The brokerage firm that I use is Stage 5 Trading. They are currently the top rated futures’ broker on Investimonials.
My review policy is here.
Firstly let see what their offering is in their own words and then I will examine each part and give my own experience of these services.
|Stage 5 Trading is a high-end, boutique brokerage firm whose primary objective: to enhance the experience of traders by implementing systems that encourage traders to grow. We feel that Stage 5 provides a more structured trading environment, better trader support services, and a larger variety of independent solutions to better assist traders in reaching their brokerage goals.
At Stage 5 Trading, our traders always come first. Our team consists of a tenacious group of individuals that combines experience, technical knowledge and resolute values. We base our relationships with our employees, partners, and affiliates on a long-term perspective and value-assessment.
Stage 5 Trading Corp (S5T) is a high-end online futures broker. Specialties are:
My experience of customer service with Stage 5 Trading as a firm and with the individuals at the firm has been great. The speed and attention to detail in answering questions is second to none in my experience. Normally I have found customer service with other brokers to be very good up to the moment the account is opened and then tails off very rapidly.
This has not been my experience with Stage 5. After 2 years, I cannot fault their customer service. It is still as good as it was at the beginning. I have never been with any brokerage that has held interventions with their own customers, to stop them from self-destructing their own accounts. Not that I have been on the receiving end of these interventions, but some of them have been broadcast live (with the traders’ permission) as a learning experience for all the traders at the firm.
They seem to genuinely care about the success of their clients. I found this culture very supportive and at times, when I have thought that I could not take my trading to the next step, this culture and their advice has helped me though these periods.
S5 Trader Platform
I used this when I first started with Stage 5 and now use it as a backup platform. It was / is based on a version of the OEC trading platform. I do not know what the differences are between the 2 platforms. I have found the platform to be pretty basic on the charting side but overall, a solid and reliable platform with a good DOM.
No Monthly Platform Fees or minimum transaction fees!
If you use their platform, then there are no charges. Of course, if you use a third party charting or execution platform, then there could be extra fees. I use the DOM from Jigsaw Trading and charting from RT Investor. These are extra costs.
Flexible intraday margins (note, with increased leverage, comes increased risk)
My margin for trading the Bund is the same margin as advertised by OEC. I have not had reason to negotiate or discuss margins with them.
Good mobile platform. I have only used it twice, when I had to leave the house with a trade on and from my very limited experience, it is better and more user friendly than other mobile apps I have used. Overall, my experience with mobile trading with any firm is the square root of fuck all.
One on One S5 Trader platform walkthroughs available with your own client service representative!
This was great. Not only did they walk me though the Stage 5 platform, but they arranged a walk though of RT Investor when I first started. This was invaluable as RT can be a bit daunting compared to MT4 and Tradestation.
Access to the most popular software vendors like S5 Trader, XTrader, NinjaTrader, and many more!
They offer a lot of different packages and they listened to my requirements and then made appropriate suggestions. This was great as when I first moved to Futures, I did not know my arse from my elbow. I had looked at other brokerages and ended up making a spreadsheet to work out what I need in charting, platform, data, etc and to compare the costs to ensure that I got what I needed. This is hard to do when one does not know what is essential and what is not.
Max Timmins, my representative, made suggestions and I am still basically on the same setup.
Professional Trader (FT71) monitored client only structured learning environment.
This is another point which sets Stage 5 apart from other brokers. I will break it down into two areas. The chatrooms and the educational webinars.
I am not in the main chat room which specialises in the American indices and currencies futures, but I am in the European products’ room.
The European room is very supportive and lots of information is shared from statistics to trading styles. If someone has any problem relating to trading then there is always plenty of helpful advice. It is one of the best chatrooms I have been in.
Of course a chatroom is not going to make a trader profitable but the culture it breeds I have found very helpful in maintaining a good focus though out the day.
Morad (FT71) runs these and let me be clear straight away. He is not giving out individual trades, individual setups or a complete trading system. I found his content to be more focused on volume profiling, statistics, context / bias, consistency, the mental side of trading and answering questions from traders from the firm. Once a month they open these sessions to the public. An example is here but I found that these tend to be at a lower level than the normal webinars.
Whilst after 2 years there is a small level of repetition in the subjects covered, that is to be expected. Overall, these webinars have changed my trading for the better on virtually every single level.
I had a system of trading before I joined Stage 5 and at its core, it has not changed that much. However, Morad (FT71) has had the biggest cumulative effect on my trading. I still listen to the webinars every week. I find it is like an end of week meeting where the performance manager discusses various issues faced by the team.
S5 Trade Analyzer – FREE
A good starting journal, covers all the basic statistics and what a trader needs to start analysing their trades. A new one is in the works and I am looking forward to it.
Is this all too good to be true?
All this does come at a cost. There are no fees, but I can get better commission rates at other brokers. Therefore, through their commission structure you pay for these services.
To give an idea of costs, I compared what I would be paying in commissions at various other discount brokers against what I am paying at Stage 5. On average it cost me 5.20 dollars per week in extra commissions at my size, to trade at Stage 5.
As I have increased in size and frequency, Stage 5 have always been willing to reduce my commissions.
At the end of the day, this type of model for brokerage needs to be profitable and I have no problem in paying extra, if the services they provide make me more profitable in the long run. For me they do.
Stage 5 might not be the place for a trader slinging big size who is looking purely for good execution and cheap commissions. I am not one of those traders so cannot speak for that side.
I can only speak as a retail forex trader that wanted to change to the futures market and up his game.
Overall a fantastic service and a great place to be for a trader. One of the services I would recommend without hesitation.
Stage 5 Trading