Value For Investors
Value For Active Traders
Commissions & Fees
Platform & Tools
Overall Sterling Trader is a great platform that links to some of my favorite brokers. I am really impressed with quality of their platform and would definitely recommend it.
Sterling Trading Tech is a software company that markets several trading platforms for both institutions and individual traders. Sterling’s tools are quite advanced with many useful features, which means sophisticated traders will want to keep reading. (Note: For a sample platform layout, scroll to the bottom of this page.)
Sterling Trading Tech is not a brokerage firm. It’s a software company that sells its trading tools to brokers, who in turn sell them to customers. To use its software, you have to go through a participating broker. More on those later.
Sterling’s software can be used for a variety of purposes. Besides order entry, the company has tools for risk management, trade reporting, calculating margin requirements, and much more.
The company’s most popular program is Sterling Trader Pro. This is an advanced desktop program that offers many features day and swing traders need.
The platform is a white-label software. This means a broker that buys a license from Sterling can put its label on the program. This is a common practice in the industry.
Sterling also has a browser platform and mobile app. If you’re interested in risk analytics, Sterling has you covered there, too.
For beginners, Sterling offers a user-friendly platform designed with a simple interface and the bare essentials.
For professionals, hedge funds, and other institutional traders, Sterling has a whole suite of software. From an API solution to compliance software, institutions will find a lot of helpful resources here.
And what are the details of the software programs? Here they are:
Sterling Trader Pro
Sterling Trader Pro is the company’s crown jewel. It delivers advanced stock, options, and futures trading tools in a desktop package. Some of the notable highlights include:
- Level II quotes
- Basket trading
- Professional-level charting
- Access to foreign exchanges
- Research tools
- Advanced order types
- Watch lists
- Multi-leg option strategies
- Greek values
- All CME futures contracts
- All Bovespa futures contracts
Charting on Pro comes with a lot of advanced tools. During my investigation, I found over 70 technical studies. Here are a few examples:
- Money Flow Index
- Elder Thermometer
- Random Walk Index
A chart window can be detached and expanded full screen. It’s possible to chart multiple stocks with multiple windows using tabs at the bottom of the charting window.
The software’s order ticket offers direct-access routing. A discrete short button can be used to submit a sell short order. And level II data appears at the bottom of the order window.
Custom layouts can be saved. In the default layout, windows are not linked, and I found this setup to be a slight nuisance. But it is possible to link them.
Somewhat oddly, the main menu on the platform is located in the bottom-right of the layout. Moreover, in the default layout, the menu window isn’t expanded completely. So you’ll want to grab the right-side and pull the window out to find all the menu icons. They include:
- Option chains
- Options order entry
- Seeking Alpha
- Level II order entry
- RSS feeds
An Elite version of the platform is available for institutions. It provides a few services not available on the regular platform. These include algorithmic trading and access to a few foreign stock markets, including Toronto and Shanghai.
Sterling Trader Web and Mobile
If you don’t need the complexity of the desktop system, you can instead use a browser platform or mobile app.
The former comes with several tools day traders will like. The order ticket offers several market venues to choose from. There are discrete buttons for buy to cover and sell short.
Charting comes with several graph styles, including table format, an unusual option. Level II quotes are color-coded, and there’s a watchlist. Options can be traded on the platform, too.
The company’s mobile app offers features that other mobile apps don’t. These include Level II quotes and option chains. A small chart is available with 30 technical studies. News articles have their own section, and there’s a watchlist, too.
For trading groups that focus on stocks and options, Sterling offers the LST platform. This is the Lightspeed Trader desktop platform, for those of you who have traded at Lightspeed.
The software comes with sophisticated tools that option traders need. During my research, I found Level II option quotes and multi-leg strategies like strangles and straddles. And it’s possible to customize option chains with various settings.
Charting on LST offers several technical studies, two display styles (OHLC bars and candles), and multiple drawing tools. Charts offer a great deal of customization, including an almost infinite number of colors.
With LST, there are several ways to submit orders to the exchanges. A basket-trading window offers the ability to transmit multiple orders for numerous ticker symbols simultaneously. And a regular ticket will send a single order to any one of several venues.
