When was the last time you saw a TV show, or a movie, or anything at all that involved serious investors or traders (or even those just pretending) that were using something that looks like Robinhood?

That was rhetorical. You’ve never seen a pro using anything but a pro-level trading platform. Just like you don’t see Ricciardo racing a Hyundai, or doctors using plastic stethoscopes from Mattel.

(Robinhood chart, NASDAQ: HOOD –  took from the young and impressionable and gave to the rich? Source: TradingView)

 ‘Professional-grade’ products are often hard to pick up. I was watching James Hammond from that famous car show try to drive a Formula One car once, and he could barely let out the clutch.

They are also, usually, very expensive – due to their quality and costs of data.

Hyundais look pretty snappy these days, but I could still punch a hole through the door if I tried. They cut corners where they can, to get down to a budget, and as a result a Hyundai is not a Formula One car. But they are both cars…

So, in the share market, there are professional-grade products. They cost about $1,000 a month. They have all the very latest info, every milli-second of every trading day and are laid out in such a way as to make sense of the market – where thousands of companies are constantly moving around.

Back when the internet became a big thing, and stock markets came down off the chalkboard and went into PCs, online trading was invented. The tech-boom and associated bull market was underway and everyone wanted in, but they didn’t want to pay 1.5% brokerage to a stockbroker when they could make just as much throwing darts at a dartboard of stocks.

So the big banks all scrambled to slap together an online trading product so that they wouldn’t have their competitor trying to steal your mortgage off them. The market was hot, so you didn’t need a lot of skill or information to make money – just easy market access and a mate that knew a guy in computers.

They went with ‘click to refresh’ on a website to get the latest price and a simple chart, and put all the different data points on different webpages – to keep down the cost of ASX data royalties (as you cost them money each time you look at a live price).

They added lots of seemingly important information like the ‘latest recommendations’ ‘or ‘most undervalued stocks’ to make it look serious, but once you know what you’re looking at you realise its mostly padding and poorly laid out.

Then it was about $20/$30 or 0.1% brokerage rates for a normal trade – a little less if you were only buying up to a grand’s worth.

If you wanted something better they would connect you to a retail version of a professional trading platform – that was a knocked down version, made ‘lighter’ in content to allow it to operate on your home PC. They didn’t have smart-phones back then…

(Source: Google. Your boy Elon and some other guy, maybe John McEnroe(?) showing you what computers and hairlines were like when the banks current online broking models were designed.)

So then its another $100 a month or so (or a whack-load of brokerage) – for a trading platform and live-streaming – that looked a little bit like the ones the pros have. Ours is $45, and its all mobile too – not just the simplest bits.

And those simple platforms? They were/are 0.1% each time you trade. That’s $25 for a $25,000 trade — Marketech is $5.

More recently, technology has improved but the latest round of retail trading options are all cutting corners to get down to a price – for the 18-24yr old who doesn’t know any better, or the person who is convinced that they just need to buy and hold anything – and have convinced themselves that they will, even in a serious market downturn.

I won’t bang on about them too much, you know the products. It’s a bull market, so there’s lots of new retail investors looking to strike it rich quickly – again – and it’s seemingly easy to make money, so presumably some of the people using those platforms are doing ok. But you won’t ever see any pros using them professionally.

And so the pros are out there, using the ‘Formula One’ versions of a trading platform, live-streaming every little change, seeing each trade as it goes into the market – and the retail guys are trying to make and earn using a ‘Hyundai with a spoiler and mags’. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

There is a major gap between the data and technology that a pro uses, and those offered to retail investors. Always has been, its just the marketing that has changed – but it’s still stacked against you.

And also, to clarify, Hyundais are fine – for the purpose they were designed for – but not for racing against the pros where the big money is. So if you’re just gambling the money you would have stuck on Sportsbet anyway, go for it. House usually wins though.

So then Marketech came along. $45 per month which includes live-streaming pricing.

You also get your own HIN, your own bank account, and a proper pro-styled platform. What we wanted to do was build something that didn’t cut corners, that was easier to learn.

