|OctaFX Pros||OctaFX Cons|
|Tight spreads and great market flow||Limited number of markets|
|Top-quality trading platforms||Some areas of the site less transparent than others|
|Some innovative services to support the trading experience|
- OctaFX, founded in 2011, is a global broker, that is regulated by CySec (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission). It has a strong foothold in the Asian market, and most of its business operations are handled out of Jakarta in Indonesia. It has over 900,000 users and clears USD4 billion of trade volumes every day. It received the title of best Forex Broker ASIA in 2019.
- Like some of its global peers, OctaFX offers the pricing and experience of a no-frills broker coupled with excellent, top-quality learning resources and copy trading options. OctaFX has reliable, fast, low-cost execution using the well known MT4, MT5 and cTrader platforms.
- There are three different types of account available to users – Micro, Pro and ECN. Micro being for beginners (minimum deposit USD5). The pro account that runs off MT5 and enjoys tighter spreads and the ECN Account that runs off the cTrader platform that is becoming increasingly attractive to more experienced traders.
- OctaFX offers the main crypto markets of bitcoin, ethereal and litecoin. The MetaTrader platforms support these markets. Interestingly, OctaFX does offer 1:2 leverage on their crypto markets. Some brokers do not offer any leverage at all.
OctaFX gives a high priority to analysis and education for both new and experienced traders to its platform. There are a range of guides posted on their online platform that ranges from a glossary to videos in order to support investors that are getting into trading or looking for new angles to support their trading process. All the background materials are of high quality, and the videos are supported on YouTube.
Customer support scores highly amongst its peers. The average ‘first response time’ is relatively quick, and it operates on a 24 hour/5 day basis with languages supported including English, Indonesian, Spanish and Polish. It ticks a lot of boxes for traders, who can access it through the live chat, email, phone, or by using an enquiry form.
OctaFX has accumulated a strong following over the past eight years. There is a strong trader focus to the platform backed by very high-quality industry-standard research and learning services coupled with a strong in-house copy trading facility. The pushback comes from the more limited number of instruments a user can trade on this platform. However, this should not detract from what OctaFX is, as a convenient, efficient, cost-effective trading proposition, that is attracting a number of third party industry awards.
OctaFX is a global broker, which offers a new take on certain aspects of the retail brokerage space. Founded in 2011, the firm is headquartered at Suite 305, Griffith Corporate Centre, Beachmont, Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Its products are available through OctaFX.com and OctaFX.eu.
It is regulated by CySec (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission) and has offices around the globe with the majority of its business operations handled out of its office in Jakarta, Indonesia. The firm has a strong foothold in the Asian market through its offering of an outstanding trade execution service appeals to traders from all corners of the globe.
OctaFX’s approach has earnt it significant recognition. In terms of clients, it has over 900,000 users signed up and clears $4bn of traded volumes every day. Then there are the industry awards; a selection of some of the most recent accolades includes the title of Best Forex Broker ASIA 2019 and BEST ECN/STP BROKER 2019 (FX Daily Info) and also Best FX Broker 2018 (European CEO Magazine).
Who does OctaFX appeal to?
OctaFX will appeal to those looking for the best of both worlds. It offers the pricing and execution experience of a no-frills broker but complements this with a range of additional services such as top-quality learning resources and copy trading options. The service might best be summed up as ‘enhanced execution’.
The fact that OctaFX offers an almost institutional-grade trading experience doesn’t mean beginner traders are in any way disadvantaged. Quite the opposite; the firm simply offers reliable, fast, low-cost trade execution using market-leading platforms. Those looking to develop their skill set or improve their trading technique can draw on the support on hand, which is designed to cater to beginner intermediate and experienced traders.
There are three trading platforms to choose from — cTrader, MT4 and MT5. Spreads can be as tight as 0.0 pips and those who go with the ECN/STP processing option will be provided with exceptional flow quality and reduced slippage.
OctaFX provides three different types of account and each comes with its own trading platform. The account types are Micro, Pro and ECN.
The Micro account runs on MetaTrader MT4 and is ideal for beginners because of the small-scale trading it offers. The minimum deposit size can be as small as $5 and leverage of up to 1:500 is offered.
The Pro account uses the MetaTrader MT5 platform and offers a wider range of markets than the Micro account and spreads also tend to be a little tighter.
The ECN account runs off the cTrader platform, and as the name suggests, provides clients with excellent market access and the tight spreads that correspond to that level of flow. The maximum leverage is 1:500 and micro-lots (0.01 size) trading is supported, should traders be looking to try out new ideas in the live market.
The Copy Trader account area requires separate funding and comes with its own T&Cs (available here: https://www.octafx.com/copy-trade/conditions/).
Markets and territories
The trading focus is on liquid global markets. Forex pairs, metals, indices, energies and cryptos are all available, but traders looking for single stock names will be disappointed. With less than 100 instruments on offer, there is no space for the more complex instruments such as options found in the quieter corners of the financial markets.
Being regulated by a top-tier authority (CySec) means the firm must comply with certain regulatory protocols. As a result, the service is not available in a range of countries — including the USA, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Syria and Cuba.
