The fascination for robotics has been well-documented for several decades in just about every industry imaginable. Although the robots in forex are not human-like machines you would expect to see in a sci-fi movie, automation in the financial markets has always been a thing.
In the context of forex, we refer to these as expert advisors that fall under mechanical trading systems. Trading robots are a prominent industry segment with a host of niche communities that believe them to be far superior in many ways to self-directed manual trading.
Of course, to use an expert advisor necessitates the service of a MetaTrader broker. This article will provide the top brokerages for expert advisor trading, along with other valuable educational material.
5 Best FX Brokers For Automated Trading
|Broker||Founded||HQ||Regulations||Platforms||Markets||Deposit from||Leverage up to||Website|
|2010||Australia||ASIC, FCA, DFSA||MT4, MT5, cTrader||Forex, Commodities, CFDs, Crypto||$200||1:500||visit|
|2008||Cyprus||FCA, CySEC, FSA, FSCA||MT4, MT5, WebTrader||Forex, Indices, Stocks, Crypto, Metals, Energies||$10||1:2000||visit|
|2006||UK||FCA, CySEC, FSCA, SCB||MT4, MT5, cTrader, FxPro||Forex, Indices, Futures, Options, Stocks, Metals, Energies||$100||1:200||visit|
|2014||UK||FCA, CySEC, FSCA, FSA||MT4, WebTrader||Forex, Stock Indices, Bonds, Metals||$100||1:500||visit|
|1995||USA||CFTC, NFA, IIROC, FCA, ASIC, MAS||MT4, Oanda Trade||Forex, Indices, Commodities, Bonds, Metals||$0||1:50||visit|
What is an expert advisor in forex?
We frequently interchange the terms ‘expert advisor’ (EA) and ‘robot’ in forex. Not long ago, most traders would use the two as different elements, though the consensus presently leans towards referring to both as the same thing; automated trading systems.
An expert advisor simply describes a software program using pre-programmed yes/no rules and other algorithms to execute positions in the markets without any human intervention. The main attraction with a forex expert advisor is its completely autonomous nature.
A robot is built by a skilled trader with some trading programming skills in forex to consistently search and execute positions autonomously 24/5 without any external verification. Arguably, MetaTrader 4 popularized the concept of a trading robot as many of the EAs available on the market nowadays were created using the MetaQuotes Language 4/5 (MQL).
Another attraction with robots is how even newbies can use them with little knowledge and still have the potential to profit from the markets. A developer uses fairly complex models based on an existing strategy with years’ worth of historical backtesting data.
What are the advantages of expert advisors in trading?
An expert advisor offers several benefits over discretionary trading. Perhaps the most significant advantage is it automates the naturally time-consuming and sometimes physically demanding trade execution.
Instead of scanning the charts regularly every day for new opportunities, a trading robot can perform all these duties automatically based on set pre-programmed instructions. As a trader, you do not need to worry about charting analysis, setting different parameters, or waiting for the right moment to execute a trade.
Aside from the automation providing some incredible time-saving capabilities, using an expert advisor allows for quicker execution than any human could do on their own. Another benefit frequently referenced by trading robot enthusiasts is how they remove the emotional element of speculating.
Although discretionary strategies are more flexible, it leaves a lot of room for interpretation and emotional errors. Yet, a robot is purely rule-based and doesn’t deviate from those rules at any time, which is likelier for a human due to emotions and other factors.
How to choose the best MetaTrader broker for forex expert advisor trading?
So, you’ve found an expert advisor you would like to trade with on a live account. Of course, you’ll now need a broker. While brokers are relatively consistent across the board, here are some of the considerations you need to make:
Look at the spreads of the markets to be used on the expert advisor
Spreads are one of the crucial elements to observe when using a trading robot. Most expert advisor developers tend to build their bots to work on the most liquid pairs like EURUSD, USDCHF, USDJPY, GBPUSD, GBPJPY, etc.
Since many robots thrive on taking small profits frequently, the spread plays a major role in the potential gains. The markets listed above possess some of the lowest spreads in the industry, befitting their preference by traders globally.
Most brokers will have more or less the same spreads with minimal differences when comparing them. Yet, there is something else you may want to observe (covered in the next section).