Built for someone who probably couldn’t stare at a screen all day – and when they could look, allow them to quickly scan the important points that were relevant to them.

We also connected it to the market so you could place trades, but we don’t care if you trade or not.

We operate a subscription model so we are motivated to make the platform better, not to get you to trade more.

It’s not the easiest thing in the world — dealing with a bunch of third-parties to try and provide a perfectly stable live-streaming service.

With ‘click to refresh’ pricing you don’t notice data drop-outs as it just looks like the price hasn’t changed — like wallpapering over the cracks.

But they still happen even if you don’t see them, so we had to work around those before we could re-focus on the platform. But we’re back on track baby!

(Source: Marketech Focus, a few seconds of live-streaming in a boring stock on a boring day – wait til you see what a real sell-off looks like!)

Our first roll-out was OUR vision of what a platform should have in it, and that meant we were probably biased towards our own ways of trading. I didn’t even know people would want to place trades at 2am!

But now we have a client base of serious active traders – who are just like you. And we asked them what they wanted. And now, we are on the very cusp of rolling some of those features out.

Here’s a sneak peak!

First up – the dark screen option. And alternative colours (for our colour-blind brothers and sisters!).

I don’t look at the market under my covers at night, but I know that some of the reddit crowd do (as their wife’s boyfriend gets annoyed when they keep him up late) so dark screen got on the list. And, it looks more professional, like in the movies…

Next up, the live-streaming intraday worm (or nano-charts!) in all the watchlists and market movers.

This way, when you sneak a peak during that important meeting you can quickly see whether your stocks are fading or rising during the day without having to adjust the chart settings (or click the refresh screen button).

Tagging – Stage 1 (of many).

The stock market is commonly broken up into components such as ‘mining’ or ‘banking’. But what if you have a different way of viewing the market make-up?

What if you wanted to define it and sort it your way? Like ‘Uranium/Pre-producer/Dodgy-as’?

So in this first roll-out of ‘tags’, you can wander around the whole market and assign your own set of values. You can be like the first guy to use the dewey decimal stickers in the library. And you get to decide what they each mean, and which ones go into each grouping.

Where we go next with Stage 2 will come largely from user feedback. We have lots of ideas, but apparently we aren’t just building out this platform for me…

Maybe you can tell us, once you’re a client.

There’s a bunch of other stuff in this roll-out too; new ways of managing your live alerts and watchlists, data summaries on the watchlists and depth, and crosshair data summaries so you can easily see the OHLC and volume on any day in the past.

Even a walkthrough to show you all the cool features, in case you’ve never used a trading platform before.

Its quicker, easier to use, better looking, with more functions. And there’s this; you won’t be punching a screen refresh button worrying about whether you lost priority in the queue — most of your trades will hit the market well under a second.

And from now on, we’ll try and get a new feature or two out on a regular basis. We already have hundreds of ideas from our clients. That is, if our hardworking tech developers don’t murder me in my sleep.

And it’s still only $45 a month, and brokerage is still only $5 or 0.02%. It blows my mind that we have to advertise…

We’re not trying to be the cheapest, we’re trying to be the best.

And there’s more big news next week…!

At Marketech our platform is about technology, providing you the tools and technology to trade.  We encourage our high-function trading platform to get you live pricing, live charts, live market depth to ensure you have the tools and trading capability at your fingertips, and on your mobile phone or PC.

You trade your own stock on your individual HIN. It is your cash in your own Macquarie account where you keep the competitive interest you earn.

Our subscribers get access to brokerage starting at $5, and then 0.02 per cent for trades over $25k.  If you want to trade the market, you need immediate access wherever you are and the seamless Marketech mobile app means you are live anywhere anytime.

Go to www.marketech.com.au to set up a free trial – you will be astounded by the simplicity and tools that this technology gives you.  No spin, just low-cost trading and the tools that give you advantage over hype.

This article was developed in collaboration with Marketech Online Pty Ltd (AFSL 486148), a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing. This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.