In this post I will be reviewing the very useful Birts Tick Data Suite. The Tick Data Suite is a unique product that allows backtesting and optimizations using tick data and variable spreads with the popular MetaTrader 4 platform which you can download from most forex brokers free of charge. This is the must have forex tool for anyone who wants to back test in the MetaTrader 4 strategy tester – honestly, I would not even think about back testing without it. I consider it to be the gold standard when it comes to historical testing of forex robots. Every serious forex programmer should have this in their toolbox.
In this Birts Tick Data Suite Review, I will be taking a closer look at this forex trading tool to see exactly what it is and how it works. Hopefully, this will help you to make a decision if it is something that you would like to implement as part of your daily trading routine.
What is Birts Tick Data Suite?
If you have an automated trading system and want to backtest it in the MT4 platform, you would need to use the MT4 strategy tester. The problem with the MT4 strategy tester is that it has very limited functionality by default. This means that you need to integrate it with a third-party software such as Birts TDS to improve the quality of your back tests.
The MetaTrader 4 strategy tester is well known for not giving accurate results but thankfully the generous “Birt” developed “Birts Tick Data Suite” which gives the most accurate back testing conditions possible in MetaTrader 4.
For starters the maximum modelling quality available in MetaTrader 4 using history from the historical data center from MetaQuotes is only 90%. The data tends to have missing gaps which can cause a significant difference in back testing results.
Birts Tick Data Suite allows you to use real tick data (I get my tick data free from Dukascopy downloaded using Tick Story Lite) for back testing expert advisors in the MT4 strategy tester. This gives you back tests with 99% modelling quality, such as those you will find with the Forex Robotron EA.
Birts Tick Data Suite Features
Really, the difference that Birts Tick Data Suite makes on the quality of back testing cannot be expressed enough. It is easy to use; you simply install it into the same directory as your MetaTrader 4 installation and use it to run the platform. It will prevent the tick data from being over written and removes the MetaTrader 4 back testing size limitations.
You can use the Tick Data Suite to set your tick data to use the real historical spreads (ask-bid), implement slippage, include commissions at chosen values, the time zone of the data and so much more. I think it is vital that anyone backtesting a forex robot should be using tick data, real spreads and including commission fees as a bare minimum. I would go as far to say that you should not even consider any forex robot that cannot provide you with accurate backtests to get a rough idea of historical performance.
The difference this accurate data and testing conditions have on some forex robots is incredible, especially forex scalping robots. Some forex robot developers fail miserably in back testing because they used the current spread in the strategy tester which gives unrealistic results as it uses the same spread throughout all the history when in reality the spread would have been changing. If a strategy was only targeting a few pips this could be the difference between a winning and losing strategy.
Furthermore, by including commissions into the tick data you ensure that the trading costs are included in back testing which again is not done by default in the strategy tester. Slippage can also affect forex robots performance and the strategy tester by default cannot emulate slippage but with Birts Tick Data Suite you can.
Anyone serious about back testing should use this software in my opinion; I don’t really consider any back tests that don’t use tick data, real spreads, commission and slippage.
Perhaps you may be put off thinking it is too complicated to use but once you get going it really isn’t. Birt also offers great support and is very helpful and the website also has tutorials explaining how to back test in a very easy to follow and understand format.
Birts Tick Data Suite Summary
I use Birts Tick Data Suite on a daily basis for testing my own expert advisors and wouldn’t do without it. The process I follow is simple, I download the tick data from the currency pairs I need using tick story lite and then import the data into MetaTrader 4. I then use Birts Tick Data Suite to load the MetaTrader 4 terminal and convert this data into FXT with real spreads, commissions with UTC (universal coordinated time – the same all year round). I can then accurately test with 99% modelling quality and get results from the strategy tester.
I would say that Birts TDS is not the easiest tool to use and will require that you spend lots of time learning how it works. You will also need lots of space on your computer to store the historical tick data to use for your backtesting. It will take you some trial and error to get the most out of the software whereas the developer is always happy to help.
You will also find plenty of guides on the website and it is good to see the software still being updated after all of these years. In saying that. the MT5 platform does let you backtest with tick data but it does not have as many useful features as Birts TDS does. However, one of the main advantages of MT5 backtesting is that you can test multiple financial instruments at once, but I believe Birts tick data suite is restricted to one instrument at a time due to an MT4 limitation.
If you are interested back testing forex robots you may have downloaded (even purchased) or developed yourself using software such as the Expert Advisor Builder then make sure you use Birts Tick Data Suite for the best possible back testing conditions. Always try to use variable spreads and include commissions for even more accuracy.
Birts Tick Data Suite$97
- All Currencies
- Multiple Timeframes
- 60 Day Money Back Guarantee
- Full Support
- Detailed Instructions
- MetaTrader 4
- Tick Data Testing
- Real Spread Testing
- Commission Testing
- Best MT4 Test Conditions
- Quite Complex For Beginners
- Steep Learning Curve
- Limited Free Data
- Requires Lots Of Disk Space
- Still Cannot Give 100% Backtests
Self-confessed Forex Geek spending my days researching and testing everything forex related. I have many years of experience in the forex industry having reviewed thousands of forex robots, brokers, strategies, courses and more. I share my knowledge with you for free to help you learn more about the crazy world of forex trading! Read more about me.