Retail traders are limited to the trading platforms available. While there are higher end, subscription based platforms like CQG, eSignal, and TradeStation, most of us are left with free, broker supported platforms like Metatrader 4/5.
As a passive trader, I’m not sitting in front of my screens 24/6. There are a few factors as to why I do not use subscription based platforms. It ranges from a higher cost to no broker support. If we look at the free retail platforms offered, Metatrader 4 by far remains the most popular. For the longest time, I’ve used MT4 developed by MetaQuotes Software and only recently made the switch to Spotware’s cTrader.
In just about every forum, you’ll see at least one on-going discussion about broker conflict of interest. Common topics such as stop loss hunting, raw spread mark ups, and false slippage are often debated without a definite winning side. This is because you really do not know if a broker is engaging in these practices or not unless you work for the broker.
As I was saying, I used Metatrader 4 by MetaQuotes for quite a while mainly because it was easy to setup, easy to learn, and it was popular. I found a ton of indicators, templates, and automated scripts. Eventually I moved away from them because none fit my trading style. Aside from this experience, there’s a little known feature of Metatrader that most traders aren’t aware of. This is the Virtual Dealer Plug-in (VDP).
VDP is a nasty little feature available to brokers to do all kinds of mischief. It can widen spreads, reduce leverage to force liquidation, increase latency to negatively slip orders, and so on. The leaked document is no longer available if you were to do a Google search, but AuthenticFX managed to capture this little bit.
We’re in pretty much the same dilemma once again. For any broker that offers Metatrader 4/5, you can’t be certain they aren’t using VDP even if they claim not to. It’s easy to turn this feature on for one day and off for the next. With so much fluctuation in the markets, you’ll never really notice it going on. Rather than accusing your broker of working against your interest, why not avoid this situation all together?
This is why I made the switch to cTrader. Not only do I not have to worry about this conflict of interest, I’ve actually learned of several advantages in using cTrader over Metatrader. For the record, I am not being paid nor am I receiving any monetary compensation for promoting the use of cTrader. If you were to look in my previous posts, my chartshots come from the cTrader platform. Although some were from Metrader 4, it was mainly due start-up time. This is one of the disadvantages of cTrader – it takes a longer time to load.
Nevertheless, there are many advantages and I would like to point out a few of these today. Although this isn’t noticeable on your part, Spotware’s model eliminates conflict of interest in several ways. Brokers do not run their own hardware infrastructure. Instead, this is all done of Spotware’s end. This means brokers cannot inject false prices or spread mark-ups. The platform is connected directly to the liquidity providers. Meanwhile, brokers advertising Straight-Through Processing use bridges and plugins because Metatrader just isn’t meant for this type of operation.
Let’s move to some of the more noticeable features. While workspaces are available on both Metatrader and cTrader, Spotware’s cloud solution offers a neat backup solution. I actually became quite frustrated with Metatrader messing up my configuration of indicators and candle displays to the point where I actually had to reconfigure my setups on every startup. At the close of the platform, you’ll see a brief message saying “saving workspaces”. This backup solution really works to my advantage.
Next up is platform stability. When you have a ton of indicators, cTrader does a much better job of loading these indicators as compared to Metatrader. Let me give you an example with a strategy that I stumbled across and have been casually experimenting with.
It goes by many names including Fantails and Rainbow, but I prefer CYROX as, after all, it is the most active community with active trade analysis and workshops on this systems. With the plotting of so many moving averages, Metatrader simply could not have handled this. Of course, this is just one strategy. It may not affect price action traders or technical traders relying on fewer indicators nearly as much. It’s just nice to know it’s reliable just when you need it to be.
Another major advantage of cTrader is multi-timeframe analysis. If you think the timeframe selection is abundant on Metatrader, wait till you see cTrader.
Chances are you won’t be using all of these time frames in your analysis, but it allows you to discover new time frames to trade with. I haven’t found the tick frames particularly useful, but the 3-minute, 2-hour, and 6-hour time frames have become apart of my routine analysis. After discovering the range of time frames available, I found how limiting Metatrader really is.
Final feature I want to touch upon is trading directing from the screen. For those arguing that Metatrader has this feature, keep in mind that they just brought this over from cTrader. cTrader started out offering one click trading, double click trading, and trading directly from the screen. I have my setting set to double click trading. This is a great trade protection feature in case you accidentally press the buy or sell button. Furthermore, dragging take profit and stop loss is another significant advantage. Not only do you get the pip count, but also absolute profit count.
The downside to this platform is the lack of indicator and scripts. You can always code your own or visit the cTDN community for requests, but generally there just isn’t the same database of resources as compared to MT4. Keep in mind that MT4 has been around since 2005 and remains popular to this date so there have been extensive developments for that platform.
Nevertheless, I encourage you to give Spotware’s cTrader a twirl. I downloaded it through my broker, but you can easily take a spin at it without a broker. Click ‘Download cTrader Demo‘ and follow the on screen installation process. Definitely leave a comment and share your thoughts on this platform.