Opening a NinjaTrader Trading Account in Canada
NinjaTrader is one of the most popular trading platforms for futures and forex day traders. The ability to trade off the chart, customize and create technical indicators, as well as create or import algorithmic trading strategies are a few of the reasons day trader like the platform. In the past, for traders in Canada, it was hard to find brokers that supported the use of NinjaTrader. Not anymore. If you're a day trader in Canada and want to use NinjaTrader, here's the process.
The Reason to Use NinjaTrader
The trading platform is simple to use, and most importantly is designed for traders who need to get in out of positions quickly. It's customizable and allows you to pre-build strategies, so stop losses and targets are sent out as soon as you enter a trade.
This feature is recommended to all day traders, because if you lose your internet connection, your data provider goes down or you disconnect from your broker, you want to make sure any positions you're in aren't going to cause significant loss of capital.
NinjaTrader also contains an extensive range of indicators, as well as the ability to create your own and install indicators/add-ons that other people have created.
Try a Demo and Receive an Information Package
The first thing to do is try out a demo account. On the NinjaTrader.com, website click Trade Futures or Trade FX, depending on your preferred market. Scroll down and fill out the information for a demo account. Use a real email address so you receive your login information, and input Canada as your country (or if you're from another country, input your real country so you get the proper information package).
This will redirect you to a page where you can download NinjaTrader as well as beneficial guides. Downloading these guides, such as the "Connection Guide" is recommended in case you need them later. Login credentials will be emailed to you, along with information on downloading the platform if you don't already have it.
Learning About NinjaTrader
NinjaTrader has loads of tools and functions, some of which even experienced traders may not be aware of. It's recommended everyone browse through the Video Library for tutorials on the various features of the platform.
One of the best features for day traders, aside from nearly endless programmability and add-ons for trading, is the Market Replay. The Market Replay feature lets you download past trading sessions and trade them as if you were trading live, in real-time. It's an awesome learning tool and allows you accelerate your learning by trading multiple sessions in a single day.
For example, if a day trader only trades for the first two hours of the trading session, typically they need to wait a full day between each trading session. With Market Replay, a trader can download multiple days and trade that specific 2-hour period back to back to back...which provides much more practice in a shorter period of time. To connect with Market Replay, select it as the Connection type.
Setting Up a NinjaTrader Account
In addition to your demo account login credentials, which will allow you to try out the software, you will also receive (via email) information on setting up a real trading account if you wish to do so. If you opt to trade futures, the information will come from Global Futures. If you opt to trade forex, the information comes from NinjaTrader Brokerage. If you decide to open an account with Global Futures you will receive documentation from them as well Ironbeam. Global Futures is your contact point, while Ironbeam is the clearing firm for your trades.
The minimum capital required to open a futures trading account is USD$1,000. For popular day trading futures such as the S&P 500 emini (ES), the day trading margins are $500. Commissions are $4.12, per contract, round turn (total, to get in and out). This charge may be negotiable and may change from time to time as regulatory, clearing fees or commissions rise or fall.
In order to use Ninja Trader with Global Future/Ironbeam, you'll need to purchase NinjaTrader software. The cost varies depending on the type of license you get, but a lifetime license is typically USD$999, or four payments of $299. Lease the platform for $600 per year (or $330 for a half year, or $180 for a quarter year). In Canada, you can use the demo for free, but the free account cannot be used for futures trading; the platform must be purchased or leased.
If you trade forex and open a forex account via the emails sent to you when you signed up for the demo account, your live account will be opened with Friedburg Direct. Commissions with Friedberg begin at $0.05 per 1000 in currency traded ($5 per 100,000 traded, $10 round trip). Please note that if you're a resident of Alberta you must qualify as an Accredited Investor.
These brokers offer multiple trading platforms, so during the account opening process email your representative stating you wish to trade with NinjaTrader.
Other Canadian Brokers That Support NinjaTrader
Interactive Brokers also supports NinjaTrader. For help with connecting the trading software to your IB account, see the Integration FAQs on the IB site. Note that NinjaTrader connects through IB's Trading Workstation. This may cause lags in data when using NinjaTrader with IB, as discussed in the above FAQs. If you trade with IB and want to use NinjaTrader, you'll still need to buy or lease the NinjaTrader platform.
Final Word on Using NinjaTrader in Canada
If you want to day trade with NinjaTrader, more options are starting to appear in Canada. For easy and seamless integration with NinjaTrader, going with Global Futures for futures trading or Friedberg Direct for forex trading is a popular option. NinjaTrader can be integrated with Interactive Brokers, but with two trading platforms running on top of each other it can cause some issues. If unsure about which way to go, open a demo account and see which you like best.