09. Broker Accounts

Reading this page: 5-10 minutes.
Opening and installing demo accounts: 10-20 minutes.
Opening and setting up live accounts: 1-2 hours depending on the paperwork.

For very good reasons we have covered the many other areas of trading before we look at brokers.

This is a serious business involving real money and very real risks of losses; you need to understand all of this before you start trading a live account.

Below are a list of brokers from the many that we have tried and reviewed over the years and we have an account with each of them for some of their specific handy features like tax-status, opening times, instruments, spreads and historical data.

The list is by no means exhaustive – we do recommend you do your own research and due diligence, based on your personal circumstances.

Alpari

Offering MetaTrader charts and trading, these are some notable features for Alpari:

  • Spreadbetting on the MetaTrader platform, meaning no UK tax on profits, and lots are all converted to your home currency for easy position size calculation on various currencies.
  • You can set the maximum leverage on your account – we recommend beginners start with 1:2 leverage until you are confident placing trades, this means you will need a minimum of £1,000 on deposit to trade 0.1 lots allowing for drawdowns. Once you are more confident you can increase the leverage to 1:5 and we recommend a maximum of 1:10 for experienced traders.
  • Offers all the major and minor forex pairs, commodities and indices, all you need to trade liquid markets with low spreads.
  • MetaTrader app available for mobile charting and trading.
  • GMT/BST +2 hour offset for full 5 daily candles on your charts.

GKFX

Again, offering MetaTrader charts and trading, these are things we think you should consider GKFX for:

  • Spreadbetting available on the MetaTrader platform, again meaning no UK tax on profits, and lots are calculated in £s.
  • Fixed spreads, you can use this to your advantage when trading fast moving markets and close to strong levels.
  • £300 of net losses covered for your first month trading for new customers.
  • You cannot set your maximum leverage so be careful in calculating your lot size to stay within your risk tolerance levels.
  • Large amount of instruments you can trades via spread betting including most forex pairs, commodities, indices most major shares from the UK, US, Japan and Europe.
  • MetaTrader app available for mobile trading.
  • Be aware GMT/BST +1 hour offset means your 4-Hourly, Daily, Weekly and Monthly candles will look different.

IG Index

They do not offer MetaTrader 4, just their own proprietary web-based ProDeal platform. However, you can use an MetaTrader demo account for your charts and then place trades with IG Index. It is worth noting the following features an points for IG Index:

  • Spreadbetting is available, so no tax on your profits, and lots calculated in £s.
  • Trading opens at 9pm GMT/BST on Sundays so you can follow price-action and enter trades an hour before the majority of other brokers opening at 10pm on Sundays.
  • Mobile trading is available using their own mobile ProDeal app.
  • Perhaps the largest range of tradable instruments we have ever seen including; Facebook shares and market capital on launch, and things like property indexes and interest rates.
  • Uses their own proprietary ProDeal platform so you will need to use MetaTrader on a demo account from elsewhere for your charting.
  • Be aware GMT/BST 0 hour offset means your 4-Hourly, Daily, Weekly and Monthly candles will look different.

InterTrader

Offering MetaTrader 4 as well as their own web-based trading platform it is worth looking at InterTrader for the following features:

  • Spreadbetting is available through their web-based trading platform for tax-efficiency and lots calculated in £s.
  • Tight fixed-spreads on major pairs, commodities and indices.
  • 10% bonus for new accounts depositing a minimum of £1,000 up to £10,000 while the promotion lasts.
  • Mobile Trading is available through their own app.
  • Online trading education and live trading rooms with Trader Maker.

FX Pro

Offering MetaTrader 4 as well as a variety of other trading platforms. FX Pro have now moved to a no-dealing-desk agency model; your trades are placed direct with the banks so they make their money from the commission or spreads without taking the other side of your trades.

  • MetaTrader 4 platform for CFDs, no spread betting available.
  • Trading opens at 10pm on Sundays as with most other retail brokers.
  • Mobile trading is available via their own native FX Pro app and the standard MetaTrader app.
  • Good range of liquid tradable forex pairs, commodities, indices and major US shares.
  • Be aware GMT/BST 0 hour offset means your 4-Hourly, Daily, Weekly and Monthly candles will look different.

OANDA

Again, OANDA  now offers MetaTrader 4, as well as their own web-based trading platform.

  • It is the only broker we know of to start listing prices at 7/8pm GMT/BST on Sundays, again handy for seeing price-action before other brokers open for business – but the spreads are very large before 10pm so you might be better trading before 10pm with IG Index.
  • Their on native app for mobile trading – and of course, handy checking prices earlier on a Sunday.
  • Straight through processing of trades on MetaTrader, they do not use the Virtual Dealer plugin so you get the same spreads as on their fxTrade platform.
  • Over 8 years of major currency tick-data available for live account holder with over $1,000 on deposit – very useful for backtesting your EAs with high accuracy over a long period.

FXCM

These guys are one of the largest brokers in the world with straight-through trading and a huge amount of resources and platform choices to offer.

  • MetaTrader 4 with FXCMs no dealing desk straight-through trade processing
  • Spreadbetting accounts for tax-efficiency, although you will need to trade them through their own platform and just use MetaTrader for your charting.
  • Free VPS server for accounts depositing over $5,000 – they cost about $30 a month otherwise.
  • Large amount of multi-lingual web resources.
  • Custom EA and Indicators programming services. (Although you cannot just ask them to try and copy our original work though, that would breach our copyright and very expensive).

Dukascopy

The large Swiss trading firm giving you direct market access through their own JForex platform and backtesting MetaTrader 4 direct market trading, those with larger accounts will want to look at Dukascopy for features and reputation.

  • Perhaps one of the biggest currency-brokers in the world with direct market access to all major banks liquidity
  • JForex platform is fast, mature and is programmable in the same way they MetaTrader is.
  • MetaTrader being offered as a bridge to their direct market access
  • Over 4 years of what could be the best quality tick-data available for backtesting your MetaTrader 4 EAs and strategies.
  • Their own charts, trading and news mobile-app.

There you go, there should be an account for most requirements for our style of trading in that list.

We are not adding to this list unless there are some specific and unique reasons we think you should investigate with another broker – because the list would be too long and life is too short.

Of course there are lots of good ones out there and some not so good, so make sure you do your own due diligence and that any broker you place money with is regulated by the relevant country financial-monitoring authorities.

Further research, comparison and recommendation on brokers is beyond the scope of this website so please do search online for broker comparison websites and reviews to suit your interests.