I have received a telephonic response to this - the guy on the other side did his best but he didnt really get it. Lots of talk about 3rd party suppliers and their limitations which if the truth be told I am not interested in one bit. Thought it would be good to get your comments..... Dear SFM, Since I have started using another trading platform the shortcoming of the SFM platform have started to stand in stark contrast to what else is available out there. I know you are looking at a redesign of the website so I thought it may help to know what traders would want from the site. I have listed the shortcomings more or less in order of importance to me personally as a trader. 1) This is a major shortcoming - the inability to trade straight from a live price or in the same window. With SFM you have to switch windows and do multiple clicks. This convoluted method of trading coupled with the often painfully slow response of the site is a real problem. 2) No tick by tick charting - this makes it virtually impossible to time an entry or to do decent intraday trading. One should be able to select time periods tick by tick, 5 minute, hour period etc charts. In addition you need to be able to see have at least some basic oscillators which can give you intraday overbought and oversold levels as well as the ability to draw support and resistance levels. 3) No live prices for forex, commodities or other markets.. Having to use Kitco and etc means even more switching between windows. A 15 min or in some cases hourly update is just not acceptable. A failure to realise just how important this is in the life of a traders esp when forum members keep asking each other where they can access these prices seems to indicate that SFM is quite out of touch with the realities of trading and the needs of traders.. 4) No safex prices - this makes trading index warrants and barrier warrants very difficult and clumsy. 5) No visible stop loss levels - the current system of stop losses is very clumsy - the stop loss level should be displayed clearly on the same page as the current trades. The trailing stop system is also quite confusing. 6) No ability to set up multiple trades on one counter - i.e. buy 50% at this level and the rest at X level. 7) No guaranteed stops - I don't know what the legal implications of this are but many trading platforms offer the option of guaranteed stops at a small cost or spread premium. 8) The chat forum is prehistoric - if this is going to be a serious forum for exchange of ideas the very least we require is the ability to post charts. There has been lots of promises but no action on this front. 9) Reliability of the price ticker - this is crucial - there are still unacceptably high levels of error and the notification that there have been errors have have up to now come unacceptably late. Much better to shut down the price streamer than to have wrong prices when things go wrong. 10) Blocking access after one has been kicked off the site. Either the site has too become a whole lot more reliable or users should be able to turn this feature off. I know it is a security measure but I would far rather prefer to take this risk rather than having to sit with my hands chopped off for 15min. 11) This is a comment which should possibly be directed at the other local warrants desks but I have lately found that the spreads on warrants are unacceptably high. As an example on a typical warrant of 30c you can at any time have a 3.3% spread (already very high) which is often stretched to 6% when warrant makers are tardy to move with the underlying or they seem to just disappear from the bid and offer for whatever reason. This really needs to be tightened up. 12) The SFM charting does not have the level of functionality which makes it a viable alternative to other charting packages The time for a one stop trading platform is long overdue especially given the alternatives that are available. You should seriously look at offering free live prices and a cost effective fully integrated charting facility. Share Magic is just not price competitive even at the very discounted SFM rate. At the moment I get free live feeds and pretty decent charts as well as historic data for free on most international markets (including the JSE) at absolutely no charge not even an account maintenance fee is charged. In summary I would like to congratulate you on your service levels, the people I have spoken to have always been very helpful and I do sense that there is a commitment to customer service. I hope these the points I have raised will give you some perspective on what I as a trader require from a trading platform. Regards Chartist
I think you've covered most of it, but I think you may be asking for more than this site was designed for. The other 'real-time' type trading interfaces are often standalone apps and get around the limitations of websites. That said, this site with it's collection of frames, java and asp seems to be an architectural mess and there is little hope of it taking advantage of more advanced technology to inprove the user interface (AJAX to stream live market depth into the page on which you are trying to place a trade? simple stuff..) Anyway - here's a tip for those times you get locked out - the truth is that you are actually not locked out, you are still logged in. The login is locked. So save this url somewhere or bookmark it, then use it when you get the lock page. Should take you straight into the site without asking for a login - https://www.scmb.co.za/servlets/za.co.scmb.www.fetcher.EquitiesSecureFetcher/newframes.asp
I agree with the comments that have been posted here. I especially agree with the comments about how java platforms can end up a mess and that the site wasnt designed to be used as we would like. What would be really useful would be if the price feeds and the datastores for the charting software was available through a publicly acessable web service of some kind. As a software developer primarily I would be happy to create my own tailored interface that I could trade on. I know a number of fellow devs who trade daily and Im sure with the community's input we could build and share our custom tools that we create. This would not only assist the trading community but provide valubale feedback to SB about ways to improve their trading platform offering. - Paul C
I agree with a lot said above, but I have one more thing I would like: more information on the homepage once you've logged in. Why not have the top risers, top fallers, latest 5 SENS, forex movements etc. at the bottom of your portfolio before your watchlists? And, why not reward long-time users for loyalty by lowering or removing their account maintence fees? Why should a new user get a free month, when I've been with you for years and I'm paying the full amount? It is more costly to get a new customer than to retain an old one, but we both yield the same profits to you... I advice you to think long and hard about that, as loyalty awards would make a lot of people that use your services very happy. Maybe even remove the account maintence fees completely for the next year if the person makes 5 or more trades during the previous calender year..? Something like ABSA does.
Yes Yes Yes...... Seems to me there is a gap in he market boys.Lets make Chartist the boss and start a new trading website. We can halve SFM's prices and still make a killing! AND we will give traders exactly what they want! Seems like a good idea to me!
I have no doubt that SFM is the biggest retail broker and with the retail market growing we should expect to see higher levels of technology. I agree 100% with Chartist and while the price streamer is better than any local broker application it is way below international standards. My suggestion would be for SFM to make streaming price avialable through standalone applications. Just as an example, it is possible to use Medved Quote Tracker (it is free and very good) and use a feed from Interactive Brokers (IB) (both are American companies) to trade directly through the platform (QuoteTracker) without even having to access the IB website. All this is possible it just takes some action by SFM. For a good forum layout have a look at www.elitetrader.com I just want to say I'm happy with the service at SFM but the technical side could be improved upon.
Ja`some useful comments - seems there is quite a bit of consensus on some issues. SFM has to look globally in order to derive a value comparison. No good looking at local competitors as benchmarks. As treders we have a world of choice. The bar has been set very high. No monthly fees whatsoever, free live prices, free charting software, no fees for transfer of funds, etc etc - not one single cent - yes believe it or not it really is possible.
Great idea having stop-loss on trading page.Aquarius which i had builtup over a long time buying at the lows ,was stomped out b'cause i thought the stop loss was far from triggering.The share is in such short supply i have not reached the previous level.Now i only use an alert which is not as good as i might be doing something else when lets me know the share is passing my selling mark.Good work Chartist.