CTS T4 Trading Platform Service
- What is Included
- Setup Instructions
- Setup Instructions for Advanced and Lower-Cost Connection Model
- Offering the CTS T4 Trading Platform
- Trading Options on CTS T4
- Account Balance
- Rules for Concurrent Use of Trading Programs
- Not Receiving Market Data from CTS for Symbol
- CTS Server-Side OCO and Bracket Order Behavior
- Getting Additional Futures and Spread Symbols
- Sierra Chart and 2 Factor Authentication
- Market Depth Data
Sierra Chart fully supports the CTS T4 trading platform service. With the CTS T4 trading platform service, real-time data, historical Daily and Intraday data, and trading in the futures markets from many exchanges around the world is provided.
The Sierra Chart trading features fully support the CTS T4 trading platform. You are able to enter simple and advanced orders from the charts, Chart DOM, Trade DOM, and Trade Window within Sierra Chart.
CTS is a good choice when you need reliable trading functionality.
There are two different methods of connecting to CTS. You can either use the direct FIX connection or the more preferred Advanced and Lower-Cost Connection Model which uses a common order routing connection and the Sierra Chart Exchange Data Feed.
What is Included
- Streaming Real-Time Data: Yes.
- Historical Intraday Data: Yes. 1 Tick, 1 Second, and 1 Minute. Historical data for expired futures contracts for the major futures markets is provided by the Sierra Chart Historical Data Service. The minimum increment for this data is tick by tick when using the highest Sierra Chart Service Package, otherwise the increment is 1 second.
Data for expired futures contracts for non-major futures markets comes from the CTS historical data server. When using the highest Sierra Chart Service Package, historical Intraday data for major futures contracts is downloaded from the SC Historical Data Service if Global Settings >> Data/Trade Service Settings >> Allow Support for Sierra Chart Data Feeds is enabled. In this case, the minimum increment for this data is tick by tick.
- Historical Daily Data: Yes. When using a Sierra Chart Service Package that supports the Sierra Chart Historical Data Service, historical Daily data for major futures contracts is downloaded from the Sierra Chart Historical Data Service.
- Historical BidVolume and AskVolume: Yes. Only when downloading Historical Intraday data with a 1 Tick timeframe.
- Live Trading Services: Yes.
- Simulated Trading: Yes.
- Order Types Supported: All.
- Server Managed OCO (Order Cancels Order): Yes. Global Settings >> General Trade Settings >> Use Server-Side OCO Orders must be enabled. One order must be a Stop order type and the other order must be a Limit order type. 2 Stop order types are not supported for server-side OCO. For 2 Stop orders, OCO will be managed locally. This OCO limitation does not exist when using the Setup Instructions for Advanced and Lower-Cost Connection Model.
- Server Managed Bracket Orders: Yes. Global Settings >> General Trade Settings >> Use Server-Side Bracket Orders must be enabled. A server-side bracket order consists of three orders (a parent order and 2 child orders in an OCO group). The parent order cannot be a Market order type or a Stop-Limit order type. The supported order types for the Attached orders are Limit, Market if Touched, Stop, Stop-Limit, or any of the Trailing Stop order types. Additionally, Sierra Chart Scale-In and Scale-Out functionality does not work when using server side bracket orders with CTS. These limitations do not exist when using the Setup Instructions for Advanced and Lower-Cost Connection Model.
- Automated Trading (applies to Live or Simulated): Yes.
To use the CTS T4 trading platform service you need to have a Live or Simulated account with a futures clearing company or one of their introducing brokers which offers support for the CTS T4 trading platform service.
A demo is also available direct from CTS T4. The following is a list of brokers and clearing firms supporting CTS T4:
- For Sierra Chart to be able to connect to the CTS T4 system, the clearing firm or broker you use, needs to have authorized Sierra Chart on your CTS T4 trading account. Without this authorization, when you connect you will get an error message indicating this and it will be something like: CTS FIX: Received a Logout message. Text = User does not have permission to access this application.
