Trading Site Review:

Bottom Line
One of the best retail forex / social trading brokers around. Very clean reputation (you can hardly find any slur related to it, which is quite scarce in this field). Friendly service, friendly software, easy to understand even for complete beginners who never trader before. The focus is on fun and an intuitive UI rather than a place where experts can trade.
View this comprehensive eToro guide to learn more.
Important Facts 
  • Regulatory Authority: CySec 
  • Instruments: Forex, Gold, Silver & Oil 
  • Leverage: Up to 200:1 
  • Unique Features: Social Trading and Copy Trader and Islamic Accounts available 
  • Minimum Deposit: £50/$50/50 Euros 
The Platform 
The eToro platform is very easy to use which makes it suitable to use for some who wants to start trading for the first time. Trades can be undertook on the Webtrader, the downloadable application for your computer, trading can also be done by Mobile with support available for the vast majority of phones. While the platform is pretty basic it’s functional and easy to use. Some have complained that it can be slow to respond sometimes. The lack of sophisticated charting tools also leaves something to be desired, but this doesn’t represent the end of the world. 

Special Features 
eToro’s most unique feature is it’s social trader functionality, essentially you can see the trades that other traders are undertaking. If you see a particular trader who you would like to copy, you can set aside some of your trading capital to follow their trading activity (up to 20%). This is a big selling point for eToro, though I’m not sure how I would feel about handing my money to the mercy of someone else. While I’m sure for some people social trading will be a huge selling and point as well as providing experience about how other people trade. 

Other Features 
As you would expect from a big player in the retail CFD world a free demo account is available which comes loaded with a $10,000 play balance, which gives you a chance to try out the etoro platform risk free. eToro also guarantee’s that you will not lose anymore than your initial deposit, which is a great security feature if they honor it. Which they presumably would considering the feature is advertised on the site’s homepage. A educational course is also on offer at eToro which is meant to introduce a new trader to the world of Forex and commodities trading.

The CFD spreads offered on eToro are not deemed to be terrible but neither are they the best on offer. Though there is is clear clarity due to the fact that commission is also worked into the spread with their being no other commission charge. While not the best spreads there still tight enough that a good trader can make some serious profits. If the tightness of spreads are your primary concern it is clear that eToro isn’t the place for you.

Customer Service 
The customer service at eToro is generally considered be good. With live 24/5 Support and telephone trading on offer, eToro manages to tick all the boxes well. The account managers are generally considerate and try their best to get your issue resolved. 

Regulatory Authority 
eToro is regulated CySec, the regulatory authority of the Cypriot government. Many people are slightly wary of companies based in Cyprus but others have no such concerns about dealing with them. For more info on CySec check my article on Cysec. Personally, I think eToro makes it very clear where they are based and all the information is available in a very transparent away. I would and do feel safe dealing with eToro.

Overview, a good trustworthy site with lots of features that will appeal to newcomers and other traders a like. If your interested you can find out more at eToro

Ladbrokes Financial Betting Options

Ladbrokes is one of the most well known gambling companies in the UK – offering online betting, and brick and mortar betting shops. Ladbrokes accepts worldwide clients (with some limitations of course), and offers clients the possibility of engaging in sports betting activities, casino activities, and poker. How does this related to financial skill betting?

Binary Options have become much the range recently with numerous providers popping up offering Binary Options to prospective clients. However in response the gambling industry has popped up offering a variety of new financial bets, Ladbrokes is one of the leaders in this particular field. However one of the advantages of financial betting from Ladbrokes is that Ladbrokes offers a range of different types of financial bets, all in a Binary form (all or nothing bet). I will do my best to explain the three different types of financial bets on offer at Ladbrokes. 

  • First off their is Range Odds/Range Binary Betting, this type of financial bets offers a number of different ranges on which one can place bets. So for example if you pick a daily FTSE100 bet you will be confronted with a range of different possible price ranges all with different odds. Say the Index has opened at 6000, you may have the opportunity to place a range bet of 6010-6020. Meaning that if the Index closes within the particular range you specified you win the fixed odd bet, the less likely the outcome the greater the odds. This seems to me to offer traders with innovative methods the possibility of making some decent profits. 

