Tradecision is a very comprehensive trading system design, testing, simulation,
and execution software package that has more features than the average systematic trader will ever need. As with all trading
software it's the things it can't do that are most revealing and the list for Tradecision is quite small and relatively insignificant.
What it can't do (not much)
- It can't test a trading strategy on a variable list of symbols determined
by a historical daily scan (but what trading system software can do this?)
- It doesn't have global variables that are available in each section of the
trading strategy so you would have to write a custom dynamic link library (DLL) to achieve this.
- A running total account value is not available in the custom position
sizing section so you can't program a percent-risk position-sizing model (although this feature I'm told will be available
in future releases).
What it can do (a lot)
As you can see from the graphic of the "Tools" menu to the left, there are
plenty of useful features in this software. As well as the standard charts (historical and real-time), indicators (very comprehensive),
and alerts, there are a selection of major functional areas that are very useful for designing, testing, and executing automated
trading systems. The main ones include:
- Data Manager - quickly and easily retrieves historical data from multiple
data vendors and timeframes.
- Neat Scan - a filtering and scanning tool.
- Strategy Builder
- fully-functioned trading strategies defined using a programming language "Improvian".
- Simulation - a comprehensive strategy back testing feature.
- Execution - ability to automatically send strategy orders to Interactive
As well as these major functional areas there are other tools to handle streaming versus real-time
data, a neural network model, and facilities to call external code/programs using the dynamic link library (DLL) module.
There is also comprehensive online help and most features are accessed using "wizards" and structured
dialogues rather than having to learn the programming language immediately. This allows a novice user to utilize the
built-in functions easily, but is also flexible enough for the advanced professional user.
Neat scan is the filtering and scanning function that can be used to find groups of instruments you are interested in. You
can scan for setups and entries, or simply create lists that match certain criteria to go on a watchlist. There is a plethora
of available attributes to scan on and there were no problems constructing scans to find the equities of interest.
Each major area of functionality will now briefly be described.
manager is the way all historical and streaming data is controlled by the software. The number of data sources is impressive
with all major vendors being supported (including a couple of free ones for historical daily data like Yahoo and MSN). Functions
to manage splits, dividends, and other data actions are included. There is also a nice feature to add a list of symbols based
on a major index instead of having to add all the components manually. Once configured, data can be automatically updated
when the main program is run.
Strategy builder is the engine that makes this software run. A strategy is split into 4 main sections to specify criteria
for entering and exiting long and short trades. There are also many built-in functions to handle things like stops and position-sizing
so you don't have to program them yourself using the "Improvian" language. Personally, I don't like separating code into
4 sections (that can't communicate with each other except via the position-size functions) but it was still possible to program
most of what I wanted to do.
functions are the heart of the testing suite in the software. One great feature is the ability to apply a strategy to a list
of symbols, run historical tests, and collate all the results to see the overall performance of the strategy on the list of
symbols. This is one of the best back testing features I have used.
Execution services allow you to automate the trading of a particular strategy
using Interactive Brokers. This is useful if you use intra-day or shorter term trading systems and don't want to have to
manually enter every order.
As well as all this excellent functionality mentioned above there is an Artificial Intelligence
(AI) Neural Network module that attempts to prodict the value of a variable into the future. Neural networks are not
my thing since I believe they are the ultimate in "curve fitting", but it's worth a mention since it is easy enough for
someone who knows nothing about AI to use it effectively.
Tradecision is one of the most complete and fully-functioned trading system software packages
that I have come across. For the price the standard version is a relative bargain. With the money back guarantee
what have you got to lose?
This software comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.
Review written by Paul King