If you get an error like this, then have your clearing firm or broker contact CTS Futures for assistance to enable this authorization on your CTS T4 account.
- Make sure you are on a current version of Sierra Chart. Update Sierra Chart by selecting Help >> Download Current Version.
- Go to Sierra Chart. Select Global Settings >> Data/Trade Service Settings on the menu. Click on the Service list box at the top of the window. Select the CTS T4 service name from the list. If you do not see the service in the list box, refer to this help topic.
- In the Connection Details frame, select Use Live Server to connect to the live trading server. Or, select Use Simulation Server to connect to the simulation server. What you choose, depends upon the particular T4 Username and Password you will be using. Those will be for the Live server or the Simulation server. Not both. Consult with your clearing firm or broker if you are not sure what to set this to. Even if you plan to use Sierra Chart Trade Simulation Mode, and have a Live account CTS T4 Username, you need to select Use Live Server.
If you are with TopStepTrader, then you must select Use Simulation Server.
- Enter your CTS T4 account Username and Password in the corresponding boxes. For help with your CTS T4 Username or Password, contact your clearing firm or broker.
- In the Firm box, enter the code for your clearing firm. This should be specified exactly as you do when you login to the T4 front-end software.
- Enable Perform Hardware ID Check , to allow Sierra Chart to be connected to your CTS T4 username at the same time as the CTS T4 trading software using the same username, on the same computer.
- Enable the Connect On Program Startup and the Reconnect on failure options.
- Set the Time Zone setting to the time zone that you want times displayed in.
- Set the Service Setting >> Data Throughput and Buffering setting. It is highly recommended to use the default of FastTrade. Otherwise, there can be perceived problems with market data updating. Below are the possible choices.
- SmartTrade: Same as Smart buffering plus every individual trade is received as well.
- FastTrade: Same as FastSmart buffering plus every individual trade is received as well.
- Enable the Service Setting >> Unbundle CME Trades (General Settings >> Data/Trade Service Settings), to unbundle or separate the summary trades for all of the CME Exchange symbols. Disable this option if you want to have Sierra Chart work with the summary trades as reported by the exchange. After changing this setting, it is necessary to re-download the data in an Intraday chart for the prior data to be affected. This only needs to be done once per symbol. This can be done by going to an Intraday chart and selecting Edit >> Delete All Data and Download.
- Set the Intraday Data Storage Time Unit to what you require.
- Press OK to close the Data/Trade Service Settings window.
- To connect to the Data and Trading server, select File >> Connect to Data Feed on the menu.
- If the Sierra Chart Message Log window opens and displays messages indicating there was an error connecting to CTS T4, then select File >> Disconnect to prevent further connection attempts. Next, carefully review the setup steps above again. Try connecting to the Data and Trading server again by selecting File >> Connect to Data Feed on the menu.
Sierra Chart connects to the FIX server on port 10443. You need to be allowed access to this port on your network to be able to connect. Generally this is the case. There could be restrictions on a corporate network.
Some CTS connection error phrases you may receive in the Sierra Chart Message Log and their meaning:
- Text = Login failed: most likely incorrect user and password combination:
This connection error message indicates the Username, Password, Firm and/or the Use Live Server / Use Simulation Server settings in the Global Settings >> Data/Trade Service Settings Window are not set correctly. Check with your broker for the correct login information and try connecting again.
It is necessary to work with your broker/trading service for assistance with this error because we do not control the server side connection to the trading server and we do not know your login information or any of your login details.
- Text = Too many failed login attempts: Your username has been locked out. Contact your firm administrator to reset the user:
This connection error message indicates there are too many failed connection attempts and your CTS Username has been locked out of the CTS T4 system. If you receive this message, select File >> Disconnect.
Verify you have the correct Username and Password set in Global Settings >> Data/Trade Service Settings. If you are unsure of what your Username and Password are, contact your broker.
