Headquartered in Plantation, Florida, TradeStation offers—through the company’s two subsidiaries TradeStation Securities and TradeStation Crypto—advanced electronic platforms to trade stocks, futures, options and cryptocurrencies. In addition to brokerage services designed for traders, the company has an extensive knowledge base, offers access to retirement planning options like individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and provides investment opportunities in bonds, exchange traded funds, and initial public offerings through an IPO trading platform.
Put Your Money to Work for You
TradeStation offers a variety of programs that can help generate extra income in your account, save you money and stretch the value of your trading dollar.
Increase Income with Our Stock Loan Program
Let your existing positions work harder for you. If we’re able to lend out your securities, you’ll receive 30% of the interest earned – and you can still close your positions at any time.
Stretch Your Trading Dollar with Low Margin Rates
Our competitive margin rates – as low as 3.5% for equities accounts – put the full buying power of your account to work for you. And you can trade some of our most popular futures contracts overnight at day-trading margin rates as low as 25%.
Like many other players in the online brokerage community, TradeStation announced in Oct. 2019 that it would begin offering commission-free trading on stocks and exchange-traded funds (see the pricing page of TradeStation.com for more information on pricing). The company branded the new commission-free trading structure TS GO, where options are priced at 50 cents per contract (85 cents for futures, 50 cents for micro futures, and $1.50 per contract for futures options).
Alternatively, rather than open a TS GO account, TradeStation clients can opt for TS Select instead. While TS GO is geared towards mobile and web traders, the TS Select plan is better suited for active traders who want to trade stock, futures, or options using the industry-leading TradeStation 10 desktop platform, which is free to all brokerage customers.
While stock and ETF trades in a TS Select account are free, stock options are 60 cents per contract, futures traders pay $1.50 per contract, micro futures are priced at 50 cents, and futures options cost $1.50 per contract. There is a $2,000 minimum deposit to open a TS Select account, but no account minimums to start trading in TS GO account.
Also, the commission-free stock and ETF trades in TS GO and TS Select accounts max out at 10,000 shares per trade. High volume traders will pay a per share commission beyond that. Specifically, for each order that exceeds 10,000 shares, $0.005 per share is charged on the excess over 10,000.
TradeStation is a top choice for day traders and quantitative types because of the firm’s expertise in developing trading software that allows users to backtest and automate strategies; TradeStation 10 is suitable for serious traders who can (and want to) allocate the time needed to design, test, and execute their own trading styles, systems, or approaches.
While less experienced traders and investors seeking to learn about trading can certainly benefit from the company’s extensive educational materials, the online broker falls short on investment research for individual stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or ETFs. Suitable long-term investors may be interested in our program to earn interest on eligible crypto balances.
The real power of TradeStation lies in leveraging the capabilities of the TradeStation 10 desktop platform, which includes nearly 300 indicators and the ability to create custom watch lists and charts in a wide array of different colors. Traders can also set alerts on price levels or important events like earnings announcements.
If you’re not familiar with backtesting, the term refers to the process of looking at the price history of an investment to determine if any combination of chart patterns or indicators can help forecast future price moves, which can then be used to generate profits in the markets. TradeStation has a large database of historical data (40 years’ worth of stock prices) to help traders better understand how stock, options, and futures strategies fared in the past.
Once a backtest is complete, strategies can be implemented in a simulated trading account. Just like a flight simulator trains a pilot without risking people’s lives, a “sim” account is a handy way for traders to see the real-time results of their trading systems without risking real dollars. Portfolio Maestro is the analysis feature within TradeStation that helps to optimize trading strategies by highlighting what approaches are working and what strategies need adjusting.
After a profitable trading approach is identified and defined, the system can then be automated using TradeStation 10 desktop platform, so that trading signals from the backtested system automatically generate buying and selling in the TradeStation account.
In sum, the ability to backtest, live test (in a simulated trading environment), and automate strategies within one platform makes TradeStation 10 among the best solutions for serious-minded traders who want to create robust trading systems using hard data and the most advanced technology available.
The TradeStation platform was built by traders, for traders. TradeStation 10 still includes EasyLanguage, which provides a way to backtest and run trading strategies without any coding or programming expertise; it allows traders to write programs and automate trading ideas. Any trader with a strategy concept or idea can build the system using EasyLanguage or hire third-party developers to do the work for them.
TradeStation also runs a TradingApp Store that includes a wide array of indicators and strategies that can be downloaded and added to the platform. Some of the apps are from third-party developers and others are created by a team of programmers at TradeStation. Many of the add-ons are free; others cost money.
Futures traders will find TradeStation’s commissions among the lowest in the industry and the FuturesPlus platform is one of the best tools for trading futures and futures options. Available on desktop, web, or mobile, FuturesPlus includes options analytics like the greeks and implied volatility, real-time quotes, and the ability to execute both simple and complex options strategies.
Lastly, TradeStation’s mobile app is among the best in the business and includes advanced features for traders who want access to markets from tablets or smartphones. Charts include a variety of indicators that can be viewed across multiple timeframes. You can also create watch lists, check account balances, and trade futures or options from the TradeStation mobile app.
TradeStation Fact Sheet
- Founded: 1982
- First Online Trade: 2001
- Initial Public Offering: 1997 (until being acquired by Monex Group in 2011)
- CEO: John Bartleman
- Employees: 400
- Headquarters: Plantation, FL
- Retail Branches: 0
TradeStation was formed in 1982 as Omega Research by brothers William (Bill) and Rafael (Ralph) Cruz. Active traders themselves, their goal was to develop software to design, backtest, and automate trading strategies. The result was innovative software designed for professional traders.
The flagship TradeStation product debuted in 1991 and OptionStation, an advanced analytical platform for options traders, was unveiled in 1996. OptionStation Pro is now a built-in feature within the TradeStation desktop and includes real-time options greeks, risk-reward analysis, and the ability to implement both simple and complex options strategies.
The company became publicly traded in 1997 and, in 2001, converted from a software company to a brokerage firm, changing the brand name to TradeStation. Ten years later, Japan’s online brokerage firm Monex acquired the company for $411 million.
In 2019, TradeStation acquired and rebooted an education and social media company called YouCanTrade and launched its own crypto brokerage firm called, appropriately, TradeStation Crypto. The commission-free TS GO platform was also launched in 2019.
TradeStation earns high rankings from brokerage firm reviewers. Stockbrokers.com rates TradeStation the “#1 Platform Technology” for the ninth consecutive year and the “#1 Crypto Technology” in its 2021 Online Broker Review.