2014 Review of StreetSmart Edge


Thursday, April 24th, 2014 | Vance Harwood

Review

Steetsmart Edge (SSE) can be launched/downloaded from the  Schwab website.  Recently Schwab made StreetSmart Edge available to all account holders.  A call to the their helpline (800-435-9050) is required to set it up.   If you  want to run SSE on an underpowered computer, are having performance problems, or want to run on a Mac checkout the cloud version of SSE, see this post for more information.

Before I get to my complaints here are some things that I like:

  • Accessing / trading options is very nicely done.  Option chains come up collapsed down to expiration dates, which you can then open up.  Copying options to a watch list is conveniently accomplished with copy and paste commands.  Current positions are shown in the option chains—a nice feature.
  • Option chains allow an adjustable number of strikes from 1 to 20 or all.  It’s very nice to not have to deal with huge lists of options when my interests are relatively close to the money.
  • General availability of  midprice quotes, halfway between the ask / bid price.  This is an essential capability for any serious option trading and very useful for lower volume securities.
  • The new “Trade-All in One” tool significantly improves Schwab’s capability for two side option trades (e.g, spreads, calendars, buy-writes)
    • Once you select your trade the options appear at top (see snapshot below).  You can then further customize the options you want (e.g., strikes, expirations)—this avoids significant frustration if you have a different opinion than the tool on what the strikes for say a strangle should be…
    • You can add additional tabs to the tool.   I use this for displaying alternate option strategies, or the plain options chains with all the Greeks
    • The midpoint price, the max gain/loss, current underlying price are all right there

SSE-AAPL-strangle

  • The scrolling / time windowing capabilities located at the bottom of charts are excellent
  • SSE’s ability to export data, including option Greeks from a watch list to a spreadsheet is useful
  • Very good coverage of two sided option strategies, including calendars and ratio spreads.  All the Greeks available for the options in the strategy
  • ETF/ETN intra-day indicative values are available (effectively NAV).   To obtain these add a “$” and the beginning, and “.IV” at the end of the symbol (e.g., $SPY.IV).   These are helpful in getting good price execution on orders.
  • Charts include the ability to add option IVs as a study.  This is a big help in looking at typical IV run-ups before earnings reports.

Some complaints:

  • VXST options not supported.   I contacted Schwab, and don’t have a committed date for supporting these options.
  • Email not supported for alerts—really?!
  • SSE wants everything in upper case.   If you type in symbols in lower case it capitalizes them.  OK so far.   However if you try to enter in capital letters, matching what is on your displays it very unhelpfully lower cases those letters so that the symbol is not recognized.   My favorites are indexes like $VIX or intra-day indicative values (e.g., $VXX.IV) where you have to hold down the shift key for the “$” and then use lower case for the rest. This is so wrong.  Just capitalize everything, OK?
  • Three or four sided options strategies like butterflies or condors are not explicitly supported, you have to piece them together
  • The computed Greeks on VIX options are wrong.  The VIX is used as the underlying instead of the actual VIX Futures.   Knowingly putting out incorrect information for some of highest volume options in the market seems inexcusable to me.
  • When using the bar style on charts a line is green if current price is higher than open,  even if the price is down from the previous day’s close.  At least need an option to key off previous close instead of today’s open..
  • The charts have a lot of nice features, but they have a “frequency centric” approach.  You must pick the frequency (e.g., 1 minute or daily) and then the  chart then picks the duration (e.g., 5 days or 254 days).   This is bass ackwards—I want to pick the duration and then have the package provide the maximum frequency it will deign to provide—the higher the better.
  • Slow initial startup time.   Even with a fast computer the package takes a long time to startup.   Switching layouts, or loading the layout from the central Schwab server extracts additional time.  They have added a “quick launch” option on the settings, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference.
  • The default on the colored “link” symbol in the upper right of many tools ties all the windows to the same ticker.   Generally if I open multiple tools I”m comparing things so having them all sync’d to the same symbol is counterproductive.  To work around this I have to manually change the link to the “unlinked”, broken chain symbol—I think unlinked should be the default.    The link feature is nice if you want to click through your watch list and have a chart displayed for the highlighted symbol.

Some tips:

  • To activate the bracket capabilities go to account details, positions tab, select a symbol, push the actions button and then look for the “add brackets” choice
  • Default share / contract quantities can be set on a per symbol basis by going to general settings, trading tab, and then look for order quantity button
  • Typically I’m using multiple computers in the course of a day so I use the save as / load from Schwab server capability located under “file” on the main window.  This keeps my layout consistent between computers.   This should be a default choice for the user—local or server based layout at startup.  Schwab now allows up to 5 different setups to be saved on their server.
  • If you find yourself frequently flipping between different tools (e.g., watch lists and charts), consider putting them on different tabs.  This avoids a lot of tool finding and you can flip contexts with a single mouse click. These tabs can be put on different displays if you have them.
  • If you are running an older version  I recommend you upgrade.  You don’t have to remove your current version of Street Smart Edge, you can download the new version from the Schwab site and install the newer version.  I haven’t lost any settings.  Your current version shows up in the upper right hand corner of the application.