The next step is to contact your broker or clearing firm and let them know you are getting the text Too many failed login attempts: Your username has been locked out. Contact your firm administrator to reset the user. Your broker or clearing firm will need to reset your Username. After they do that, then in Sierra Chart select File >> Connect to Data Feed, to connect again.
- Text = Login failed: most likely incorrect user and password combination:
- If you are with TopStepTrader, then disable Trade >> Trade Simulation Mode On.
- Continue with step number 3 on the Getting Started documentation page.
Setup Instructions for Advanced and Lower-Cost Connection Model
Sierra Chart provides a new connection model to CTS, which has the following advantages and terms. Instructions to use this are further below.
- For market data, the high quality and reliable Sierra Chart Exchange Data Feed is used. So the data feed is provided by Sierra Chart and not by CTS. This gives us complete control over it and allows us to provide a reliable service and address any issues directly when they arise.
- CTS order routing through a central FIX connection managed by Sierra Chart with approximately 1 millisecond latency to CTS server. Sierra Chart order routing server is located in same data center as CTS server which is the Equinix Cermak data center in Chicago.
- Full server-side OCO and Bracket (Auto OCO) orders managed on the Sierra Chart order routing server which provides fully expected behavior of these types of orders unlike which is not always the case when they are managed by CTS (CTS Server-Side OCO and Bracket Order Behavior). You still have the ability to use client-side managed OCO and Bracket (Auto OCO) orders. Trailing Stop orders are still always managed locally on the Sierra Chart client side.
- Significantly lower per contract trade cost. .10 USD per contract. Although this exact price is dependent upon the particular broker. You will need to contact your broker for specific pricing. This lower cost is only available for retail traders. It is for this reason, that this is known as the low-cost connection model. If you do not frequently trade, this model is not going to be beneficial overall because you do have to pay more for the data feed and a monthly $10 CTS fee.
- The ability to still use CTS Webtrader and CTS T4 front end (for the T4 front end, a 25 USD minimum applies per month billed by the clearing firm). When using either of these for trading you will pay the standard per contract cost (USD.50) for orders submitted through them.
- USD10 monthly fee required which can be suspended in any particular month if you do not want to use this CTS order routing connection.
- Support for multiple simultaneous connections to the trading server. There is no limit on the number of connections. However, because each connection is going to be using the Sierra Chart Exchange Data Feed there is a separate real-time connection fee for each connection. For real-time data connection pricing, refer to Data Feed Pricing. However, if you are using Sierra Chart from the same computer you can use the New Instance feature and use a single connection in multiple instances of Sierra Chart on the same computer.
- Broker independent. Use any broker or clearing firm that supports CTS. Currently Wedbush, Dorman, AMP Clearing, Phillip Capital, Iron Beam, and ADMIS are supported. Others can be added on request.
- Long-term order fill history is maintained. Order fills are maintained for six months rather than 1 day as is currently the case with a direct CTS connection.
- Currently at this time only outright futures contracts are supported. Futures spreads/strategies will be supported later on.
There are two things additional things that you need to be able to use this new CTS connection in addition to using one of the Sierra Chart Service Packages. Both of these are required. Therefore, the Service Package, and both of these items below, a total of three things, constitute the pricing of using the CTS low-cost connection model. There is also the per contract trade fee, but that is something billed by your broker.
- You need to subscribe to the Sierra Chart Exchange Data Feed for market data because market data is not provided from CTS for this order routing connection. A lower-cost 25 USD/month real-time data connection option for up to 20 real-time symbols is available in order to provide a more cost effective data feed.
- Activate the 10 USD per month CTS order routing connection. Can be activated on the Services Activation page. This is not required for demo trading.
The following are the current instructions for using the new CTS order routing connection for both Live and Demo trading.
- Update to the latest version of Sierra Chart. Refer to the Fast Update instructions. You will need version 1748 or higher.
