Id say any arbritrage strategy regarding finanical markets will likely involve very quick transactions..
an arb may only exist for a fraction of a sec because nowadays many other people are also looking for them..with computers..
So if you were trying to compete by placing such arbs, youd be at a disadvantage and you are correct, you don't have the same resources.. my guess is your company had a very fast connection to the exchange, possibly even being in a building very close by.. because a microsecsond might make all the difference.. maybe a nanosecond ?
I don't know too much about trading on this timeframe myself.
There are many different time-frames you can operate on.. e.g. a long term investor may be successful just by having 1 time a year where he sells old stock and buys new.. and he doesn't need the latest and fastest technology, if he made his trade a few weeks late, it probably wouldn't affect his overall profit and loss much at all..
But with your previous company.. a half a second delay, and there would be no point placing the arb probably..
it would have vanished..
I used to trade S&P500 future on approx 3-5 day timeframe.. if I was late to buy and sell by a few mins sometimes even an hour.. it was often ok.. Ive also traded on much shorter time frames, where I'd see a price and sometimes couple of secs later it was gone..a few minutes late would render the strategy I was using completely useless in this case..
So the bottom line is actually.. where is your edge, your advantage? Obvious blazing fast access to the exchange is not something you have so just dont trade with an edge that relies on super high speed..
ps edge = statistically proven advantage
No matter how good your system, there will always be wins and losses, you just got to lose less money than you make..
Re: Edge, my guess is, you don't yet have one.. that's fine.. but now you have you stick in a lot of time and effort to find one.. ultimately, trading (and betting) is very personal, so whatever you find that works, you will no doubt customize it to suit your personality..
My advice: Look up these guys, Larry Williams.. he's a genuine guy, still trades now and hes 70 years old..I had a mentor once who had made a few million from his old strategies ..[many of his old strategies are redundant, but he teaches his new ones]
He also has free eLetters.
Again, he says himself, majority of his students don't make money.. but he has had many students make their million using him as a trading coach.. most people don't commit enough to trading.. they dont do the work necessary..its not something you can just do in a a few months and become rich.. it takes time in the markets and going down many rabbit holes on the way.. most people going on trading course, go home and never practice the strategies they learn, very few test them
Also check out Van Tharp.. he's a bit to much into his psychology, but he can point you in direction to find an edge.. again can subscribe to newsletters.. I'd recommend buying a couple of his books..
Also another guy I personally know is Patrick Stockhausen.. he has a free subscriber email.. again he's quite into his psychology but he can give practical advice on how to find an edge..and he makes money himself and is a real trader.
Check out these three guys.
Regarding platform to trade on: doesnt really matter as long as it works and you can roughly get the prices you see..
When I was trading futures I registered with LIFFE and traded directly through a 3rd party company.. otherwise I just spreadbet..
Ignore all the shit about spreadbetting being 'tax free', virtually everybody who trades in any finacial market loses money initially anyway.. so actually it will be a loss you can't claim off tax man..
I liked Worldspreads before they folded.. IG Index are quite nice, spreads used to be a little high.. maybe ok now.. GFT UK was quite nice too.. I dabbled with Finspeads but the slow execution of Finspreads pissed me off so I dont use them..
To be honest the cost of spreads aint going to be the thing that loses you money initially.. your own losing trades will be..
so until you get the hang of trading and find a proven edge.. I'd keep your trade minimal, leave your ego at the door, and build up some reliable statistics and trade history.. yes you will put £20 on something and make £60 and wish you put £10k on it then bought a car.. but betting big like this, initially anyway, will wipe you out quick..if you are too aggressive you could be right 9 times in a row but the 10th time can completely wipe your account if you bet too big..
Ignore all the shit and 'how to make money' tutorials from spreadbet companies.. you can go mental trying to learn every possible indicator.. just study the guys I mentioned above, buy a couple of Van Tharps books for £10 on Amazon..etc
You can start with as little as a couple of hundred pounds with spreadbetting.. make sure you have enough to bankrole your trading system tho.. you may have a string of losses quite naturally and that shouldnt destroy your account
And expect to work very hard to find an edge, even by following the guys yourself you still have to put in 99% of the work yourself..
If you want to trade automatically.. Im very interested in this also, but Ive never yet done it..so cant really advise:
I picked up NinjaTrader (can get for free) and started learning that a while back..
there is also TradeStation.. they are the top two platforms from what I understand..
I recommend 'Way of The Turtle' book by Curtis Faith , talks about backtesting.. good stuff, easy to read
Personal note: Its easy to write something on a forum and pretend to be an expert. So I have to be honest with you: back in 2009 and again in 2010, I though I would soon in a couple of years ,be a millionarre. Id found edges that worked and had started to make, to me, large amounts,during start of 2009, I had previous built my account up and up and had approx 10k before 2009, I then built my account to £40k from 10k in 3 months, (only risking 5% a trade)..
I had backtested my strategies but didnt realised Id optimised them to a bear market, and in March time when markets turned round, I started to lose my profits bit by bit.. I pulled the plug when I was back to 10k..
I then went onto daytrade for about 7 months.. after the 5th month I started to make money.. I had a bad 7th month and myself, markets changed property (and all my friends I was trading with) lost alot of our profits..I ended up £500 down on my initial investment of £10k, not too bad but I had office/desk expenses and food + rent costs for the 7 months.. Id have made more money working at MacDonalds :)
I realised I was still trading blind and needed to backtest my strategies to check a real edge existed..
I then moved house and started doing other stuff, I never tested my strategies..2 years went by and now I think 'why did I stop'
I havent properly traded since then, and regret stopping. I hit a wall and stopped like everyone else.. but its those that continue that succeed.
basically mate, I haven't yet made money trading (or betting actually) though believe Im close. You just have to find an edge then work the edge. I have found edges in trading but did not realaise they only worked in certain market conditions..the question for me now is, is it worth all the work for another couple of years to start to make serious money.. or should I go and start a business in the real world or do something completely different.. Right now, Im dabbling in several things.. but I think the time must come soon where I just pick one drop everything else and focus on just that one thing..
P.s. I have met and known a number of successful traders that have made a good living.. but there is 1 or 2 for every 99 that failed.. so the truth is, YOU could likely definately be one of those people.. just how committed are you to being one of them?.. are you prepared to spend e.g. 5 years of your life and energy to figure out how to make money..
I'm sure some of the more experienced bettors on here would say there is a direct comparision to what Ive said about the trading markets to the betting markets..
Hope that helps