Contributor, Benzinga
June 1, 2022
Composer
Overall Rating:
securely through Composer's website

The Toronto, Ontario-based financial software company behind the website Composer was co-founded in 2020 by Benjamin Rollert, Ronny Li and Ananda Aisola to produce an automated trading platform called Composer that has exited beta testing after its launch in November 2021. The Composer software lets retail investors manage their assets and portfolios automatically so they can emulate the returns made by major hedge funds and professional asset managers. According to Composer CEO Benjamin Rollert, the company was started after he felt frustrated having to accept inferior risk-adjusted returns in his own portfolio without access to the automation tools used by professionals. Keep reading to find out more about this innovative automated trading platform for investors and traders. 

Composer is the website of a portfolio management software company that allows fund managers and investors to automate trading activities. Users of the Composer platform can easily create trading and investment strategies from a set of “infinitely combinable building blocks.” The software features a no-code visual interface that allows you to use and modify strategies with ease. The Composer software also allows you to backtest your trading strategies and compare returns to a benchmark or another strategy. 

Best For
  • Retail investors and traders
  • Professional money managers
  • Hedge fund managers
Pros
  • No-code visual editor
  • Ability to automate trading strategies
  • Excellent backtesting capabilities
Cons
  • Currently in beta testing
  • Only one brokerage partner (Alpaca)

Composer Ratings at a Glance

Product Offerings
Product Offerings
Pricing
User Benefits
User Experience
Overall

Composer Product Offerings

The company behind the Composer website has developed a software package called Composer that goes well beyond the automation of simple trading strategies and social trading. The Composer automated trading platform levels the playing field by putting advanced investing and trading strategies used by hedge funds and the ability to automate them within the reach of smaller retail investors and traders.

The Composer software is based on “symphonies,” which are investment strategy modules that can be used, created and modified with its no-code visual editor. These modules let the investment automation platform provide users with templates based on proven ready-made strategies. In addition, you can create your own symphonies by first inputting a stock or exchange-traded fund (ETF), and then adding a variety of different weights and modifying parameters.

You can create an account and manage everything through the Composer App where you can manage all your assets, trades and data in one place. Composer partners with Alpaca, a brokerage platform, to execute automated trades in your account based on the logic embedded in Composer’s symphonies.

Once you get started with Composer, you can track the performance of your portfolio in real time. You can also make changes to the automation instructions Composer uses on your behalf by buying into and selling out of strategies. You can even backtest your strategy and compare its performance with that of benchmarks, top hedge funds and other investment strategies.

Composer’s backtest page with the performance metrics and graphic representation of a custom symphony compared with the Quint Switching strategy and SPY returns. The SPY is an ETF that tracks the S&P 500 stock index. Source: Composer

The ready-made strategies offered within Composer include: 

  • Getting Started: The Total Package, Paired Switching S&P500 and Bonds, Equity Index Rotation and Sector Momentum. 
  • Featured: Hedgefundie’s Excellent Adventure Refined, The Dragon Portfolio, and Risk On or Risk Off Leveraged S&P 500. 
  • Living with High Inflation: Inflation Hedge, Real Assets, Commodity Momentum and Smarter Oil.  
  • Getting Defensive: Low Volatility Risk Parity, D-FENSE, Core Satellite, Business Cycle Recession, Volatility Hedge and Business Cycle Slowdown. 
  • Balance Risk Not Assets: Hedgefundie’s Excellent Adventure, Dragon Portfolio, Hedgefundie’s Excellent Adventure Refined, Leveraged S&P500 Risk Parity and Low Volatility Risk Parity.
  • Be Risk Aware: Risk On Risk Off Leveraged S&P500, Paired Switching S&P500 and Bonds, Risk On Risk Off Momentum, Paired Switching S&P500 and Gold, Paired Switching Dow and Bonds, Sector Rotation, Developed Market Momentum, Global Equity Momentum and GTAA5.
  • Grow Your Portfolio: Big Tech Momentum, Three Seasons, Global Momentum, The Total Package, Treasury and Stock Momentum, Quint Switching, Buy the Dips Nasdaq, Business Cycle Expansion, Business Cycle Recovery and Sector Momentum. 
  • Lever Up: Hedgefundie’s Excellent Adventure, Dragon Portfolio, Hedgefundie’s Excellent Adventure Refined, Risk On Risk Off Leveraged S&P500, Global Momentum and Buy the Dips Nasdaq. 
  • Building Blocks: Business Cycle Recession, Real Assets, Business Cycle Expansion, Volatility Hedge, Business Cycle Slowdown, Commodity Momentum, Business Cycle Recovery and Smarter Oil. 
  • Classic: The Dalio, The Buffett, The Early Markowitz, The Swensen and the 60-40 Portfolio. 

You can follow, invest or edit any of these strategies, which makes the Composer platform a truly powerful tool for investors and fund managers interested in automatically managing their portfolios. Following different strategies also helps give investors a more intuitive feel for the market, as well as greater insight into what strategy works best in different economic environments and market conditions.


A selection of popular symphonies or strategies available in Composer with performance metrics and a graphical representation of each symphony’s returns. Source: Composer

After you’ve become comfortable using the Composer platform and have designed and tested a suitable trading or investment strategy, you can easily open and fund a live account to implement that strategy in through the Composer app. 

Composer currently partners with Alpaca, an online brokerage platform, to execute automated trades in your account based on the logic embedded in Composer’s symphonies. You can use Composer to trade all of the stocks and cryptocurrencies that particular broker supports.

