Brokerage firms provide trading platforms for customers to execute transactions, analyze portfolios, research investment ideas, track performance, and manage positions and trades. Trading platforms vary in complexity and capabilities. The trading platform best suited for a particular customer depends on the asset class traded and required service needs.
For example, some trading platforms specialize in a particular product, such as options or futures, while other platforms provide single-login access to stocks, options, futures, and currencies. Platforms that provide access to multiple products are often referred to as full-service platforms.
Trading platforms may differ within the brokerage firm based on client sophistication and may be web-based or application-based software. Different features are often available on the web-based platform versus the application-based software. Typically, application-based software platforms provide more features and tools. Further, investors with higher levels of knowledge and experience may have access to additional platform features.
Trading platforms may provide extensive API features and integrations that support autotrading. Some platforms are research focused while others have a relatively basic, intuitive user experience for less complex order entry and position monitoring.
Platforms may be mobile-only or mobile-first, meaning they are optimized for mobile trading. Trading platforms differ in their appearance and offer unique chart styling, visual customization, and modeling features.