Earlier today MetaQuotes Software Corp. published a tutorial on the MQL5 community website about how to create MetaTrader 5 expert advisors without needing to be a programmer. The tutorial covers how to use the  "MQL5 Wizard" that comes as part of the MetaTrader 5 client software to create your very own EA by just pointing and clicking with a mouse.  MetaQuotes also published today a tutorial for programmers discussing how to go about creating the software modules that users of the MQL5 Wizard are able to choose from when building their own personal forex "robot".  Unfortunately at the end of the day if you're not a programmer it seems as though you're still going to be dependent on programmers to provide all the tasty ingredients you might want to put into your own personal trading system "recipe".

More on How To Create MetaTrader 5 Expert Advisors Without Programming

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Earlier this week Robert Lande, chief financial officer of US broker FXCM Inc, was interviewed on Bloomberg about the prospects for FXCM following their recent IPO. Robert also talked about the prospects for retail forex in general. Here's that interview:

Amongst numerous other snippets of interesting information Robert said that:

The overall leverage that's permitted is very high. I mean in the US they've brought down leverage limits now to 50:1 on major pairs.

He went on to mention that in Hong Kong leverage is limited to 20:1, but for some reason neglected to mention that here in the UK you can still find 500:1 without trying very hard.

More on FXCM on the Acquisitions Trail After IPO?

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US broker FXCM announced a new educational website for forex traders today. FXCM Digital Expo is separate from their existing DailyFX portal, and makes available over 40 videos recorded at FXCM’s Forex Trading Expo in Las Vegas.  Apart from simply viewing the videos on the new web site you can also download them free of charge using iTunes. The slides used during the original presentations can be downloaded too.

The headline categories on the home page are "Beginners", which includes introductory material on the usual suspects such as Fibonacci and Elliott Wave, along with an "Advanced" section. The headline act in here is "Advanced Elliott Wave" which I hastily skipped, but there is also mention of Trading System Design and APIs. Those two videos are in fact part of the "Automated Trading" section of the new site, and given my own interest in such matters I decided to have a good look through that section.

More on FXCM Launches New Educational Video Site

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The first of what may eventually turn into a trio of forex initial public offerings finally came to fruition yesterday evening when FXCM announced that:

Its initial public offering of 15,060,000 shares of its Class A common stock has been priced at $14.00 per share. The shares are expected to begin trading tomorrow, December 2, 2010, on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “FXCM.” The underwriters have been granted a 30-day option to purchase up to 2,259,000 additional shares of Class A common stock at the public offering price less the underwriting discount from FXCM if the underwriters sell more than 15,060,000 shares in the offering.

Time will tell if the underwriters manage to collect those additional shares at a bargain basement price, but FXCM seem to be well on the way to raising over $200 million in new capital. According to Bloomberg:

The IPO values New York-based FXCM at 16 times earnings, an 43 percent discount to the median of five companies cited in the IPO prospectus as competitors.

More on FXCM's IPO Shares Hit the Street Today

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The first day of a new month has arrived, and Ray the Random Robot™ has asked us to update you all on the progress he has been making in the numerous  MetaTrader 4 automated trading contests he has been competing in recently.

Before we do that though, let's take a quick look at Ray's live MT4 spread betting account at Smart Live Markets. Here's the state of his account today, courtesy of Myfxbook:

Smart Live spread betting account after two months trading

Smart Live spread betting account after two months trading

More on Ray the Random Robot's Report for November 2010

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MSN Trader is now live! According to the web site it's "The Investor Platform of the Future". Despite the slightly confusing initial publicity, from 12:00 GMT today there have been over 160 currency pairs available for trading on MSN Trader, as long as you are a UK resident.

Here are some forex specific basic facts and figures:

  • Fixed spreads – 2 on EUR/USD, 3 on USD/JPY, 4 on Cable, 26 on USD/DKK
  • A dealing desk
  • Leverage – 200:1 on the majors, 100:1 on others
  • Minimum order size – 1,000 BUT see below
  • Commission – Zero on orders over 100,000. Minimum charge of $10 in and out on smaller orders
  • Minimum deposit – £1,000

There is a 20 day demo account available. Currently after signing up you see a Saxo Bank branded screen:

MSN Trader Demo Account Launch Day Platforms

MSN Trader Demo Account Launch Day Platforms

Next I fired up the WebTrader option, and an MSN Trader branded screen opened up:

MSN Trader initial layout

MSN Trader initial layout

You can see straight away that MSN Trader is not primarily targeted at forex traders. Instead you get a combination of UK and US equities by default. Even if you click on the FX/Futures tab:

MSN Trader FX and Futures layout

MSN Trader FX and Futures layout

you see Corn futures rather than Cable. However after a few more clicks you can get yourself setup looking at a 5 minute chart of GBP/USD and you're ready to trade, which I did:

MSN Trader layout for trading Cable

MSN Trader layout for trading Cable

Note that whilst it's possible to trade 1,000 units (i.e. a micro order in MetaTrader speak), such small orders attract an additional $10 commission on top of the spread. Both in and out!