  • Secondly there are Moving Odds/Moving Binary Bets, these bets are more like the standard binary bet you would find at a typical binary option site. But differ in the fact that they allow you to not just bet on a simple/up down bet. But they can also bet on a high and low value, allowing them to take a position on the market substantially falling or rising. This allows the trader the possibility to exceed the type of return they would get at standard Binary Options site. During the time period of the bet the high, low and mid levels stay the same but the odds change to reflect the likelihood of each different outcome. While this adds an extra degree of complexity it also allows a person to hedge their positions over the course of a day (assuming their entering into a daily bet). 
  • Finally there is the option of a Static Odds/Binary Bet, this works exactly like the moving odds bet apart from the fact the high, low and mid level positions move throughout the day, but the odds are fixed each time you open a bet. This kind of Binary Bet is most similar to the type of Binary Bets offered at Binary Sites such as OneTwoTrade etc. But it still has had the added complexity of allowing you take a more extreme position on a particular financial instrument. 

While Ladbrokes financial betting is more complicated than the standard Binary Option platform, this gives those who use the platform a better and more complicated instrument to trade. Unfortunately there aren’t many instruments available on the Ladbrokes website but I have to say that financial bets at Ladbrokes offer an exciting instrument and one many would be interested in. I would personally have to say that I believe Ladbrokes Binary Bets to be superior to standard Binary Options. Of course Ladbrokes is known for more than its binary options platform, a century old bookmaker with a full online casino, poker and sports betting offering rivaling other well known UK based gaming companies

ASIC Regulation & The History of CFD’s In Australia


CFD’s have been available to retail customers in the UK since the early 90’s, however it took much longer for CFD’s to be introduced in Australia. Early on CFD’s were favored as a way for hedge funds and investors to hedge their trades cheaply and efficiently. However as the 90’s progressed it became clear that Contracts for Difference had huge potential as an over-the-counter instrument. However it wasn’t until 2002 that Aussies could trade contracts for difference, since their introduction Contracts for difference have become increasingly popular. With the Australian Stock Exchange offering 50 exchange traded Contract for differences on the 50 biggest Aussie Stocks. These Exchange traded CFD’s haven’t stopped the big CFD providers from thriving in the Australian market with many of the big names being British based companies.

Recently, a number of providers have acquired ASIC (including FSA regulated Plus500) licences to both take advantage of the growing Australian market and as a way to gain a presence in the Oceania/Pacific area. All of this has been occurring against the backdrop of increased regulation. In order to legally accept Australian clients a Contract for difference provider must be regulated by ASIC. ASIC is short for the Australian Securities and Investment Commission who are responsible for regulating securities and investment in Australia. In mid 2012 ASIC announced new tougher regulation for those providing over the counter instruments to put ASIC regulation on par with British and Singaporean financial regulation. These changes have to be implemented by the 31st of January 2013. 

ASIC is also the regulator for other financial services, not necessarily binary options or CFD brokers. For instance, ASIC regulate commercial foreign exchange firms that provide FX hedging options (these firms don’t allow speculative trading for the purpose of profit, but rather focus on international payments). You can read about payment providers in Australia here.

The main changes to the regulation include increased capital requirements and greater liquidity requirements. The idea is to protect Australian citizens from being victims of another MF Global etc. This has be to a step in the right direction and will certainly reassure those who have already deposited money with an ASIC regulated broker or those who are planning to do so. It appears that ASIC may have found the right mix between being tough and avoiding driving away business.

The Australian CFD market is likely to continue to grow for several years and these new regulatory guidelines bring Australia closer into line with general international over the counter financial regulation.

