Optimus Futures Review
Traditional brokers like Charles Schwab and E*Trade do an excellent job when it comes to general investment decisions. Buying and selling Exchange Traded Funds, Stocks, and Options works like a charm using their trading technologies.
But when it comes to futures trading, order routing, trade execution, and clearing become the most important aspects. Therefore, the criteria to evaluate different brokers should be based on factors unique to the futures industry.
Optimus Futures is an independent introducing broker that has been serving clients around the world for nearly 15 years. Before writing the Optimus Futures review, I had several conversations with the founder and CEO Matt Zimberg. He is an open-minded person and knows the futures markets inside out.
More specifically, he understands the different components of trading and how to put them together for the novice customer, and how to better configure existing set-ups for more seasoned traders.
Let’s find out if Optimus Futures is the best futures trading platform out there.
About Optimus Futures
Optimus Futures is a trusted futures brokerage headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida offering competitive commissions, free platforms, low margins and multiple data feeds and clearing firms. They also have offices in Chicago, Akron, IA and New York. They aim to serve clients with the best possible combination of technology, support, and trading tools.
Besides phone and email support, they have a YouTube channel with a thriving community, where new traders can watch informative videos and engage in discussions about futures trading for free. An excellent futures trading blog, a trading podcast, webinars, and extensive trading guides make the offer complete.
So instead of simply being a transactional broker, they are heavily invested in providing on-going education and knowledge to their customers, a rarity in the current “Price Only” brokerage climate.
Let’s get right into it and have a look at the commission rates. Commissions are not everything, but without competitive rates, profitable trading is almost impossible for active traders. Therefore, reasonable rates are at least as necessary as outstanding support and reliable trading platforms.
The commission mentioned is always per side. If you buy a futures contract, then this is one trade, one side, and some call it half-turn. If you sell a futures contract, then it is again one trade, one side, and also a half-turn.
If you opened and closed a position, then you made two trades, traded two sides, and it’s also called a round turn.
The starter commission rate is $0.75 per side per contract if you trade 0-20 contracts per day on average. If you trade over 1,000 contracts per day, the commissions per side go as low as $0.10 per side.
All those commissions are before routing fees, exchange, clearing- and NFA Fees. The commission is charged by the clearing firm, and it always on your statement. The routing fee will be collected by a provider like Rithmic, CQG, TT or CTS for routing your order between your trading platform and exchanges. The costs are typically between $0.10 and $0.25 per side and contract.
The CME exchange fees are typically the highest fees. For example, for one S&P 500 EMini contract, you pay $1.18 exchange fees. On top of that, you pay the clearing fees to the clearinghouse and the NFA regulatory fees. The rates for the Micro EMini indices are one of the lowest and are only 20 cents per side.
Here is an example when trading the EMini S&P 500 and Micro Emini S&P 500 :
- Exchange Fees (CME): $1.18. Micro is 20 Cents
- Commissions (Optimus): 0.10 to $0.75 (volume dependent)
- Clearing Fees (Clearing House): $0.05 to .35 depending on contract size and clearing
- Routing Fee (e.g., Rithmic, CQG, TT): .10 to $0.30
- NFA Fee: $0.02
As you can see, the commission calculation is more complex compared to trading stocks. Because of this, you need to do your due diligence first. Give Optimus Futures a call, and they will guide you through it. (800) 771-6748 for North America and (561) 367-8686 for international calls
The easiest way to calculate your specific cost per trade is by using MS-Excel or Google sheets. Design a little table with all variables, and you are ready to go.
Besides those fees, you also need market data from CME and a trading platform. However, their signature platform Optimus Flow does come with a free version. You can also ask for Top-of-Book data that includes best bid and ask and the CME charges only $1 for that (CME may increase or decrease prices).
Optimus Futures offers high-end trading platforms for day trading and swing trading futures contracts with various data feeds to ensure fast trade execution. In total, access to more than 44 futures trading platforms is supported via Optimus offerings of their APIs.
Optimus Flow is the signature trading platform specifically designed for futures traders. The in-house platform enables you to apply better technical analysis and ensures fast order execution.
