In a forex brokers and trading platforms jumble

Once upon a time, I was a happy forex student. I paper traded on Oanda for a few months and even opened a live account with them. Then my work place tightened up our internet firewall at work. I couldn't access market data anymore during the day. Fortunately, Dukascopy at the time said that they'll be enabling micro-lot trading. So I moved to practice with Dukascopy. Then last weekend, Dukascopy said no micro-lot trading on their Metatrader 4 accounts. I move to another broker again. My last stop (so far) is at MB Trading. However, after practicing with them for a week, I remembered why I didn't go with them in the first place. They don't offer Canadian denominated account currency! Fortunately, they do say that they're in the process of enabling more account currencies. But who knows how long that might take? My head is spinning from all this mess. I don't think I am asking too much from a forex broker. I just want five features from them.

  1. good reputation
  2. micro-lot trading
  3. Metatrader platform
  4. free API access
  5. Canadian dollar denominated account currency

That's all! Why am I being shut out everytime just when I am about to open a live account? On top of that trouble, there's the question of which trading platform to use. Over the past few months, I have tried many forex brokers and their forex trading platforms. From proprietary ones like FXTrade (Oanda), JForex (Dukascopy), and Dealbook 360 (GFT) to the popular, third-party Metatrader 4 platform. I decided to settle with Metatrader 4 because its charting is sufficient and scripting on it is fairly easy. I learned MQL4 (MT4's scripting language) in a few hours and wrote my first EA in a few days. The problem with Metatrader 4 though, is Metatrader 5. Scripts written for MT4 is incompatible on MT5. As I intend to trade semi-automatically via expert advisors, this is a huge problem for me. I don't want to start developing for MT4 and only to have to convert everything again. I thought I could evade this MT4-MT5 dilemma with a non-American forex broker (Dukascopy) as they're more likely to stay with MT4. But now that I can't trade with them anymore, my best potential broker is MB Trading. Which is probably upgrading to MT5 once it's out. Note: MT5 is built for new NFA regulations, so American brokers probably have to upgrade. I think I have had enough moves for now. So screw this all! I will focus on learning Python programming for the next few weeks. While waiting for MB Trading to adopt Canadian dollar accounts (or I come across a new broker), and the duel between Metatrader 4 and 5 is settled.

Posted 12 February 2010 in forex.

No micro-lot trading at Dukascopy Metatrader 4 accounts

Update: It doesn't look as though Dukascopy will proceed with using MT4. So you might as well look for another broker if you need MT4 or [learn to use JForex][] if you plan on sticking with Dukascopy. Just received the following news from [Dukascopy][] (attached below) regarding their Metatrader accounts. Basically, they are raising their minimum lot-size on MT4-enabled accounts to a mini-lot (10k). Micro-lot (1000 units) trading remains exclusive to their basic (JForex only) accounts. Well, why do bad news keep coming to me just when I'm about to go live with a forex broker? First it was Oanda (although the problem was at my end with them), then Dukascopy. There's no way I'm able to trade with a mini-lot because of my strict [risk management][] rules. So I would be stuck with the JForex platform for a while if I'm going to trade with them. I like the JForex platform. It is simple, clean, easy to use, and powerful. However, Metatrader is just substantially more popular. There are hundreds of free scripts, indicators, and expert advisers published at MQL4.com for me to edit to my liking. If I go with JForex, I'd have to write everything from scratch. The whole point of me using a built-in editor is to save time. So I might as well program in Python and use an API if I need to go through learning JForex scripting, programming, and testing. As much as I like [Dukascopy][] (35% commission rebate affiliate link), ~~I may not be going through to trade with them anymore. Unfortunate, really.~~ > Dear BetaTester, Starting from Sunday 07.02.2010 Dukascopy (Suisse) SA > SWFX MetaTrader 4 platform will no longer support the 0.01 fractional > position trading. Minimum Trading amount on MT4 platform will be > 10,000 (0.10) units of Base Currency on all available Currency Pairs. > All positions with amounts less than minimum requirement - will be > closed by Dukascopy (Suisse) SA Staff at market rate. If you would > like to close those positions yourself please do so before 22:00 GMT > 05.02.2010. In the future for trading on LIVE and DEMO MetaTrader4 > accounts the minimal amount will remain as 10,000 units of base > currency. Dukascopy (Suisse) SA will continue to offer minimum trading > amount of 1,000 units for traders who are using only JForex platform > (without possibility of trading on MT4 platform). If you will have any > further questions please do not hesitate to [contact us][Dukascopy] > for assistance. Regards, Dukascopy (Suisse) SA ICC, Route de Pre-Bois > 20 1215 Geneva 15 Switzerland

Posted 07 February 2010 in forex.

Why I am staying with Oanda a while longer before moving to Dukascopy

I just sent in my paper work to Oanda to open a live forex account with them last week. Then I heard from @InEgoVeritas the news about Dukascopy (get 35% discount on commission with that link) reducing their minimum lot size to micro-lots. After doing more research comparing Oanda and Dukascopy in the last 24 hours, I think I will go with Dukascopy in the long term. But I won't make the switch just yet. Here are my reasons why. Before getting to that, I need to describe my situation. Choosing a forex broker is like buying a car, we are all unique and what fits me might not be right for you. Long story short though. My goal all along is to split my funds 50/50 between interactive trading and automated trading. Since Oanda's API access cost \$600 per month, I was to open an additional account with MB Trading for automated trading once I have developed something consistent. In addition to this latest news from Dukascopy, they also lowered their minimal opening balance down to \$5,000, and began beta testing for Metatrader 4 recently (Update: Dukascopy abandoned MT4)! Both Oanda and Dukascopy are very reputable forex brokers. But Dukascopy has the huge advantage of providing a free API access. That is one big motivation for me to go trade with them. Then I can just do everything in one account! But as I said, I will proceed with live trading with Oanda as planned soon (once I am out of this drawdown from being too early in shorting Aussie and other pairs). The reason is that Dukascopy has always been catered towards institutional or big pocket forex traders. This aggressive move to welcome retail traders and small timers could be good and bad. The good part is more business and more buzz for their service, obviously. The bad part though, is that widening the door to a new market can turn out stinking the entire operation. It would be analogous to Mercedes suddenly decided to compete in the budget cars market... oh wait, they did that! (Mercedes B-class, enough said) More specifically regarding Dukascopy, I am most concerned of the impact on the quality and speed of their trading service. As well as their customer service. Let's face it, we know that new forex traders (such as myself) whine a lot and expect a lot for little to nothing. Since I have my paper work done with Oanda already, it can't hurt to just wait a few more months to see how the changes go. Nevertheless, I am thrilled of the new changes with Dukascopy! In the mean time, I will continue to work on my risk management, trading psychology, and trading strategy (great plug, isn't it?). Update December 2010: I moved my account over to Dukascopy and have been with them for a few months. So far so good. My automated trading development with JForex has been going well too.

Posted 10 January 2010 in forex.