Consumers love to customize. From apparel and accessories to
teddy bears and tennis shoes, shoppers want to personalize
, they can even customize their online brokerage.
TradeStation Group, based in Plantation, Fla., targets
sophisticated traders who seek analytic data to interpret market
moves. Rather than offer just a menu of investment tools, the
brokerage encourages customers to create their own.
Using TradeStation's technology, traders can customize
analysis techniques and track markets in real time based on
conditions or parameters they set for themselves.
As a result, investors can spot trends or chart patterns using
their own prescribed criteria. They can program the system to
search for certain market indicators and send alerts when such
"We want to elevate the craft of investing," said Salomon
Sredni, TradeStation's CEO. "Customers can leverage our
customizable platform to find trading opportunities."
Rise From Omega
TradeStation -- cited in the
Best Online Brokers
survey -- started in 1982 as Omega Research, developing software
for trading strategy, charting and analytics.
By 2000, it was in the securities brokerage business.
"We're a technology company that happens to be in the
brokerage industry because it's the best way to monetize our
technology," said Sredni, who joined the firm in 1996 as vice
president of operations. "You can track our success -- serving
serious traders who are looking for superior technology to get an
edge -- back to our roots."
TradeStation's decision to become an online brokerage was met
with skepticism from some industry observers. Sredni recalls that
"everybody told us we're nuts," but his team persevered with its
By continuing to develop software for investors to customize
their market research and trading strategy, TradeStation carved
out a niche in the hotly competitive online brokerage
It cultivated relationships with dedicated traders who sought
to harness the latest technology to help them
A subsidiary of Japan's Monex Group since 2011, TradeStation
offers extensive education and training. Customers can sign up
for coaching with a TradeStation specialist. They can also
participate in 30-minute morning calls with market mavens who
share their experience using TradeStation.
"We can afford to spend time with our customers," Sredni said.
"They are active traders, the cream of the crop. We want the top
10% to 15% of the customer base that generates 90% of the
With about 550 employees, TradeStation grows by constantly
unveiling new technology.
Sredni embraces "agile software development" principles, which
let developers collaborate in stages to forge breakthroughs.
Did It Himself
Some customers develop their own programs and offer them in
TradeStation's Strategy Network.
Bruce Tandy, an independent trader in Elmsford, N.Y., has used
TradeStation tools for 15 years. Last summer, he designed his own
options trading program through TradeStation's object-oriented
Easy Language programming platform. He says his program helps
options traders act faster and avoid "five to 15 seconds of
clicking around to change your order."
Tandy organized a TradeStation user group in 2012 to share
ideas with other traders. He likes how the brokerage lets him
reconfigure his computer monitor. "It gives me the ability to put
what I want on the screen, where I want it," he said.