FXCM are going to be releasing a new trading platform soon, called Strategy Trader. It’s not been released yet – as of right now it’s a beta, but should be out within the next few weeks. Here is a short preview of what to expect.
There are quite a few differences compared to FXCM’s FX Trading Station platform. What are these main differences? Well, think of Metatrader. In short, if I could sum up this platform in one sentence, it’s that it’s FXCM’s version of Metatrader 4. At first glance, one could easily mistake it for MT4. You have the current live prices / dealing rates window at the top left of the screen. Just like MT4. You have navigation window (i.e. where you have the ability to load indicators and EA) just below that. Just like MT4. You have the charts on the right side, which you can minimise and and maximise. Just like MT4. And you have your order window along the bottom. Just like – yeah, MT4.
Ok, so why did FXCM even bother with this if there is already a very similar looking product? Ok, let’s delve a bit deeper to try and discover why…
One thing I like about this Strategy Trader is that they have a larger set of default indicators. One issue I have with MT4 is that hasn’t got a pivot point indicator. Even though I personally don’t use it extensively in my trading, many traders do, and it’s almost as widely used as Fibonacci, so it’s good FXCM have included this. And not only this, but many more indicators.
Another difference is that, whilst MT4 has literally zero EAs you can trade, Strategy Trader actually does. Ok, so they’re not the latest money spinning expert advisors, but at least it’s something to play about with.
Probably the most useful feature in this platform is the fact that you can trade multiple accounts, simultaneously. The default MT4 client terminal doesn’t allow this. FXCM’s new Strategy Trader does. Many traders have different/separate accounts to organise their various trading strategies, whether they’re using expert advisors, or manual trading. So now, to be able to see all your trades, past and present on the same window, is really useful. Not only that, but you can open and close different orders on different accounts at the same time. Pretty cool.
Most charting platforms just show the bid charts. Strategy Trader even shows ask charts, if you so wish.
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Perhaps the most powerful feature of this platform would be the backtesting feature. Everyone knows how lame MT4’s backtesting is. TradeStation is probably the best platform for backtesting, but this new Strategy Trader of FXCM’s does appear to have lots of options. For example, many platforms don’t account for the spread when backtesting, however Strategy Trader does. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough.
Delving even deeper, Strategy Trader boasts something that I haven’t come across on any other platform. Charting by price. Conventional charting is done via time. That’s exactly what Japanese candlesticks are, they show you the high/low/open/close of pair in a period of time, whether it be 1 hour or 1 day. However, Strategy Trader allows for a different type of charting, one dictated by price, not time. So if you’re the type of person that loves his Point and Figure charts or Renko bars, then this platform could well be for you. No need for custom devised indicators.
Concerning the actual expert advisors, the bad news is that they don’t use MQL unfortunately. So any MT4 EAs you have, you will have to convert. The good news is that they use C#. This has two benefits. Firstly, it’s not a proprietary language which is exclusively developed for the platform (unlike MQL). This means for those programmers that already know how to code in C#, then there’s no need to learn another language (even though I acknowledge MQL is similar to original C, but there were still key differences). This however, is pure C#. The second benefit is that you can create much more powerful software, because of the versatility of the language, and of course its object oriented nature.
In fact, there are other cool features which I haven’t mentioned, but suffice it to say, this potentially looks like a great platform. One concern is that it’s a resource hog, so if you don’t have a dual core machine, you’re gonna struggle. The download itself is almost 40 megabytes. You will require a relatively fast CPU, you will require some decent RAM.
Ultimately, we can only judge how good this will be once it’s out. There will be some bugs, that’s inevitable. I’m hoping FXCM’s team will iron out most issues before launch.