Best High-Frequency Trading Software of 2024 (2024)

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Best High-Frequency Trading Software of 2024 (1)

Written by Steven Hatzakis
Edited by John Bringans
Fact-checked by Joey Shadeck
Reviewed by Blain Reinkensmeyer

May 07, 2024

ForexBrokers.com has been reviewing online forex brokers for over six years, and our reviews are the most cited in the industry. Each year, we collect thousands of data points and publish tens of thousands of words of research. Here's how we test.

High-frequency trading (HFT) systems are based on sophisticated algorithms that can execute trades with lightening speed. These advanced trading programs utilize cutting-edge technology and highly advanced computers in order to make trades in just fractions of a second, which allows them to rapidly take advantage of market movements and abritrage opportunities.

In our guide to high-frequency trading, we explain how high-frequency trading works, whether it can be profitable, and how you can get started with an HFT system. We also dive into some of the pros and cons that come with using automated trading strategies, and we’ll also help you pick the best broker for using a high-frequency trading system.

Best brokers for high-frequency trading

Our research team has evaluated more than 60 of the biggest brokers in the industry (read more about how we test). We tested and conducted research on the top forex brokers that offer algorithmic trading and API access to produce our list of the best forex brokers for high-frequency trading:

  • IC Markets - Best for HFT on MetaTrader platforms and cTrader API
  • Pepperstone - HFT via MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5)
  • FXCM - HFT via multiple APIs and MetaTrader 4 (MT4)
  • Tickmill - HFT via MetaTrader platform suite
  • FP Markets - HFT via MetaTrader platform suite
  • FxPro - HFT via MetaTrader and cTrader
  • XM Group - HFT via MetaTrader platform suite

What is high-frequency trading?

High-frequency trading (HFT) refers to a type of algorithmic trading system that conducts a large number of trades throughout the trading day within extremely narrow time frames. A piece of algo trading software may execute hundreds of trades per day, while an HFT system can execute many thousands of trades in a matter of seconds. Usually employed by institutions or professional traders, HFT systems utilize complex mathematical algorithms that rapidly analyze market prices and news events in order to identify trading opportunities.

HFT systems also demand extraordinary computing power and require advanced high-frequency trading software. These high-powered trading programs can open and close trading positions in just microseconds.Reducing latency (the time elapsed between when an order is placed and when it is executed) is of such importance for HFT trading strategies that the servers that run these advanced trading systems typically need to be within close physical proximity of the broker’s data center or trading venue.

Is high-frequency forex trading legal?

Yes, high-frequency trading is legal. That being said, it’s possible that high-frequency trading strategies will not be permitted by your broker. Price-driven strategies (such as scalping) or latency-driven arbitrage strategies are prohibited altogether by some brokers. You should check with your broker directly to see if your HFT strategy will be allowed – and it’s always important to carefully examine your broker’s terms and conditions.

If your broker does permit HFT strategies or systems, it’s important to note the specific kinds of trading conditions that are available and to pay attention to your broker’s execution methods and trading costs. Even if your broker permits high-frequency trading, it may simply not be a feasible strategy if your broker makes it cost-prohibitive.

Though HFT systems are legal, they are also controversial. There are some well-known HFT practices that are simply illegal, such as spoofing and front-running.

Spoofing: Spoofing occurs when a high-frequency trading system rapidly places a large number of orders – and then cancels those orders before they can be executed. This strategy is done with the intent of creating an artificial sense of demand for a certain asset or instrument (or falsely driving demand downwards).

Front-running: Sometimes, HFT traders (or institutions) are able to identify significant impending orders for a certain asset or instrument within the market – before the orders are executed. This is (typically) done illegally, with insider (or, non-public) information. Then these traders or institutions are able to use the speed of HFT systems to quickly buy large amounts of that asset, which can be turned around and sold at a profit.

All that being said, the last 20 years or so have seen rules and regulations put in place to prevent practices like front-running, and to generally uphold market integrity and protect market participants. For example, some securities exchanges have implemented a universal speed bump that slows down all incoming orders in an attempt to level the playing field. Today, HFT strategies that are latency-driven or solely looking for price arbitrage are prohibited altogether by many forex market brokers and trading venues.

Pros & Cons of High-Frequency Trading

Pros

  • Decisions are handled by computers. High-frequency trading is conducted by complex algorithms and high-powered computers, so these strategies won’t ever make decisions based on human emotion or psychology.
  • HFT systems move fast. High-frequency trading systems are able to react rapidly to market movements and global news events that can impact markets.

