While Alpari would seem to be at home in providing CFDs or spread betting, it’s arguably in more familiar pastures with its forex trading. Based in over 20 countries globally, Alpari and its associated geo-specific companies are no strangers to processing a trade, with over $200bn in trading volumes handled each and every month. In this Alpari review, we will look at Alpari through the lens of the forex trader, with a view to deciding how it fares against pretty stiff competition, and to see whether its extensive involvement in forex trading domestically and abroad translates into a better offering for forex traders.
Alpari Review: ACCOUNT OPENING
Opening an account with Alpari requires a simple, two step sign-up process. The first step is to sign up on the Alpari website itself, where you will be asked to input a few basic details – general contact information and a few select account preferences. This will generate an email to the address you have provided (so look out for typos and spelling errors), which will contain a download link for the MetaTrader platform (if you don’t already have it installed), along with details on how to move forwards towards a successful installation. Keep this email handy for the download link, and be sure to proceed through the installation process if you haven’t previously done so to ensure you have the required platform for trading through Alpari. It’s also worthy of mention that Mac users will be unable to natively support MetaTrader, which is an exclusively Windows-based platform, and so may have to seek alternative options for their trading.
Once MetaTrader is downloaded and installed, traders will be asked to sign-in, either with an existing account or a new account. At this stage, account creation will be required through the MetaTrader platform, which will then sync directly with Alpari servers to confirm and validate data. While this is slightly more in-depth than the application process with certain other, most notably browser-based broker platforms, it is nevertheless a reasonably easy and efficient process to engage with.
Alpari Review: PLATFORM
MetaTrader is the single most popular trading platform used by brokers online, and you don’t have to look far to find a number of other competing brokers offering MetaTrader as an option for accessing their services. MetaTrader, developed by independent software company MetaQuotes, is designed to be a standalone trading platform that allows traders much more control over how they trade. MetaTrader is so involved it even has its own compatible programming language, allowing traders to fully customise indicators, ‘Expert Advisors’ and other elements of trading towards a more automated end result.
At first glance MetaTrader has the appearance of a number of different menus and windows presented side by side. It isn’t immediately the prettiest platform, but what MetaTrader lacks in visual appeal, it more than makes up for in terms of the advanced features it brings to the table. The technical analysis focus of the platform is immediately obvious from first login, with the main bulk of the screen dedicated to different charting panels. Traders can customise the currency pairs to which these charts relate, in order to get more relevant, up to date information, and the layout and format of each chart can be tailored to suit the needs of the individual traders and his trading strategy.
The remainder of the many functions open to Alpari forex traders are contained around the margins of the technical analysis area, and while the programme may look particularly complex at first glance, traders can quickly get to grips with how to use this default screen in order to work their way around their account and into the forex markets. The left-hand navigation menu provides the central point from which traders can access different parts of their account and different elements of the MetaTrader offering, while those that are researching different markets can create their own customised watch list to present in this left-hand menu for ongoing analysis and market data. Lying underneath the main dialogue screen is the final component to the default home screen display, which presents a variety of summary, news and alert panels traders can tab through to find the information they need. In some cases, this might an overview of how the account is performing and the levels of margin, etc., while others might use the panel for news and market updates as they happen. Either way, these panels are easy to navigate between, and provide the final missing link in the chain as far as trading and market information is concerned.
While the MetaTrader platform works well by default and offers more than enough to be trading in the markets successfully, it is the power-user features that keep more experienced traders coming back. The ability to hook up MetaTrader to customised indicators and signals means traders can exercise the finest degrees of control over their analysis and research, helping automate part of the trading process for all the advantages that can bring. Indeed, it is predominantly for these reasons of potential automation that Alpari works so closely with MetaTrader across all of its accounts.
Alpari Review: SPREADS & MARKETS
Alpari offers a wide range of opportunities for forex traders to find profitable movements and trends in currency pairs. In its standard accounts, traders can choose from some 34 currency pairs, which is enough to cover most of the major bases on which the average forex trader would speculate. For pro-level accounts, this increases to 57 different currency pairs – yet more choice, to ensure even the most active trader has more than enough to be getting on with. These currency pairs are traded with the combination of robust leverage and low trading costs, which make for a highly satisfactory trading experience – all that remains is to sign-up for an account and to get started analysing and trading these currency pairs.
Alpari Review: CLIENT MONEY PROTECTION
Alpari is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for its UK operations, which delivers some comfort for traders looking to safeguard the integrity of their funds. No-one suspected the collapse of broker WorldSpreads before it tore through its client accounts, and the regulatory steps and measures that have been put in place to tighten things up have had a knock-on effect on the compliance requirements of Alpari. This translates into client funds being ring-fenced entirely from the assets of the broker, allowing Alpari to perform its role without necessarily ‘looking after’ client funds in its own, freely accessible accounts. While Alpari looks to be a robust performer in forex trading, having the additional security from knowing your money is safe and protected with a broker can make all the difference to the trading experience.