Attention Traders: the odds are against you…

… let me help.

Trading is hard, especially for the retail trader. To put it bluntly, large institutions will always have the advantage. While there are many mountains to overcome, I am attempting to help myself and others with some of the more technical hurdles that us retail traders confront.

One of the biggest challenges is speed of execution. Without some large changes in the industry, retail traders will never have the resources to connect directly to the data feeds and other systems necessary to complete a trade. While we can’t shave of the last few milliseconds, we can greatly reduce the tick-to-trade time by improving our front ends.

I have for years worked with Interactive Brokers as my broker. While all brokers have their warts, Interactive Brokers has provided me with relatively painless access to the markets. And while their Trader Workstation software is unwieldy, it is fairly complete. But partly due to all those features that were asked for by traders, the application is not as fast as it could be.

Part of the problem is that it is a Java application. It is simply not the right choice for a data heavy, performant application. It is obvious they have worked hard tuning it. To be honest I am surprised it is as fast as it is. But it is still too slow.

Rewriting Trader Workstation would be great. But who is going to do it? I would love to. Perhaps some decade I will. But that is simply too big of a project to bite off in one chunk. So instead, we will eat this elephant in smaller chunks.

I am completing a simple application I like to call “Sniper”. It follows me as I click around looking at different stocks and futures in Trader Workstation. When I want to enter an order, I can click around in Trader Workstation to build my order (yuck) , or I can hit a hotkey while Sniper is active and have the order placed immediately.

Now, you could configure hotkeys in Trader Workstation. Let me know when you figure out the intricacies of that. Instead of fighting the myriad of hotkey options in Trader Workstation, simply install Sniper. Sniper connects via the Interactive Brokers API. It provides hotkeys to place limit orders that can immediately be transmitted to Interactive Brokers for execution.

I am donating this small utility to entice you to talk to me about other software that will make your trades easier and faster.

Sniper will be available for Linux, MacOS and Windows. This post will be updated with more information as the product is released. The goal is to have version 1.0 released around April 15, 2023.

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