Cons

  • Computers aren’t perfect. HFT algorithms and systems may be complex, but they don’t make perfect decisions. In particular, they may not have the sophistication to determine whether a market-moving event is genuine, and they may not always react appropriately to volatility.
  • HFT isn’t for everyone. An immense amount of technical skill is required to successfully develop and maintain an HFT strategy.

Best stock brokers for high-frequency trading

Our research team has tested a wide range of stock brokers that offer algorithmic trading, API access, and cash equities. Thanks to its low trading costs and connectivity to over 100 trading venues across the globe, Interactive Brokers is our top pick for high-frequency trading. If you want to read more about Interactive Brokers’ stock trading offering, you can read the full-length review of Interactive Brokers on our sister site, StockBrokers.com.

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Check out a gallery of screenshots from Interactive Brokers’ mobile stock trading app taken by the research team at our sister site, StockBrokers.com, during their product testing.

The following brokers are our top picks for using high-frequency trading strategies to trade stocks:

  • Interactive Brokers - HFT via API
  • Charles Schwab - HFT via API
  • IG - HFT via API
  • CMC Markets - Available for institutions via CMC Markets Connect
  • Saxo - HFT via open API portal
  • Capital.com - HFT via WebSocket and Rest API

Can you do high-frequency trading on a mobile app?

Generally speaking, it isn't possible to run a true high-frequency trading system from your mobile device. That being said, there are a number of third-party solutions that allow traders to run algo trading software on a variety of platforms and devices. For example, Capitalize.ai is a tool that allows you to build algorithmic HFT systems using natural (code-free) language. Trading with Capitalize.ai is not done on the typical scale of HFT, but it still offers a form of algorithmic trading that – for now – is as close as you'll get to running a full-fledged HFT strategy from your mobile device.

The following forex brokers offer Capitalize.ai for trading forex algorithmically:

  • Interactive Brokers
  • FOREX.com
  • FXCM
  • AvaTrade
  • Pepperstone

smartphoneTrading on the go?

Check out my guide to the best mobile forex trading apps to learn more about mobile trading and to find my top picks for the best mobile trading apps.

Can you do high-frequency trading with forex?

Yes, there are many algorithmic trading programs that can be used by traders in the forex market to trade at a high frequency – sometimes thousands of orders per day. Though HFT programs are typically found at institutional trading desks, it is becoming more common for retail forex traders to gain access to algorithmic trading programs – including those that could meet the definition of being an HFT.

To set up a high-frequency trading strategy for forex, you’ll need to determine what kind of strategy you will employ, and decide how orders will be triggered programmatically – regardless of whether you are using a trading API with your own software or a third-party trading platform such as MetaTrader.

Check out our full-length guide to the best brokers with Trading APIs, as well as our guide to the best MetaTrader brokers.

HFT strategies that are more price-sensitive will likely use limit orders, whereas execution-sensitive strategies may use market orders.

Note: Many brokers offer multiple execution methods across their account types and platforms.

Is high-frequency forex trading profitable?

Yes, high-frequency trading strategies can be profitable for forex traders. That being said, all trading strategies – including those that utilise HFT systems – involve risk. When considering any forex trading strategy, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of retail forex traders lose money. Finding success and making money with an HFT system will depend largely on which HFT system you’ve chosen, and on your HFT system’s configurations.

Choosing an HFT system: Thousands of individual HFT programs can be leased or purchased from third-party developers. One such source for third-party HFT systems is MetaTrader’s MQL5 community – you can learn more about MetaTrader and MQL5 by reading our popular MetaTrader 5 guide.

Best High-Frequency Trading Software of 2024 (11) Best High-Frequency Trading Software of 2024 (12) Best High-Frequency Trading Software of 2024 (13)

Check out a gallery of screenshots of the MQL Dashboard and Source Library, taken by our research team.

Note: Leasing or purchasing a third-party HFT system does not guarantee success or profitability, however, and any program’s overall effectiveness will still rely on the quality of its historical data and its actual live trading results, among other factors.

How do I get started with HFT trading?

HFT and algorithmic trading are nearly synonymous when it comes to retail trading. Most retail traders that dabble in HFT start out with commercially-available algorithmic trading systems that are compatible with popular trading platforms, such as MetaTrader, cTrader, and NinjaTrader.

If you decide to build your own HFT system, you’ll need to test your strategy by performing backtests on historical data. It’s important to use that data to get an idea of how your system would have performed before using it on a forward-testing basis.

