Alpari Launch MetaTrader Pro STP Account in the UK
Here at the Trading Gurus we are constantly monitoring the quotes from a wide range of brokers. Yesterday alarm bells started ringing to tell us that the spreads on one of our MetaTrader 4 demo accounts at Alpari UK had suddenly reduced to previously unheard of levels. Spreads as low as 0.4 pips on GBP/USD for example, and once (briefly!) even zero on EUR/USD.
This morning I telephoned Alpari UK and spoke to George Tchetvertakov, their head of market research. He told me that the reason for the sudden reduction in spreads was that the standard Alpari UK MetaTrader 4 demo account was now showing quotes typical of those available on the Alpari Pro account, which as from this week can be accessed using the MetaTrader 4 platform as well as the new Alpari Direct platform.
According to the Alpari news release:
With the addition of MetaTrader 4 on the Pro account, Alpari (UK) clients now have access to the most trader-friendly platform with the most professional terms.
- Institutional-level liquidity from 10+ top-tier banks
- Non-Dealing Desk execution – no re-quotes
- Tight spreads from 0 pips
- Ultra-fast Straight-Through Processing
- Floating leverage up to 1:100
- MT4 EA-compatible including Scalping EAs
What the news release doesn't point out is that these "professional terms" currently include a minimum opening deposit of $20,000, and a minimum trade size of 3 full lots. That's not a misprint. That is 30 times the minimum trade size on Alpari's Direct Pro and MT4 Classic accounts, and 300 times the minimum trade size on an Alpari Micro account! To get those juicy looking spreads you also have to pay commission of $30/million, the same as if you were to use the Direct platform.
The "Pro" section of the Alpari website further reveals that:
- Trading on the MT4 Pro account means no re-quotes
- Many brokers impose restrictions on where you can place your orders. We do not.
- You can use your favourite EA (including scalping EAs) on a Pro Account to execute your trading strategies.
- All trades are executed automatically without any manual intervention.
This is all very well if you happen to have $20,000 you can afford to lose trading the currency markets using scalping EAs, but it also has important implications for those of you with smaller live accounts at Alpari UK, or even just demo MT4 accounts. We'll cover the significance of this in much more detail in forthcoming posts, but for now I'll merely point out that the spreads you see on an Alpari UK MetaTrader 4 demo account currently bear very little resemblance to the spreads you will obtain in live trading with either a Micro or Classic account. If do you have a live MetaTrader account at Alpari UK make sure you use it for your backtests, and be very careful that those backtests don't screw up your live trading. If you've only got a demo account bear in mind that any backtests you perform will now bear even less resemblance to what is achievable on a live account, especially if you're testing one of the horde of scalping style "robots" that seem to be everywhere you look these days.
I suggested to George that the suddenly more pronounced difference in spreads between demo and live Alpari MetaTrader accounts might possibly come as an unpleasant surprise to newcomers to the wonderful world of forex trading. He told me that Alpari's literature is careful to point out that there can be differences between live and demo quotes, and that when the time comes to place a live order:
If you see a spread you don't like, don't take it.
That is undoubtedly very sound advice whatever instrument you choose to trade, whether you trade it manually or with computer assistance, and whichever broker you choose to place those trades with.