Composer Product Offerings

Although a telephone or live chat customer service option was not apparent on the Composer website, the company does offer customer support via its email address at: support@investcomposer.com, as well as through Twitter and LinkedIn.  A link to the company’s brochure gives its Toronto address, as well as important information about its services and fees for those interested in giving its Composer automated trading platform a try during its beta testing phase.

Composer Pricing

According to the company’s brochure, clients can use the Composer App at no cost.  There are no commissions, but as with all trading, clients pay the bid-ask spread and regulatory fees on transactions. Similar to other retail trading platforms, Composer and Alpaca capture a small percentage of trading costs.

If you are genuinely interested in automated trading, then the scope and quality of the ready-made strategies in the symphony investment modules and other included services make a Composer subscription seem well worth its rather low trading costs.

Composer User Benefits

One of the major benefits of the Composer automated trading platform is that it is easily customizable by investors who have previously used Excel or other spreadsheet programs to track their portfolios. Composer also features a very useful and simple to use no-code visual editor aimed at those who are relatively new to programming. 

Furthermore, the wide variety of different symphonies you can select from spans many of the most popular and successful investing models from well-known investors like Warren Buffett, Ray Dalio and Harry Markowitz. Virtually every economic scenario you can imagine is covered by the different symphonies available to Composer subscribers. 

From investing in a high inflation environment to seeking the safety of Treasury bonds, you’re likely to find an investment strategy in Composer that fits your portfolio, market view and investment preferences. The automated trading software also lets you develop a custom symphony using elements from the pre-made symphonies it offers.  

Details about each symphony and its historical performance can be viewed on the Composer website in a graphic format. You can also review each symphony’s annualized return, daily change and Sharpe Ratio. A button on each symphony’s window opens a fact sheet where you can choose to follow its performance or invest immediately using that strategy. 

The fact sheet lists the symphony’s creator, category, trading setting, risk rating and in-depth performance metrics. The fact sheet also details the structure of the symphony and the actions taken according to its specific parameters. In addition, the fact sheet displays the weight of each asset with either a specified or an equal weight for risk-on and risk-off scenarios.  

composer

A partial list of Composer symphonies from the Composer website. Source: Composer

You can also engage in a form of social trading using Composer by sharing and/or following a particular symphony in your own account after reviewing its track record. This process can be especially helpful if you are a newer trader learning the ropes, if you have not had much success trading on your own or if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to developing and testing your own trading strategy.  

Composer User Experience

If you have a well-developed trading strategy with objective rules and are looking to get into automated trading, then it may make sense to check out the Composer automated trading platform. If you are new to coding, then the platform’s no-code visual editor will probably be helpful in getting you started.

The Composer platform gives traders and investors at all levels of experience an easy and intuitive way to develop, trade and automate their trading or investment strategies. Newer investors or those who have previously used professional investment services can also follow the different symphonies to see which would fit their particular return goals, risk tolerance and investment preferences. 

Composer could be a good fit for anyone serious about maximizing their investment returns in a variety of economic environments and market conditions. The software can also suit self-directed investors and professional money managers who already have or wish to develop objective trading strategies that can be automated. 

The social aspect of the platform is also a big plus, especially for investors with limited experience. For a better view of how retail investors and professionals can use Composer, you can check out the Composer website’s blog

Composer vs Competitors

Composer’s symphony-based automated investment platform currently appears to be in a league of its own when it comes to stock and cryptocurrency trading, although online forex traders have been able to automate their trading plans for years using free software like MetaTrader 4.

While other investment portfolio management software can help you keep track of your portfolio, Composer lets you automate your strategy and adjust your portfolio automatically in real-time, just like professional hedge funds do. Benzinga has compiled the chart below to show how other firms that offer competing software compare to Composer.  

Composer Overall

Composer’s high 4.5-star rating can be attributed primarily to its novel approach to automated trading and the Composer software’s unique position in the market. Although forex trading robots have existed for years, an equivalent automated investment platform that lets a retail investor operate in the stock market like a sophisticated hedge fund without complex programming does not seem to be currently available. 

While many large brokerage companies offer their high-net-worth clients advanced platforms to track and trade their investments, very few offer automatic executions based on a particular investment model like the Composer platform’s symphonies do. 

The company was founded in 2020, so only a beta testing version is currently available for its Composer software. Composer is therefore a relative newcomer among an investor’s automation options, but it offers an innovative approach to automation that many will find enticing at its very reasonable price. 

At present, automatic transactions can only be executed via one broker (Alpaca), and the Composer.trade website’s limited customer service options do not yet meet most investors’ needs. Both of these issues can be easily addressed and most likely will be in future as the startup company grows and matures.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Is automated trading profitable?

A

It definitely can be, but the profitability of an automated trading system will depend on what trading strategy you implement in it and whether market conditions are favorable. 

Q

Can you automate day trading?

A

You most certainly can. You just need to program your objective day trading strategy rules into an automated trading system, open an account at a supportive broker and then set it running in a funded account. Composer does not currently support day trading since trades are executed via its platform once per day, so its users would not be able to follow intra-day trading signals. 

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About Jay and Julie Hawk

Jay and Julie Hawk are a married financial writing and authorship team who co-founded TheFXperts, a notable financial writing services provider. The Hawks each worked professionally in the financial markets and have more than 40 years of trading experience among them. Together, they write books, trade forex online for their own account and others, mentor traders, and have worked actively as professional freelance writers specializing in financial topics for over 15 years.