Need to choose a broker? The most important milestone before trading is to engage in a healthy and constructive relationship. Compare spreads, geographic coverage, available assets, bonuses and all you need to know, presented in a simplified manner.
Every broker has his operation built to appeal to a certain market and clientele. While some brokers are globally present, offering multilingual support and tools, others stay focused and dedicated to a niche, so-called boutique brokers. In the wide spectrum from one edge to the other, there are numerous options and solutions for each one’s needs. All brokers are compared “in a glimpse” and each broker has his complete review. As it is a delicate process, it’s ok to try and check few options, compare platforms, have a call or chat and even try a demo account. Optionally, we can be contacted by email or phone and help along the way to choose the right partner. Foreplay is highly recommended.
Which Broker fits you
Congratulations! You have reached the most important milestone. It means you are ready to engage and need to choose a broker. It is the most important thing without disregarding all the rest such as acquiring the proper knowledge.
Choosing the right broker for you is a simple task with a high impact on your capital. We’ll try to cover the main issues without being subjective, letting you choose. As we said, we’ll try. Here’s what we’ll break down and the importance decreases as we proceed to the next step:
Forex or Binary?
It is a subject that needs more than just a few words but it is important to know the major differences and a little bit of history. The Forex (Foreign Exchange) market includes more than just currency pairs nowadays with many brokers offering a vast range of tradable assets and instruments such as Commodities, CFD’s and ETF’s. In the Forex market you may use long term and short term positions with the possibility to launch complex trades and tweak along the way as new interests emerge. A quick example is that you may open an opposite position (long vs short and vice versa) permitting you to close down an exposure without closing a position but opening a new counter position*. *not offered by all platforms
Binary options are a complex structure built from the basic vanilla or regular Call and Put options with few adjustments to the B&S (Black & Scholes) formula resulting in a Cash-or-Nothing instrument. It is an OTC (over the counter) product sold by the issuer to the buyer. It has been regulated by Lottery and Gambling authorities until mid 2013 when it has been transferred to the Financial authorities.
Another difference is the business model behind both industries. While the Forex Brokers charge a commission from the trade value, may it be increase or decrease of capital, the Binary Options Brokers charge a percentage from the losing party delivering the net gain to the winning party. For the sake of mathematics, on one position you may lose $100 or win $85. The broker collects the $15. This percentage varies between the brokers.
In Forex you will use leverage that lets you get exposed with a small initial capital, however a long term position will require a margin deposit. In binary options you will enjoy a limited risk without the need of margin. Bottom line, you may engage in long time or short time results. Be aware of the differences, study about both and choose what fits you.
US citizens, read this. Before engaging with a certain broker and cover the regulatory importance, ask yourself if the safety of your capital concerns you. If not, disregard this paragraph. There have been many frauds along the history involving investments brokers. The regulatory bodies have the task to monitor the activity and keeping the wolves away from your hardly earned capital. Every broker has its regulatory body presented somewhere on his website or under the Terms and Conditions. The offering of an unregulated broker vs. a regulated one is usually by far better. Always ask yourself if it isn’t too good to be true. There may be brokers stating that they are under the regulation of MIFID. One may say that it is safe if a broker is regulated by Markets in Financial Instruments Directive which is EU. The thing is that MIFID isn’t a regulatory body, it is a law that needs to be regulated by the country’s regulatory body may it be the CySEC (Cyprus) or FCA (UK). It is an example of how one may trick you thinking he is regulated.
Another way of tricking the masses is to present a regulation of an independent regulatory body which is you may guess, an empty shell, put up just to strip the fools from their $.
To sum it up, check thoroughly who regulates your broker.
Where is your broker based? Does he have operating offices in various locations? Do not witch-hunt all “Whatever” Islands off shore fiscal paradise located brokers, some of them are true brokers, regulated and off shored for taxes purposes only, with operating offices worldwide.
Try to look for the address (if provided) and even ask if you may come to visit. Unpublished address or fishy location (google maps street view can help a lot here) can be a warning sign.
If your broker hides, there’s a reason. That is what you need to know.
Even if you’ll land on a long contact channels list, it doesn’t mean they are functional. Look for an address, phone number, chat or email services and try all of them and see how they come through. If you have no one to speak with, move on. It is recommended to have a chat with an account manager and check the chemistry. Just drop a call or request a call-back and see how it goes. Some brokers are sourpuss while others are friendly.
Reputation and Background
This is a tricky task because the reputation may be defamed by competition and not all cases of scam, fraud and bucket shop complains on forums are true. Check with few sources. There are websites that focus on monitoring the density of complains for various matters such as withdrawal problems or wiped accounts. Look for signs, usually they are there. Regulatory bodies issue warnings as well but tend to react slower than traders. If a regulatory body issued a statement, stay away now!
Do a background check about the broker and see if he is a “former” brand and do a background check of the former activity. Some brokers change their skin and resurrect with the same business model which may be a fraudulent one.
What kind of incentives the broker offers? If you will be offered with ”too good to be true”, usually it is. If the bonus offered is too high compared to other brokers, check the T&C of it. Sometimes the bonus is conditioned by impossible goals. Call centers are another ranking factor. Does your account manager promise you’ll get rich? Does he promise 25% daily returns? Guess what, it will not happen and if you trust his promises then look at it as your tuition fee…
Tools and Platform
It is the last thing to check. A vast variety of assets and instruments are a sign that your broker is up to date, meaning you’ll have the latest tools available. Some brokers offer Binary and Forex within the same platform, letting you express yourself. Should it be a complex structured strategy aiming to monetize the latest breaking news at the course of the next month? Or should you just engage into that momentary spike and try to double a small sum from last month’s profit?
An intuitive platform may save some hassle and mistakes. A rigid and limited platform might distract you from what you’re trying to do. Try it first and see how you’re getting along. We’re all leaning towards some kind of GUI.
Bottom line, there is a lot to do before engaging into trading. Build a strong foundation of knowledge and choose wisely according to what you need. Try first, then, engage.
Try to withdraw small sums before growing your account and see how the process goes. If your money is transferred quickly, with no questions asked, you are in good hands. If the process gets complicated and takes more than a couple of weeks, beware. Build a long term relation with your broker, they like nurturing their faithful traders. Check out our recommended brokers and don’t hesitate to throw in a question any time.
Check out the leverage, min deposit requirements and special offers.
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