TradeStation, arguably the leading PC financial software for the retail and small institutional trader, has been making incremental releases to its 8.0 products since 2004. So the release of TradeStation 9.0 in October 2010 carried high expectations for significant enhancements. In the eyes of this reviewer, TradeStation 9.0 has certainly met, if not exceeded, those expectations. The overall scope of its technology and user community continues to keep the product at the head of the class.
In fact, with so much technology and new features, simply reviewing the product is a daunting task. And if there is an Achilles heel to the product, it is that for the new user the learning curve can be steep. TradeStation 9.0 encompasses tools to actively trade stocks, options, futures and forex, addressing the full range of trade execution, from discretionary manual order entry to entirely computer automated and back-tested systems.
The TradeStation business functions as both a developer of technical trading software and as a broker. It has self-cleared stock transactions for several years. TradeStation’s commissions are highly competitive, but when account and data fees are added, TradeStation 9.0 may be vulnerable to solutions that derive their revenue solely from commissions. In any case, today there are tens of thousands of individual TradeStation retail customers.
As competitors attempt niche products that excel in a specific area, TradeStation 9.0 has continued to expand its scope in order to retain an advantage. Continuing to evolve without becoming overly complex may be the product’s greatest challenge. But then, I’d rather have that problem to deal with than be on the competition’s side of the equation.