|Pepperstone Pros||Pepperstone Cons|
|Low trading costs||Limited range of non-forex markets|
|Great market flow|
|Wide range of Copy and Social Trading options|
Pepperstone is a global broker offering a top rate service. The firm was founded in Australia in 2010 by market professionals and carries the hallmarks of an operation designed by traders, for traders.
Recent growth has seen it expand into a global player who now has an office in London and FCA regulatory approval to support its expansion into northern hemisphere markets.
The firm is now in the sweet-spot of being a well-established name with an ambitious outlook. Its continuing success can be measured by it collecting industry rewards such as 2019 Professional Trader Awards – Best Tailored Professional Trading Conditions, Best Client Relationship Manager Service; 2019 Global Forex Awards – Best Global Forex ECN Broker, Best Forex Trading Support – Europ; 2018 UK Forex Awards – Best Forex ECN Broker, Best Forex Trading Support, Best Forex Trading Conditions.
Peppersone’s client base reflects an appeal to quality rather than quantity. It boasts 57,000 active accounts which is a relatively small number compared to the peer group but still manages to process an average of US$12.55bn of trades every day, making Pepperstone Group one of the world’s largest forex brokers.
The London office is sited at 70 Gracechurch St, London, United Kingdom EC3V 0HR and is contactable via [email protected] and +44 (800) 0465473.
The Melbourne office is sited at Level 16, Tower One, 727 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3008, Australia and is contactable via [email protected] and +61 3 9020 0155
Who does Pepperstone appeal to?
It’s clear Pepperstone have a keen focus on delivering the best trading experience for their clients and key to hat is ensuring they benefit from tight spreads and excellent trade flow. Pepperstone is in the group of mainstream brokers which lead the market in terms of costs and volumes. The additional stand-out feature for Pepperstone is the infrastructure put in place to support trade execution. Whilst this might to some extent be ‘behind the scenes stuff’ the platform which supports the trade execution is of the highest quality. The server hosting locations and trading architecture being institutional grade. This benefits all traders but is something which is particularly appealing to those looking to run their own systematic models and program trades in the forex markets.
Another pleasing aspect of the Pepperstone offering is that although they hold their own with the other brokers who are focused on execution, Pepperstone also offer more than just tight spreads and great execution. The quantity and quality of research and learning materials is above average for the sector. The customer service is highly regarded by the trading community and the regulatory structure is as good as they get.
Trading is a business where the adage ‘buyer beware’ is particularly pertinent. Some of the risk features found at other brokers are not offered by Pepperstone. This is a compromise associated with getting the most direct access to the markets. Beginners would benefit from using a top-tier platform but would just have to make sure they manage their risk limits appropriately.
Demonstrating their ability to keep Pepperstone clients happy the firm has even taken to providing a rolling newsfeed of client comments.
Pepperstone offer two main accounts, Standard and Razor. It is possible for those with sufficient funds and experience to upgrade to the next tier of accounts but both Standard and Razor offer fairly impressive terms.
Markets and territories
Pepperstone provide their clients with access to the global markets. With offices in Sydney and London, the broker has a UK/EU – Australia focus, but the broker’s client base is made up of traders from a wide range of countries. The service is currently not available in some domiciles including the USA, Canada and New Zealand.
Instruments and spreads
Whilst not offering the thousands of instruments which some brokers do the 150+ markets available is still an offering designed to meet the needs of the majority of traders. There is a weighting towards Forex with over 61 currency pairs available to trade meaning that Major, Minor and Exotic markets are on offer.
Other asset classes include Indices, Commodities and Crypto. The 14 Indices markets cover global stock markets ranging from China (CN50) through to the S&P500 (US500). Commodity markets include 3 Energy, 6 Metals and 5 Soft commodity markets, meaning that the major markets such as gold and oil are covered but also orange juice and palladium. They trade on a 24-hour basis and whilst traders who specialise in these assets may find themselves restricted by choice of instruments available there is undoubtedly enough capacity for those looking to take proprietary or hedging positions.
There are over 50 stocks to trade though only via the MT5 platform. They are all US-listed names and come with a 20% margin rate. Whilst this might not appeal to specialist stock traders, one particularly interesting feature is that Pepperstone facilitate trading out-of-hours. This is somewhat unusual and means traders can work the markets when earnings reports are released and price volatility at high levels.
Currency Index CFDs have become more popular as the level of global geopolitical risk has risen.
Traditional currency pairs are open to the risk that shock events impact both side of the pairing which can lead to traders not realising the gains they envisaged. The use of Forex indices allows a single currency to be traded against a basket of other currencies rather than just one. This diversification can help traders pinpoint moves in one currency and it’s a plus point for Pepperstone that they offer the USDX US Dollar (Dixie) index to its clients.
Trading spreads are a major plus point for Pepperstone. The firm has positioned itself as a provider of cost-effective execution and the spread on Euro-Dollar, for example, can be as low as 0.0 pips for holders of Razor accounts.
Taking Forex as an example, there are four types of account. On top of this, spreads on the MetaTrader MT4 platform drawdown price quotes from as many as 22 Major Banks and Electronic Crossing Networks (ECNs). This means potential clients would do well to research the different options available to them to ensure they get the best fit for their strategy.
Given how competitive the spreads are it’s unsurprising that Pepperstone provides a particularly transparent breakdown of the fees-and-charges. Full details can be found here: https://pepperstone.com/en/forex-trading/spreads. But the headline rates are certainly eye-catching enough.