Consider a broker offering a fixed or zero spread account
A fixed or zero spread account is beneficial for several activities, including scalping, trading news events, and using robots. Such an account has lower spreads than a normal standard account, and the lower they are, the more profits a trading robot could make.
With a zero spread account, traders only pay a small fixed commission for opening and closing each position. Overall, you’ll undoubtedly need this option for using a trading robot in a live setting. On the downside, such accounts aren’t available with the vast majority of brokers. Therefore, a bit of digging is necessary.
Know if the broker has any pertinent policies on EAs
Some brokers may have specific policies which may or may not prohibit the use of EAs by clients. Brokers who don’t allow traders to use an expert advisor are typically dealing desk entities (or market makers) who don’t send orders directly to the interbank market.
Experts suggest the reason why they ban robots comes down to the frequent execution they often produce, which makes it logistically difficult to manage as a dealing desk. It isn’t to say all so-called market makers don’t like robots, though it’s something to confirm when looking at a broker’s terms and conditions.
Consider a broker offering a free or discounted VPS
Something else you need when using a trading robot is a VPS (virtual private server). A VPS is a dedicated server where you can connect your expert advisor through a private network. This connectivity means the robot can execute at lightning-fast speeds, far faster than you would on your broker’s server that may be overloaded and delay in some cases.
Not only is a VPS necessary for the fastest possible execution, but it’s also crucial to keep your trading robot running 24/7 even when you’re not connected to your internet or using your computer.
Despite the wonderful benefits a virtual private server provides, it does require a financial monthly or yearly commitment. Most brokers will usually offer a free or discounted VPS to combat this, provided you deposit a certain minimum deposit.
Unfortunately, this deposit is typically on the high side. Hence, you’ll want to choose a broker with reasonable conditions to receive the VPS freely or at a discounted price based on your financial circumstances.
Which are the top MetaTrader brokers for forex expert advisor trading?
Now that we’ve covered some useful knowledge on trading robots and choosing the appropriate brokers for them, let’s look at the best options available in this regard. Fortunately, all the brokers below are well-established regulated entities that have no restrictions on trading robots.
Pepperstone: Best MetaTrader Broker For EA Trading Overall
Since 2010, Pepperstone has established itself as one of Australia’s and the world’s leading derivative brokers for execution, customer service, innovative trading products, and costs. Pepperstone handles over $9 billion daily by trading volume, which is one of the highest of any brokerage globally.
Aside from owning an office in Australia, they also have one in Germany, Kenya, London, and Cyprus. Pepperstone provides three of the most popular charting platforms: MT4, MT5, and cTrader.
Moreover, they offer special accounts in copy trading through partnerships with Myfxbook, DupliTrade, and MetaTrader Signals. Overall, Pepperstone has all its bases covered for retail and institutional traders as it offers everything you’d expect from a broker.
- Regulated by the FCA, ASIC, and DFSA
- Offers zero spread and several other account types
- Several base currencies to open your accounts with
- No deposit and withdrawal charges with a wide range of funding choices
- Provides numerous trading platforms
- Wide selection of forex markets available
- Has inactivity fee
- No negative balance protection for clients outside of the EU and UK
- No free VPS
Exness: Best MetaTrader Broker With Free VPS
Exness was established as far back as 2008 by two Russian entrepreneurs who had extensive experience in financial and information technology. The broker provides a plethora of financial instruments aside from forex, including cryptocurrencies, metals, equities, indices, and energies.
Unlike other brokers requiring their clients to trade a fairly high number of lots along with a minimum deposit, Exness does not have this requirement. You only need to fund at least $500 and maintain a margin of above $100 to gain a free VPS.
As discussed broadly in the previous sections, a virtual private server is necessary for using any trading robot for uninterrupted execution and round-the-clock connectivity. These qualities make Exness one of the spectacular choices in this regard.
- Offers a free VPS with no need to trade minimum lots
- Multi-regulated broker
- No charges for deposits and withdrawals
- Extensive choice of markets available, including 107 currency pairs
- Provides several accounts
- High deposit minimum for the zero spread account
- Few base currencies to open accounts
FxPro: Best EA Trading Broker Offering Multiple Platforms
Looking for a highly trusted broker providing multiple world-recognized platforms? FxPro is a worthy candidate. Alongside its proprietary charting software, you can use MT4, MT5, or cTrader with the broker to ‘trade like a pro.’
