Professional traders have several critical requirements from their trading platform. While the exact specification will depend on the investment strategies pursued by the trader, they will include: – Direct Market Access (DMA) via a high-quality trading platform – A robust and scalable Application Programming Interface (API) – Access to a wide variety of liquid financial instruments, including options, futures, metals, currencies, cryptocurrencies, bonds, stocks and ETFs – 24/7 support in their language – Competitive dealing costs and fees.
Direct Market Access
DMA is a fundamental requirement for finance professionals, as it allows the trader to have access to the order book of the underlying exchange to place and manage their trades, rather than trading indirectly, via their broker, as is ordinarily the case for retail traders. The critical advantages of DMA to the professional investor include cost, speed and transparency. DMA must be wrapped within a platform which must have the flexibility and granularity of control to handle highly complex professional order flow. A professional-quality platform must give the trader the ability to manage this complexity and take a global view of the portfolio.
Professional traders require robust APIs that can handle a range of use cases that vary from high frequency trading strategies to mobile apps and websites that display quotes, send price alerts and calculate the profit and loss on a portfolio. The API should conform to industry standards where appropriate, such as the Financial Information eXchange (FIX) protocol for Direct Market Access.
Professional investors need access to a wide variety of instruments. Professional investors will often manage multi-asset portfolios, composed of an array of different strategies that could include directional, arbitrage, and event-driven, with long-term and short-term positions. A professional trader might have positions in options, futures, swaps, stocks and currencies, both long and short, all within a single trading day.
For a professional trader, multi-channel 24-hour support is vital. If critical seconds are lost because of technological faults or mistakes, the trader must know that they will have the broker’s immediate support to resolve the problem. In an industry where competitive advantages are measured in milliseconds, it is essential to resolve problems as soon as they occur.
Commissions and fees
Professional traders need a transparent, competitive fee structure across a wide range of instruments and markets, from options and futures to stocks, bonds and currencies. Dealing fees are especially important to investors with high-turnover strategies. It is important to factor all fees into the cost structure of a trade, including any platform fees which may be charged.
EXANTE is one of the world’s best trading platform providers, and offers a wide variety of powerful tools to meet these requirements and ensure professional investors and traders can make informed decisions. EXANTE has been offering professional-grade trading solutions for over a decade, and employs over 560 staff across the EU, UK and Asia, serving clients in over 100 countries. EXANTE’s clients include institutions such as wealth managers, family offices, banks and hedge funds, as well as sophisticated private investors. EXANTE’s assets under management (AUM) total over $4bn and the company is authorised and regulated by the FCA in the UK, with regulatory capital in excess of €60m. EXANTE’s partners include some of the world’s largest financial institutions, including HSBC, ING Group, Bank of China and Santander.
The EXANTE platform offers their clients Direct Market Access to a wide variety of exchanges globally. The platform features a clean and easy-to-use multilingual interface, which is easily customisable using common actions such as drag-and-drop, point-and-click and dropdown menus. It also contains powerful search functionality to allow the user to find exactly the instrument they want as fast as possible. The charting windows allow the user to immediately see where price has been, and simply click-through to place an order. The ‘basket trade’ functionality enables the trader to execute complex arbitrage and options strategies simultaneously, to reduce unwanted market exposure. The platform is available in nine languages, including English, Spanish, German and Italian. Furthermore, the EXANTE platform is flexible, being accessible on Mac, Linux or Windows for desktops, for Android and iOS on mobile and tablet, and as a web platform via the browser. The platform is designed to give a uniform user experience across platforms as far as possible, to reduce the potential for confusion.
For those wishing to build financial applications, for mobile or desktop, EXANTE offers a flexible but well-developed HTTP API that can handle a wide variety of scenarios. The API can accommodate use cases as diverse as options strategy advisers, price alert bots, websites with live currency or stock quotes and notifications, as well as bespoke trading solutions. Users can work with raw or aggregated data (such as OHLC candlesticks). The API is designed to be integrated with back-office reporting systems. The API offers granular order placement, control, and tracking enabling the trader to manage positions from end to end. For algorithmic traders, seeking to deploy automated trading strategies from their own servers, EXANTE offers a FIX 4.4 API. The FIX API provides traders with low latency access to EXANTE’s full suite of instruments, with integrated data from all major exchanges, and the ability to rapidly access and transfer large datasets. EXANTE secures market access for its clients through a network of 1,100 servers distributed globally, to ensure the fastest possible execution no matter the location of the client. This institutional-quality infrastructure can deliver ultra-low execution speeds, as low as 10ms. For those clients wanting to do more traditional analyses, EXANTE also allows its data to be easily used in spreadsheets via a plug-in for Microsoft Excel – still by far the most common tool in the financial industry.
EXANTE believes that customer support is at the core of its competitive advantage. EXANTE delivers top notch customer support by phone, email or instant chat message. Each EXANTE client has their own dedicated account manager, to understand the client’s needs, answer queries about the platform, and make sure the client can use it to its full potential. EXANTE is so confident in its ability to offer this level of customer service, it guarantees an in-person response from a member of the support team within 3 minutes of a request from the client, through any channel. EXANTE also provides several useful services designed to streamline and improve the client experience. The company allows deposits in 14 major currencies in amounts as low as €10,000 for individuals (or €50,000 for corporate clients), and permits cross-margining, allowing unencumbered assets to be used as security for leveraged positions, substantially decreasing the cash an investor must hold. EXANTE’s market-leading customer experience and support, and the strength of its community outreach, were highlighted when it won the Best Broker – Digital category at the Digital Investment Company Awards.
EXANTE offers clients access to a wide variety of over 600,000 financial instruments, in all major asset classes, from a single multi-currency account. This includes over 20,000 stocks from over 30 exchanges on five continents, and 16,000 bonds – both exchange-traded and over the counter (OTC), from government and private issuers and over 400,000 options. Investors can also trade over 50 major liquid currency pairs, via the spot, forward or swap markets. EXANTE clients can access precious metals including gold, silver, copper, platinum and palladium using a range of instruments, including the spot currency markets, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and futures or options. Clients can request new instruments and see them added to the platform within 24 hours.
EXANTE provides best-in-class commission rates across asset classes and instruments. This includes rates as low as US$0.02 per share for stocks and ETFs, 9 basis points in bonds, and spreads of as little as 0.3 pips in currencies. In spot gold and silver, commission rates are just 0.005%, and US$3 on platinum, palladium and copper. Futures and options commissions start as low as US$1.50 per contract. For clients wishing to withdraw money, EXANTE will process requests in 3-5 business days, with fees as low as €30. Unlike several competitors, dealing and withdrawal fees are the only fees charged – EXANTE does not charge any account maintenance fees.