CFD Review: LiteForex

Important Facts 

  • Regulatory Authority: Unregulated, pseudo regulation from RAFMM 
  • Instruments: Forex and Commodities primarily, but there are a limited number of Stocks that one can trade. 
  • Leverage: Up 1000:1 depending on account type.
  • Unique Features: Demo Account availability and 5% Yearly interest provided minimum trading requirements are met. 
  • Minimum Deposit: The required minimum deposit depends on the type of account opened and range from $1 all the way up to $1000 dollars. 

The Platform 
LiteForex is operated by the same group that operates InstaForex and therefore the platform is very similar. Your only option is to use the LiteForex version of MetaTrader 4. This won’t be of annoyance to many who are fans of the MetaTrader platform and to be honest I have played around with the LiteForex MetaTrader platform and it appears to work pretty much as one would expect. Though I was unable to get Expert Advisors which had been programmed with a fixed stop loss to work properly. Apart from this I couldn’t see much noticeable difference between the MetaTrader platform offered by LiteForex and those of its rivals. LiteForex offers no way for an individual to trade while on the move as it offers no mobile trading platforms which is something of a disappointment and means you have to be tied to your computer and the internet while you have an option position. It also denies you the opportunity to trade on news while you are on the move. When it comes to LiteForex’s offering there is nothing particularly special.  

Special Features 
When it comes to special features again there is nothing remarkable to mention about LiteForex in fact the special features are pretty much the same as it’s sister site InstaForex. Firstly, LiteForex offers potential clients the possibility of opening a demo account. This allows you to download the LiteForex version of MetaTrader and fiddle around with the client with a play balance of 50,000 Euros and makes for a perfectly functional demo account (apart from the problem mentioned with Expert Advisors), even if MetaTrader might be bewildering to the beginner trader. It is common place now to offer demo accounts to potential traders, so this can’t really be regarded as that much of a unique feature.The second feature that some might find interesting is the 5% Interest offered on funds deposited with LiteForex. But this is nowhere as good as it sounds as it requires that the individual carries out a large amount of trading with the company, meaning there making it all back in spreads. So all in all, the LiteForex experience isn’t particularly special. 


Spreads 
I recently investigated the spreads at both LiteForex and InstaForex and they were exactly the same. Surprisingly enough the spreads offered at both companies were not all that bad beating a number of CySec regulated competitors. Although this is pretty much meaningless as customers of LiteForex and InstaForex have often complained that profitable positions get closed or cancelled for no particular reason. They also both have no scalping rules which are interpreted in a pretty dubious way according to a number of reports. So even if the spreads offered by LiteForex do not appear that awful you have to take account for these particular factors as well. Which appears to make LiteForex simply a no go. 

Customer Service 
LiteForex has a lot of different customer service numbers and ways to contact the company. In just the same way that InstaForex does. This gives people the impression that LiteForex takes customer services very seriously, however many people have responded that the customer service staff can be particularly unhelpful when it comes to helping those who have run into problems with the service. Though representatives from LiteForex and InstaForex are often seen on various forums attempting to resolve problems that clients have brought out to the open. However these representatives often don’t solve the problem at hand and the customer remains dissatisfied. LiteForex also has a number of regional offices listed on the website however it is difficult to know whether these offices are genuine or merely virtual offices. 

Regulation 
To some who visit the LiteForex it appears that the company is properly regulated as it displays links to various bodies that look like they could provide regulation. However, the first of these is the RAFMM which is an industry body created in part by LiteForex and InstaForex, this body provides no regulation though it claims to help resolve disputes between the companies who are members and their customers. However the RAFMM always appears to rule in favor of the companies and never the customers who believe they are wronged. The second is a consumer rights watchdog which aims to help consumers fight for their rights. However this doesn’t change the fact that Contracts for Difference are not regulated in anyway in Russia therefore those who choose to open an account with LiteForex won’t be protected by any kind of financial regulation. This should be a huge warning sign to anyone considering opening an account with LiteForex. 

Overall, I would recommend that anyone who is considering an account with LiteForex avoids doing so and researches further finding themselves a better Forex provider.