As a long-standing and award-winning financial services provider used by millions worldwide, FxPro provides hundreds of the most popular CFDs in different asset classes, topped with supreme execution, massive liquidity, exceptional customer service, accessible tools, and cost-effective trading.
FxPro has regulatory licenses primarily from the UK, Cyprus, South Africa, and the Bahamas and serves clients in most parts of the world.
- Regulated in multiple regions
- Started in 2006
- Offers several charting platforms
- Provides a broad choice of financial instruments
- Clients can open their accounts in different base currencies
- Zero/fixed spread account available
- Charges inactivity fee
- No free VPS available
Tickmill: Best MetaTrader Broker for Low Trading Costs
Tickmill is about ‘thinking low’ where others ‘think big.’ By low, the broker prides itself on cost-effectiveness in all trading aspects, particularly for spreads. Moreover, Tickmill provides a fixed spread account for forex at $2 per lot, among the lowest rates in the industry.
Despite only being established in 2014 in Seychelles, the broker now has offices in Estonia, Cyprus, and London. Furthermore, it has licenses from the primary regulators in Seychelles, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Malaysia, and South Africa.
New clients can try their live trading services in currencies, metals, indices, cryptocurrencies, oil, and bonds risk-free with a $30 no deposit welcome bonus. As a brokerage thoroughly embracing expert advisor trading, they are a worthy consideration for cost-effectiveness.
- Regulated in multiple jurisdictions
- Provides a low-commission fixed spread account
- $100 minimum to start trading
- No inactivity fee applies
- Fee-free deposits and withdrawals
- Clients can open their accounts in USD, EUR, and GBP
- Not many forex markets available compared to most brokers
- No free VPS available
OANDA: Best Forex Robot Trading MT Broker For US Clients
Due to the United States’ strict regulations, not many forex brokers provide their services to clients from this country. OANDA, which is primarily US-based, is one of the few exceptions who’ve been doing so since 1996.
The multi-licensed derivatives broker has nine offices spread across Europe, North America, and Asia and provides excellent trading services in currencies, Bitcoin, metals, shares, commodities, and indices.
Accounts-wise, OANDA provides standard and fixed spread (swap-free option additionally) accounts available in USD, EUR, HKD, and SGD base currencies. These are suitable for all traders, including those using an expert advisor, and come with 68 forex instruments.
Aside from providing the popular MT4/5 platforms, OANDA is one of the few brokers partnered with TradingView as well. All in all, US-based brokers are amongst the most trusted and capitalized brokerages globally, and OANDA certainly fits this description.
- Been in business since 1996
- One of the few brokers regulated to accept US clients
- Licensed in several non-US regions
- Offers unique MT4 order book
- Commission-free payment choices available
- Traders can connect their accounts with TradingView
- Fixed spread account available
- Charges inactivity fee
- High withdrawal fee for bank wire transfers
- No free VPS offered
FAQs about the top MetaTrader brokers for forex expert advisor trading
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions for forex expert advisor trading Metatrader brokers.
Do expert advisors work?
Yes, expert advisors do work, and plenty of them available presently have consistently proven profitability. Yet, it’s essential to understand that a trading robot also has its pitfalls, like any strategy. One of these is the lack of transparency within the industry of those selling trading robots.
Performance-wise, having a robot is not a holy grail, and any user of an expert advisor should expect a drawdown as one would trading manually. Hence, expert advisors work with the proper research, knowledge, and understanding of the risks involved, whether developing one yourself or buying it on the marketplace.
How do I enable expert advisor trading on MetaTrader platforms?
You first need the expert advisor with the correct file extension, ex4 (MT4) or ex5 (MT5). In some cases, it may also additionally be mq4 or mq5, respectively. Afterward, you go through the following commands on the platforms:
File > Open Data Folder > MQL4/MQL5 > Experts
At the last step, the user would paste the relevant files and then restart the platform. You would click ‘ctrl N’ on your keyboard to open up the Navigator window, where you should see the robot/s that you would attach to whichever desired chart.
Why do some MetaTrader brokers restrict expert advisors?
The MetaTrader brokers who typically restrict expert advisors are primarily dealing desks who prefer to have a ‘balanced book’ rather than handling the logistics of the characteristic frequent order execution of most robots.