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Online trading platforms: How do you know if you’ve picked the absolute best of the lot?

When it comes to picking a platform to trade, it’s always simpler when you have a checklist on how to pick the right broker! This guide does just that, walking you through everything one should keep in mind.

Wondering how to choose an online trading platform that best suits your needs?
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When it comes to picking a platform to trade, it’s always simpler when you have a checklist on how to pick the right broker! This guide does just that, walking you through everything one should keep in mind.

Some investors are willing to pay higher trade commissions for a state-of-the-art platform; others count costs above all else. Irrespective of whichever criteria you fall into, you would want to know what your best option is.

Before we elaborate further with a checklist to help you find the best online broker for you, here is a brief reminder for investors in the UAE.

Quick reminder for UAE investors
A point to keep in mind is that not all international trading platforms, like TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers, can be used by investors in UAE. In the UAE, there is a list of licensed operators. Dubai Financial Market (DFM) offers an elaborate list of online brokers on their website.

DFM also provides a regularly-updated list ranking top brokers in the region. For users in the UAE, while ADSS does not charge a commission for buying and selling stocks, a number of platforms like Plus500, Forex.com and Oanda charges comparatively lower fees.

Brief checklist

Now let’s briefly go through a number of important factors to consider when picking an online trading brokerage and to know whether your preferred online brokers are reputed enough.

• Check if your online broker has a history of at least 2 years.

• Check whether your online broker has a reasonable sized customer support of at least 15

• Does the online broker fall under regulation from a jurisdiction that can hold a broker responsible for its misgivings; or at best play an arbitration role in case of bigger disputes?

• Check if your online broker has the ability to get deposits and withdrawals processed within 2 to 3 days. This is important when withdrawing funds.

• Does your online broker have an international presence in multiple countries. This includes local seminar presentations and training.

When deciding to trade and find a suitable United Arab Emirates-based broker, if you wish your broker to be located in your area, ensure they are governed and regulated by the relevant authority.

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• Make sure your online broker can hire people from various locations in the world who can better communicate in your local language.

• It is not essential that your brokerage is local but they must have regulation from a Tier 1 reputable country. Tier 1 corresponds to the World Bank’s list of high income nations

• In fact the broker’s international presence could be of more value than just their presence in your local region.

• When deciding to trade and find a suitable United Arab Emirates-based broker, if you wish your broker to be located in your area, they are governed and regulated by the below.

  1. The Dubai Financial Services Authority
  2. Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX)
  3. Dubai Financial Market (DFM)
  4. Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates

Now that we have covered a quick and basic checklist, let’s go a bit further in detail of what you should check when choosing a broker.

Broadly speaking, to evaluate brokers, you should primarily look at account minimum, account fees, commissions, promotions and last but not the least – what is you trading style and what platform best suits your style.

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a particular house, don’t just take her word
for it. Run the numbers yourself. Set your
own budget for a mortgage, don’t just trust
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Know your commissions

Trading platforms or brokers generally offer a similar menu of investment options: individual stocks, options, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and bonds. Some will also offer access to futures trading and forex (currency) trading.

The investments offered by the brokerage will decide two things for you – whether your investment needs will be satisfied, and how much you’ll pay in commissions.

Pay close attention to commissions associated with your preferred investments

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Individual stocks: Although some brokers still charge a commission to buy and sell stocks, either per trade or per share, there are several US-based brokers that now charge no commission, like Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade and E-Trade. These have turned out to be popular options for investors on a global scale, but not accessible for traders in the UAE. Broker ADSS said it does not charge a commission.

Options: Options trades often incur the stock trade commission plus a per-contract fee, which usually runs between $0.15 to $1.50 (55 fils to Dh5.5). Some brokers charge only a commission or only a contract fee, and this largely depends on your trading volume.

Mutual funds: Some brokers charge a fee to purchase mutual funds. Transaction costs are typically charged as a flat fee that can range from $10 to $75 (Dh37 to Dh275). You can limit mutual fund transaction costs or avoid them completely by selecting a broker that offers no-transaction-fee mutual funds like Vanguard or TD Ameritrade, but check if you can avail those platforms. (Mutual funds also carry internal fees called expense ratios. These are charged not by the broker, but by the fund itself. The funds will state that clearly, which can be at the most 0.7 per cent of your investment. Anything more than that would be considered high.)

