(Update Nov 28 – after the publishing of this post on Nov 9, Eikon for Retail Traders was renamed MetaStock XENITH. The post below reflects the product with its original name and branding)
After years of being targeted towards professional traders, Thomson Reuters announced recently that it has begun to offer its Eikon platform for retail traders. For a platform aimed at the retail segment it is very robust and includes real-time news, fundamentals, economic reporting, and analytics. The charting package is based on the MetaStock system, a staple of Thomson Reuters financial platforms. They have also created apps for users to connect to their workplaces from mobile apps.
Currently, Thomson Reuters is working on creating partnerships with retail brokers to promote the platform to their clients with the referring firm receiving a portion of the monthly subscription charge. On its part, Thomson Reuters will market its partnering brokers and financial firms on its email and webinar series campaigns about the new retail platform.
Costs begin at $99/month for the basic package which includes FX pricing. Adding more data requires additional subscriptions that are purchased from the desired exchanges. However, as the platform is being sold only to non-professionals, users of the Eikon Retail edition are charged much tinier rates from exchanges than a normal professional subscription. Overall, at $99/month, the platform isn’t aimed at your typical small sized FX clients, but at the larger semi-pro traders who are searching for an edge in the market, above what the widely available free systems provide.
Having worked with several different versions of Thomson Reuters products in the past, I was eager to take it for a test drive and see where it stands.
The first thing one needs to know is that this isn’t a trading platform. It is simply a cross market analytics product. Therefore, although traders can use the system to scan the markets and find opportunities, a separate trading platform for executing trades is needed. According to Derek McKusick, Business Development at Thomson Reuters, integrating trading capabilities via their partnering brokers is an area they are working on, but they have no definitive plans.
Onto the review…
If I had to use an adjective to describe the platform, ‘robust’ comes to mind. This is first seen when downloading the software, as it is a heavy system and isn’t like the 123 installations of your typical MT4 or comparable trading platforms. Eikon comes packed with numerous pre-existing templates and cross asset workpages. For Excel junkies, the platform also has preset integration to perform real time spreadsheet analysis. This all leads to a rather long installation process.
When it is finally ready to go, new users will experience a learning curve using the product as it is very wide encompassing. For previous Thomson Reuters users of platforms like the Eikon Proffssional and 3000 XTRA products, the layouts will be very familiar. Like those other products, Eikon for retail evolves around creating tabs (also called Flex pages) and workspaces. Users can customize each of their tabs for specific assets or information such as real time streaming news, economic events, pricing, and charts.
As mentioned before, for a retail offering, the platform was very robust in its features. Specifically, the news and research sections were similar to what is offered in the $1000+/month products.
Creating a news stream for specific currencies, general forex news, or filtered for a country or region was similar to the pro-versions. Also, like the more expensive versions, the economic news calendar updates in real time without the need of refreshing the screen. In addition, the platform contains many pre-existing news queries for users to watch.
The charting package from MetaStock is also fully packed with all the usual indicators as well as the very useful ‘correlation’ feature for measuring beta of various currencies over different time frames. The charts also allow for customizing time data and aren’t limited to the usual 1, 5, 15, 30 minute etc time frames.
One area though where the platform does fall short, at least for currencies is the real time pricing. First of all, quotes are based on a free feed that Thomson Reuters has with some participating banks. As such, these appear to be indicative rates with rather wide spreads compared to what broker’s are offering (for example, the EURUSD and GBPUSD are typically at 3 and 4 pips respectively). Therefore, using the system for tick by tick tape reading is ineffective. Another issue I noticed was slight delays of price changes during active periods of trading. For chart reading, the spreads and slight latency isn’t much of an issue, but Forex traders will be best off basing their actual executions off of their broker’s spreads. (The Eikon platform I reviewed was limited to real time data for FX only. Therefore, I am not sure if users of exchange traded data will experience the same issues in regards to their real time data.)
Overall, where the system really excels is with its news and research abilities. For serious traders that want up to second headlines of what is occurring in the market and breaking news, this platform offers a similar look to what the professionals are using. (Example: I saw the headlines for Disney buying the Star Wars franchise on the platform before seeing headlines on mainstream news sources. For equity traders, filtering for halted stocks and those poised to gap on the open is easily done ) Also, while there are cheaper alternatives to MetaStock’s charting capabilities, the Eikon retail edition isn’t lacking in functions.
So is it worth $100/month? That really depends on what a trader is using it for. Experienced traders that have traded professionally in the past and are now working with retail brokers will find this Eikon product to deliver similar features that they were accustomed to in their previous professional environment. Also, for traders seeking for more information versus what the free retail offerings provide, this platform will easily fit their needs. While perhaps not a larger segment, demand for paid analysis and news products is growing steadily as the forex trading industry matures (In our 3rd quarter report, we wrote about Ninja Trader which is a paid platform that is being requested by more and more traders). Forex research sites will also find the platform useful as it will allow writers to gain access to real time financial news for a relatively cheap price. As such, while the price of the Eikon retail edition may deter the vast majority of retail forex clients from purchasing it, the sheer size of the platforms abilities will create interest for the product.