Advantage Futures

Choosing Your Front-End Provider

August 2016

Q & A with Mark Frantz, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Advantage Futures

Mark Frantz, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Advantage Futures, describes how Advantage can assist clients in choosing the front-end system best suited to their needs.

Question: How do you decide which system to recommend to a client?

MF: Advantage Futures is front-end neutral. We are in a position to help our clients determine the best software for their specific trading needs because of our experience with other clients and our relationships with vendors.

When suggesting a front-end system, we consider a trader’s style based on their trading strategies and sensitivities to various requirements such as latency, exchanges and products, charting, options and options market making, algorithmic/automated trading and custom configurations. The equation can be further complicated as vendors add a variety of products and enhancements to broaden their reach in terms of offerings and appeal.

Cost is also part of the recommendation equation. For lower volume traders, certain platforms charge per contract to cut costs. For those who want a more professional system and are willing to pay more, there is usually unlimited trading available.

We often see traders start with point and click and later become interested in algorithmic or greybox trading. Determining which systems allow users to shift from point and click to coding becomes a factor as well. Algorithmic trading requires a higher level of sophistication, cost and development time. All these factors play into which platform works best for the individual trader.

Question: How have these platforms adapted for today’s trader?

MF: We are seeing more option traders move from the floor into electronic systems. Previously we saw that professional options platforms tended to be sophisticated and fairly expensive. The move toward futures platforms adding this functionality has increased their desirability and could help keep costs down for traders who want both futures and options.

Question: How do these platforms assist traders from a risk perspective?

MF: A very important feature helpful to Advantage from a risk perspective is the margin-based function of a platform. If you have the ability to limit orders and products by margin, this provides more flexibility to the client along with the ability to trade more products. From a risk perspective, this is an extra layer of protection for the firm and the client.

For more information on selecting a front-end software provider, contact your Advantage Futures client representative at 312.800.7000 or email us at

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