#TIP
You can limit mutual fund transaction costs or avoid them completely by selecting a broker that offers no-transaction-fee mutual funds like Vanguard or TD Ameritrade, but check if you can avail those platforms.

ETFs: ETFs trade like a stock and are purchased for a share price, so they are often subject to the broker’s stock trade commission. But many brokers also offer a list of commission-free ETFs. If you plan to invest in ETFs, you should look for one of these brokers. Vanguard’s VWRD stock exchange-traded fund (ETF) and iShares IGLO bond ETF could be all you need, diversifying your money across 2,900 global stocks and 700 global bonds through just two products.

Bonds: You can purchase bond mutual funds and ETFs at no charge by using no-transaction-fee mutual funds and commission-free ETFs. Brokers may charge a fee to purchase individual bonds, with a minimum and maximum charge.

Beware of account fees
You may not be able to avoid account fees completely, but you can certainly minimise them. Most brokers will charge a fee for transferring out funds or closing your account. If you’re transferring to another broker, that new company may offer to reimburse your transfer fees, at least up to a limit.

Most other fees can be sidestepped by simply choosing a broker that doesn’t charge them, or by opting out of services that cost extra. Common fees to watch out for include annual fees, inactivity fees, trading platform subscriptions and extra charges for research or data.

Close eye on account minimums

You can find highly ranked brokers with no account minimum on the DFM website, as indicated above. But some brokers do require a minimum initial investment, and it can skew toward $500 (Dh1,836) or more. Some funds providing lower minimum options were Forex.com, XM.com, FXTM, eToro, with minimums varying between from $50 (Dh183.65), $100 (Dh367.30) and $200 (Dh734.60).

Many mutual funds require minimum investments, which means even if you’re able to open a brokerage account with a small amount of money, it could be a struggle to actually invest it.

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Many mutual funds also require similar minimum investments, which means even if you’re able to open a brokerage account with a small amount of money, it could be a struggle to actually invest it.

Promotions can help you decide

Online brokers frequently entice new customers with deals, offering a number of commission-free trades or a cash bonus on certain deposit amounts. It isn’t wise to choose a broker solely on its promotional offer — a high commission over the long term could easily wipe out any initial bonus or savings — but if you’re stuck between two options, a promotion may sway you one way or the other.

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Businessman giving bribe money in brown envelope to partner in a corruption scam
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Personalised trading style, tech needs

If you’re a beginner investor, you probably won’t need an advanced trading platform. But you may want an education and a little hand-holding. This could include videos and tutorials on the broker’s website, or in-person seminars at branches. Many brokers offer these services free to account holders. Many brokers offer educational resources for new investors.

Active traders, on the other hand, will want to look for a brokerage that supports that kind of frequency. That includes studying a broker’s trading platforms, analysis tools, research and data offerings in addition to commissions — including discounts for high-volume traders — and fees. Plenty of high-quality online brokers offer access to trading platforms, tools and research for free, so beware of brokers that nickel and dime each feature; those costs can add up quickly.

Plenty of high-quality online brokers offer access to trading platforms, tools and research for free, so beware of brokers that nickel and dime each feature; those costs can add up quickly.

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Some tips before starting!

Find what suits just you: Don’t choose a platform only because it is recommended by others. Always choose a platform basing on your personal needs. Evaluate the information, talk to your broker, consider his/her experience, and pick the most suitable for you platform.

Choose user-friendly interface: Find out whether the chosen platform is comfortable enough to work with it daily. All features and functions must be easy and understandable for you. For example, look at the platform and decide whether you like it at first sight or not. If the answer is ‘No’, then definitely check something else. Of course, in the future, you will have to learn the details of any platform to work with it professionally. But basic buttons and options should be understandable for you immediately after opening a board. Don’t forget to check the graphics too.

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Platform stability: Make sure that the platform works well and is stable and does not show frequent ‘technical glitches’ or ‘errors’ when you trade. You have to be sure that a performance of a platform will be stable and smooth. This is one of the most important things in trading. As it’s told, time is money and every moment you lose could prove expensive. This can be achieved by trying it out, or using a ‘demo account ‘ – a service provided by most accounts where you can learn by trading fake money.

