How to choose a trading terminal to work on the exchange

Today, investors have a large number of tools for transactions with various assets on the exchange. The main means of trading is a special terminal, that is, software that reflects important market data, and there is the possibility of placing orders.

It can be difficult for beginners to navigate and choose software with a convenient interface, risk management and testing strategies. In today’s article, we will talk about what criteria are worth paying attention to.

Types of Trading Applications

Today, there are 4 main ways of making transactions on the exchange online:

  • Desktop terminal. This is a program that is installed on a computer to monitor the market and complete transactions. It is the terminals of this type that are most common among investors who conduct active trading.
  • Web Terminals. Many brokerage companies provide the ability to perform transactions through the web interface. Often such systems are combined with a workflow module, mainly used to control the market situation, and not for active trading.
  • Mobile terminals. In addition to desktop terminals, mobile applications are often used that allow you to monitor the state of the investment portfolio and complete transactions. Typically, the functionality of such applications is more modest than that of desktop counterparts, but they are well suited for operational control.
  • Automated Trading Systems. According to statistics, for quite some time now, most of the transactions on modern exchanges are made by robots. At its core, these are programs that trade in accordance with their strategy. We wrote a lot about robots (here, here and here), today we just mention that you can create them using the API of our trading system SMARTcom.

Today we will talk about the first option – desktop terminals for trading. What should I look for when choosing them?

Own development of a broker or external solution

At the moment, dozens of brokers are working in the Russian stock market. These include both banks that offer their customers access services to the exchange, and companies that engage exclusively in brokerage activities. The sizes of these companies also vary greatly, so not all of them can afford to develop their own software solutions for their customers.

Such brokers provide their customers with a popular trading program called QUIK. Here’s what the interface of this application looks like:

At the same time, those companies that have sufficient resources develop their own trading solutions. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • “Native” terminal allows you to provide more functions – for example, in our trading terminal SMARTx a variety of pluginssignificantly expanding functionality.
  • investors have more influence on developers – in the case of their own terminals, developers from brokerage companies instantly see feedback on innovations or reaction to shortcomings. Therefore, new features appear faster.
  • deeper relationship with the broker’s trading system – for example, ITI Capital clients are available single cash position service. It allows you to use funds in one of the accounts as collateral for transactions in other markets, this facilitates trading and reduces the amount of resources needed to implement different trading strategies.

UI Convenience

A trading terminal is an important tool, any click in which can lead to a successful transaction or financial loss. Therefore, the system interface should be convenient and customizable. Therefore, we in the SMARTx terminal provided the ability to connect an additional desktop, activate a dark theme, as well as the “Quotes” plugin, with which you can create an unlimited number of tables with quotes, and not one, as usual.

Risk management functions

Trading software should make it possible to configure risk management parameters that will allow controlling risk, minimizing possible losses during trading, and also more reliably taking profit on transactions.

For example, it’s good if the program allows you to configure a ban on placing new applications and opening new positions on a specific account in case of violation of the established conditions.

It is also important that the software has the ability to use orders such as stop loss, take profit and moving stop orders. Such orders are used to protect open positions – if the price goes down sharply, losses will be limited, and profit will be fixed. The SMARTx terminal has the ability to place bundles of such orders (and there is also a module that prohibits transactions in case of violation of the conditions).


For the trading terminal, performance is important. The program should work equally well on old or weak computers / tablets, when making tens or hundreds of transactions per day, with large-scale movements in the market.

In the days of the release of important economic news, the amount of market data (market data) sent by the server to the terminal can increase tenfold in a short time. If the program is not optimized enough and is running on a weak device, it can simply freeze at the most crucial moment, which can result in a user losing money.

In addition, there is a whole class of active traders on the market (for example, scalpers, arbitrageurs and high frequency traders) who carry out a large number of orders and transactions even on a regular trading day. Such merchants rarely use GUI terminals for direct trading, but often use similar software to control their positions, however a large amount of data generated by them, even a powerful computer can “not digest”.

The merchant must be able to cope with all such cases. Therefore, we are constantly working to increase the productivity and speed of the SMARTx terminal. Here in this article a couple of years ago we talked about this work in more detail.

Conclusion: it is very important to check everything

These criteria are very important, but I do not want to test them in combat mode with the possibility of real losses for obvious reasons. Therefore, it is important that the broker whose terminal you are considering enable test access. Our trading system has a test engine, with which you can check all the functions of the terminal using a test account with virtual money. You can connect it link.

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