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brownsfan019

Review of Open ECry (futures broker)

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Here's my review of Open ECry (OEC) who is a futures broker.

 

website: http://www.openecry.com/

 

I've been discussing moving my business to OEC recently for a number of reasons and have found that OEC is a great firm to discuss your biz with and they will do what they can to help you out.

 

Some of the impressions I have thus far:

  • Very competitive commissions.
  • Platform is FREE and it is very nice in my opinion. Free would normally mean junk to me, but the OEC trader is just as nice as the $500/mo T4 I have currently.
  • Easy to get answers, help, etc. They are smaller, but not so small to be concerned.
  • They are based in Ohio! How cool is that! (well, for me at least. I can go and actually see their offices).

I do not have my business there yet, but at this point, it appears this will be the most logical next step for me.

 

If you are in the business for a new futures broker or just want to receive a competitive quote, I would suggest at least contacting OEC during your due diligence.

 

 

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Make sure to vote for me in the trading quote contest!! Hurry before time runs out!! http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/f97/trading-quotes-june-2007-votes-1879.html

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Guest cooter

Here's my two ticks worth about OEC.

 

The owner, Rick Tomsic also runs a private hedge fund, mainly investing in the 30 year bond product. You can find more info about him, and the companies he's been associated with through the years, plus the NFA complaints and sanctions lodged against an FCM where he ran the back office operations (curiously, Tomsic was not implicated in the matter) by searching at the NFA website:

 

National Futures Association - NFA is a regulatory service provider for the derivatives markets

 

PROS:

  • Competitive rates and margins - all available online 24/7. Go here for the current rates (which are not linked from the site map):
    Online Futures Trading - Open E Cry â„¢ Rates
     

  • Margin and accrued commission/fees are also available real-time while you trade, as it is built into their trading platform, OEC Trader, so you know exactly what your true P/L is while you are trading. No need to wait for your end-of-day statement to find that your trades are a scratch or a loss because of trading expenses (fees/commissions).
  • Free trading platform with DOM, and charting. New version of DOM has volume histogram built-in, plus real-time P/L as described above.
  • Self-serve trading - if you have the capital (margin) you can trade any of all of their available contracts. Just open a DOM on the trading symbol and trade as you please.
  • Support available around the clock 24/6 (whenever the markets are open) via built-in PM on their trading software. So you can reach a broker immediately on your platform, without having to call them. Nice touch that all brokers should have.
  • Online account update and management. Need a wire or check? Get it online. No calls needed. Need account statements - download it at your leisure.
  • Built-in auto-trading API available for Tradestation, called AutoX. Free for existing accounts until year-end, but they plan to charge $0.10 per side in the future for each auto-trade execution.
  • DEMO account can be uploaded with your current rate table so that you can have a more accurate feel for how the potential P/L of strategies while testing them out.

CONS:

  • OEC Trader platform is slower than other platforms out there. DOM is nice and flexible, but the execution/speed is just a tad slower than even Tradestation charting and Time and Sales, for example. Or the AT platform from Transact (and their IB Innfinitty). Place them side-by-side and the delay is readily apparent. When you're dealing with $$$, every millisecond counts.
  • OECTrader charting sucks. Bad ticks, lack of historical data (backfill), and other anomalies make it a curiosity item at best. Then again, it is free, so you are getting what you pay for.
  • As for bad ticks, you'll see forex-like "stop spikes" in the e-minis prior to and near the end of the trading day, if you pull up their charting. Bad ticks, perhaps, but it does show in their trading DOM on live trading as well. And since you don't see these spikes in the official exchange T&S prints, well....
  • Moreover, in their 30 year bond (which is a full-tick product), you'll see the occasional change in P/L without the tick moving up or down. Careful analysis shows that they've actually got quarter- and half- ticks in their charting and on their live DOM in the 30 year bond. Again, bad news here, since this has been brought to their attention on three separate occasions, and it's still not addressed and fixed.
  • Only 5 DOM open at any one time. Very odd limitation to their system. Likewise, the maximum quotes you can add to the platform simultaneously is only 50. At one time it was 100, then 25. Apparently, they are still having server issues due to growing pains from a marketing push.
  • DOM lacks proper tiered bracketing system to scale-in/scale out. Yes, the DOM has the fancy buttons for it, but the reality is that it doesn't work - at least not like the AT platform from Transact. Another feature that needs to be fixed, especially if scaling-out via brackets automatically is a component of your trading plan or strategy.
  • DEMO platform is not free for customers. They charge you $24.99/mo to have a running demo to use. Clearly, one demo should be made available free of charge to existing customers as part of the account setup.

SUMMARY:

 

In all, the pluses outweigh the minuses with Open ECry. Still, as with all firms, there are some issues that could be addressed - including some potential regulatory issues that may need immediate attention, as noted above.