CFD Review: InstaForex

Important Facts 
  • Regulatory Authority: Pseudo regulation by non-governmental bodies, lacking real government regulation
  • Instruments: Mainly Forex and Commodities but a limited number of stocks are available to trade
  • Leverage: Up to 1000:1 
  • Unique Features: Demo Account availability, 5% Yearly Interest (provided certain conditions are met) 
  • Minimum Deposit:Varies on account type for  Micro Forex (minimum deposit 1-10 USD), Mini Forex (minimum deposit 100 USD), and Standard Forex (minimum deposit 1000 USD)
The Platform 
InstaForex only has one option when it comes to the trading platform namely MetaTrader 4. However it should be noted that MetaTrader is one of the most popular trading platforms and is used by many different trading companies. I personally like the MetaTrader platform however I wouldn’t say that it was the most intuitive platform for those who are new to Forex trading. A good thing about the InstaForex MetaTrader platform is that it can be used alongside Expert Advisors allowing you to trade mechanically. Those who wish to trade on the move however will not be as pleased as InstaForex offers no mobile trading application. Which is something many providers are either developing or already providing, allowing their clients to trade on the move and to allow them react to news and events relevant to the Forex markets.  
 
Special Features 
There’s nothing particular special about the InstaForex offering which sets it apart from its properly regulated competitors. InstaForex does offer 5% yearly interest on client funds which is a nice feature and will be a higher rate of interest than many people receive on their persona accounts. However this interest rate comes with some pretty serious strings namely that you have to trade a certain volume with InstaForex in order to be able to receive the 5% interest rate. InstaForex also offers demo accounts to those who want to try out and the trading platform before they deposit, while this feature is not offered by every CFD company out there the majority do seem to offer the service. Apart from this there’s not much really to get excited about, InstaForex does have a copy trader service which appears to be trying to emulate that of eToro but not much is made of it. 
 
Spreads 
The Spread offered by InstaForex are pretty tight with spreads as low as 3 pips on many instruments. The spreads do get considerably wider when you start looking at instruments which are of the more exotic type. I would say that the spreads are pretty reasonable however some of the bigger regulated European brokers offer spreads as tight if not tighter. However when talking about the spreads at InstaForex there are other things to remark about. For example many people complain slow execution and high amounts of slippage. This would make the tightish spreads pretty much meaningless if its true that the InstaForex has poor execution and significant amounts of slippage, as you would lose a significant amount of pips from such problems.  
 
Customer Service 
InstaForex has a large number of different avenues in which people can communicate with the company, including a large number of toll free numbers. It seems that InstaForex has made every attempt at making it easy for people to contact them with a huge list of contact details or numbers. A large number of offices are listed on their website however it is unclear whether these offices are real offices or just simply virtual offices in order to make it look like the company has a serious international presence. It should be noted I have also seen representatives form InstaForex attempt to resolve issues with disgruntled customers, however they do not always resolve the issue to the customers satisfaction. 
 
Regulation 
InstaForex, is completely unregulated as Russian financial regulation does not cover Contracts for Difference allowing operators in Russia to run financial companies offering such services without any financial regulation. However InstaForex has attempted to make it look like they are regulated by being a member of two different organisations created with the alleged intention of protecting consumer rights. It seems that these organisations have been created purely for the benefit of those companies who are members of these said organisations. In cases where the RAFMM has ruled in disputes between its members and customers, it has almost always ruled in favor of its members. To learn more about the Russian Association Financial Market Members organisation check out my article here
 
Overall, I would suggest that potential customers avoid InstaForex mainly due to the fact they operate as a totally unregulated entity which precludes any possibility of serious customer protection.

CFD Review: Easyforex

Important Information 

  • Regulatory Authority: Regulated by CySec of Cyprus 
  • Instruments: Wide range of Currency Pairs and Limited number of Commodities 
  • Features: Support of MT4 and mobile based trading, as well as offering low minimum deposit accounts. 
  • Leverage: 1:50, 1:100, 1:200 depending on the type of account
  • Minimum Deposit: $25 for a Mini Account and $10,000 for the top VIP account. 
 
The Platform 
Easyforex offers a number of different options in terms of the platform for those who wish to trade at the site. For starters the offer web trading allowing you to log and trade from any computer which has the internet. While the web trader is perfectly functional and will allow one to implement trades easily and quickly it hasn’t got some of the functions offered by the other easyforex platforms. Alternatively, one can download easyforex’s TradeDesk software which will allow you to trade all the instruments offered by easyforex. With the TradeDesk software you get an increased number of features including improved charting and technical analysis and the  TradeDesk software is pretty reasonable. However what the majority of serious traders will be interested in is the easyforex Metatrader 4 platform which is pretty much the standard affair one would expect from Metatrader 4. Thankfully Expert Advisors are acceptable for usage on the easyforex platform and easyforex customers can test their Expert Advisors on up to 20 years of data. A nice added feature is the fact that easyforex offers mobile trading platforms for Windows Phone’s, iphone’s and Blackberry phones. However rather disappointingly there is no platform available for my many Android users out there. 

