Is Tradestation a Direct Access Broker? (2022)


Does Tradestation provide direct routing to markets/exchanges on its trading platform or mobile app?

Is Tradestation a Direct-Access Broker?

TradeStation’s order ticket does have a destination field, which means it’s possible to send orders to specific market makers and ECNs. In fact, this great feature is available on all of the broker’s trading platforms, including the mobile app, browser platform, and desktop program.

The one downside of TradeStation’s direct-access service is that there’s a surcharge for routed orders. The fee is half a penny per share. But TradeStation has a zero-commission pricing schedule on stocks today, so that is all there is on the buy side. On the sell side, there are also exchange and regulatory fees, as usual.

So, for a very small sum, it is possible to send orders to specific market venues using a TradeStation account.

There may be some advantages of choosing TradeStation over other brokerage firms out there. During our investigation, we found 20 routing options. This is a much larger list than what some other direct-access brokers offer. For example, TD Ameritrade provides fewer than 5.

TradeStation’s routing choices will be found in the Route field that appears on the broker’s trade ticket. Just click in this field and you’ll get a drop-down menu with several choices. Some examples include:


tradestation direct access

  • BATS
  • EDGX
  • Knight Link
  • NSDQ
  • Sweep-Algo
  • Intelligent

The last option, Intelligent, is TradeStation’s default selection. It will automatically send an order to whichever venue is offering the best price at the moment. This default option does not carry the 0.5¢ per-share surcharge.

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Direct Routing at TradeStation

Any of TradeStation’s routing options can be used for any order type (such as market, limit, or trailing stop).

The above details apply to trades of stocks and ETFs. Transactions of options have somewhat different guidelines. For instance, there is a per-contract surcharge for directly-routed options orders. It is $1 per contract.

Furthermore, some of the routing choices change for derivative orders. Intelligent is still there, although Knight Link is gone, replaced by C2 and some other venues.

Due to the complexity of using direct-access routing, it may be a good idea to take advantage of demo trading at TradeStation. All three of the broker’s securities platforms have this great feature. On the mobile app, browser platform, and desktop system, it is quite easy to access. Just look for the Simulated Trading login. The same routing options are available in simulated mode, so it’s really easy to practice with no risk.

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Cash bonus up to $150 for depositing funds into TradeStation.

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Updated on 2/4/2022.