Instruments and spreads
OctaFX is so confident about its pricing that there is a section of its homepage dedicated to sharing the live spread on some major forex pairs. It can be found here — https://www.octafx.com/. Even a quick glance establishes why the firm is so willing to share.
With trading costs being a significant determinant of success or failure, the broker is right to emphasise what a help this could be.
The spreads do vary across the three trading platforms. Fortunately, traders can assess what works best for them by visiting the broker’s ‘Spreads’ page where it provides a clear and concise break down of what charges associated with MT4, MT5 and cTrader.
The number of markets is also different across the platforms, but none of the platforms offer a range of instruments that could in any way be called excessive. It is possible to trade forex, metals, soft commodities, single stocks, indices, energies and crypto. The MT4 ‘Micro’ account demonstrates the limited selection by only offering four stock indices (AUS200, GER30, NAS100, US30).
Fees and commissions
OctaFX is as confident about its financing costs as it is its execution fees. The breakdown across the three different types of accounts is laid out in a reassuringly transparent manner (available here: https://www.octafx.com/accounts-comparison/).
During our testing, we did find that when we scaled up into maximum position size, we were able to get very close to using up our maximum margin capacity when executing. Then a small price move started triggering margin calls. This is an observation rather than a criticism as it just demonstrates the way the site allows aggressive trading strategies to be carried out.
In terms of trading strategies allowed, scalping, expert advisors and hedging are all permitted across each of the three account types, which is not to be taken for granted.
All of the three platforms on offer are well regarded in the trading community. The MetaTrader suite of services is the most popular globally due to the blend of features it offers. There are hundreds of indicators for traders to try out. It is easy to set up to trade ‘algo’ models on an automated basis, and it offers the expert advisors and MQL5 support services that allow traders to draw on the ideas of others.
The cTrader platform is typically credited with being slightly stronger in terms of charting and all-round functionality, but there is not much in it. At OctaFX the cTrader platform has the advantage of offering ECN-quality execution and tighter spreads, but the trade-off is that some markets such as crypto are only provided on the MetaTrader platforms.
The MetaTrader MT4 and MT5
It’s possible to access the OctaFX services while on the move by using the OctaFX app, MetaTrader app or through internet browsers. All are free and easy to access.
In line with the desktop version, the OctaFX app is execution-focused. It provides a range of core services, including charting tools to help clients get into the markets with the right level of support.
During our testing, we found the internet browser offered the best route into all the ‘extras’, such as copy trading, that OctaFX offers its clients. Being able to still engage with the full range of services from smaller screens is a real plus-point for the service.
Social trading and copy trading
The in-house copy trading function is a welcome addition to the OctaFX suite of services. It might not (yet) come with all the functionality of some specialist social/copy trading platforms, but that would make sense as it is, after all, a supplementary service and one that a lot of OctaFX’s rivals don’t even offer.
Setting up a copy account is very straightforward. There is no extra verification required, and once a client’s separate wallet is set up, it’s easy to hook up to the signals of other traders.
OctaFX has done well do develop an in-house copy trade platform. It does still look like something of a ‘work in progress’. The suggested upgrades from our testers are:
- Increase the quality and quantity of master traders.
- Be more realistic about fees — asking for 30% of profits is a punchy approach in such an environment.
- Incorporate more interaction between master trader and follower. A chat room where ideas can be shared would be ideal.
The MetaTrader platforms are well known for facilitating copy trading and developing trading forums. Clients of OctaFX are able to engage in the Expert Advisor and MQL5 areas of the MetaTrader site.
Trading signals can be easily hooked up to the cTrader platform. The service provides tutorials, which explain how this is done and primes traders to run a cBot and use the free algorithms made available to them. This section of the site is well supported by the Customer Services and the Education sections of the site. There is also a dedicated VPS (Virtual Private Server) for ‘algo’ traders.
OctaFX offers the core crypto markets of bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin — this is a limited range. On the upside, those markets that are available are traded using the MetaTrader platforms, so at least the quality of service is guaranteed to be high.
Crypto markets are only supported on accounts that use the MetaTrader platforms. They are not currently offered through Pro account.
OctaFX advertises that it offers crypto trading with high leverage. While some brokers offer no leverage at all, and OctaFX do offer 1:2 on their crypto markets, our reviewers didn’t consider 1:2 to be particularly ‘high’.
Charting and tools
Both MetaTrader MT4 and MT5 stand out for the charting tools they offer. The standard MT4 package, for example, comes with 30 built-in indicators, over 2,000 free custom ones on offer and 700 available for purchase.
cTrader also comes with great charting and technical analysis tools. The standard package comes with 54 timeframes, nine chart types, 21 drawing and annotation tools and 70 indicators. It is possible to make a greater number of aesthetic changes to the cTrader dashboard than to the MT platforms. The ‘market depth’ functionality, which assesses market depth by the metrics ‘Standard’, ‘Price’ and ‘VWAP’ helps traders by adding a bit of colour to the market flow.
MT4 remains the most widely-used retail forex platform on the planet, but cTrader is gradually carving out a niche among more experienced traders who want their trading tools to be even more advanced.