Wish List

  • Greek calculations for options are using time to expiration in coarse 1 day increments.  This leads to significant errors when the time to expiration gets down to less than a week.  Using more precise time until expiration (e.g, 30 minutes) would give more accurate Greeks during the day.
  • Stop loss orders (both market and limit) that have a time delay parameter option that delays any action for a specified number of minutes.  This would reduce the chances that a position is blown out by a flash crash.
  • Charts for options that have expired
  • Option charts using mid price (halfway between bid and ask) at some reasonable frequency, like 15 minutes, instead of relying on trade data which is infrequent for most options that are offered
  • Ability to save multiple leg option orders for later reuse.  For example if you want to monitor the mid-price of an call spread.

Performance notes

  • If you are having performance issues I recommend you call your broker and sign up for StreetSmart Edge in the Cloud.   The cloud solutions have performed much better for me on my Windows 7 machine.

Summary of Defects (in my opinion)

  • The Greeks on $VIX options are incorrect
  • Charts setups don’t remember that mode has been set to bar format.  They always go back to candlesticks on new charts
  • Uncapitalizing letters that are typed in as capital
  • Left click doesn’t work when editing a symbol in the watchlist—you have to use other editing keys like arrows or backspace
  • If you enter a duplicate symbol in a watchlist your input is ignored—without explanation
  • Stock splits are not adjusted for in  .IV charts
  • Watch lists with groups seem to spontaneously reorder themselves—putting the groups on top
  • “Last trade” column for IV values (e.g., $JNK.IV) doesn’t appear to update rationally.  Should actually be blank, but it would be alright to update it when the underlying trades

 

Related Posts



Thursday, April 24th, 2014 | Vance Harwood
  • http://www.jeffrey-greenberg.com jeffg

    I find this software to be unusable. It looks better than Streetsmart Pro but it’s got usability problems, display bugs, and lack of basic features. I’m actually shocked that Schwab has released this in the current state.

    Moreover, the development team does not communicate the way in the way that modern development is done on the web. I’ve no idea when the next release is or what it’ll contain. I’m shocked at how amateurish this product release is from a major company especially when you consider the amount they are spending advertising it on TV (cnbc).

    So I’m going back to their Pro software (which isn’t pretty and lacks features, but it works all in all) until this one is ready for prime time, which is likely to be many months from now ( mid-may 2011) based on the process I’m experiencing.

    I’m disappointed!!!

  • vance

    Hi Jeff,
    I’ve been using SSE in spite of its flaws primarily because it works better through corp. firewalls than Fidelity Trader Pro or SS pro (didn’t work at all for me). I think Schwab is monitoring my site, so if you have some key complaints I’d be glad to post them.
    Most of the problems I have seen have been configuration style problems–not remembering chart settings and the like. I agree not publishing updates is annoying. The 1.4.7.0 build I’m using now fixed a lot of problems and I just stumbled onto it.

    – Vance

  • Kent

    I have tried using SSE and it does not display well. I have a 4 monitor system and have upgraded drivers and also installed a new video card.

    According to Schwab tech support I have more than enough horsepower with my overall system.

    Sticking with SS Pro until I have no other choice, then maybe switch brokers.

  • activetrader

    Lacks customization features. very slow and buggy

  • BillyB

    I’ve tried the latest version of SSE and it is horrible! Whenever order volume gets heavy the program locks up … 5-10 seconds for each and every mouse click or key stroke. Even when volume isn’t heavy, it’s slow.

    I have 20+ yrs professional experience with computers; there’s nothing wrong with my CPU, internet speed, etc. It is definitely this awful program.

    Even opening up ports on my router at the request of Schwab tech support did not help.

    I’m on the hunt for something better …

  • http://sixfigureinvesting.com/blog/ Vance

    Hi Billy,
    I’ve also noticed that 1.8.7 took a step backwards in stability. Indicates to me that their testing suite is not very comprehensive. Are you using version 1.10.25, the one that is currently downloadable?

    – Vance

  • BillyB

    Yup. Latest version; just update yestiddy.

    Again – I’m OK with the mediocre charting; I don’t use a lot of such tools. I just need to see the Level II data and work with a program that gives me speedy execution.

  • HMM

    Basically junk.
    — the Schwab development team have completely corrupted both platforms…particularly Edge which I find useless..I mean completely.

    Beyond comprehension.

