Fidelity's policies for WL access by US residents
Author: jsmith2007z
Creation Date: 7/19/2009 11:13 AM
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I find it unfortunate that Fidelity’s policies do not allow US residents to purchase Wealth-Lab, and that access is granted and maintained on the basis of a substantial number of trades with Fidelity. These policies make Wealth-Lab a difficult choice for trading system development and/or deployment in the US by those who do not already have a profitable strategy they wish to trade with Fidelity that works within the technical limitations of WL, e.g., not a short-term intraday system that must monitor hundreds of equities. Another limiting policy is not allowing automated trading until a large number of recent trades have already been done.

These policies have a certain Catch-22/chicken-egg aspect: One cannot get access to the development/testing platform unless one is already trading, but to be trading, if one has any sense and is not an expert discretionary trader, one first needs access to the development/testing platform. One cannot do automated trading without having done 500 recent trades, but one is unlikely to do 500 recent trades that benefit from automated trading unless one already has automated trading capabilities.

In the time I worked with WL4, I grew to really like it and appreciate its unique features and the talents of its developers. WL5 needed more development to match the capabilities of WL4 but looked promising. The lack of API documentation and the closed nature of the current product are other issues.

I see that the once-thriving WL online community, which attracted remarkable talent, energy and sharing, has unfortunately become much more subdued as time has passed since Fidelity's acquisition and the implementation of non-sales in the US.

I'm not quite sure what the business model is at Fidelity with respect to Wealth-Lab. Perhaps from Fidelity's point of view, this all makes sense somehow, conceivably by removing from the market an attractive tool for steering brokerage business to Interactive Brokers and other Fidelity competitors.

From the user perspective, it would be better to open up access to acquisition and use of the products, ideally to the point of making them "free software" in the Gnu sense, or at least back to where things were before the Fidelity acquisition. If not that, how about a monthly lease, including data feed, as an option for those who do not meet the minimum trading requirement?
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This is a site run by MS123, third-party support and licensed international resellers of Wealth-Lab. We can't speak on behalf of Fidelity, so to address Fidelity, please call support and get in contact with a Wealth-Lab business manager. They are who you need to convince, and it won't be easy. I'd recommend that you find out what the business model is before you suggest changing it.

The lack of API documentation and the closed nature of the current product are other issues.

I can assure you that the inavailability of the API docs is a temporary situation, though it's one that has persisted far too long, agreed.
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It seems that the business model in the US is to get commission revenue from active traders, patterned after Tradestation, which also changed from a product that could link to various brokers into a service based offered by one broker.

Tradestation leases their platform and data feed for $100/month to those who do not meet their minimum trading requirement. Maybe Fidelity would consider the same; it's revenue they would not otherwise see, at little cost to them. Maybe I will ask them...
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