I was looking the internet the other night in search of a fresh forex trading expert advisor and by chance I discovered a webpage that listed all the forex brokers in Australia. I did a quick calculation and found that there are in fact twenty six fx brokers in Australia, a complete joke for a country with a population of only twenty two million people. Why Australia I questioned myself, is it the nice weather conditions or the fact that Australians are punters? Who knows and who cares, at the end of the day now all Aussies have variety and that’s what counts.
With all of these brokers to select from I decided that I’d take the leading 3 providers in the nation and position them side by side. A few of you could possibly ask why I would only select the top 3 brokers. Well the simple response to this is that many of the other brokers on the list in my view are not worth trading with anyway. Some of you will argue that this is only my judgment and because all of the brokers are not included in this review it is bias, now that could be possible that’s why I ask you all to carry out your own personal evaluations as well.
So here’s my unbiased evaluation of who I think are the top 3 fx brokers in Australia. Before I get into it, it must be noted that each of these fx brokers were given a rating in three straightforward categories. The categories that I selected were, service, price and order execution speed. The brokers that I reviewed were Go Markets, Axi Trader and IC Markets, all three forex brokers are recognized Australian headquartered fx brokers. I ought to also point out that just one of these fx brokers is a real ECN broker the other 2 are market maker brokers. It’s also worth mentioning that I carried out this assessment over a 2 week period and deposited $1,000.00 into a trading account with each one of these forex brokers.
Service Go Markets = The service that I experienced whilst trading with this forex broker was not as terrible as what the feeling various forum posts that I had read created. They were polite and very ready to lend a hand, they even rang me within one hour of me submitting my account application to let me know what to perform next. One thing that I’ll say is when I asked their support staff regarding market related questions it sounded like they were way out of their depth. All in all though if you’re a DIY trader Go Markets service does the job. I am giving them 4 stars for their service.
Axi Trader = I knew little about this broker going into this review, however I immediately came to realise that this broker really didn’t want my business. I opened an account on the web and it took them two days to get back to me, some five days later the trading account documents were submitted, this was a tell tale indication that this forex broker really didn’t care. One evening I called them to ask several support queries only to be told that I couldn’t chat to anyone and I ought to call back in one hour, luckily my questions didn’t relate to an existing open position. There were also a few pricing discrepancies that I questioned them about which they could not answer. I think you get my point, I am giving Axi Trader 2 stars for their service.
IC Markets = I first heard about this forex broker a while ago when they released the first ECN forex offering in Australia so I was pretty excited about opening a trading account and giving them a go. The process was somewhat painless, I managed to open an account in a couple of minutes with a sales rep calling me almost immediately after to direct me through the rest of the process. Their representative was especially helpful and polite on the phone during the whole process. After trading for a few days I thought that I would test them with some market related and Metatrader 4 technical questions, much to my amazement the support person knew what I was talking about. It quickly became clear that this company employs traders not telesales people. Chatting to someone who trades was a refreshing change for me. I can not help but give IC Markets 5 stars for their service.
Pricing Go Markets = Over my two weeks of fx trading and keeping track of Go Markets prices I shocked to see that there was such a lot of discrepancy in the prices offered, this largely occurred in EUR/USD. In the same foreign exchange pair I saw two spread blowouts and a number of unusual spread variations which weren’t present on the other forex provider platforms. Although I have experienced much worse over the last seventeen years of forex trading, I wouldn’t suggest Go Markets to anybody who’s seeking to scalp the forex market because spread blowouts are extremely concerning. Unfortunately, I can only give Go Markets one star for their pricing, it is a real pity as I found their customer service was well above par.
Axi Trader = Axi Traders pricing was actually better than what I had thought, this came as a real shock to me given their poor level of service. Their EUR/USD pricing was good given that they’re a market maker broker, though I did notice that the pricing on many of the exotic CHF and NZD based pairs left quite a lot to be desired. I didn’t notice any extreme pricing blowouts during my two weeks of testing however I have heard from other people that this is a real problem with Axi Trader especially in the exotic foreign exchange pairs. If your trading EUR/USD Axi Trader is not too bad it is only whenever you venture outside this pair expect to see some rather ordinary pricing. I’d give Axi Trader 3 stars for their pricing as they failed to impress me on the exotic foreign exchange pairs.
IC Markets = IC Markets were really the only genuine ECN forex broker out of the 3 tested, this being the case I expected allot from this broker, and they delivered. After two weeks of trading with this broker I was hooked, their pricing with the commission charges added across all the main currency pairs was anywhere between 20-50% superior than that of the other forex brokers trialled. There were even occasions where I observed negative and zero spreads. If you compare Go Markets and Axi Trader who’re both market maker brokers to a true ECN broker you can really see the price differences, this not surprisingly translates to a significant advantage when you are trading actively and scalping the market. Indisputably IC Markets gets five stars for their pricing and takes the cake on the price front.
Order Execution Speed Go Markets = Because I was conducting this investigation from Australia I thought that Go Markets execution speed would be the best of the batch without a doubt. Like every one of the forex brokers trialled I pinged their servers in addition to timed my trade reporting fills using a simple expert advisor set up on my Metatrader 4. Go Markets execution speeds weren’t as fast as what I initially thought reporting a 400 millisecond delay. As a discretionary forex trader this speed would be good enough, however if you are using an expert advisor the quicker the execution the better. Go Markets receives 3 stars from me for their execution speed.
Axi Trader = I pinged Axi Traders Metatrader 4 server a number of times and every time I got separate results. I found this behavior rather bizarre and after some homework I discovered they were using multiple servers with unreliable connection speeds, a bit of a nuisance actually. To be fair I made a decision to take the average execution speed that I managed to achieve. On average their execution speed was 330 milliseconds. I was very disappointed with the inconsistent connection speeds achieved with Axi Trader this would especially effect anybody who’s using an expert advisor. Axi Trader gets 1 star for their unpredictable execution speed.
IC Markets = Normally the execution speeds of ECN broker platforms are somewhat slower that those of market maker brokers, the reason for this is because trade fills must be confirmed by other contributors in the ECN network. It was because of this that I expected the execution speeds of IC Markets platform to be the slowest of the lot, however the outcomes of my testing were a pleasant surprise. The average execution speed was 183 milliseconds, twice as fast as Go Markets and 1.8 times quicker than the speeds achieved at Axi Trader. I was very impressed by IC Markets ECN execution speeds especially given I had gone into this assessment thinking that they might be the slowest forex broker of the group. IC Markets will get five stars and wins the speed test by a big margin.
Conclusion Go Markets are a pretty good forex broker if your brand new to forex trading and want to get your feet wet, their service is great but you may be dissatisfied by their pricing and execution speeds, not much of a problem if you’re a long-term trader but not so good for scalpers and EA fx traders. Axi Trader is good for infrequent forex traders, their prices are a little better than the average broker but they are let down by their weak service and completely unreliable execution speeds. IC Markets were the broker that actually stood out from the group, their service was excellent, coupled with the best pricing that I’ve ever observed and lightning fast execution speeds makes them my number one pick of these three Australian based brokers.