- For Live trading you will need to have a CTS account through a broker supporting CTS (Cunningham Trading Systems). The clearing firms currently supported are Wedbush, Dorman, AMP Clearing, Phillip Capital, Iron Beam, and ADMIS . These clearing firms have many introducing brokers.
Others can be supported as needed. If you just want a demo of the service, then this is explained further down in these instructions how this is done.
- This step only applies to a Live CTS trading account. Go to the CTS Trading Connection section. Refer to the image below.
- This step only applies to a Live CTS trading account. Select the Enabled option in the drop-down list and press the Update button. If necessary you will need to Add Credit to your account to pay for this. The cost is 10 USD per month billed in full no matter when it is activated. It is important that as long as you want to use this CTS order routing connection and if you have OCO orders you submitted from Sierra Chart, that this service remains active on your account in order for Sierra Chart to manage those OCO orders.
- This step only applies to a Live CTS trading account. Go to that Manage External Service Login Details page.
- This step only applies to a Live CTS trading account. In the Add External Service Login Details section, select one of the CTSOrderRouting.[Clearing Firm].DTC choices. It needs to be the one with the name of your clearing firm.
- This step only applies to a Live CTS trading account. In the Add External Service Login Details section, enter your CTS account Username.
- This step only applies to a Live CTS trading account. In the Add External Service Login Details section, enter your CTS account Password. The password is immediately encrypted and kept very secure with multiple layers of protection and it is only held in an encrypted form. Sierra Chart personnel does not have access to these passwords.
- This step only applies to a Live CTS trading account. Press the Save button. The saved information is displayed at the bottom of the page in the section External Service Saved Login Details. The Login Details can be removed at any time. However, do not remove this information as long as you want to use this connection. If there are OCO orders being managed by the Sierra Chart server, these login details must remain otherwise the OCO functionality becomes disabled.
- This step only applies to a Live CTS trading account. Contact your broker have them allow your CTS trading account to have access to the Application Name: sierrachartonly.
- This step only applies to a Live CTS trading account. Go to www.t4login.com. Login by specifying the Firm, and your CTS Username and Password. Complete the market data setup as instructed on the webpage. If this step is not completed, you will see the following message in the Sierra Chart Trade >> Trade Service Log after connecting to your CTS account from Sierra Chart. Login failed: The trader has not completed the market data setup and should login to www.t4login.com and complete the setup page.. This will be displayed every 10 minutes.
- Follow the instructions to activate the Sierra Chart Exchange Data Feed. This is required for both Demo and Live accounts and is a separate cost. There is a two-week trial available for this data feed for 5 USD. Refer to the image below of the option that you will see on the Sierra Chart Exchange Data Feed activation page for the trial.
If you require 20 or less real-time symbols at a time, you can use the 25 USD/month real-time connection option, which is set within the Real-Time Data Connections section. Refer to the image below.
- For real-time CME data you will need to activate the Full CME Group (CME, CBOT, COMEX, NYMEX) for nonprofessional Trading accounts exchange fee for 3.25 USD/month.
- For a Demo account: If you want a CTS Demo trading account to test the connection, then go to the Manage External Services Login Details page and press the Assign CTS Demo Account >> Request Demo Account button.
This will automatically assign a CTS Demo account to your Sierra Chart account for 31 days. This can only be done for Sierra Chart accounts that have the Sierra Chart Exchange Data Feed activated on them which you have already done above. This can also only be requested once per Sierra Chart account. Otherwise, you need to manually request of this from Sierra Chart Support.
- Go back to Sierra Chart and select Global Settings >> Data/Trade Service Settings within Sierra Chart.
- Set the Service to CTS Trading - DTC.
- Set Service Setting >> Firm to your clearing firm. If you are using a CTS demo account which has been assigned to your Sierra Chart account, then set this to Demo. Refer to the image below.
- Press OK.
- Select File >> Connect to Data Feed. The connection should be established. If you need more help contact Sierra Chart Support.