There you have the basics of trading forex on MSN trader. More from us soon on the educational materials, the tools, and all those other asset classes, including FX Options!

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According to Computer Weekly Microsoft will be launching MSN Trader for the benefit of retail traders here in the UK on Wednesday, pasting a white label version of Saxo Bank's WebTrader platform into MSN Money:

The joint initiative will be expanded across Europe. MSN Trader is intended to capitalise on investors' increasing desire to take control of their finances in the wake of the global credit crisis, according to the Financial Times.

MSN Trader will enable individual investors to trade on 23 exchanges around the world from 10 November.

Yesterday the BBC reported that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is selling a significant proportion of his holding in Microsoft:

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has sold $1.3bn (£800m) worth of shares in the firm, the first time he has sold its stock in seven years.

According to Mr. Ballmer:

Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion.

Mr Ballmer went on to say that the sale of shares was made to diversify his investments and help his year-end tax planning, and he was:

Fully committed to Microsoft and its success.

Do you suppose the timing of the two announcements is purely coincidental? Do you suppose Steve has grown bored with "buy" and hold, and is instead going to try his hand at forex trading using Microsoft's interesting new (ad)venture to assist him?

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GKFX are proud of their dealing desk and their fixed spreads. In this guest post Paul Hare, their Director of Trading, explains why. (Note that GKFX are a UK based broker, and are therefore regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA for short, and formerly the Financial Services Authority). Some of the regulatory points Paul makes don't work in quite the same way in other jurisdictions.)

There seems to be an increase, as of late, in the number of buzz words being bandied about by certain trading houses or brokers in their advertisements.

Whether it is them apparently bragging of having NDD or offering STP, DMA or even ECN. They give you a list of key reasons why you should trade with them because of this and that, often skimming over the surface of what they actually mean and what the real consequences of dealing with them are.

More on Dealing Desk or No Dealing Desk – That is the Question!

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Yesterday I spoke with both Robin Osmond and Martyn Holman, CEO and COO respectively of LMAX, about the launch earlier this week of LMAX Trader and their future plans for both the LMAX multilateral trading facility and the LMAX Trader retail trading platform.

Amongst numerous other things I asked Robin what had tempted him away from the likes of HSBC and J.P. Morgan to a much smaller organization.  He told me that after 20 years in institutional investment banking he felt he needed the challenge of "moving outside my comfort zone".  LMAX was "smaller and more entrepreneurial" than the businesses he was used to, and he relished the "extra risk" involved in his new job. He had also been very impressed by the "commitment and deep pockets" of the LMAX shareholders.

More on LMAX is a Platform for Committed Traders Only

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I'm not sure this is the sort of publicity GAIN Capital would want, particularly during their long drawn out IPO, but these things are sent to try us. The National Futures  Association has just announced that:

On June 30, 2010, NFA issued a Complaint against Gain and [Glenn] Stevens that cited Gain for engaging in margin and liquidation practices that had a detrimental impact on certain of Gain's customers on certain slipped trades, failing to maintain records for certain unfilled orders that were placed on the MetaTrader trading platform prior to May 2009, failing to adequately review the activities and promotional material of Gain's unregulated solicitors, failing to respond promptly to certain inquiries and requests made by NFA during NFA's audit of Gain and, together with Stevens, failing to supervise the firm's operations.

Gain and Stevens neither admitted nor denied the allegations of the Complaint and agreed to settle the case on the following terms: Gain agreed to refund to customers the amount of negative slippage they experienced on the trades that were placed in their accounts between May 1 and July 31, 2009 and which were attributable to the Virtual Dealer Plug-in that Gain used on its institutional and retail servers, Gain agreed to refund to customers the losses they incurred as a result of Gain's practice of adjusting leverage and margin requirements on Fridays, as alleged in Count I of the Complaint; Gain agreed to pay $459,000 to NFA as a monetary sanction; Gain agreed that in the future any and all slippage parameters that Gain uses in determining whether a customer's order will be executed or re-quoted, shall be symmetrical in nature and neither advantageous nor disadvantageous to the customer or to Gain; and Gain agreed not to reinstate its practice of adjusting leverage and margin requirements on Fridays, as described in Count I of the Complaint, which it has discontinued.

More on GAIN Capital and Ikon Fined $779,000 by NFA

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