CyberTrader Migration to Schwab: Good Enough or Disaster?

December 12th, 2007

TraderMike turned me on to CyberTrader several months ago and they’ve recently consolidated their platforms and have pushed CyberTrader Pro users to Schwab’s StreetSmart Pro platform.  I’ve only made one trade with the new Street Smart Pro that CyberTrader clients have been migrated to.  I’ll admit it is going to take some getting used to.  There are some features that are just flat out missing (like seeing how many shares are available for shorting or unrestricted pre and post market trading) and others that have changed just enough to be really annoying (account balances only update every 15 minutes).

Rich made a comment on an earlier post about how this migration has been a “disaster” (his words) and I found this thread on EliteTrader that isn’t nearly as kind as Rich.  😉

Here’s a good summary of the gripes suggestions from AAAintheBeltWay on ET:

  1. Ability to short through ECNs. As it is SS Pro is not even a true direct access platform.
  2. Access to full pre and post market sessions without restrictions.
  3. Ability to set a default hidden order size, ie send an order for 100 shares but display 100 only. To be useable it has to be settable as a default, since you don’t have time in the heat of trading to go through additional boxes.
  4. Reduce the size of the trading window by eliminating or relocating the spec order box. The SS Pro windows are one line taller than those on Cyber, which eats up a lot of screen real estate.
  5. My trading windows are showing only my position, ie L:500, but not the average entry price as Cyber did. This is very useful info to have in front of you.
  6. Cyber displayed the number of shares shortable, which was very useful.
  7. The balance bar is almost totally useless. The account net worth number doesn’t update, there is no window for closed P & L and the Day Trade BP number is incorrect, since it apparently doesn’t factor in MM balances. Really an embarrassing mess IMO.
  8. The Account Detail window needs some work. Again, the Day trade BP is incorrect. The order status tab is not nearly as easy to read as the one from Cyber. Plus, it retains orders from prior days, which is very confusing. The positions tab likewise displays positions which have been sold. In Cyber, the window defaulted to the order status tab when a new order was entered, which was very useful and a good way to guard against accidental or “fat finger” mistakes.
  9. The Buy and Sell keys’ positions are reversed from where they were in Cyber. I know that this is causing a lot of trouble for former Cyber users.
  10. Although not an enhancement, I have to say that Cyber was known for excellent customer service. Apparently this is not a priority for Schwab. I have heard numerous horror stories of long waits, customer service reps who couldn’t answer questions, etc. I had the experience of being on Live Help for over 20 minutes trying to get a simple question about my BP resolved. Finally I gave up in frustration, as the rep seemed to know less than I did about the issue and he disappeared for long periods between responses. Totally unacceptable and very different from the Cyber experience.

I have to admit that I was a bit leery when one of the big selling points that Schwab made to entice CyberTrader customers to hang on through the migration was “access to mutual funds”.

So if you’re a (former) CyberTrader client and are now trading with SSPro – what do you think?  Disaster or doable?

12 Comments

  1. Rich C Said,

    December 12, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

    Some of the problems I encountered were that the open options I know I had and what appeared on the software after the transfer were not the same as the ones that showed up in the same account if you looked at it through their website. They are still working on that one. My account, looking at it from the website, showed to be $100,000 more in value then what it actually was.

    Several of the columns in the account details area in Street Smart Pro, that are very important, do not exist anymore. The software was suppose to be the same. But, if you look in Acct Details, under positions and go to columns, these are some that are now missing.

    These are just a few that are missing but ones I find crucial to trading Options.

    Underlying: The stock symbol that matches up to the Option you own.
    Days till Expiration: Days till your Option expires.(Now can be found in a new tool called my position. Means you have to have another tool open on an already tight page)
    Price: Price paid for a share/Option at time of execution. (their price shows the current price).
    P&L/Share: Profit or loss per one share or option.(they only show total gain/loss of total number of shares/contracts plus the price you paid, included as one total amount.
    $P&L: Gain/loss on the total trade(without the cost of the trade)

    Totally frustrated,
    Rich C

  2. Richard Koza Said,

    December 12, 2007 @ 2:52 pm

    Hi,

    I was Cyber user some time ago. I was not able to “fall in love” with Cyber Pro platform. So after some time I left as I found another direct access broker with Penson account services and clearing. But heard really good info about Cyber services all the time. It is pity to hear that now is this going bad.

    But I think that competition in brokerage arena is huge so it will be easy to find another suitable broker for daytrading or swingtrading

    So far I am really satisfied with my broker (I described some details on my page) and with its direct access execution platform. Customer service is good and execution fair.