Core functionalities/features: A platform should assist your current trading strategy. You don’t need to care about a lot of features, when you are starting out. If you are going to upgrade it in the future, you will be able to do it anytime. A sophisticated platform is a good choice for those traders, who use all the features of that platform in real time. Otherwise, it will only complicate your trading experience. If you are not sure whether a chosen platform is too sophisticated or not, test how many functions you are going to use daily. The answer should be 80 per cent at least. For beginners, it is always better to start with something simpler to learn faster. Thus, you will show better progress in less time.

Equipped to help: While keeping the above points in mind, you need to also keep in mind that your broker should be equipped to work with a platform which you are going to choose. It’s not just you but also the backend team that should know the platform well.

Now you’re ready to pick a new trading platform!

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Donald Trump blasts ‘fools’ who oppose good Russian ties

US President-elect Donald Trump has posted a progression of tweets censuring the individuals who contradict great relations with Russia as “‘dumb’ individuals, or nitwits”.

Mr Trump promised to work with Russia “to comprehend a portion of the numerous… squeezing issues and issues of the WORLD!”

His remarks came after an insight report said Russia’s leader had attempted to help a Trump race triumph.

Mr Trump said Democrats were to be faulted for “gross carelessness” in permitting their servers to be hacked.

In a progression of tweets on Saturday, Mr Trump said that having a decent association with Russia was “no terrible thing” and that “lone “idiotic” individuals, or simpletons, would believe that it is awful!”

He included that Russia would regard the US increasingly when he was president

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Bulls and Bears Took on More Currency Exposure in Week Through January

he most striking improvement among theoretical situating toward the finish of a year ago and the primary session of 2017 is not that modification were little. There was just a single gross theoretical position modification of more than 10k contracts. With sterling apparently not able to maintain even humble upticks, the bears added 13.1k contracts to the gross short position, lifting it to 120.2k contracts.

Or maybe, it is eminent that examiners for the most part added to positions, long and short, as opposed to close positions at the very end of the year. Examiners added to net long outside cash prospects positions, aside from in the Japanese yen and Swiss franc where 2.6k and 2.5k contracts were exchanged separately. Examiners likewise added to gross short positions. Here there was just a single exemption, the Japanese yen. Despite the fact that the dollar shut comprehensively higher in front of the end of the week, every one of the monetary forms we track here, spare the Mexican peso, picked up against the dollar in the three sessions since the finish of the CFTC reporting period.

Every once in a while it is helpful to review why many market members take a gander at the theoretical situating in the cash fates advertise. It is not that the outside trade is essentially a prospects showcase. It is principally an over-the-counter market in which every day turnover midpoints in abundance of $5 trillion a day.

Trade exchanged monetary forms and alternatives represented around 3% of the normal day by day turnover as indicated by the BIS study. Be that as it may, past reviews have discovered some contemporaneous connection between’s market heading and net position changes. We think it additionally offers knowledge into a specific market section of pattern supporters and energy brokers. It is not by any means the only device, yet one of a few data sources.

One ramifications of this is albeit theoretical positions in the money fates market are moderately extensive, it is still little contrasted and the money showcase. Along these lines, it is difficult to see the genuine essentialness of a record vast position, as though there is some market top. At some point, examiners are not driving the costs, possibly there is another fragment, national banks, enterprises, as well as genuine cash that is more essential at any given minute.

We invest some energy taking a gander at gross positions instead of just net theoretical positions, which is the more customary approach. We think a more granular look is frequently fundamental. There is a distinction between short-covering, for instance, and new purchasing, however it appears to be identical in the net. Additionally, the gross position is the place the introduction is not the net position. A net position of zero does not mean the market is nonpartisan. Net positions could be huge, which implies a short press or a negative stun could in any case troublesome. The positions that must be balanced are captured in the gross measure not the net figure.

We find numerous customers are likewise keen on theoretical situating in the US Treasuries and oil. The net and gross short theoretical Treasury position has swelled to new records. The bears added 23.8k contracts to the as of now record net short position, lifting it to 616.2k contracts. The bulls attempted to pick a base and added about 20k contracts to the gross long position, which now remains at 471.2k contracts. These modification prompted to a 3.8k contract increment in the net short position to 344.9k contracts.

The bulls delayed in the oil prospects toward the finish of 2016. They exchanged short of what one thousand contracts, leaving 608.1k gross in length contracts. The bears added 4.1k contracts to the gross short position, giving them 168k. These conformities trimmed the net long position by very nearly 5k contracts to 440.1k.