CFD Review: ForexTime Review

Important Facts 
  • Regulation: Regulated in Cyprus by CySEC
  • Instruments: Forex, Spot Metals, Commodities, ETF’s and Stocks 
  • Features: Support a variety of different trading platforms as well as a decent range of instruments available for trading. 
  • Leverage: Up to 500:1 on Major Forex Pairings, other instruments vary. 
  • Minimum Deposit: Standard Account: No Minimum Deposit, ECN accounts minimum deposit starts at $200/200 Euros. 
The Platform 
Founded by Alpari’s largest Shareholder Andrey Dashin ForexTime supports a wide range of trading platforms. Of course you’ll find the ever popular MetaTrader 4 platform on offer, as well as the newer MetaTrader 5 platform. Both of which are great favorites with traders the world over. FXTM has also recently announced support for the social trading platform ZuluTrade allowing FXTM customers to follow some of the worlds most successful signal providers using their FXTM account. FXTM also offers a range of mobile and tablet platforms providing MetaTrader 4 & 5 for those using Android or Apple devices, meaning that those who want to trade on the go should have no real difficulty unless they happen to have a Blackberry smartphone. However as Android and Apple now control a vast bulk of the smartphone market, it means most should be able to trade on the move without any difficulty. The only notable absence from the ForexTime platform offering is the fact that FXTM do not offer a Web based trading platform which means individuals will be unable to place trades on computers that do not already have a version of ForexTime’s MetaTrader installed on them.  
Special Features 
ForexTime offers a good selection of different instruments to trade. While the service clearly has a predominantly Forex bias there a number of other instruments available to trade. For one there is a good range of Commodities available to trade including Gold and Silver as well as a number of other commodity CFD’s. More interestingly however ForexTime offer a number of different ETF’s and Shares to trade through Contracts for Difference. While there currently is a not huge range of ETF’s or Shares to choose from, I believe ForexTime will likely add more instruments in the near future. However I think ETF’s currently offer some of the best trading opportunities.  
I have been able to discover what the Spreads on offer at FXTM are. As I have unable to been able to open demo/real account due to a technical problem regarding the Open account form. However, as FXTM offers both ECN and Standard accounts one can expect a range of competitive fixed and floating spreads from FXTM. Will provide more information as soon as I can.
Customer Service 
As FXTM is a new brokerage remarking on their level of customer service provision is going to be difficult. However the brokerage is founded by a well known figure in the Forex industry and appears to be very transparent in terms of getting into contact with them. Currently the provide 8 A.M to 5 P.M Monday to Friday Live Chat, as the customer base grows I imagine that the hours of the live chat support will increase. However they do provide a wide range of different telephone numbers to contact the different arms of the company. From first impressions I imagine that ForexTime will provide a very good customer service, especially due to the fact that the founder has a huge amount of experience in the provision of Over-the-counter Forex.
ForexTime recently received it’s full CySEC regulation. ForexTime was founded by Andrey Dashin who is best known for being Alpari’s largest shareholder and has significant experience when it comes to running large Forex operations in a number of different regulatory jurisdictions. It was rumored that the merger of Alpari’s CySEC division and Alpari UK was in fact make way for the launch of ForexTime. So I would imagine that much of the team in place at ForexTime may have previously worked for Alpari (AFS) meaning that many of the individuals at ForexTime will have extensive knowledge of CySEC regulation. As CySEC is part of MiFID ForexTime are able to accept clients from throughout the European Union. While CySEC isn’t considered Europe’s strongest regulatory body it still provides a high level of regulation in accordance with the minimums set out the EU’s MiFID directives. Meaning that clients of FXTM should feel safe knowing they are provided with a minimum standard of regulation.  
Overall, ForexTime offers a good quality Forex and CFD trading service and should be seriously considered by those who want to trade with a MiFID regulated brokerage.

OANDA discontinues its Social Trading Platform

Social trading has been a huge growth area in the past couple of years with a number of brokerages offering significant social trading features and others such as eToro building their entire business around Social Trading. So it something of a shock that OANDA has decided enough is enough and pulled its social trading platform less than a year after its launch. 

OANDA’s social trading platform fxUnity, was one of the few platforms in the industry to be powered by proprietary technology with the majority of brokerages opting for a third party solution such as FXJunction. However OANDA’s FxUnity platform hasn’t been particularly popular and has received some pretty stringent criticism from those who have used the platform.  

Traders using the fxUnity platform have been requested to close all open positions by 5pm on the 8th of March 2013. All trades that remain open at that time will be automatically closed by OANDA. All funds deposited with the fxUnity platform can be either withdrawn or transferred to a standard OANDA account. 

There has been no comment from OANDA whether this marks the end of social trading at OANDA in general or whether OANDA will seek a third party solution. The number of competing social trading networks out there in the market place at the current time makes it very difficult for a new social trading network to reach the critical mass needed to really take off. 

FxPro decides to shut down its Australian Office

Today FxPro has made a move to consolidate their Forex business by shutting down their Australian office. The office only opened a year ago and half ago but FxPro have made the decision to shut down operations those attempting to open new accounts at are greeted with the following message: 

Clients are then directed over to FxPro has been a center of much activity recently after some of it’s minor shareholders sold up to an undisclosed investment group. So far main management and shareholders have remained in place, though a number of high profile staff members have left including James Marshall former head of the PR department at FxPro.  
FxPro is not the only Forex brokerage to have consolidated recently with a number of other major companies having consolidated global offices and let go staff. This consolidation was partly due to the low trading volumes experienced throughout 2012 which may have forced brokerages such as Saxo Bank, Oanda, GFT and MB Trading to consolidate their global operations. 2013 looks like it may be much better for Forex brokerages with trading volumes having been very promising in both January and February. 
Whether we see further consolidation by the major industry players in the coming months remains to be seen.

The Rise of FX Sports Sponsorship

It was only a few years ago when the Gaming industry was making some of the big sports sponsorship deals. It now seems that Sport Sponsorship has garnered significant attention from a number of FX and OTC financial instrument providers. Earlier this month Alpari announced a multi year multi million pound deal to become the Shirt sponsor of Premier League team West Ham United. Alpari have always been a big fan of Sport sponsorship having also sponsored the New York Nets and Knicks.  