 

Online Futures Trading - Open E Cry â„¢ a Direct Access Trading System

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Cooter - I thought it only fair to go to the source and ask exactly what had/has been going on at OEC with Rick.

 

Here is the response verbatim:

 

Rick does not operate a hedge fund and OEC or Rick has no affiliation with any hedge fund. Rick is the principal of Tomsic Capital Management which is a CTA but it has been inactive for over 4 years.

 

Rick was an AP of a firm and left in 1999. Nearly 7 years later this firm had an issue with the CFTC. Tomsic had no affiliation and was not named. Tomsic did not run the back office of this firm and was only an AP.

 

This is important to understand. I'm not sure where you got your info Cooter, but when I go the NFA site and search specifically for Rick Tomsic and check the site, I do not see any strikes against Tomsic OR OEC at this time.

 

Link to NFA directly to Rick's file: BASIC Details

 

Now, to complete some more due diligence on my end, here are screenshots of every NFA file that Tomsic is linked to, including the one you are referencing Cooter. I think you'll find it interesting to note that Tomsic is not listed anywhere in the complaint, which you noted, and if that should be considered a strike is up to the end user. I don't see a problem since his name is not listed in the document.

 

Screenshots of the NFA site and where Tomsic is listed:

attachment.php?attachmentid=1748&stc=1&d=1182180127

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=1749&stc=1&d=1182180142

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=1750&stc=1&d=1182180150

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=1751&stc=1&d=1182180158

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=1752&stc=1&d=1182180165

5aa70ddf260b3_OEC-FirmNFA.thumb.png.fe880cd4ef43cf65f4dca43e357a9dcc.png

5aa70ddf2f6b1_OEC-TomsicNFA.thumb.png.9d01003fda0b127a99d18a1463df4931.png

5aa70ddf36d4f_OEC-Tomsic2NFA.thumb.png.866b319acb4c29a2b2ab5700eb766d30.png

5aa70ddf3d678_OEC-Tomsic3.thumb.png.850a9c866022b000dcc775cadb51988e.png

5aa70ddf44402_OEC-Tomsic4.thumb.png.a360422858f2604dbc7e77dd4f31c4bb.png

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In summary, I don't see any reason to not consider doing business with OEC and/or Rick Tomsic. As far as the NFA files are concerned, they look perfectly clean to me. I don't think you can say that a firm that Rick was once an AP at that had issues SEVEN YEARS later is a problem.

 

Maybe there's more that meets the eye and Cooter will share some items that I am not aware of.

 

If nothing else, this stressed the importance of doing your own due diligence, going directly to the source with questions and using a message board as a guide for some ideas.

 

Now, a clean bill of health will not be enough if the platform is slow in real-time or any other issues that Cooter mentioned. I do not need their software for charting, so that's not a concern for me. But if this platform is too slow in real-time, I will be the first to post here to let you know. I will not compromise on speed and I am being told by OEC that their platform is fast. I don't know what 'fast' means but I will be comparing it to my T4 platform that's for sure.

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In summary, I don't see any reason to not consider doing business with OEC and/or Rick Tomsic. As far as the NFA files are concerned, they look perfectly clean to me. I don't think you can say that a firm that Rick was once an AP at that had issues SEVEN YEARS later is a problem.

 

Maybe there's more that meets the eye and Cooter will share some items that I am not aware of.

 

If nothing else, this stressed the importance of doing your own due diligence, going directly to the source with questions and using a message board as a guide for some ideas.

 

Now, a clean bill of health will not be enough if the platform is slow in real-time or any other issues that Cooter mentioned. I do not need their software for charting, so that's not a concern for me. But if this platform is too slow in real-time, I will be the first to post here to let you know. I will not compromise on speed and I am being told by OEC that their platform is fast. I don't know what 'fast' means but I will be comparing it to my T4 platform that's for sure.

 

I believe I said Rick was NOT implicated in the matter with his former firm.

 

Thanks for posting the files in the forum for all to see and verify themselves.

 

Now, as for the bad ticks in the US/ZB, and the "stop spikes" in the minis that I mentioned, do you or Rick have any response?

 

Again, I'm glad you are doing your own due diligence to determine whether OEC is worth doing business with.

 

Do let us know what you find with regard to the other issues mentioned.

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I believe I said Rick was NOT implicated in the matter with his former firm.

 

Thanks for posting the files in the forum for all to see and verify themselves.

 

Now, as for the bad ticks in the US/ZB, and the "stop spikes" in the minis that I mentioned, do you or Rick have any response?

 

Again, I'm glad you are doing your own due diligence to determine whether OEC is worth doing business with.

 

Do let us know what you find with regard to the other issues mentioned.

 

Coot - I'll see what I can find out.