    Richard

  3. Jeff White Said,

    December 12, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

    I miss CT Pro and don’t mind saying it! (That was liberating)! I did learn via phone today that the March SS Pro release is the next one which should address most of these issues, but I won’t be waiting around for it. I’m kicking tires around town but will leave my CT/Schwab accounts open (and unfunded) in case I decide to return.

    For now though, I’m unwilling to endure the platform as-is since I know what I’m missing from CT Pro. Feels like going from a Cadillac to a used Olds 88. Looks similar, but runs very different. I just don’t think in its current state that SS Pro is designed for anyone who is day trading.

    It just so happens that this market at the moment is catering to the shorter timeframes, which is why I am seeking an alternative direct-access broker. There are some good platforms out there, I was just hoping to not have to switch and learn another platform if I could help it!

    Jeff

  4. copocamaro Said,

    December 13, 2007 @ 6:50 am

    Hello this sucks big time there are no features to stop trades that shouldnt go through. Any one for class action law suite ? they have no stops on margin day trading, these guys suck big time anyone else having this trouble?

  5. copocamaro Said,

    December 13, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

    update from schwab anyone with margin trouble is just screwed. we need to start class action on them asap. there costing me couple of k a day not being able to trade. what sucks is there computer system failed and the customer is screwed. the ceo of cybertrader is trying to get this fixed some how, but at this point the damage is done. Best short in town has to be schwab since they will have a large mass exit with kind of crap there pulling. I tried to place order on the phone on tuesday after waiting for 10+ minutes guy answered finally and said can he help me, at that point the trade was done, so i said not anymore after waiting for 10+ minutes.

  6. Trader Mike Said,

    December 14, 2007 @ 6:48 am

    Schwab Doesn’t Want Former CyberTrader Clients — I Need a New Broker……

    Like they say, all good things must come to an end. I’ve been with CyberTrader since I started trading full time back in 1999. I can’t even imagine how much I’ve spent in commissions with them. That first year I spent about $30,000…

  7. bzbtrader Said,

    December 14, 2007 @ 7:39 am

    IMHO. . I’ve used the Schwab trading platform since 1987 in all it’s interations and have used SSPro since it was first rolled out as a trading platform. For hyper traders of stock, SSPro may indeed not be the best choice because of the fees,account update lags,etc. The SSPro Strategy Tester is a complete joke, which is my biggest complaint and there are no linear regression studies, an indicator which I find extremely useful. Many of the data field features are optional and programable and can be turned on and off, which new users may need some burn in time to figure out. I have been a fulltime daytrader for the past 7 years using SSPro. My trading preference is for the QQQQ options, not stocks, and I find the platform, level 2 option quotes, fees, executions and support to be grade A for my needs. I too wish that they had canned SSPro and kept the CT version, if only for the ability to trade futures, but alas, that was not to be. I’ve spent thousands of hours looking at other platforms and I have yet to find anything better for my particular trading needs. (I do use a 2000i version of TradeStation with a TC2005 datafeed to develop and test trading systems, but that runs on a completely separate computer set up.)

  8. Sabajuano Said,

    December 15, 2007 @ 3:50 pm

    I was trying to make an alarm to close a short position in AAPL and would not accept it, I looked at the trading window and that showed S:50 and L:100. How come I had a long and a short position at the same time? The position tab did not show the long position, the live help was dead, and I phoned them to ask about it, they suggested me to logoff and logon, by then, the long position was losing 4 points. I still don’t know how the long position started (I assume it was a stop order that went overboard) But since I was aware that Cybertrader did not allowed a short and long position at the same time it did not make any sense to me. I am looking for another broker, any suggestions?

  9. TraderMatt Said,

    January 24, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

    It really does appear that Schwab has no interest in the very active or day trader. That’s kind of amazing if you think about it; all the commissions they are giving up. The SSPro platform is very inferior to the CyberTrader plat. In addition to the above I would add the following:

    When you enter a position there used to be info displayed at the top of the stock box showing you position amount and your entry price. Entry price is no longer displayed.

    YOU CAN NO LONGER DIRECTLY ROUTE YOUR OPTIONS ORDERS- NO MORE DIRECT ACESS FOR OPTIONS.

    Options contracts are subject to review! By this I mean that if you send an order in- even a market order it might be delayed and reviewed by a person before execution. Last time this happened to me it took about one and one half minutes to execute 50 contracts in an issue that was trading hundreds of thousands of contracts.

  10. copocamaro Said,

    January 25, 2008 @ 9:04 am

    Time for a class action again them them had me down for 4 weeks not being able to trade because of all there mistakes. I am no longer with them either.

  11. mradair Said,

    April 20, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

    having multiple issues with Schwab. What online broker did you switch to?

  12. Dave Said,

    April 20, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

    I have switched to Interactive Brokers and have been pleasantly surprised. I really like them.

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