Alpari aren’t alone in targeting big name sports sponsorship’s; FSA regulated brokerage FX Pro has been the proud Sponsor of Fulham FC since 2011. FX Pro’s deal with Fulham runs out at the end of the 2012/13 Season. However that particular deal is only one part of FXPro’s Sports Sponsorship package with FXPro also being the main sponsor of the Asian Champions League as well as being the naming rights partner of the Australian Super League Rugby. In addition to these current sponsorship agreements FXPro previously had various sponsorship agreements with a number of different bodies and organisations in the world of Motor Sport. 

Sports sponsorship seems to make a lot of sense for FX companies, just as it does to those in the gaming industry. Sport Sponsorship reaches a predominately male audience (Forex products are predominately used by Males). Plus there seems to be a sense in which Sports fans are both competitive and less risk averse than many of their peers. A number of different sports have been the primary targets for those wanting to advertise Foreign exchange products and each for distinct reasons. 

  • Football: Premier League football in particular has been a target for the FX Industry. Not only do such advertisements reach a large audience in Europe, they also gain great exposure in Asia which is a rapidly expanding market for those offering Foreign Exchange services. 
  • Motor Sports: Motor Sports and Formula 1 in particular have been targeted as well. Motor Sport has a global fan base as well as attracting a clientele with above average disposable income.  
  • Sailing: Some Forex companies have very cleverly chosen to provide sponsorship for Sailing teams and events. Those who follow Sailing again tend to have more disposable income as well as a greater interest financial products. 
How long the Forex Sport Sponsorship bonanza will continue for remains to be seen. For instance the Gaming industry became a major sponsor of competitive sport a few years ago, however the period of massive Sports gaming sponsorship appears to be over. While there are still a number of Gaming companies heavily involved in Sports Sponsorship they number appears to be down from the peak. It appears that Sports Sponsorship may be an effective way for FX companies to attract new customers for the foreseeable future.

Margin FX Review: Barclay’s Margin FX

Important Facts 
  • Regulation: Barclays Margin FX is a trading name of Barclays Stockbrokers Ltd. who are regulated in the United Kingdom. 
  • Instruments: 50 Forex Pairings. 
  • Features: Foreign Exchange service provided by a well known international bank. 
  • Leverage: Flexible leverage up to a maximum of 100:1 
The Platform 
Barclays Margin FX provides two platforms to those wishing to trade Foreign Exchange with them. The first is a WebTrading program that I had a play around with. To be honest I wasn’t particularly impressed with the program. While it was perfectly functional and allows for traders to open and close positions. It was then I noticed that the Barclays platform was powered by FXCM. Apparently back in October 2012, Barclays chose FXCM as their technology provider. This essentially means those who trade with Barclays Margin FX are using FXCM’s price feed and platform with Barclays operating as its own liquidity provider. While this doesn’t present any real problems it does mean you stuck with using a relatively weak web or download platform. For instance there is no option to use the ever popular MetaTrader platform when trading with Barclays Margin FX. This is a bit annoying and significantly limits the kind of trading activity you can engage in. There is also no support for Mobile Trading something which is becoming increasingly popular.

Special Features 
There is nothing particularly Special about the Barclays Margin FX offering. Your essentially just trading with the FXCM Web and Download platforms with Barclays acting as the counter party. Barclays Margin FX operates with the Market Model brokerage model so it is unable to offer the incredibly tight spreads you would expect from such a major a banking institution. The main attraction for potential customers is the possibility of trading Forex with a well known and well regarded international bank, with Barclays having a very strong reputation when it comes to brokerage services. 


The Spreads at Barclays Margin FX aren’t bad and are among the better Spreads to be offered by brokerages operating using a Market Maker Model. For instance, the target Spread on the EUR/USD is 2.1 Pips which while not mind blowing isn’t bad either. However Spreads are often significantly wider than the quoted target spreads featured on the Barclays Margin FX Website. As there are a number of other brokerages who offer similar if not tighter spreads it makes me question why individuals would choose to deposit cash at Barclays, considering the lack of a sophisticated trading platform and the limited leverage offered by the service. I can think of a number of MiFID regulated brokerages who offer equally as tight spreads, while also offering their customers significantly more leverage. 

Customer Service 
This has to be one of the bigger selling points of the Barclays Margin FX service. Barclays Margin FX is operated by Barclays Brokerage arm, in general Barclays has built a good reputation as a financial broker offering a variety of financial instruments including Stocks, CFD’s, ETF’s and Financial Spread bets. I know a number of people who use Barclays Brokerage services and all of them have been happy with the level of service they have provided. I would suspect that this high standard of service is extended to those using it’s Margin FX platform.  