Special Features 
There doesn’t seem to be much to set easyforex apart from its competitors when it comes to special features. easyforex offer all the standard educational information you would expect from a Forex provider, which is really what you would expect as they wish to attract as many clients as possible. Having a minimum deposit of $25 is quite nice as it allows it more people to try trading out, however people are unlikely to be successful trading with such limited funds. 
 
Spreads 
The Spreads on offer at easyforex aren’t particularly impressive even on the instruments where they are the most competitive with the tightest spreads being 3-4 pips. With the spread British Pound/Swiss Franc spread being a gigantic 11 pips when using a Mini account. However I have still seen worse spread offerings out there, though I do have to say that on some instruments some of the spreads on offer at easyforex preclude the possibility of making any serious money. However these tend to be on exotic currency pairings which many individuals may not wish to trade anyway. I would recommend that you check out the spreads before opening account to see whether they are competitive when it comes to the particular instruments you wish to trade. 
 
Customer Service 
This is one of the areas where a lot of criticism has been sent the way of easyforex. There have been many accusations of poor customer relations and unprofessional attitude towards their customers this is something that easyforex obviously deny. Citing the fact that customers are assigned account managers who they can personally call about their problems, etc. However this is pretty much a standard affair. There have also been complaints about a lack of transparency as many have asserted that the company is primarily based in Israel while only operating a virtual office in Cyprus where the company is officially registered. These claims have rocked the confidence of many who have or thought about trading with easyforex. 
 
Regulation 
easyforex has somewhat an infamous history when it comes to regulation. In 2009 easyforex were fined a total of 45,000 euros. easyforex had failed to comply with (the oft thought lax) CySec regulation on a various number of points including manipulating the companies capital requirements, no information vetting clients experience, no records of transactions, no record of a particular clients funds and non immediate deposit of client funds. All of this is pretty serious stuff and it appears to me that they were somewhat lucky to keep their licence. Then in 2010 easyforex was fined a further 10,000 euros this time for producing misleading marketing information which did not properly state the risks of Forex trading. There has also been a number of investigations in Israel into fraud regarding easyforex in 2010 five customers launched a 500 million shekel law suit against the owners of easyforex. However, easyforex is still regulated by CySec and is now at least hopefully conforming fully to the regulations set out by CySec. 
 
Overall, I would be highly cautious about depositing any serious money with easyforex due to the fact I don’t feel I would be getting the best deal when it came to spreads and due to the fact that easyforex has a questionable regulatory history.

CFD Review: HotForex

Important Facts 
  • Regulatory Authority: Regulated by the Financial Services Commission of the Republic of Mauritius 
  • Instruments: Primarily Forex, Commodities and limited Stock CFD’s available 
  • Leverage: Up to 1000:1 
  • Unique Features: Islamic Accounts, MT4 & Zulu Trade 
  • Minimum Deposit: $5 for a Micro Account, $40,000 for a VIP Account 

The Platform 

HotForex uses the very popular MetaTrader 4 platform as the primary platform for trading the instruments on offer at the site. The HotForex MetaTrader platform is the standard MetaTrader affair and works perfectly well for those who wish to trade the instruments available on HotForex. However MetaTrader isn’t the most intuitive trading platform out there and newcomers may get a bit lost, though anyone who has previously used MetaTrader will take to it like a fish to water. Those who like automated trading will be pleased to know that HotForex offers support for expert advisers which is always nice. The HotForex platform is also available to Ipad/Iphone users as well as Android users allowing you open and close trades on the move, which is essentially if you cant always be at a computer in order to manage your positions. Unfortunately there is currently no support for those who have a Blackberry smart phone, however according HotForex a platform is currently being developed for those who want to use a Blackberry smartphone to trade. All of the platforms for mobile devices are perfectly functional and allow you to easily execute trades. 
 
Special Features 
There is not much particularly remarkable about the offering from HotForex however there are a couple of things worth noting. HotForex offers Islamic Accounts allowing those who follow the Islamic faith the ability to trade Contracts for Difference without breaching the tenets of their faith. Another nice feature of the HotForex is that they support Zulu Trade. Zulu Trade provides automated Forex signals that individuals can follow. Allowing a trader to automatically place trades by following a system created by other Zulu Trade members. While Zulu Trade is not really my thing as I like to devise my own trading systems and not be reliant on trading system I didn’t create or understand, many traders may be interested in trying out Zulu Trade and seeing how it works for them. 

