There are some traders you can please and some others you can’t! If you check out the different broker-dealer review websites, you’ll see many five-star and one-star reviews. Some reviews are just sour grapes… things that didn’t turn out the way they wanted. Other reviews are just thrilling and reading positively.
How do you distinguish between the good forex brokers and the bad ones? Actually, you look at the reviews over a period of time to see if there are similar issues being mentioned. Are the same issues mentioned on multiple boards? Be sure you pay attention to the review’s context, noting what you want from your trading.
Like everything else, you want a large sample because it’ll be a better indicator.
There are five popular brokers that you can use as your primary service or your secondary service. Make sure that you do your research before you do any business with any of them.
A look at ATC Brokers
When it comes to FOREX and futures markets, ATC Brokers may be your way to go. The 1970s were well-known as the time of real flesh-and-blood brokers, telephones and clacker boards. For many traders, service was a huge deal, and ATC is regarded as having the best service seen in the industry.
The MetaTrader 4 software had been designed for retail traders, and brokers used it to deal with desk operations. In fact, ATC was the first broker to assimilate official prices into the MT4 software and get rid of the dealing desk atmosphere. ATC also developed a plug-in that lets users do a single-click execution and multiple brackets. They have a highly competitive pricing structure and provide most currency pairs.
Here’s something to consider. When the clearinghouse information feed went down in futures for about an hour, traders were able to get ahold of their ATC broker immediately to learn why their quotes stopped. This wasn’t so for other platforms, where people got busy signals when they tried calling their platform. What ATC traders got was service – emails promptly answered, phone calls picked up, and everything was copacetic.
It’s the kind of platform that has professionals in every position.
A look at MB Trading
MB Trading was once called EF Group, before it was acquired by MB. It’s a rather young but antagonistic FOREX broker. Like other platforms, there’s been some growing pains, but it appears their operations have finally gotten their acts together. MN Navigator, its original in-house platform, was practically a disaster. However, the platform started using the commission-free MT4 ECN.
And, if you decide to trade in FOREX and futures, MB Trading has the MB Desktop Pro.
Now, MB Trading’s MBTFX routing system, which includes true ECN technology, provides clear FOREX pricing in a non-deal desk atmosphere. People who get involved with it help to generate the market, boost execution speeds and tightening spreads.
MB Trading provides both NinjaTrader 7 and MetaTrader 4.
Barron’s recognized MB Trader as “Top Broker” and IB Times recognized it as “Best Execution” in 2011. MB Trading clients have the opportunity to pick from two FOREX trading plans:
- Pay for Limits – pays a 1.95 per executed limit order and charges a low commission
- Free ECN Plan – tight spreads and commission-free orders
International, non-U.S.-based, accounts are available through the UK version of MB Trading.
Costs and fills are certainly worthwhile, and it’s great for ECN. In the past, rollovers were high but have, in the last year, decreased to meet other brokers. MB Trading is aggressive in their markets to small traders that have a minimum $400 account. However, there are many professional traders who use MB Trading and are happy with the platform.
MB Trading’s service could be better, as the staff is rather young and may need some additional training.
A look at Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is a full-service brokerage platform that has an array of products pandering to both institutions and individuals. IB’s fame came from the universal account, allowing a trader to work with an array of investment vehicles like:
An account can be used with any major currency, switching the currency at any point in time… for a minor fee. It opens up a new level to trading for experienced investors. Many of its users are institutional and experienced, and smaller investors may not feel as comfortable using it. Interactive brokers do provide NinjaTrader 7 and MetaTrader, along with its own internal platforms.
A look at FOREX.com
FOREX.com is part of Gain Capital, but is noted as being a smaller retail subsidiary. When compared to other broker platforms, FOREX.com’s forum appears to have a higher than average amount of complaints. However, remember that you can’t please everybody. Forex.com only hires highly-skilled and experienced representatives.
If you’re a market maker, then you may want to steer clear of fills. However, the platform does provide a huge pair palette for you to get involved in. On a positive note, new traders can trade micro lots of 1,000. Many of the complaints are explained by the amount of new and small traders. They are likely to complain more on issues that deal with FOREX facts, than actual platform issues.
Forex.com does allow for the integration of NinjaTrader 7 and MetaTrader 4. If you have difficulty with any part of this integration process, you can get ahold of their customer service and have it straightened out.
A look at PFG Best
PFG Best was once a commodity futures house that got into the FOREX business a little while back. One of the best aspects to PFG Best is the array of platforms offered such as:
It also provides options and stock trading.
The spreads for PFG is great. It’s got a high number of liquidity, and the amount you see is dependent upon the platform being used. There are average rollover costs.
PFG nitpicks on compliance and details. You may find it taking you a little longer to get an account open than you would with other brokers, but their process is generally smooth. In 2010, a minimum open account was $2,500, and there was a 10,000 minimum lot size.
PFG also gives you the ability to trade futures, may soon offer both futures and FOREX on their new MetaTrader-5 platform. For the NinjaTrader Platform, you can trader FOREX and futures.
PFG’s customer service is amazing, as they respond to emails right away. It also provides an array of platforms to choose from such as:
- BestDirect 8.0 – their internal system
Also, it’s of no small importance that they may soon add the MultiCharts platform.