Platform choice ultimately comes down to personal preference, but OctaFX has signalled its intent by offering its clients the choice of three market-leading platforms.
OctaFX gives high priority to the ‘Analysis and Education’ section of its site. The ‘Forex Basics/Technical Analysis’ library, for example, contains a step-by-step guide to support traders that are getting into trading. This guide ranges from a glossary of the basics to videos on the important question of which time frame to adopt.
A wide variety of educational content is available for OctaFX users under the ‘Traders’ Tools’ section.
This section includes details of the basic operations of the financial markets. There is an economic calendar, daily analysis posts, as well as trading signals and market insights. Video content is also provided and covers a variety of topics. The videos are supported on YouTube, and much of the content is archived.
It is clear that the Education section of OctaFX’s website is of great importance to the broker. All of the materials are of high quality and cater to beginners, intermediate and advanced traders. That OctaFX is catering to all these groups is a big plus for the site, and the resources are made available to traders using demo as well as live accounts.
cTrader and MetaTrader come with their own third-party support services. There are chat rooms and educational libraries on hand to help traders make the most out of the services offered. These areas would be particularly useful for clients looking to explore or develop the world of trading their own models.
Trader protections by territory
OctaFX are CySEC regulated (licence Number: 372/18 at Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission).
The brokers’ registered address is Suite 305, Griffith Corporate Centre, Beachmont, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. OctaFX is licensed and regulated by FSA SVG license number #19776 IBC 2011.
The broker has recently given up its regulatory license with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.
Account security — in line with the guidelines provided by the better regulators, OctaFX keeps client funds in segregated accounts. Electronic access and communication is also protected by a ‘SSL-secured Personal Area’, which has 128-bit encryption, and makes your browsing safe and your data inaccessible to any third parties.
It’s always nice to have extra security tools thrown in and OctaFX provides more than most. The OctaFX technical environment is monitored 24/7 by a dedicated team of highly professional security engineers and technical specialists. Credit and debit card transactions are subject to 3D secure Visa authorisation and there are processes in place to protect clients making withdrawals.
NBP — the OctaFX management/trade order system ensures that the client cannot lose more than the initial deposit in their account. Even if a position ‘gaps’ in extreme market conditions, then the client will lose the funds in their account by no more than that. OctaFX stands out here for offering ECN execution and NBP. A lot of brokers consider them mutually exclusive, so only offer one, if any at all.
OctaFX provides more information about its operational risk management than it does about its regulatory framework. One suggested improvement is for the site to be more transparent when sharing information regarding regulatory client protection.
How to open an account
Account opening is very much a standard process these days, but OctaFX does offer a particularly neat twist to the situation. The broker takes advantage of some of its clients being domiciled in regions that still permit promotions, and those clients can benefit from a range of offers.
Opening a demo account is free and easy to do. Upgrading to a live account requires a bit more leg-work but is by no means arduous. Payment options include VISA, AWEpay, bitcoin, FasaPay, local bank deposits, local bank transfers, Neteller, Paytm, Skrill, UnionPay.
The three accounts on offer come with maximum leverage levels of between 1:200 and 1:500. The minimum deposit amount varies from $100 to $500 and the firm also offers a swap-free (Islamic) account.
One way in which OctaFX leads the sector is its willingness to share data on its own operations. In line with this transparent approach, it also provides a range of metrics relating to the performance of its customer support team.
During our own testing, we found the average ‘first response’ time to be greater than the seven seconds claimed on the firm’s site. In fact, in only a handful of instances did the response time beat the seven second figure. What was notable was how knowledgeable the staff are. In over 96% of cases, our queries were processed to the point of satisfaction on the first interaction. We’d also support the site’s claim that full resolution was achieved within three minutes.
OctaFX Customer support operates on a 24/5 basis, and the languages supported include English, Indonesian, Spanish, and Polish. It’s an around the clock solid, reassuring, capable, service. It ticks a lot of boxes for traders, who can access it through the live chat, email, phone, or by using an enquiry form.
The bottom line
OctaFX has made significant progress in a relatively short period of time. Since entering a very competitive market eight years ago, it has built up a client base of almost one million traders and won a host of industry awards. Such success is built on developing an approach that is, first and foremost, trader focused.
There are a lot of additional services to complement the trading interface. The research and learning sections, for example, are of a very high standard and the in-house copy trading service is a neat addition. But the core of the OctaFX offering is the provision of convenient, efficient, cost-effective access to the markets. Clients can opt to trade using ECN portals, which take the quality of execution up a level. The choice of trading platforms means users can select the best fit for them.
There is room for improvement, however. The number of instruments on offer is relatively limited, and areas of the site could do with being more transparent as it can be hard to pin down certain facts.
These two minor points do not detract from the trading experience, and OctaFX can be congratulated for so effectively shaking up the broker space.
At OctaFX, it’s not what you trade but how you trade it that matters. The firm looks set to continue to meet that challenge and provide its clients with a top-quality trading experience.Please be advised that certain products and/or multiplier levels may not be available for traders from EEA countries due to legal restrictions.