Retail vs. Institutional: Retail trading systems for HFT might carry out tens or thousands of trades per day, whereas institutional HFT systems can execute thousands of trades per minute. These systems require advanced (and extremely expensive) equipment, as well as the ability to physically co-locate near the exchange or trading venue.

What is the best forex broker for high-frequency trading?

IC Markets is the best broker for traders who are looking to run high-frequency trading strategies for forex and CFDs, thanks to its robust order execution policy, low trading costs, and the option for FIX API connectivity to its cTrader platform. Our research team has conducted extensive testing on IC Markets’ entire product offering, check out our full-length review of IC Markets to read more about our findings.

Check out a gallery of screenshots from IC Markets’ desktop trading platform, taken by our research team during our product testing.

If you are looking to run your HFT systems at IC Markets, you have the option to either build it on MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or MetaTrader 5 (MT5) using the MQL syntax, or use the cTrader platform outright (or via API). “MQL” is MetaQuotes Software’s own programming language, designed to allow programmers to develop scripts, libraries, and technical indicators. You can learn more about MQL and MetaTrader by reading our full guide to MetaTrader 5 or by checking out my MT4 vs MT5 guide.

computerTrading APIs

There's a wide range of third-party applications that can be used to programmatically connect to FIX APIs for the purpose of trading using an HFT system, and open-source code can be found on Github. For more in-depth information about trading APIs, read our guide to the best brokers for trading APIs.

ForexBrokers.com 2024 Overall Rankings

Now that you've seen our picks for the best high-frequency trading platforms, check out the ForexBrokers.com Overall Rankings. We've evaluated over 60 forex brokers, using a testing methodology that's based on 100+ data-driven variables and thousands of data points. Check out our full-length, in-depth forex broker reviews.

CompanyOverall RatingOffering of InvestmentsCommissions & FeesPlatform & ToolsResearchEducationMobile TradingTrust ScoreVisit Site
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Methodology

At ForexBrokers.com, our evaluations of online brokers and their products and services are based on our collected quantitative data as well as the qualitative observations and qualified opinions of our expert researchers. Each year we publish tens of thousands of words of research on the online forex brokerage industry, and we evaluate dozens of international regulator agencies (read more about how we calculate Trust Score).

In order to assess the best brokers for high-frequency trading, we research and test each individual broker’s algorithmic product offering. We examine a wide range of features and evaluate forex brokers based on our own data-driven variables. We determine whether the broker offers algorithmic trading or API access, and we look for a number of supplementary features that can distinguish any HFT system offerings.

Browser-based platforms are tested using the latest version of the Google Chrome browser. Our Desktop PCs run Windows 11, and we test algorithmic programs on mobile devices; for Android, we use the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra devices running Android OS 12.

All content on ForexBrokers.com is handwritten by a writer, fact-checked by a member of our research team, and edited and published by an editor. Generative AI tools are not a part of our content creation or product testing processes. Our ratings, rankings, and opinions are entirely our own, and the result of our extensive research and decades of collective experience covering the forex industry. Read our Generative AI policy to learn more.

Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .1% each year, providing site visitors with quality data they can trust. Read more about how we test.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses. Read more on forex trading risks.

About the Editorial Team

Best High-Frequency Trading Software of 2024 (521)

Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. A forex industry expert and an active fintech and crypto researcher, Steven advises blockchain companies at the board level and holds a Series III license in the U.S. as a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA).

Best High-Frequency Trading Software of 2024 (522)

John Bringans

John Bringans is the Senior Editor of ForexBrokers.com. An experienced media professional, John has close to a decade of editorial experience with a background that includes key leadership roles at global newsroom outlets. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from San Francisco State University, and conducts research on forex and the financial services industry while assisting in the production of content.

Best High-Frequency Trading Software of 2024 (523)

Joey Shadeck

Joey Shadeck is the Content Strategist and Research Analyst for ForexBrokers.com. He holds dual degrees in Finance and Marketing from Oakland University, and has been an active trader and investor for close to ten years. An industry veteran, Joey obtains and verifies data, conducts research, and analyzes and validates our content.

Best High-Frequency Trading Software of 2024 (524)

Blain Reinkensmeyer

Blain Reinkensmeyer has 20 years of trading experience with over 2,500 trades placed during that time. He heads research for all U.S.-based brokerages on StockBrokers.com and is respected by executives as the leading expert covering the online broker industry. Blain’s insights have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among other media outlets.

Forex.com: The products and services available to you at FOREX.com will depend on your location and on which of its regulated entities holds your account.