Named Livevol X at other brokers, Sterling’s VolTrader software offers very advanced options tools. Some of the features I especially liked include:
- Option calculator
- Implied and historical volatility
- Open interest
- Greek values
- Profit-loss charts
Option graphs are a unique feature on VolTrader. Price and volatility can be charted.
VolTrader has an algorithmic trading order ticket. Drop-down selections include start and end times, urgency, settlement type, destination, and algo.
A security scanner on VolTrader offers a lot of search variables. The day’s gainers and losers, order flow, call/put ratio, and earnings are just a few criteria.
A “what-if” modeling tool gives users the ability to see strike-specific opportunities on a chart. And it’s possible to go to execution with a single keystroke.
Sterling has a user-friendly platform built using the programming language C++. The program has a simple interface with large icons. This makes trade management easy.
Despite Fusion’s simplicity, it does have some advanced features. These include:
- Level II quotes
- Risk monitoring tools
- Advanced orders like trailing stops
- API functionality
- Algo trading
- Options trading
- Basket orders
- Auto and direct-access routing
- Hot keys
Charting has a simple interface. But a window can be expanded full-screen, and there are multiple graph styles. Technical indicators can be overlaid as well. For order placement, there is a trade ticket integrated with the Level II window.
A discrete button exists for short sales. The software also has a short locate feature.
Add-ons are available for Sterling’s software. One of these tools is TipRanks. The service offers analyst rankings along with buy, hold, and sell recommendations. The TipRanks window shows the most recent date for a stock’s grade along with a price target.
TipRanks also presents insider trading activity, media buzz, and news sentiment. The software can sort stocks from highest rated to lowest.
Another add-on is alerts. An alert is sent in real-time via text message or e-mail. Alternatively, an alert can be sent to one of the broker’s platforms. If it’s sent to the browser platform, an audio alert will sound.
Sterling Risk Engine (SRE)
Sterling offers a cloud-based calculation system for trading groups that performs a variety of functions. Besides risk analysis tools, such as margin calculations, the software can calculate Greek values and volatility shifts.
Other highlights include:
- Liquidity risk calculations
- Intraday portfolio margin
- Reg T maintenance calculations
- What-if simulations
- Ability to compute in-house margin requirements (end-of-day and intraday)
You can’t trade through Sterling. Instead, you’ll need to open a brokerage account with a firm that has a relationship with Sterling. Then you’ll be able to access Sterling’s software.
Prices and exact tools may vary from broker to broker. Some of the brokerage houses that offer Sterling Trader Pro include:
- Interactive Brokers
- Capital Markets Elite Group (offshore broker)
- Cobra Trading
- Lime Execution
- Score Priority
Cobra Trading charges $200 per month to use Sterling Trader Pro. Add-ons cost an extra $30 per month. The broker waives the monthly fee entirely for accounts that trade 300,000 shares. Market data packages cost extra.
At Lightspeed, traders pay anywhere from $230 to $260 for the Pro platform.
Capital Markets Elite Group charges $99 per month, which is a huge discount. Customers who generate $499 or more in commissions get the software for free.
The downside of CMEG is that it only offers equity trading. ETFs and options are not available.
Although customer support for Sterling’s tools is handled through the brokers, the software company does offer a few resources. Sterling hosts extensive user guides for its software on its website. A keyword search tool makes finding topics easy.
Sterling also posts release notes on its site for software upgrades. Sterling Squawk is the company’s monthly newsletter.
Finally, Sterling has an extensive YouTube channel. Videos demonstrate how to use the company’s platforms.
Sterling Trader vs DAS Trader
The closest comparison to Sterling Trader is DAS Trader. DAS Trader is also a white label trading software company (not a broker), that provides trading platforms for many brokers and hedge funds. I’ve used DAS Trader in the past and generally had good experiences with the platform, although subpar experiences with their customer support team.
From a functional standpoint, both Sterling and DAS are equally fast and equally reliable. However, I would say that Sterling has better charts. For those that use the charting software included in their platform, Sterling in my opinion would be better.
Sterling Trading Tech offers a lot of advanced software that day and swing traders should take note of. The lack of brokerage services directly through Sterling and the rather steep prices seem to be the primary downsides.
Downloadable Files (Not Intended for the Warrior Trading Sim)