Silexx Financial Systems — Obsidian Trading Platform
Web site: www.silexx.com/obsidian
Requirements: Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7, .NET Framework 3.5, 1GB RAM
Price: 14-day free trial. $200.00 per month for basic version, $400.00 per month for “Pro” version
Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 4
Silexx’s flagship product, "Obsidian," is a comprehensive trading system to interface with the market, including risk management systems, full execution systems for a variety of securities including options, stocks and futures. In addition, Obsidian also includes the ability to create quote boards and numerous charting features such as technical indicators and varying time periods.
The company has integrated the Obsidian trading platform into several trading platforms including Penson, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Dash Financial and Interactive Brokers. The Silexx website notes that they can offer custom solutions with other firms to meet the client’s needs.
Installation, documentation and support: 3.5 out of 4
After creating an account at the Silexx website, the user is given a link to download the Obsidian platform. The installation proceeds very quickly with a minimum of user options. Upon completion of installation, an Obsidian icon will appear on the user’s desktop. Launching the program is as simple as clicking on the icon and entering a user name and password.
The Silexx website offers several video tutorials that cover many of the various modules of Obsidian. The tutorials are very well presented and serve as a step-by-step guide for new users. The website indicates that a new set of video tutorials will be available soon. In addition to the videos, Silexx also offers nearly 20 “manuals” covering various aspects of the trading platform. These are not written manuals to print off, but rather on-screen walk-throughs. For example, one of the manuals covers “Order Tickets.” In this section the user is shown, via screen prints of the actual program, how to place an order with the Obsidian system. Before launching into the program, it would be time well spent to browse through each of the manuals, as Obsidian has plenty of layers and complexities.
For those who are interested in such details, a complete set of “Release Notes” also is available on the Silexx website. As each version of Obsidian is updated, the changes are documented in the appropriate Release Note.
For more specific user support, the developers of Obsidian are available via telephone and email.
Features: 4 out of 4
Obsidian is, at its heart, a trading platform. But, because it incorporates several features not always found in other similarly labeled products, it is much more. As with any trading platform, you would expect to find the ability to create quote screens and some level of charting capabilities. Obsidian’s charting is impressive because it includes dozens of predefined technical indicators such as MACD, Bollinger Bands and various moving averages. Each indicator’s parameters can be customized by the user. A nice feature of the charting is the ability to link the quote board so that with a simple click on a security, its chart automatically opens. Chart types include candlesticks, bar and line, with each scalable from one-minute to monthly intervals.
The Obsidian platform consists of a series of modules, each of which opens a new window that can be resized and customized to the user’s preference. The modules include: Option Chain, Quote Board, Time & Sales, Order Book, Trade Activity, Alerts, Order Ticket, Position Analyzer, Volatility Skew, Earnings, and Option Calculator, among others. (The “Pro” version includes additional modules such as News and Option Spread Maker.) By having each module open in a separate window, the user is able to create a fully customized desktop with only the desired information appearing. This ability allows for a truly unique user experience – certainly a highly desirable trait in the trading world.
Of course, with any trading platform order placement is of utmost importance. Obsidian has all the bases covered on this front. From simple limit orders to complex option entries, Obsidian is equipped to handle any variation thrown its way. Especially impressive is the ability to “Reserve” an order, which limits how much of the order is displayed on the exchange order book (e.g., you want to place an order for 10,000 shares but only want to display 1,000 on the order book). Equally compelling are the built-in options strategies. Creating iron condors, covered calls and spreads (calendar, horizontal, diagonal, etc.) is as simple as clicking on the strategy and populating the fields. This is not only a time-saver, but it greatly reduces the chances of entering a trade incorrectly.
The ability to download detailed information for every trade into Excel (or other compatible programs) is a feature that will be appreciated by traders who like to analyze their historical results for various reasons, be they tax-related or simply as a way to measure trading performance. Additionally, Obsidian also incorporates the ability to set alerts and audio notifications to signal when a trade has been executed, or a certain price action has occurred.
This only scratches the surface of the many features within Obsidian. Each module offers the user essentially a stand-alone program with many additional features within. With so much information at one’s fingertips it is wise to poke around a bit with the software to get a feel for all it can do before actually trading an account.
Silexx Financial Systems has created a very polished and user-friendly trading platform that should meet the needs of virtually any trader regardless of sophistication or security preference. Obsidian is very intuitive, highly customizable and quite extensive in the modules offered. Initially, many users may find that the numerous modules are overwhelming, and perhaps not even use most of them, but the benefit of Obsidian is that as your trading experience increases, the trading platform will grow with you and reveal additional features to enhance the trading experience.
Bruce C. Greig, CFA, CAIA, CMT, is the Portfolio Manager for Altin Holdings, LLC. Greig has Bachelor’s degrees in statistics and mathematics, and a Master’s degree in finance, all from the University of Michigan.