The login details finally arrived by email from CMC Markets today. After sending in another email to setup the initial password I was ready to install the MarketMaker software. The installation went well, with no hick-ups installing it under Windows XP. It took about 5 minutes to download and install. One annoying feature (which also happened when I installed Comsecs ProfessionalTrader software) is that the first time you run the installed application it checks for any updates - and finds heaps. Installing all the "updates" to the installed application took longer than the initial installation. It seems as though once a version is rolled out, it gets used as the installation version for ages. All subsequent updates are just cobbled together as they arise over time, so if you install the application a fair while after its been released there's a huge amount of outdated code to be replaced. A more customer friendly approach would be to keep the "installation" version always updated with the latest updates, so that new users wouldn't have to go through a lengthy update of their newly installed application.
Once it was finally ready to go, I started to have a play around. I doesn't have an intuitively obvious interface, but that's probably due to it providing heaps of functionality and trying to keep the default layout clean and simple. I had a quick read through the online manual, and I'll have to read it all the way through before starting to use the application to its full potential. CMC Markets has a "free 1 day course" available to new clients. I'm sure it will mainly be a lot of "how to easily make huge returns with absolutely safety" bumpf, but it might provide enough training on how to use the software efficiently to make it worthwhile taking a day off work to attend.
My first daily account update arrived by email from CMC Markets today. Nice to see the $1,000.00 balance with no fees taken out. There is an online account funding option available within the trading application, but you can only make payment by credit card and they charge a $1.50 fee per transfer. I'll do any funds transfers by BPay instead and save the cost. I still have to fill in and mail by bank account details to CMC Markets so I can get funds paid back out again.
Hopefully I'll have worked out everything by the start of next month when I'm scheduled to make my next monthly US stock purchase to add to my "Little Book" portfolio. I'll do a normal $5000 stock purchase through Comsec-Pershing, and at the same time duplicate the transaction trading a long CFD in the same stock via CMC Markets. As the US CFDs trade on a 5% margin, the extra cost will only be around $500, but it will, of course, be doubling my exposure to any rises and falls in the stocks I purchase. I'll do the dual trades for 18 months and compare the costs of both trading systems.