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?

CyberTrader Newsletter Article – Streamline Your Trading Routine Using Automation

September 12th, 2007

Here’s another article I wrote for the CyberTrader monthly newsletter called Streamline Your Trading Routine Using Automation.  It describes the process I go through to automate as many tasks as possible in my daily trading routine.

There is always room for improvement in your routine and automating certain aspects of your day will prevent mistakes and free your time for more important tasks.

Here’s the first article I wrote a while back.

CyberTrader Newsletter Article – How a Trading Journal Can Make You a Better Trader

September 10th, 2007

Several weeks ago I wrote an article for the CyberTrader Monthly Newsletter.  I’ve gotten a lot of good comments on it so I thought I’d post a link to it here.  It’s called How a Trading Journal Can Make You a Better Trader.

I talk about how I analyze my version of the Dummy Trading system and how I’ve been able to uncover some hidden mistakes in my trading, including my 11AM trading mystery.

I’ve since written another article that’s just been published.  I’ll post a link to that one tomorrow.  It’s called Streamline Your Trading Routine Using Automation.

CyberTrader Plugin Available for StockTickr

April 26th, 2007

The most painstaking part of keeping a trading journal of your trades is the fact that you make your trades with your broker and then you have to go and enter them in your journal. If you trade frequently, this process is painful, time consuming, and error prone.

I believe a trading journal is the most important weapon a trader can have and it should be easy to enter trades into. That’s why we’ve created a plugin for CyberTrader that will do 95% of the work it takes to enter your trades into your journal automatically.

I’ve been using the plugin for a few weeks now and it saves me at least 15 minutes every day that I trade and it’s not subject to my human error. It saves me more and more time the more I trade. This way I can spend more time improving my trading and less time doing data entry.

If you’d like to test this plugin and you’re a StockTickr Pro user, you can download it here.

And don’t worry, IB users, we’re busy developing IB support as well. Here’s a screenshot of the plugin in action. If you’re not a StockTickr Pro user yet, you can sign up here for a free trial.

CyberTrader/StockTickr Plugin

Automatically Generating My Watchlist with the Trade-Ideas API

April 12th, 2007

I’m always looking for ways to cut down on the time I spend on my daily trading routine. Many of my various trading tasks are performed much better by a computer. In my experience, if there’s some task that you do that can be safely performed by a computer, then I believe it’s worth a one-time chunk of your time figuring out how to automate it. I’ve spent sometimes a few hours automating a task that only takes me a few seconds to do manually. There are many benefits to doing this: Read the rest of this entry »

Using CyberTrader’s Stock Screener List to Find Gaps*

February 27th, 2007

*Or most anything.

Most often I use Trade-Ideas to find gaps to daytrade (look for a post soon showing my morning routine). Normally that scan produces anywhere between 30 and 80 results for both the short and long side (so 60 to 160 total) which I whittle down to usually less than 30 stocks (a lot of times even fewer) that I know there’s at least a possibility that I might trade. The entire process takes about 4 minutes and I’m getting faster the more I do it.

Well, with today’s huge gap down my trusty scan on the short side gave me a list of 443 candidates – ouch! I refused to take the time to scan through that many candidates, so it’s looking like I won’t trade today.

I used the time instead to look into a CyberTrader feature that I’ve wanted to explore more fully. It’s called the Stock Screener List tool and it turns out to be quite powerful. Read the rest of this entry »

Another Reason to Like CyberTrader

February 22nd, 2007

I’ve been using CyberTrader for several months now and I think they’re great. Besides a great platform, their support is excellent. Yesterday I had an idea that I thought would be good to add to CyberTrader, so I called them up to make the suggestion. I was on hold for about 1 minute which is by far the most I’ve ever had to wait to get a person on the line – it was lunch time, so that may have been the holdup.

My suggestion was something along these lines. In the CyberTrader watchlist tool, there are several columns you can add. There is no “Volume %” column however. The Volume % column is today’s volume as a percent of a stock’s average 90 day volume. This column is the only reason I still have QuoteTracker up during the day. Sorting by this column is quite convenient. I always include QQQQ in my watchlist in QuoteTracker so I can see which stocks are trading more than average compared with the overall market. Here’s an image of the column:

Volume Percent Column

In CyberTrader, you can add a column for Average Volume for 1 month, 6 months, 20 days, 5 days, and YTD, but there’s no column for Volume % for each of those values, so you have to do quick math in your head to figure out how heavy the volume is for a particular stock.

When I spoke to the support person, it was obvious that he understood what I was asking for and realized that it would be a good feature for the platform and why it would be. He immediately added a feature request to the Platform Dev group and, although he couldn’t guarantee it, I’m reasonably confident that this feature will make it into a future release of CyberTrader.

The entire call took about 3 minutes and it was obvious that I spoke to someone with actual trading experience.

CyberTrader Trick: The Opening Gap Fade

December 14th, 2006

As you might know, I switched to CyberTrader a while back and am loving it. It was a breeze to switch brokers and the trading platform is excellent.

What I’m really liking about CyberTrader right now is their Alert Templates. Read the rest of this entry »