Best High-Frequency Trading Software of 2024 (2024)

FAQs

What is the best trading software in the world? ›

MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is the best stock market software for automated trading. Launched in 2005, MT4 is used by millions of traders worldwide. The software is supported by hundreds of online brokers. Users simply need to log into MT4 with their brokerage credentials.

What is the future of High-Frequency Trading? ›

The Future of High-Frequency Trading

The future may see more sophisticated algorithms, the incorporation of artificial intelligence, and even greater speeds. However, this will likely be accompanied by enhanced regulatory scrutiny to ensure fair and orderly markets.

What is the best major for High-Frequency Trading? ›

There are a few paths into HFT, but most of them require extensive technical skills in one or more of the following hard sciences such as mathematics, physics, computer science or electronic engineering.

Is High-Frequency Trading still a problem? ›

Finally, HFT has been linked to increased market volatility and even market crashes. Regulators have caught some high-frequency traders engaging in illegal market manipulations such as spoofing and layering.

What is the best trading platform in 2024? ›

Best Online Brokerage Accounts and Trading Platforms of 2024
  • Best Overall: Fidelity.
  • Best for Low Costs: Fidelity.
  • Best for Beginners: Charles Schwab.
  • Best for Advanced Traders: Interactive Brokers.
  • Best for ETFs: Fidelity.
  • Best for Options Trading: tastytrade.
  • Best for International Trading: Interactive Brokers.

Who is the number 1 trader in the world? ›

George Soros

He is one of the most popular and famous traders worldwide. In England, Soros worked as a waiter or railway porter before he graduated from the London School of Economics. This finally led him to the banking world when he became a merchant banker at Singer and Friedlander.

What is the best indicator for high-frequency trading? ›

What is the best indicator for high-frequency trading? Moving average (MA), Exponential moving average (EMA), Stochastic oscillator, and Moving average convergence divergence (MACD) are the best indicators for high-frequency trading.

Can you make money with high-frequency trading? ›

High-frequency trading strategies

Although the strategy can be extremely risky, even a small difference in price can yield big profits. HFT algorithms can detect very small differences in prices faster than human observers and can ensure that their investors profit from the spread.

What is the disadvantage of high-frequency trading? ›

High-frequency trading offers significant benefits to online Forex brokers, including speed, liquidity provision, risk management, and data analysis. However, it also comes with disadvantages such as increased market volatility, concerns about market manipulation, high infrastructure costs, and regulatory scrutiny.

What is the highest paid HFT? ›

The highest-paying job at Hft is a Senior Software Engineer with a salary of ₹60,31,200 per year (estimate).

What is the alternative to high-frequency trading? ›

Momentum Trading

The age-old technical analysis indicator based on momentum identification is one of the popular alternatives to HFT. Momentum trading involves sensing the direction of price moves that are expected to continue for some time (anywhere from a few minutes to a few months).

What math is needed for high-frequency trading? ›

Posted February 20, 2020
  • Descriptive Statistics.
  • Probability Theory.
  • Linear Algebra.
  • Linear Regression.
  • Calculus.
Feb 20, 2020

How profitable is HFT? ›

HFTs also aim to trade often, thousands of times per day, and earn a small amount per trade. We find they earn $0.25 on average per contract traded.

Why is HFT not allowed? ›

HFT trading can distort market prices and create artificial demand or supply. By executing a large volume of trades within milliseconds, HFT traders can create false impressions of market activity, influencing other participants' decisions and leading to market manipulation.

How to build an HFT trading system? ›

The first stage of HFT software development involves researching market trends and analyzing historical data to identify potential trading opportunities. This requires a deep understanding of financial markets, as well as the use of advanced statistical and mathematical models to evaluate market conditions.

Which program is best for trading? ›

10 Best Trading Apps in India (2024)
  • Angel One App. ...
  • Upstox Pro Trading app. ...
  • Groww App. ...
  • 5paisa App. ...
  • ICICI Direct App. ...
  • Edelweiss App. ...
  • FYERS App. FYERS is one of the best trading platforms in India. ...
  • AliceBlue App. The AliceBlue Trading application has one of the lowest brokerage charges in the share market industry.
May 7, 2024

What is the best platform for trading worldwide? ›

We recommend Fidelity as the best international trading platform for beginners. In addition to user-friendly platforms, Fidelity offers extensive research and educational resources. Financial firms such as Schwab offer international trading customer service for added international trading guidance.

What is the most profitable trading system? ›

Several highly effective strategies that a multitude of traders find profitable include techniques like Scalping, Candlestick trading, and Profit Parabolic.

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