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The IQT: Advantage — Set Up Algorithmic Trading without Sharing Your IP

Welcome


Hello and welcome to our first applied article. All articles are saved at our Medium page, and the map of all articles is on the IQT website at: https://theiqt.com/blog.


Our software plugin for MT4, Advantage, has progressed to Beta! With it you can code and execute MQL4 strategies 4x faster. Sign up for Advantage at the following link today and you will get free access until the end of 2022: https://tally.so/r/wzx51g.


These articles are based on my experience from consulting and product development at The IQT. Do let us know if there are topics you would like us to cover, questions you would like to resolve, or if there are insights you would like to share from your own experience.


Overview


1. Traders who wish to set up algorithmic trading face a choice between:


a) revealing their intellectual property (IP) to an external developer and trusting them to implement the strategies without using them for themselves / sharing the IP with others


b) learning the programming language for their trading platform, which is highly time-consuming and can be daunting


2. Advantage is the IQT’s solution to the choice above. It is a plugin for the MT4 trading platform which makes it possible to write algorithmic trading strategies in MQL4 with up to 85% less code than usual.


3. The IQT also offers consulting both on Advantage and general topics, and training for those who wish to learn more about aspects of programming and trading.



Main Points


1. Traders can always gain benefits from increasing the level of automation in their trading, if they do not already use fully algorithmic trading strategies. This was discussed in “Article 2 — The Spectrum of Automation”. In particular, manual traders with proven strategies may wish to extend their strategies to cover more assets at the same time, increasing their rate of profit.


For those not proficient in programming in the programming language of their trading platform, one way to automate strategies is to hire a developer. However, this carries certain risks:


1) Finding and assessing the work of a good programmer takes time and is not a sure-fire process


2) Protecting intellectual property (IP) is tricky. An established trader with 600 followers once approached me after the developer he had hired disappeared with his IP in order to trade the system on their own. Even if the developer agrees to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), it is hard to enforce these.


The alternative is for the trader to learn to program for themselves;


• Even if they are familiar with other languages, learning how to optimise code for a particular trading platform takes time and experience.


• To learn to program from scratch can be even more daunting. Furthermore, despite numerous free resources for learning programming languages generally, and multiple paid courses for specific trading languages, a major client still approached me for bespoke training as they did not find the other resources helped the knowledge “stick”.


2. Considering the choice above, we at The IQT concluded that the best solution is to make programming easier. In a sense, we aim to augment one particular trading language, namely MQL4 (the most widely used among independent traders), so that it is much more accessible for traders, and they can program their own strategies without revealing their IP or trading behaviour to anyone, not even us. With our software plugin for MT4, called Advantage,


• simple strategies can be written with 65% less code

• for more complex strategies, the reduction in code is up to 85%.


Below is a representation of the code reduction for a more complex strategy. The left box shows standard MQL4 code, the right box shows our code with equivalent functionality.



Further benefits include:


Trailing Stops and Partial Closes: Relatively standard risk management techniques which experienced traders would like to use, such as trailing stoplosses and partial closes, are complex to program from scratch. Within Advantage, we have written 1000s of lines of code in the background, so that traders do not need to do this themselves.


Scalping and Avoiding Stop-Hunting: A welcome bonus of this process has been that stoplosses placed by Advantage can be as close to the current price as required, enabling scalping strategies which are sometimes hindered by brokers. These near stoplosses are also unseen by the broker, preventing stop-hunting, which is a concern for some traders.


Sign up for Advantage at the following link today and you will get 6 months of access free: https://tally.so/r/wzx51g.


3. The IQT also offers consulting and training:


Consulting: We consult both on Advantage-related matters and more generally on topics for trading strategies and research. E.g. we helped one hedge fund with cointegration analysis for pairs-based trading, and we are currently assisting academic research on a Kalman Filter implementation for tick data.


Training: We have trained clients to program and trade from scratch. We believe that regardless of background, everyone has a unique edge they can exploit.


Previous clients include independent traders, hedge funds, WiredScore and students at Imperial College and Bayes business schools.


You can get in touch with your specific requirements at info@theiqt.com.


Thanks and happy trading!

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