Virtual Trading Tools
If you’re involved in the trading industry then you know a good trading platform can make a world of difference. Investfly is a trading platform whose numerous features and tools have made it popular amongst traders. Read our review to learn everything you need to know about Investfly.
Introduction To Investfly
Investfly is a trading platform designed to eliminate the need for programming knowledge typically required for setting automated trading routines. The platform uses a series of menus to write logical code in the background, making it simple to create a portfolio based on parameters rather than a traditional stock search. However, it is difficult to consider this a major breakthrough in trading technology as it mimics the functionality of most stock screeners. Most of the platform’s features can be accessed for free, although using your automated portfolios to trade real stocks with a live brokerage account required a subscription.
Investfly Pricing Options
Investfly offers three pricing tiers, the most basic of which is free.
Importantly, the free option provides access to a surprising amount of Investfly’s platform, including the automated trade functions. However, the free option only allows users to create one automated portfolio, one stock screener, and one trade trigger, as well as only includes access to stock data. Note also that free users cannot execute trades within Investfly or connect to a live brokerage account.
A Premium subscription costs $19.99/month and offers users access to option and futures data as well as up to five portfolios and stock screens. Premium users can also download data using Investfly’s API. However, users have to upgrade to the Elite subscription, at $49.99/month, in order to connect their Investfly account to a live brokerage and have the automated trades they design on the platform be executed in real life.
The most basic automation function available in Investfly is to set a trade trigger for a single stock. This trigger can be used to actually execute a trade (or a simulated trade for free and Premium users) or to send an alert.
After choosing a stock of interest, Investfly prompts users with a simple interface for adding filters. A set of pre-designed basic filters are available, including filters that trigger based on RSI or price crossovers. However, there are surprisingly few of these premade filters available so most users will want to design a more rigorous custom filter.
Designing a custom filter is simple and uses basic logic in which one parameter is greater than, equal to, or less than another parameter or number. The range of available stock parameters is huge, which can make it overwhelming for users who do not already have a particular filter design in mind. Instead of browsing, users can also directly search parameters by name or description.
While the filter module is designed to be flexible, it may be too flexible – there are no warnings if you design a filter that does not make sense (e.g. you can set a trigger where earnings per share must be greater than the 52-week high in order for it to activate). That said, the filter module completely removes back-end coding from trade automation by pre-defining all common financial variables and most technical indicators.
Portfolios take the automation at the single trade level and expand it to the level of an entire portfolio. In effect, automated trading with a full portfolio is much like using a stock screener, except that the screener results can be executed as trades. Thankfully, there is an option when setting the automation rules to only scan against a select set of stocks.
The available filters for setting automation rules are the same as those for individual stock triggers. However, instead of pre-defined filter sets, for portfolios it is possible to copy successful automation rule sets from other users on Investfly (automations may be set to either public or private). Investfly automatically suggests potential automation rule sets to clone and customize when setting up a new portfolio.
Traders can monitor the performance of their portfolio over time to understand whether or not their automation rules are working as intended. In addition, the automation rules governing a particular portfolio can be backtested for either one or five years to see how an automation algorithm would have performed under past conditions. The ease of this backtesting is arguably one of the best features of Investfly, as it is much more difficult to backtest trading strategies on most other platforms.
The Investfly screener mimics the functionality of the filter module in the stock trigger. The primary difference is that the screener is not intended to trigger an alert or a trade, but rather to just list the securities that meet the screener criteria similar to screeners on other platforms. Paid users are able to download screener results to a CSV, while Elite users are able to place trades directly from the screener using their connected brokerages.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, alerts follow the same format as all other rule-based filters on Investfly. The number of alerts is limited on all account types, limiting the usability of Investfly for day traders looking for a robust trading alert platform.
Investfly Layout and Customization
Investfly is a browser-based software and as such offers relatively little customization of its layout. That said, the interface is extremely clean and easy to navigate, and there is little redundancy in the layout of the platform. It is straightforward to manage portfolios, and the ability to directly search for parameters when defining trading rule sets is a major time-saver.
One of the major issues that Investfly users are likely to face is that it is difficult to replicate sets of filters across the platform. While Investfly makes it easy to save a set of rules as a trigger set, or to save a set of rules to automate a portfolio, it is currently not possible to design one set of rules and clone it across the trigger, portfolio, screener, and alerts modules.
While much of the advantage of Investfly lies in the ability to execute an automated trading strategy, the platform’s support for brokerages to conduct real-world trades with an Elite account is limited. Currently, only Interactive Brokers, Tradier, and Just2Trade are supported for real-time trade execution.
Investfly Platform Differentiators
Investfly is one of only a few trading platforms designed for retail traders that supports automated trading – and it is in extremely rare company by taking the programming out of automated trading. That said, the method that Investfly uses to allow traders to set automated trade triggers and alerts is highly similar to existing stock screeners across other platforms. In addition, the ability to actually execute automated trades – Investfly’s most important selling point – is compromised by the fact that the platform is only compatible with three relatively minor brokerages. However, Investfly does offer excellent and highly simplified portfolio backtesting functions and the ability to track the performance of an automated portfolio over time.
What Type of Trader is Investfly Best for?
Investfly is best for traders who want to get into automated trading, but haven’t been able to because of the barrier to entry that learning to program represents. The main selling point of the platform is that it makes it easy to expressly parameterize a trading strategy and set automatic triggers while keeping everything in plain English. However, Investfly is primarily worthwhile with an Elite subscription since this enables real-world trading based on automated strategies, and even then it is limited to traders with an account at a compatible broker.
- Automated trading without needing to program
- Filter parameters are browsable and easily searchable
- Backtesting automated portfolios is extremely straightforward
- Ability to clone and modify other users’ successful automated portfolios
- Free version offers full access to automation features and one-year backtesting
- Only compatible with a handful of minor brokerages
- Rule-based filters are highly similar to what is available in stock scanners
- Number of active alerts allowed at any time is very limited