 

You also did say he was running a private hedge fund trading the bonds. That's simply not true at all. That's kind of important to point out as well - that information, however you obtained it, is completely inaccurate.

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Looks like Open E Cry has fixed the problems with the bad ticks in the US/ZB and "stop spikes" in the e-minis.

 

Turn out the CME was sending settlement prices in their feed at 9:28 am and 15:30 et, but OEC did not filter out these prices from actual ticks.

 

Likewise, for the US/ZB, 1/4 ticks (and 1/2 ticks) were being sent in the full-tick 30yr bond product due to reduced tick spreads. OEC finally got their software developers to fix the problem (after about a year) by filtering it out of their regular feed.

 

Word has it that OpenECry is also updating their DOM to support proper mutil-leg bracket orders, in a fashion similar to the Transact AT and other platform, as the current scale-in/scale-out implementation on the OEC Trader DOM is sub-par at best.

 

Combined with the volume levels and histogram on the recent release of their DOM, this should make OEC's software quite competitive indeed.

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Glad to hear the bonds and e-mini spikes are fixed Cooter! When I first learned about them (from you) and as I was considering moving to OEC, this became a potential issue for me as well and I'm glad the problems are resolved.

 

It's my understanding there's quite a bit on the plate for future OEC dom releases. I constantly provide feedback and ideas to improve the software and I would suggest you do the same. OEC is open to ideas and that is a good thing. I currently suggested they strongly considering working with TraderDNA and it looks like it might get done. If all goes as planned, you could have access to the TraderDNA reports w/o having to do ANY work on your end as the two api's would just talk to each other. You just go pick up your reports! I would LOVE to see this implemented and soon. I think that for the serious trader, having these fantastic reports constantly available would be a great thing.

 

Here's a thread on TL about it: http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/f92/traderdna-1780.html

 

Like I said, it's not a done deal yet, but I think OEC sees the value. I also do not know what fee(s), if any, would be involved. I personally can see the value of this b/c it takes analyzing to a whole new level and would gladly pay if I had to in order to get the reports.

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Finally! Some long awaited upgrades are due for the next iteration of the OEC Trader platform after COB this Friday.

 

Quoting the e-mail announcing the mandatory upgrade for their customers:

In anticipation of Open E Cry's release of OEC Trader Version 3.1.1.0 , we need to inform you that when you login after 5:30PM EST on Friday, August 10, 2007, you will be prompted to perform a mandatory upgrade.

Open E Cry is committed to bringing you industry-leading technology. Our trading software has the speed you desire, the reliability you deserve, and with the release of OEC Trader 3.1.1.0 , our functionality takes your trading to the next level!

  • Direct market access to Euronext.liffe.
  • Different symbols and sides for OCO orders.
  • Advanced orders, like Trailing Stop, can be a part of OCO.
  • MIT (Market-if-Touched) order type added.
  • OSO (One Sends Other) order type added.
  • Multi-Legged Brackets added.
  • Histogram button now available in Charts.
  • New drawing tools:
    • Fibonacci Arcs
    • Fibonacci Retracements
    • Fibonacci Fans
    • Gann Line
    • Gann Fans
    • Andrew's Pitchfork

    [*]Object list dialog to manage placed drawing objects.

    [*]All line-based drawing tools can be used in Alert expressions.

    [*]Time controls:

    • Automatic and custom time intervals.
    • Optional alignment by start session time.
    • Switch between time zones.

    [*]Multiple contracts on one chart.

    [*]And more...

It'll be interesting to see how their implementation of multi-leg brackets compares to the Transact (Inffinity) AT platform for ease of use and flexibility.

 

Also the MIT (market if touched) order type is another feature requested by many users as well.

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Indeed. There's a cost for everything, I suppose. But at least the folks at OEC made the effort to improve their product. Connection is rock-solid, unlike the AT platform, so I can't complain. Let's hope the actual product exceeds expectation.

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Abe,

How do you like those Open ECry charts and software? I think the charts could use some work, but the DOM is what I mainly use it for.

 

The charting has many positives. It is better than Sierra IMO. I like how they mark each candle where you entered and exit a trade with an arrow. That gives me a general picture of my activity when I look at the chart and it makes it very easy to find my trades when I'm annotating it on SnagIt.

 

But the pivots do not seem to agree with the pivots from http://www.tradesignals.com/pivots/.

 

The chart trading is excellent. Now I can easily enter a trade and place a stop order, and easily adjust the stop from the chart. That is much better than how I traded before.

 

I tried DOM for the first time but was having trouble adjusting to it. I would like to find a method to enter a trade with 2 contracts, and then scale out one contract after 10 points. That is done from the DOM I think but I need some time to learn it.

 

The software seems good. I'm still adjusting to it. My first impression about OEC is that they have good technology, and they designed a very good trading platform, considering that there are no platform fees. And unlike Tradestation, OEC offers paper trading.