  • daj

    junk. starts minimized every time, seems incompatible with my NVIDIA graphics card. I have never been able to “maximize” the program once it starts up. It remains minimized in my taskbar regardless of what i do. schwab was no help after 1 hour.

  • http://sixfigureinvesting.com/blog/ Vance

    Hi Daj,
    What OS are you trying to run on? Mine runs, but works much better on Vista than Windows 7 — go figure.

    – Vance

  • daj

    Windows 7 ultimate. More details: after an exhaustive internet search, i found someone who told me to find this file: atwpkt264.sys and rename it with the “.bak” extension. I did so and, much to my surprise, edge worked. A couple of months later, i made the mistake of updating my nvidia quadro fx 3800 m driver. Now i’m back to edge opening minimized in the tray and not maximizing under any circumstances. I rolled the driver back to the previous version and searched for the file again. the atwpkt.bak file is the only one found. Obviously there is some problem with displaying edge with this particular video card. I spent a solid hour with schwab support, their conclusion was that i have a bad video card. Nonsense.
    I’m using a dell precision m6500 covet machine that is one year old.

  • Dave

    Hi daj,
    I was on the phone with tech support last Friday for over an hour with similar issues as everyone else. Locked up, slow and high, 25%, cpu usage. TS guy was sharp and downloaded my layout to his computer. Guess what, he had the same problems I did! Go figure.
    I was having the taskbar/SSE minimized issue on wife’s laptop. TS said to hover over the SSE tag and use arrow keys to bring it into view. I didn’t try it, he was just doing this remotely.
    D

  • daj

    FYI, hovering over the SSE taskbar tag and using the arrow keys does nothing, the program remains minimized. maddening.

  • http://sixfigureinvesting.com/blog/ Vance

    Hi daj,
    What does it show when you right click on the tag? Mine shows SSE, pin program to task bar, and close window. If you see SSE, can you right click on it and see “open” as a choice? properties? Have you tried running it in Vista compatibility mode?

    – Vance

  • daj

    I’ve tried the ‘right click, properties’, opted for both vista and xp, no change, still starts minimized. I believe the problem is related to the nvidia quadro fx 3800 m video card. I had sse working for a couple of months (unfortunately I don’t remember exactly what hoops i jumped through to do it). when i updated the nvidia video driver last week, i was back to sse starting minimized. reverting back to the previouis driver made no difference. I assume sse and nvidia quadro fx 3800 m just don’t get along. massively frustrating.

  • Jheffner

    fed up with streetmart pro, is tradestation or ib a better option?

  • http://sixfigureinvesting.com/blog/ Vance

    Sorry, I don’t know anything about either of these. Fidelity active trader pro works decent for me, at least it doesn’t have the performance problems I’m seeing with SSE. What specific problems did you have? I’ll be updating my review soon and I like to compare notes.

    – Vance

  • Awake

    Believe it or not I think Think or Swim is the best out there… They just have the highest commission (I guess for good reason)

  • MJunk

    Streetsmart edge continually lags or locks up on a powerful window 7 computer.  Schwab does not have any reason for it.  Would not recommend using Edge for active traders.

  • Pingback: Trading Pro Edge System | Bet Stock

  • Rattsbreath

    StreetSmartEdge for Mac users (cloud) 
    A complete waist of time, designed by monkeys. 

  • vance3h

    I’ve found StreetSmart Edge on the cloud to perform much better than native on Windows 7. What issues do you have?

    – Vance

  • Widmark1776-fb1

    I have a Core Duo T9400 with 4 GB of RAM and a decent video card running Windows 7.  StreetSmartEdge runs very slowly, often locks when updating information, and crashes several times a day.  Schwab says they recommend an i7 3rd gen quad core with a lot of RAM.  Its a 32 bit application.

    This may be the best example of why brokerage firms trying to create trade stations without strong in-house technology cultures will not do well.  SSE is a nice idea but really, really bloated.  If you crash and ask for help enough times Schwab will tell you to play with your ports, reboot, blah blah blah, but its mostly wasted motion.  I will now need to upgrade to a new computer or switch brokerages.

  • http://sixfigureinvesting.com/blog/ Vance Harwood

    Hi,
    I had the same problem. Schwab is now offering a cloud version of SSE that sidesteps the perf problem by running the main application on a central server. My experience with it is that the performance is much better. You can call Schwab at 800-435-4000 and ask to sign up for the package.

    – Vance

  • vance3h

    Hi,
    I had the same problem. Schwab is now offering a cloud version of SSE that sidesteps the perf problem by running the main application on a central server. My experience with it is that the performance is much better. You can call Schwab at 800-435-4000 and ask to sign up for the package.

    – Vance

  • Will

    I do like the new cloud-based version of SSE.  It works well on my Mac without having to run virtualization, although the file saving feature is wonky.  My main gripe is that you can’t trade mutual funds on either SSE platform.  I don’t do it often, but it would be really convenient to manage everything in one place. 