As already mentioned Barclays Margin FX is a trading name of Barclays Stockbrokers Ltd. who are based in the UK and regulated by the FSA. While the main arm of Barclays has got itself into a number of regulatory scrapes recently Barclays Margin FX has a totally clean regulatory record with no disciplinary action having ever been taken against them. A clean regulatory record in a country with a strong reputation for financial regulation should be enough to alleviate the concerns of many potential customers. 

Overall, Barclays Margin FX offer a high level of service, however the platform is let down by its weak user interface.

Option Bot Review

I have recently seen a lot of attention being paid online to automated Binary Option trading products. These products claim that they can automate Binary Option trading in a way that will be profitable for the user. The most publicized of these programs is Option Bot, which is essentially a piece of software which claims to allow individuals to successfully trade Forex Binary Options. However I’m very dubious of the claims made by the Bots producer. 
How does the bot work? Essentially Option Bot follows 15 different currency pairings and monitors their recent price movements giving you alerts when a currency pairing has moved a sufficient number of Pips in one direction during the selected time period. Both the period of time and the significance of the movement can be altered by the user. However, in the demo video the user has the Bot set to monitor for 3 Pip movements in either direction within the last 15 minutes. The creator of the bots then suggests that the user opens a trade in the opposite direction of the alert. 
So for instance, say the Bot has noticed a particular currency pair rise by 3 Pips in the last 15 minutes. The user of the Bot should then place a 15 minute Put (Down) trade in that particular currency pairing. The idea seems to be that if the price of a currency pairing has moved a significant amount in the last 15 minutes, then there is likely to be a price reversal in the next 15 minutes. But does this make for a good trading strategy?  
I would have to say NO. While such a strategy may work occasionally when there is little volatility in a particular instrument there are going to be occasions when the Forex markets are going to be very volatile. It also doesn’t have a way of distinguishing between general price fluctuations and trending. For instance if a currency pairing was to go on an extended rally a trader could lose several traders in a row using such a strategy. All of this makes me very suspicious of the program and the creators claimed 90% success rate seems very dubious to me. 
The simplicity of such trading systems lead to many new to trading purchasing such programs in the hopes that they can make significant returns on their investment. Option Bot is currently on sale for $75, though I do not suggest that anyone goes out there and purchases the product. However the product is available for a 7 day free trial and I suspect that those who try the product for a trial period will have my suspicions regarding this Binary Options trading system confirmed.

Third Regulated Binary Options Provider to enter the market?

Here at Made To Trade, we have already covered the emergence of a couple financially regulated Binary Options platforms and it now appears that a third player is going to enter the marketplace following the likes of TopOption and Banc De Binary. Yesterday Cypriot financial regulator announced that they were authorizing six different firms Cypriot Investment Firm licences. Possibly the most interesting firm included on the list is Ouroboros Derivatives Trading Ltd. 

While there is not much information to be found online regarding the firm, a quick Google of ‘Ouroboros Derivatives Trading Ltd.’ will lead you to the Linkedin profile of Eran Chertok-Gorodezky who is listed as the CEO of the said company. According to his profile: 

“Ouroboros Derivatives Trading Limited is the first Cyprus Investment Firm (“CIF”) to receive a license from the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (“CySEC”) on the bases of providing binary options trading (license number 187/12). The company will be offering binary options trading to EU clients.” 

This however is not strictly true with it being Banc De Binary who became the first firm licensed by CySEC on the basis of providing online Binary Options. It should also be pointed out the Safecap Investments Ltd. (best known for their brand) have possessed a regulated Binary Options platform since mid December.  

It is not clear whether Ouroboros Derivatives Trading Limited. currently operate a Binary Options platform or whether one will be established in the coming months. Searches for CEO Eran Chertok-Gorodezky do not turn up much, but do suggest some limited links to Israel whether this is the case still remains to be seen. 

Since CySEC regulated Binary Options in early May 2012, a number of Binary Option firms have become regulated in the jurisdiction of Cyprus including S.O SpotOption Ltd. the biggest Binary Options platform provider. In January 2013, Banc De Binary became the first Binary Options provider to be regulated on the basis of solely providing Binary Options to EU customers. Currently CySEC are the only European financial regulator to recognize non-exchange traded Binary Options as a financial product, with Binary Options being classed as a form of gambling in a number of different jurisdictions (e.g Malta). It seems unlikely that other European financial regulators will follow CySEC in regulating Binary Options as a type of financial instrument.