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3 ways to profit in the ‘year of the dollar’

In December, the Federal Reserve raised loan fees for the second time since the Great Recession and included the desire of a 2017 financing cost climb to its gauge. Furthermore, only a couple days prior, the abundantly anticipated minutes from the most recent Fed meeting demonstrated the most hawkish tone from the national bank in two years.

In the meantime, Europe has been dove into political turmoil after a year ago’s Brexit vote and the later abdication of Italy’s leader. Somewhere else, the Bank of Japan proceeds down the way of negative rates and forceful security purchasing.

Put it all together, and it isn’t astounding that the U.S. Dollar Index is up against 14-year highs.

Speculators may have missed so much discussion on account of babble about the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the end of the day almost hitting 20,000. Be that as it may, paying little respect to your assignment to stocks or your venture skyline, this sort of huge picture incline in the dollar implies right now is an ideal opportunity to position your portfolio to benefit and, maybe most critical, to keep away from a portion of the pitfalls that can originate from a solid local cash.

Here are a couple ideas dollar exchanges ought to consider:

Residential plays over multinationals

There’s a considerable measure of seek after shopper stocks in 2017 on account of an enhancing work market and any desires for a jolt under a GOP-controlled Congress and President Donald Trump. In any case, remember that not all retailers are made equivalent especially those with abroad operations that are adversely affected by the wide dissimilarity in monetary standards at this moment.

For example, retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc.(WMT) said troublesome money trade rates shaved very nearly 2.5% off profit for each partake in the second quarter of 2016. On the other hand consider that in the monetary final quarter of 2016, athletic attire goliath Nike Inc.(NKE) saw its income development cut down the middle because of forex weights, from 12% year-over-year in consistent cash measures to only 6% including real money changes.

To take advantage of the “reflation” exchange that numerous financial specialists are counts on in 2017, you need to represent the headwinds that a solid dollar are making for multinationals at this moment. The most ideal approach to do that is to consider customer plays that do by far most of their business here in the U.S. – for example, Foot Locker Inc.(FL), which has been an uncommon splendid spot in retail throughout the most recent couple of years.

Supported money ETFs

Obviously, in the event that you need a steady portfolio, you can’t just purchase just local centered values. Geographic expansion is similarly as imperative as enhancement crosswise over parts and resource classes. Such a large number of financial specialists keep on holding worldwide plays in light of a legitimate concern for a balanced portfolio, regardless of the possibility that it implies battling a daunting struggle as a result of a solid dollar.

The uplifting news, notwithstanding, is that you don’t need to leave yourself to torment through a solid dollar and a powerless euro when you put resources into Europe. Nor do you need to stress over the yen-dollar conversion standard when you put resources into Japan. That is on account of there’s an entire group of cash supported ETFs to permit financial specialists to put their cash in outside business sectors yet keep away from forex issues.

Consider that Japan’s Nikkei 225 file is up around 25% from its July 2016 lows. The WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund(DXJ) is up 35% in a similar period on account of assurance from forex issues and a somewhat better-performing rundown of stocks – while the non-supported iShares MSCI Japan ETF(EWJ) is up only 10% in a similar period because of battling a difficult task against a solid dollar.

In the event that you need to differentiate your portfolio comprehensively, you ought to consider supported assets that incorporate the Japan-centered DXJ, the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund(HEDJ) to play Europe or the iShares money Hedged MSCI EAFE ETF (HEFA) for developing markets.

Dollar list ETF

In the event that you are searching for an immediate play on a rising dollar as opposed to putting resources into stocks, figuring out how to exchange remote trade can appear like an overwhelming undertaking. Gratefully, there’s the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund(UUP).

This ETF is attached to the U.S. Dollar Index, which is a measure of the greenback against a wicker container of other worldwide monetary standards including the yen and the euro. It’s a straight money play, however that doesn’t make it straightforward or hazard free. In the event that the dollar debilitates, you’ll lose cash similarly as though you’re putting resources into a stock that has fallen on difficult circumstances. Furthermore, obviously, PowerShares takes a little cut of your speculations en route that indicates 0.8% yearly, or $80 a year on each $10,000 contributed.

Still, in the event that you need to conjecture on the dollar or support against a solid U.S. cash keeping down other worldwide ventures on your rundown, it’s maybe the least demanding approach to do as such for generally financial specialists.

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