- Open a chart through File >> Find Symbol. If you are using the Sierra Chart Exchange Data Feed and have the corresponding exchange activated on your account and do not receive real-time data, then contact Sierra Chart Support.
- If you have existing charts using the symbol format for other Data/Trading services, you can change them to the CTS format by following the Changing the Symbol of a Chart instructions.
- Trade as you normally would using the Sierra Chart trading functionality.
- At the present time, trading and charting of spreads is not supported. This is planned.
To find the available symbols and to open a chart or Trade DOM window, select File >> Find Symbol on the menu. Select the symbol in the available lists and press Open Historical Chart, Open Intraday Chart, or Open Trading DOM.
Exchange Traded Spreads and Strategies
To open a chart or Trade DOM for exchange traded Spreads and Strategies, select File >> Find Symbol. Select the underlying symbol in the available lists, example ES.######00.CME_Eq and then press the Get Symbols button. It is necessary to select the symbol pattern itself in the list and not a specific outright futures contract.
The spread and strategies symbols will be requested and when received, they will be listed. Select the appropriate symbol from the list and press Open Historical Chart, Open Intraday Chart, or Open Trading DOM.
Offering the CTS T4 Trading Platform
The CTS T4 trading platform is a very stable and reliable system for trading the markets.
Sierra Chart and T4 together is an excellent combination. You are able to use the advanced Sierra Chart trading functionality to trade in the markets using the T4 backend trading platform. CTS has very good terms to make it easy and economical to get started with offering T4 to your customers. If you are a broker would like to offer CTS T4 and Sierra Chart, contact CTS.
Trading Options on CTS T4
- Select File >> Find Symbol.
- Select the particular futures contract that you want options for.
- Press the Get Options button.
- After a few seconds, the options symbols will be listed.
- Select the particular option contract that you want.
- Press Open Historical Chart | Open Intraday Chart | Open Trading DOM.
- You will then be able to chart and/or trade that particular option contract.
When using CTS T4, Sierra Chart will display balance data for your trade accounts.
This is displayed on the Trade >> Trade Orders and Positions >> Balance tab. This will only be displayed when connected to the data and trade server. To make sure you are connected, select File >> Connect to Data Feed.
Cash Balance is equivalent to CTS T4 StartCash (Account Balance).
Balance Available for New Positions is equivalent to CTS T4 MarginExcess (Available Cash for additional margin).
Rules for Concurrent Use of Trading Programs
The following are the rules for using trading programs connected to the CTS T4 system concurrently (at the same time) using the same CTS T4 Username.
The information below only applies when the Service in Sierra Chart is set to use the CTS T4 FIX connection. It does not apply to the Advanced and Lower-Cost Connection Model using the DTC protocol. In the case of the lower cost connection model using DTC, multiple connections from Sierra Chart for order routing and market data are supported.
It is possible to use the CTS T4 front end trading software and Sierra Chart at the same time using the same CTS T4 Username on the same computer, if Global Settings >> Data/Trade Service Settings >> Perform Hardware ID Check is set to True.
It is not possible to use 2 or more connections at the same time to the CTS T4 system using the same CTS T4 Username, with either the CTS T4 front end or Sierra Chart, on different computers.
It is not possible to use the T4 mobile or web trader at the same time that Sierra Chart is connected to the CTS T4 system, using the same Username.
The reason for these limitations has to do with complying with exchange requirements.
Not Receiving Market Data from CTS for Symbol
If you are not receiving any market data, either historical or real-time, from CTS for a particular symbol. Follow these steps:
- Make sure the symbol of the chart is valid. You can find the valid symbols in File >> Find Symbol. Be aware there are also delayed exchanges that provide delayed market data for symbols. To change the symbol of the chart, refer to Changing Symbol of Chart.
- Contact your trading service and make sure your CTS T4 account is authorized for the exchange that the symbol trades on. For example, the symbol NQ.20141200.CME_Eq is on the CME equities exchange. So make sure the CME equities exchange is set to receive real-time data on your CTS T4 account.