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Abe,

I agree, the OEC package is nice. The fact that it's free is just even more reason for any trader to consider doing business there. I totally forgot about trading from the chart b/c I do not use that, but you are right - that's a very nice feature if it fits your style of trading.

 

Glad you like it and see some potential there. As I said, there should be no reason in today's technology to have problems managing your trades due to a software issue. That's not acceptable to me.

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Abe,

How do you like those Open ECry charts and software? I think the charts could use some work, but the DOM is what I mainly use it for.

 

How do you like the new DOM and price ladders features with the ver 3.1.1.1?

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I tried DOM for the first time but was having trouble adjusting to it. I would like to find a method to enter a trade with 2 contracts, and then scale out one contract after 10 points. That is done from the DOM I think but I need some time to learn it.

That feature is available, it's just not as user-friendly as other DOMs like the Transact AT platform. If you have the newer version of OEC 3.1.1.x, they call it "Strategy Order".

 

 

And unlike Tradestation, OEC offers paper trading.
Unfortunately, OEC likes to charge its customers for their demos - that is, if you don't want one that expires every 2 weeks. They could do a lot better by offering a free demo for each customer to use; currently it's $24.95/mo if you don't want to signup every two weeks for a new one.

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Even if you're a real money account customer they charge $24.95 for the demo?

 

Apparently - if you want one that doesn't expire after 2 weeks.

 

Call them up and let us know what they tell you. 800-920-5808

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Browns,

For the main account, that is true. Ask them for a non-expiring demo to go along with your main account and they WILL charge you.

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Browns,

For the main account, that is true. Ask them for a non-expiring demo to go along with your main account and they WILL charge you.

 

Not necessarily.

 

I guess it depends on who you talk to and how much business you are doing with them. ;) I have a total of four demo's, all of which are non-expiring, and do not pay a dime for them.

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Abe,

My suggestion is that you email your contact when it's close to expiration and just explain that you are still demo'ing the software and would like an extension. If/when you decide to trade live and they see commissions coming in, you can always request that the demo be extended. At most brokers, incl OEC, there are the 'standard business replies' and there are the replies you get if you ask the right people after showing you are going to do business there.

 

The bottom line is that OEC is in the business of making money and they would prefer to get it on the commissions, but they also can't provide unlimited use demo's for people that are not trading there. $24.95/mo is not much in my opinion if you still need more time to paper trade.

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Abe,

My suggestion is that you email your contact when it's close to expiration and just explain that you are still demo'ing the software and would like an extension. If/when you decide to trade live and they see commissions coming in, you can always request that the demo be extended. At most brokers, incl OEC, there are the 'standard business replies' and there are the replies you get if you ask the right people after showing you are going to do business there.

 

The bottom line is that OEC is in the business of making money and they would prefer to get it on the commissions, but they also can't provide unlimited use demo's for people that are not trading there. $24.95/mo is not much in my opinion if you still need more time to paper trade.

 

I'm not sure if I will go with OEC for real trading. My computer locked up twice so far using their demo, and it seems they are a relatively new company with not many clients and I may want to go with a time tested company for real trading. But for paper trading it looks like a good platform if it does not lock up too much.

 

$24.95 is around what I pay for Interactive Brokers and Sierra Chart. I could cancel IB and Sierra to cover that cost. But the thing I like about IB, please correct me if I'm wrong, is that they have relatively low margin interest rate. I was not able to find another broker with such low rates for small money accounts. Although I plan to day trade, I would like to one day also do swing trading and long term trading. It seems that Interactive Brokers is a good broker for that.

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In another thread, I posted some info on OEC and thought I'd duplicate it here for reference.

 

NFA BASIC details - http://www.nfa.futures.org/basicnet/Details.aspx?entityid=0326789&rn=Y

 

RESULT: VERY CLEAN SHEET. That's important to me and hard to do in the futures biz.

 

FCM Capital Data direct from the CFTC - http://www.cftc.gov/marketreports/financialdataforfcms/index.htm

 

I attached the June 2007 FCM Financial Data Report to this post.

 

As you will see, segregated customer funds totaled over $29 million as of this report. Is it the most? Nope. Are they as tiny as you may be implying here? I don't think so.

 

For me, working with OEC has been the best broker I've EVER dealt with. This includes going from Alaron, to ProActive Futures and Mirus Futures. The only one I will warn of is Alaron. I just didn't like what I saw (and paid). ProActive and Mirus are good, but as an IB, there's only so much they can do on commissions to be competitive.

 

With OEC, I feel I get a broker that is 'small enough to care, but large enough to not worry about'. I know, sounds corny. Maybe I should write a jingle for them.

FCM Data July 2007.pdf

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