The range of functionalities is breathtaking and includes live market data with Level 2, charting with time intervals down to the tick, simulated trading, back-testing, times & sales, a DOM trader, multiple bracket order, accurate tick data, fast execution and much more. Even order flow trading is possible by using Optimus Flow. And the coolest thing here is that the key features are available for free once your account is funded.
We could stop here in terms of trading platforms because Optimus Flow is exactly what futures traders were always looking for.
But even traders who prefer to go with an alternative platform can choose between Optimus Trader powered by Finamark Systems, TT, TradingView, TradeStation, Sierra Chart, Firetip, Multicharts, CQG Desktop, R Trader Pro, Gain OEC Trader, CTS T4, or one of the other 3rd-party platforms. As mentioned, more than 44 platforms are currently supported.
My take on this is simple. Using an in-house solution has the biggest benefits. Remember, this platform is developed directly for futures traders. You can use the standard data feeds and trade as fast as possible with this technology.
See Also: Optimus Flow review
Day Trading Margins
The margin requirements differ depending on which clearing firm you chose, and also depend on factors like volatility and market behavior. The margin is being requested by the clearing firms to ensure you have sufficient funds to open and maintain a position.
If your funds are not sufficient, then a margin call happens and your position will be closed. To avoid such substantial risk related to a margin call, you should know the futures trading margin requirements for the contracts you want to trade.
Additionally, it is important to know when the actual trading session ends. The stock indices are the most popular, and the day session ends at 5PM EDT/4PM CST. Ask Optimus Futures about the market you wish to trade.
As you can see, trading futures requires good preparation. If you are a day trader, then the day trading margin can be at $500 but holding a contract overnight requires $10k per contract or more in your account.
For smaller customers, it is recommended to trade the Micro Stock Indices because they are ten times smaller in size and could provide an opportunity for the smaller trader or the novice trader to tip their toe in the water. Day trading margins for the Micro could be as low as $40.
If you’re new to the futures market, Optimus has prepared a handy guide that can help you understand all about platforms, data feeds, margins and more.
There is a substantial risk of loss in futures trading. High leverage may increase your chances of loss at a rapid pace.
Optimus Futures Review Summary
Optimus Futures offers everything that futures traders need. Beginners and experts will enjoy high-end trading platforms, low commissions, and also great support.
Optimus Futures provides access to over 40 futures trading platforms, connects via 9 order routing data providers, offers 5 outstanding Futures Commission Merchants (FCM), and have been serving clients in 40 different countries for over 15 years now. Their in-house platform Optimus Flow has an impressive set of functionalities.
With a typical account size minimum between $500 and $2,500 depending on the chosen FCM , the entry barrier is relatively low. This is an interesting aspect for day traders because the pattern day trader rule does not apply to day trading futures.
While day trading stocks require a minimum of $25,000 in an account to make more than 3-day trades in a 5-day period, you can make unlimited day trades (long and short) when trading futures and there are no borrowing costs in Futures.
I did not find a specific downside to using Optimus Futures, but as with any introducing brokers for futures trading out there, the fee structure is quite detailed. Any trader is well advised to do the math first. Also, make sure to contact Optimus for any questions you may have.
They are there to help and will gladly answer your questions. Their friendly support is one of Optimus Futures’ core strengths, so make sure to talk to a person, explain how you want to trade and let them help you to find the best possible solutions for your specific case.
Optimus futures enables retail traders to access some of the industry-leading clearinghouses, and all funds are held in segregated accounts. Optimus Futures is registered in the United States with the CFTC and a member of the NFA.
The FCMs are registered with the NFA and CTFC while strict customers funds apply.
You can reach Optimus toll free at (800) 771-6748 and locally through (561) 3678686. Email email@example.com
- Optimus Flow Trading platform designed specifically for futures trading
- Good selection of clearing houses and order routing technologies
- Competitive commission rates and low day trading margins
- Automated trading possible
- Support available via phone, email, forums and direct message
- Regulated brokerage located in the United States
- Free educational material
- Account minimum as low as $2,000 and $500 for Micros.
- You will need to work through the all the offerings they have in order to make sure you make the right choice. Again, utilize Optimus Futures friendly support channels to answer all your questions.
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