here on ET.
     
    #10     Mar 13, 2005
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