While trading systems can operate on various markets, not just futures; our focus in this article is on futures trading systems.  There are many ways you can trade futures trading systems:

You can develop your own system using the built in indicators and backtesting functions of a program like TradeStation, (or purchase a trading system online from someone) and run it yourself, following each signal issued and placing the trades or letting the computer place the trades for you (this isn’t perfect technology yet – and we don’t recommend letting a computer run free following signals unless you have millions of dollars invested in technology infrastructure with backups, auto-failovers for internet connection, generators, and the like).

You can go to one of the websites which list hundreds of systems posted by anyone with an internet connection – then subscribe to follow a system’s signals via email, instant message, or through an auto-trade service where trades are placed directly in your account.  The trading system is then run on the developer’s computer, and the signals sent to a main server, which then tells your broker to execute the signals for your account.

The danger of investing through trading systems with this approach is that the trading system resides on the system developer’s computer – not your broker’s or the system subscription site.  With the system on the developer’s computer only, there is no telling what that developer is doing to generate signals (buying when his goes to the green bowl, selling when he eats from the red bowl?), and no insight into what sort of technology the developer has (is backup in place, what happens when they go on vacation, what happens if the neighbor’s kid starts hitting buttons on the computer?).  And finally, there is no way to know if the developer is changing the code ever time there is a losing trade or the like.  All in all, this may be a reasonable approach to get a taste of trading systems, but it sounds scary if considering putting any real money towards trading systems.

Finally, you can use a server based automated trading system platform such as iSystems (the first of its kind) which runs the trading systems on its machines in house.  By requiring that developers send their trading system code into iSystems to load on its machines, all of the problems with the code running on the developer’s machines are removed.  The question of technology infrastructure is immediately answered – insuring a secure data connection and no missed signals, and new abilities such as testing the system on our of sample data or other markets is opened up.


IMPORTANT RISK DISCLOSURE
You should fully understand the risks associated with trading futures, options on futures, commodity trading systems and retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions (“Forex”) before making any trades. Trading futures, options on futures, Forex and commodity trading systems involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. The ability to withstand losses and to adhere to a particular trading program in spite of trading losses are material points which can adversely affect investor returns. You should carefully consider whether trading is suitable for you in light of your circumstances, knowledge, and financial resources. You may lose all or more than your initial investment. Opinions, market data, and recommendations are subject to change without notice. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.
The returns for trading systems listed throughout this website are hypothetical in that they represent returns in a model account. The model account rises or falls by the average single contract profit and loss achieved by clients trading actual money pursuant to the listed system’s trading signals on the appropriate dates (client fills), or if no actual client profit or loss available – by the hypothetical single contract profit and loss of trades generated by the system’s trading signals on that day in real time (real-time) less slippage, or if no real time profit or loss available – by the hypothetical single contract profit and loss of trades generated by running the system logic backwards on backadjusted data (backadjusted).
The hypothetical model account begins with the initial capital level listed, and is reset to that amount each month. The percentage returns reflect inclusion of commissions, fees, slippage, and the cost of the system. The monthly cost of the system is subtracted from the net profit/loss prior to calculating the percentage return.
If and when a trading system has an open trade, the returns are marked to market on a daily basis, using the backadjusted data available on the day the computer backtest was performed for backtested trades, and the closing price of the then front month contract for real time and client fill trades. For a trade which spans months, therefore, the gain or loss for the month ending with an open trade is the marked to market gain or loss (the month end price minus the entry price, and vice versa for short trades).
The actual percentage gains/losses experienced by investors will vary depending on many factors, including, but not limited to: starting account balances, market behavior, the duration and extent of investor’s participation (whether or not all signals are taken) in the specified system and money management techniques. Because of this, actual percentage gains/losses experienced by investors may be materially different than the percentage gains/losses as presented on this website.
Please read carefully the CFTC required disclaimer regarding hypothetical results below. HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS, SOME OF WHICH ARE DESCRIBED BELOW. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY ACCOUNT WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE PROFITS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN; IN FACT, THERE ARE FREQUENTLY SHARP DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS AND THE ACTUAL RESULTS SUBSEQUENTLY ACHIEVED BY ANY PARTICULAR TRADING PROGRAM. ONE OF THE LIMITATIONS OF HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS IS THAT THEY ARE GENERALLY PREPARED WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT. IN ADDITION, HYPOTHETICAL TRADING DOES NOT INVOLVE FINANCIAL RISK, AND NO HYPOTHETICAL TRADING RECORD CAN COMPLETELY ACCOUNT FOR THE IMPACT OF FINANCIAL RISK OF ACTUAL TRADING. FOR EXAMPLE, THE ABILITY TO WITHSTAND LOSSES OR TO ADHERE TO A PARTICULAR TRADING PROGRAM IN SPITE OF TRADING LOSSES ARE MATERIAL POINTS WHICH CAN ALSO ADVERSELY AFFECT ACTUAL TRADING RESULTS. THERE ARE NUMEROUS OTHER FACTORS RELATED TO THE MARKETS IN GENERAL OR TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ANY SPECIFIC TRADING PROGRAM WHICH CANNOT BE FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE PREPARATION OF HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS AND ALL WHICH CAN ADVERSELY AFFECT TRADING RESULTS.
The information contained in the reports within this site is provided with the objective of “standarizing” trading systems account performance and is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be viewed as a solicitation for the referenced system or vendor. While the information and statistics within this website are believed to be complete and accurate, we cannot guarantee their completeness or accuracy. As past performance does not guarantee future results, these results may have no bearing on, and may not be indicative of, any individual returns realized through participation in this or any other investment.
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