  • Guest

    I have SSE performance issues also. Be advised that I uninstalled my antivirus software and SSE immediately got extremely responsive – night and day. I am working with the antivirus vendor; they are interested in this. I have an older Core 2 Duo laptop (somewhat upgraded – 8 GB RAM, high-end SSD) and most software screams on it, with or without antivirus: this issue is specific to SSE. I use an overall security software, and even though I tried to turn off all the various shields, only full uninstall made SSE snappy again, so it seems that SSE is doing something that a market-leading, very fast and well-reviewed security suite does not like. Hmmm!

  • MJunk

    Vance…I have used Edge in the Cloud (EitC) and have the same performance issues (lagging, locking up, delayed order executions resulting from lags, uncertainty of order execution for 10 to 15 seconds – all problems in a fast market).  Schwab Tech support assessed my computer system and internet connectivity as “more than adequate” to run the program.  Earlier this year, Schwab customer representative acknowledge that Edge program was built on a FAULTY system design.  A third party software developer generated problem that Schwab is VERY RELUCTANT to acknowledge.  Typical response is “we have not had any reported issues regarding Edge from our customers.”  A blatantly FALSE statement as I personally know individuals who reported the EXACT same issue to Schwab’s Technical support and Help desk.  I documented many issues in hopes of helping them identify and improve the Edge program.  Yet, it seems Schwab staff are informed to DENY issues exist.

    I really looked forward to using Edge (in any form – cloud or desktop) yet frustration is turning me away from recommending Schwab as a Broker.

  • MJunk

    Also forgot to mention, Edge and EitC updates seem to generate new unresolvable issues.  Something as simple as VWAP indicators are not consistently displayed.  Shows on one chart and not on another with the exact same settings.  Bottom line….Stay away from Edge, in my opinion.

  • vance3h

    Hi MJunk,
    I know how frustrating it is to deal with problems like this. I was very relieved when EitC addressed my performance problems. I do have one internal contact with Schwab that I would be willing to relay your problems to. If you’d like to try that please send an email to vh2solutions@gmail.com with the basics to start with (e.g., your OS, most serious problem) and I will relay that information.

    – Vance

  • active trader

     Edge is the worst software one can see.

  • http://twitter.com/EiDiable Boris The Spider

    Vance I am guessing your not a trader and if you are a part time one. If you are a day trader this has to be the worst trading platform to be using and it is still full of bugs. How much did Schwab pay you for this review ? Street smart edge is a load of rubbish. Me full time day-trader where easy to use software is a must, if I want to cut it with the market don’t use this junk.

  • http://twitter.com/EiDiable Boris The Spider

    Agree worst trading platform, street smart pro is ideal for hardcore day-traders executions are instant if your trading Nasdaq. Why schwab want to use this new crap is beyond me.

  • http://www.sixfigureinvesting.com/blog Vance Harwood

    Boris, Schwab did not pay me for this review. I’m not a day trader, but trade frequently and I don’t encounter a lot of bugs. Rather than attacking me perhaps you could add some value by referencing what you think is a trading good package, or describing specific bugs that Schwab could fix.

    – Vance

  • http://twitter.com/EiDiable Boris The Spider

    Sure level 2 window, BUY SELL SHORT way to close together and you could very easy hit the wrong button loads of stupid things like that another thing that is annoying is the colors you only have two choice as basic. Just trying to set up my live 1 min chart does it work does it hell ! here is my video review and I will do a better one soon as I done that very quick, but I will go over a few bugs that I dislike as a active trader. If you trade a few times a week fine but if you trade and need to get in and out in seconds this is not day-trading software.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lghNyzt9CI

  • Dee

    SSPRO user from the begenning, when it was cybertrader!! SSEdge is totally cool for everyone who likes the looks and the full service schwab has to offer, it is like being in a luxery cruise 747 dreamliner with services galore, however if you are daytrading this is not for you as you are going to war against F-16′s dated as they are but far more effective as you can aim click and enter and exit a trade for 10 bucks in 15 sec’s, it takes edge that long just to load the chart’s so I think you will like edge if you only need to ck you account a few times a month, or rebalance, but for active trading or daytrading its a goodyear blimp, (beautiful) but fighting against F-16′s it just cannot do it, humm seems like they should have sspro just coming out!! and retireing edge, fwiw 30yr trader glgt to all

  • moony

    guys it’s free, no fee and has all at same place. you can’t find anything like this for free no where and i hated td ameritrade’s platform or what ever. they have nothing

  • SSP user

    Streetsmart edge is completely useless program with terrible charts, fonts, contrast, and it takes 2-3 times more space on the screens than SSP.
    Once SSP is gone, I will drop Schwab as my trading platform provider.