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4-star brokerage rating

NinjaTrader Brokerage Review


NinjaTrader rating and review for 2021. Futures, forex trading platform, account fees, broker costs, minimums, and margin requirements.



NinjaTrader Brokerage


NinjaTrader began operations in 2003. It is headquartered in Denver, with locations in Chicago and Europe. The NinjaTrader business model is to use an open-architecture trading platform that encourages third-party developers to build add-on technical indicators. Couple this with deep-discount broker commissions, extensive data feed options, prompt support and free demonstration accounts, and you have a rather unique and powerful trading environment. In fact, NinjaTrader boasts of 60,000 clients around the world.


Account Setup


NinjaTrader is for trading futures and foreign exchange (Forex). You can download the trading platform for free and use it in demonstration mode, but when you want to make real trades, you have to open and fund an account. The paperwork (really, screenwork) is easy, and takes about a day or two to complete. You can link to a bank account to move cash in and out. The minimum opening balance for futures and Forex are $1,000 and $2,000, respectively. The margin requirement for futures is $500 per contract, and 2 percent on Forex trading accounts. You'll be given account numbers and identification keys to enter onto the trading platform in order to enable it. If your access to the trading platform arises from your account with a third-party indicator provider, you'll need to enter additional customer keys.


NinjaTrader Fees and Commissions


Depending on the type of account you open, the NinjaTrader commission on a futures contracts ranges from $0.53 to $0.95 each way. You get the lowest NinjaTrader commissions by acquiring a platform lifetime license. NinjaTrader Forex commissions are $0.04 to $0.06 per 1K lot, and spreads varying by currency pair: EUR/USD is 0.3, while GBP/JPY is 1.6 (for the uninitiated, these are low spreads).

You'll be slapped with a $50 fee for a margin call. Demonstration accounts receive free data, but live-account data is priced based upon the number and types of feeds you require.


The Main Screen


NinjaTrader Review


No one would accuse the main screen, known as the Control Center, of being intuitive. Those who typically dive into an application will, in this case, be better served by surveying the extensive video library, which is easier to understand than is the online help document.

Your working context is a workspace -- you can maintain multiple workspaces, usually one per type of contract you trade. You can set a number of defaults per workspace to customize each one for a particular contact and data feed. Beyond the demo data feed are several others -- NinjaTrader can give you guidance on the best one for your needs. The Control Screen has displays for:

  • Your open and closed orders
  • Trading strategies
  • A record of your executions
  • A position ledger
  • A list of your accounts (you can have one demo and several real accounts)
  • Account performance -- summary statistics for activity within an account
  • Activity log
  • Setting overall parameters

Under the File menu button, you can select or create your workspace, set your default data connection and run certain utilities. Under the Tools menu button, you can build and manage instrument lists to specify which data you need and what assets you are going to trade. This is also where you roll over contracts every three months. You can also specify how to handle historical data, identify trading sessions, set up account connections and configure various options.


Basic Operation


NinjaTrader Brokerage Review


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To start trading, you open a new chart using the File menu. You then assign a data source to the chart and add one or more of the many built-in technical indicators. For example, you might load a candlestick chart for a particular futures contract and include moving averages, volumes, trend lines and many others. You can save the chart configuration as a default or named profile. You can trade from your chart by using the chart trading tool, or you can use a separate screen that displays the open bids and offers. The software reports when your orders are pending, filled and closed, and you can have your trading activity superimposed upon your chart(s).

For example, image above is a trading chart for the futures contract on the S&P 500 index, showing prices and various indicators. You can draw lines, shapes and text to any chart. You can also add, change and delete indicators, add or remove different instruments, and change the time periods displayed. In Figure 2, each candlestick represents a 15-minute period, but you can set the period from 1 minute to more than a day. You can also specify how far back you want your data to go.


NinjaScripts


You add custom software to the NinjaTrader open-code platform via NinjaScripts that the software vendor will provide you. After you receive the scripts, import them via the Tools menu. You can then add the custom indicators to your charts. There are many custom indicator vendors that sell NinjaScripts. Some of these indicators can cost thousands of dollars, but of course there is no guarantee the indicators will help you score profits.


NinjaTrader Brokerage Review Summary


NinjaBroker is inexpensive, supportive and a great place to learn how to trade. The interface is flexible but not particularly intuitive. However, after a few weeks, you'll master the trading platform and can then concentrate on your trading strategy.

Other online brokers to consider both of which offer better trading platforms than NinjaTrader are Zackstrade and TD Ameritrade.