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AvaTrade is a relative newcomer to the brokerage industry, but it has quickly built a strong international presence with a formidable client base of more than 20,000 customers. The company’s total trading volumes surpass $60 billion per month, and there are many good reasons why so many customers have chosen to trade with this broker.
In 2013 the firm re-branded itself from AvaFx, increasing the range of instruments offered to include CFDs, Spread Betting, and Options.
AvaTrade is registered in Dublin, Ireland, where it is overseen and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Additionally, it is registered with regulatory bodies in Japan and Australia.
AvaTrade is subject to stringent compliance requirements, including how it handles client assets, security of client funds and financial reporting. All of this should provide AvaTrade customers with the reassurance that they are trading with a reliable and established provider in an officially regulated environment.
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Account Opening Process
Account opening and funding is straightforward, with a wide range of deposit transfer options. Note that the broker does tend to exercise a 5 day turnaround on fund withdrawals.
AvaTrade offer various options for charting and order execution – we’ll be focusing on their browser-based WebTrader platform here, but the more likely choice you’ll make is to download and install either their custom software AvaTrader or their bespoke version of MetaTrader4. If that’s the case you might want to read our MetaTrader4 review.
Obviously you’re going to see the same account information whichever platform you login from, which is handy: you can have automated expert adviser scripts running in MetaTrader and then amend and cancel orders or exit positions from any computer via the WebTrader platform, or from a mobile device.
When you first open the WebTrader software (which is exceptionally quick to load after login) you’ll be confronted by a default screen arrangement which attempts to showcase everything at once and is packed with lots of flashing graphics. Trading Central in particular seems a bit of a distraction, and you get the definite feeling that if this wasn’t a browser platform it wouldn’t be there.
The good news is that all these windows can be quickly minimized (they dock conveniently to the sidebar to which they belong), and with all the distractions cleared away you’ll quickly find that you have an extremely compact and functional platform. The layout is well designed and intuitive, with just the right number of utilities available.
The indicator range, for instance, is well selected, with a handful of very common studies instantly available in an icon drop-down, and with the option to search for additional stuff on ‘more menu’. While you won’t find everything esoteric here, you’ll probably find the vast majority of indicators and studies you’d need to use in everyday chart analysis. The same can be said for the drawing options, which include all the usual suspects such as Fibonacci extensions and trend-lines.
Basic charting formats (Bar, Line, Candlestick) are all available, and you can switch between two different color schemes if you prefer a lighter display. Because AvaTrade cater to clients internationally, a discrete drop-down option allows you to change the primary language of the display.
Changing the chart to view prices for a different instrument is a bit awkward – hundreds of symbols are listed in one long drop-down, although they are alphabetical within their type. The extent of this list is due to the fact that this broker also offers CFDs on everything from individual stocks to commodities and interest rates.
Moving on to execution, the thoughtful design continues, and a number of sliding buttons allow the same screen to double in use. You can switch back and forth between buy and sell or market and limit orders. It is possible to turn on one-click ordering, removing the time-consuming need to confirm your order before it is submitted, but if you’re trying to trade at that kind of speed you might be better considering one of the more heavy duty platforms. Opening up the order screen you’ll find the option to bracket your entry with a stop loss and a profit target.
Trading from chart is not facilitated in WebTrader, but is available in MetaTrader4.
Finally, all the order information (both open and pending orders) along with account balances and margin is displayed in an expandable window to the bottom of the screen. Orders can also be closed from here, and a ‘close all’ button is also available for those occasional moments of urgency!
In short, a lot of information and functionality has been smartly arranged in WebTrader, and for less frequent traders you might find that this platform has everything you need. If you are daytrading we would suggest that AvaTrader or MetaTrader might be a more adequate solution. As with all browser software you’ll want to ensure you run on a well maintained computer with a stable internet connection. When testing we used the Firefox browser.
News and Market Analysis
Live market news, fundamental and technical commentary, and an economic calendar are all available via the AvaTrade website. Market analysis is provided via a third party website, FX-Insights. We found the economic calendar in WebTrader to be a little clunky and it didn’t didn’t display correctly in browser.
In general we found this aspect of AvaTrade’s services to be fairly average, and if these elements form a key part of your trading with this broker then you might prefer to find external news providers to supplement the broker’s offering.
Guardian Angel Add-on
This free MetaTrader add-on is something new to us – we haven’t seen this offered by any other broker so far.
The ‘Guardian Angel’ functionality uses behavior analytics to provide instant feedback on your trading actions to help you make more intelligent decisions. Areas it focuses on are risk management, performance, margin call alerts, and volatility.
These are the areas that desk managers in prop firms and financial institutions focus on – if you were in that kind of professional environment then it would be somebody’s job to manage these aspects of your behavior. Having a software add-on that is able to fulfil this role is a great idea and should prove especially helpful if you’re new to trading. This creative add-on also suggests that AvaTrade as a firm is keen to discourage irresponsible and self-destructive trading patterns amongst its clients, which is pretty re-assuring!
While we haven’t trialled any of these functions ourselves, AvaTrade boasts one of the widest ranges of automated trading solutions and platforms in the industry, including Mirror Trader, Ayondo, Currensee and ZuluTrade. These platforms also enable copying of the trades of experienced Forex traders.
Depending on your style of trading, order execution is going to be of particular importance. At the time of this review AvaTrade operates a dealing desk model.
Our experience with this broker has been that orders are filled quickly during normal trading, and that spread fluctuations are minimal. Possible order types are somewhat limited with only the common variations of stop, limit, and market orders, plus one-cancels-other for bracketed entries and exits. If you’re looking for more sophisticated routing algorithms, FOK, or MOC order types, then AvaTrade may not be suitable for you.
Please note conditional orders are subject to conditional distance settings. Conditional distance is the distance from the market (in pips) that a conditional order can be placed. This can mean that this broker is unsuitable for scalping type strategies.
Commissions and Fees
As previously stated, AvaTrade operates under a Dealing Desk model, meaning that the prices you see quoted are set by the broker rather than on the interbank market, and that the broker acts as the immediate liquidity provider in taking the other side of your order. The broker will typically offset or ‘hedge’ some of their risk in the underlying derivatives or spot forex market, and as such the liquidity of this market will dictate the price quotations they make.
Spreads are about average for a dealing desk broker, and an option for fixed spreads does exist – you’ll need to specify this when opening your account.
Fixed spreads can only by guaranteed by dealing desk brokers, making this one of the potential advantages of trading under this model, especially where transparency and certainty of costs are paramount.
AvaTrade does support micro-lot trading (their WebTrader platform even defaults to micro-lots) and flexible fractional lot sizes across all their platforms.
This broker makes their profit from a mark-up in the bid-ask spread, and as such they do not charge any commission. Be aware that a number of other charges may be applicable, including overnight interest, rollover of spread bets, corporate actions, and fees on inactive accounts.
AvaTrade has a strong reputation for customer support, and is among only a handful of brokers with comprehensive multiple language website support. Support is available by live chat, via email, or by telephone.
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