 
Spreads 
While the spreads on offer at HotForex aren’t the best in the industry they are also not the worst. And as you can see the spreads offered vary quite a lot instrument to instrument, with some instruments being very competitively priced while others being quite uncompetitive. I would recommend that you monitor the spreads on the instruments you wish to trade before jumping in and opening a HotForex account. If your targeting one instrument and HotForex offers a competitive spread it may be worth opening account, its always important to understand that the tightness of spreads can have a serious impact on your profitability. 
 
Customer Service
Customer Service seems to be pretty good at HotForex with a number of cost free telephone numbers available for various different countries. HotForex also has a live chat feature which is available 24/5 allowing you to quickly and easily contact someone at the company. For those who are not adept at English HotForex offers foreign speakers in a number of languages. What I also like is the fact that HotForex outlines both there business addresses in Mauritius which is nice as this provides the customer with some transparency.
 
Regulatory Authority 
HotForex is regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Mauritius which is the body responsible for regulating non-banking financial services in the jurisdiction of Mauritius. This seems an interesting move and I can only presume that HotForex decided to become regulated in Mauritius rather than say becoming regulated in Europe due to the fact that MiFID regulation involves a high capital requirement and other significant barriers to entry. Though it may be in part that HotForex is known for catering to the Asian market so it may be due to this they decided to become regulated in Mauritius rather than compete in the competitive European marketplace. However due to the fact HotForex is regulated in Mauritius it is unable to take US Customers. 
 
Overall, I’m relatively impressed with the offering from HotForex however personal if I was an EU Citizen I would probably opt to trade with a European MiFID regulated broker-ship. For those in Asia and China HotForex may be an excellent choice.

Trading Site Review: GFT – CFD’s

Important Facts 
  • Regularity Authority: Financial Services Authority (FSA UK) 
  • Instruments: Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Bonds and Forex  
  • Features: Easy to use web platform, support for mobile trading and resources for new and experienced traders alike. 
  • Minimum Deposit: Not Stated 
The Platform 
GFT’s platform is available in several different forms. First off their is the web based trading platform called Dealbook Web which is pretty much no thrills experience while the simple web platform may not have many features, it is easy to navigate and trade on. Though the platform does have an impressive range of technical indicators for such a web based program. The there is the Dealbook360 downloadable program which offers a wider range of facilities for those who wish to download the program and it has to be said that the Dealbook 360 program is pretty impressive in terms of the features that you have available to you. Then the Dealbook also has its mobile incarnation unsurprisingly called Dealbook Mobile. With good execution and limited re-quotes, GFT have to commended on their trading platform.

Special Features 
Unless you take the outstanding platform to be a special feature their is nothing truly special that makes GFT’s CFD service stand out. But GFT seems to take the professional approach by ensuring that they provide a top notch service supposed to providing their clients with gimmicky features.

Other Features 
Many of the expected features you get with a reputable CFD platform including the option of opening a free demo account. GFT demo accounts are limited to 30 days for some reason which limits the benefit of having such a feature. Again there is also the typical educational features some which are free to download without having an account as long as you provide some information so they can make attempts to market their service to you. To be fair to them the educational tools and information they offer at GFT is pretty good, so fair play to them.

Spreads  
The Spreads on GFT are very competitive and have to be regarded as some of the best spreads around. Though unlike other providers their is a separate commission to be paid on each trade which varies depending on the instrument that is being traded. Typically the commission seems to work out at about £7 per trade. This makes trading with GFT a attractive proposition only if you wish to place big trades.

Customer Service 
GFT offers excellent customer service with helpful and polite staff sitting on the other end of the phone. With live 24/5 support and a good reputation for customer service, it is unlikely that your going to have to many issues with GFT. I have rarely heard people talk poorly of the customer service offered by GFT.

Regulatory Authority 
GFT is regulated by the FSA in the UK and therefore is part of MIFID and therefore can accept customers from across Europe on their CFD trading platform. FSA regulation is generally considered to be the best of the best when it comes to regulating derivative trading within in the European Union. Having a much better reputation than say CySec.

Overall, GFT offers a great CFD trading platform for those who desire to trade considerable size, though it may not be the best option for those who only wish to put on small trades due to the set commission charges.