Guide to an Ideal Trading Desk Setup

12 June 2016, 08:49
Sherif Hasan
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Your visual and audio perception are your keys to rapidly interpreting information about happenings in the foreign exchange market. This is why you need a decent setup which includes enough screen real estate to see both the numbers and the charts, a low-latency audio feed and high-speed internet.

There’s no denying that a proper trading set up requires financial investment but it’s not necessary to spend too much money on a setup until you have mastered the basics and become relatively consistent with your returns. A minimum trading setup should include at least two screens and a data news service, which can be audio or data, but ideally both.

If you are trading news events then it’s advantageous to have more than one screen. Ideally, you’ll have a subscription to a news data service which populates the figures the second they are released. You will want one screen dedicated to this while your other screen or screens have the charts and execution. Having multiple screens dedicated to charting is ideal so you can see what is going on in multiple FX pairs at the same time and also keep an eye on other key asset classes such as oil and stocks.

It’s crucial that your trading computer has enough RAM to be able to handle multiple applications simultaneously. RAM of 16GB is desirable, and also a high-performance processor.

The way I personally trade is by having one screen specifically dedicated to our news feed so I can constantly keep abreast of the daily news as it’s posted. In addition to this our live news feed includes an audio squawk which will give you both scheduled and unscheduled news the moment it hits the public arena.

A reliable high speed internet connection is also a must for any serious trading setup, unfortunately this is sometimes out of the trader’s control in some less developed countries, however technology is advancing at a rapid rate.

Another crucial aspect of the perfect trading setup is having a comfortable and ergonomic chair which does not cause discomfort after you’ve been sitting down for hours. Your seat should be at a height where your thighs are tilted slightly downwards and your desk height should be about elbow height. Your screen should be at about eye level and far enough away to prevent eye strain. There are plenty of resources online that discuss proper desk posture and it’s well worth doing some research.

From a health perspective, it’s important to get up and walk around at regular intervals during the trading day. A standing desk is a good idea to prevent the ill-effects of sitting down all day, however the ones that move up and down are quite expensive.

Also a good idea for those traders who are in front of their screens all day is a pair of blue light reducing glasses which can prevent eye fatigue and also allow you to switch off and sleep at night more easily.

Different trading styles will require slightly different sets of equipment, with high-speed news trading probably requiring the most significant investment. If such tools are currently out of your price range then consider playing the medium-term trades by looking at the fundamentals and entering on technical setups rather than news events. There’s more than one way to make a profit in FX trading.

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