CTS Server-Side OCO and Bracket Order Behavior
The information in this section does not apply when using the new Advanced and Lower-Cost Connection Model. And the information in this section also does not apply when Global Settings >> General Trade Settings >> Use Server Side OCO Orders / Use Server Side Bracket Orders is disabled.
Sierra Chart strongly advises not to use CTS managed server-side OCO and bracket orders and will provide no technical support for these whatsoever.
A server-side OCO order consists of two orders. When one of them is canceled, the other will be automatically canceled by the server. When one of them fills the other will be automatically canceled by the server. When one of them partially fills, the other should have its quantity reduced by the amount of the fill.
A server-side bracket order (called Auto-OCO by CTS) consists of three orders (a parent order and 2 Attached Orders in an OCO group). The parent order cannot be a Market order type or a Stop-Limit order type. Sierra Chart Scale-In and Scale-Out functionality does not work when using server side bracket orders.
With CTS server-side bracket orders, when the parent order is canceled, the two child orders will be canceled. When you cancel one of the child orders, the other order will remain.
When you are using Attached Orders in Sierra Chart and the parent order is a Market order type or a Stop-Limit order type, the CTS server side bracket order will not be used. Instead there will be an independent parent order with a CTS server side OCO order for the two child orders. This is because CTS does not support a Market or Stop-Limit order as the parent order for a bracket order.
In the case of CTS server-side OCO orders, it is not possible to change the quantities of those orders after they had been sent. This can create an unreliable situation when using server-side OCO orders with CTS when the parent order fills multiple times.
If the behavior of CTS OCO and bracket orders is not what you require and in many cases it will not be what is the expected behavior, then disable Global Settings >> General Trade Settings >> Use Server Side OCO Orders / Use Server Side Bracket Orders to use Sierra Chart managed OCO and bracket orders instead.
Getting Additional Futures and Spread Symbols
Sierra Chart and 2 Factor Authentication
If a user enables two-factor authentication on the CTS T4 system, they will need to accomplish some additional steps in order to allow that user account to work with the Sierra Chart application over FIX and when using the lower cost connection model. They will need to create an application password specifically for Sierra Chart.
Follow the instructional images below for this. This is done through the CTS website after logging into your account.
The highlighted password would be configured on Sierra Chart as the users password.
What is 2 Factor Authentication
Two-Factor Authentication is a mechanism that improves the security of user’s accounts by adding a secondary authentication for connecting devices. 2FA in T4 is accomplished by requiring the user to verify they are in control of either a telephone number (using SMS) or an email account. When a user enables 2FA for their account, every device used to log into that account must be ‘authorized’ by the user acknowledging a 6-digit authorization code sent to a pre-defined point of contact for the user.
Devices that are authorized once via 2FA are remembered by our system and will not have to be authorized again unless the user changes his password or has his user account unlocked.
CTS has already deployed 2FA to all of our systems. When a user enables 2FA on his user account, every device used to log into T4 must be authorized regardless of what API or API version is used. We have implemented a number of workarounds in order to support all legacy versions our API that are in use.
Our FIX API presents a unique challenge. FIX connections typically originate from a centralized server and not from an end user device. As a result we are unable to authorize a login from our FIX API using 2FA. Instead, we have provided a mechanism for users with 2FA enabled to create an “application password” to use for FIX application logins. This mechanism does not require any application changes to FIX applications connecting to T4.
Market Depth Data
When using the market data feed from CTS with Sierra Chart, this is a FIX data feed.
CTS only provides a maximum of 10 levels of market depth data for a symbol with this data feed. More levels are not available on this data feed.
For some exchanges, there is an additional cost for market depth data so you need to pay the required exchange fee in order to receive market depth data for a symbol. For further help in this regard, contact your broker or clearing firm.
*Last modified Friday, 24th August, 2018.