- Edge Standard – $0 commissions and interbank spreads from 1 pip
- Edge Razor – AUD $3.5 per 100k traded. With Raw Interbank Direct Pricing and spreads starting at 0.0 pips
- Edge Swap Free – $0 commissions, STP processing and spreads from 1 pip (Islamic account)
- Edge Active Trader – Bespoke terms available for high volume and institutional traders
The cTrader and MetaTrader platforms differ in that the former offers fixed spreads and the latter the variable type.
Slippage is also a factor to consider. cTrader fills orders using VWAP (Volume Weighted Average Price) which means Market Orders may not necessarily be filled using the top of book price which is shown on-screen. Slippage is entirely possible and comes hand in hand with the market conditions associated with trading in a true STP environment. Those looking to avoid slippage can use Market Range Orders or Limit Orders.
cTrader is a non-dealing desk platform which means it is impossible for Pepperstone to manipulate pricing, charts and historical data.
Fees and commissions
Pepperstone brokerage and financing fees are not quite as user-friendly as the trading commissions, but they are still better than the market average. The schedule is relatively transparent, and as the firm focuses on forex markets, it’s relatively easy to run a cross-analysis.
There is, of course, a need to consider the variations between the cTrader and two MetaTrader platforms which all come with their own T&Cs. Whilst this necessitates more time being spent on due diligence it is ultimately preferable to have a range of platforms and accounts to choose from.
Full details can be found here – https://pepperstone.com/uk/trading/spreads-swaps-commissions
Some clients, particularly those with larger cash balances may consider the Edge Active account. Traders who pass the application process will experience an upgrade to institutional grade terms and conditions regarding pricing and market flow.
The MetaTrader platforms, MT4 and MT5 are available in downloadable desktop and Webtrader format. The MetaTrader suite of services form the world’s most widely used forex trading platform. They feature trader-focused functionality and are robust and reliable having been developed and enhanced over many years.
The MetaTrader dashboard is packed full of powerful charts and indicators. The extensive standard range of indicators can also be supplemented by third party tools which are available to users. It also fully supports systematic trading, the MQL language allows traders to create their own automated trading programs. There is also the option of bolting on programs developed by others and which are available under the Expert Advisors (EAs) area of the site.
The cTrader platform, which comes in a downloadable desktop format, has a different look but is as equally powerful as the MetaTrader platforms. The cTrader execution interface includes a wider range of order type settings which aids risk management. It is worth noting, however, that the direct nature of market access means that, as with other brokers, it is not possible for the broker to offer the option of applying guaranteed stop losses.
Digging into the detail of the trading architecture reveals that Pepperstone has set up their trading platforms to provide top grade market access. Some of the technical specifications are institutional grade. Items such as optical fibre cross-connects, VPS co-location, and hosting at the Equinix (NY4) facility all standout. The end result for Pepperstone clients is trade execution with latency as low as 50ms and the ability to access pricing from 22 banks and liquidity providers and also access to dark pool liquidity.
The direct access offered might mean guaranteed stop losses are not an option, but the trade-off is that clients benefit from tighter spreads, fewer delays, fewer rejects and re-quotes.
Pepperstone score strongly in this category. The MetaTrader and cTrader mobile apps both offer a trading experience which is similar in quality to the desktop version. The number of indicators and charting tools available is notably high. Chart metrics can be finetuned and trade execution can be set at one-click.
Our testers reported that when using the cTrader execution GUI, it proved difficult to access the stop loss / limit order area of the dashboard.
Account administration is performed using Pepperstone’s proprietary app. This is where clients can manage the behind the scenes processes whilst on the go.
Having a range of up to 4 apps to consider didn’t prove to be too much of a distraction during testing. Whilst it did at times require some flicking between screens the overriding benefit was that those apps associated with actual trading (cTrader and MetaTrader) were dedicated trading portals and held everything required for trading but nothing more.
Social trading and copy trading
Clients of Pepperstone looking to Copy Trade can access to the Mirror Trader service. It is only available to clients with live (not demo) accounts and the Mirror Trader platform is renowned as one of the best marketplaces to evaluate and trade up to 3,000 global, verified and tested algos.
Account holders still maintain control and responsibility over their account but take on automated instructions from other traders. The relationship with the ‘Copied’ trader can be ended at any time and profit taking and stop loss overrides are available.
DupliTrade is available to those using the MT4 platform to trade and with cash balances in excess of AUD$ 5,000. This service is similar to the Mirror Trader offering and can be tested in the Demo environment. The ‘MetaTrader Signals’ service is also worth considering. Whilst not Copy Trading in the strictest sense of the term it does allow traders to draw on the input of others and comes with relatively low fees. In fact some of the Signals are provided free of charge.
Myfxbook’s AutoTrade is a Copy Trading service that allows clients to copy trades from top successful forex trading systems. There are no performance or management fees and the service is hosted remotely by Myfxbook.
ZuluTrade is one of the leading Social Trading platforms. Pepperstone facilitate clients who want to hook up their account the ZuluTrade service. As with AutoTrade, there are no management / performance fees and ZuluTrade provides traders with a true Social Trading experience. Users are able to share and discuss trading ideas or general market conditions.
Having a variety of Social/Copy Trading platforms is something of a plus-point for Pepperstone. Some brokers don’t offer the service at all. Being able to operate with different third parties doesn’t negate the risks involved but at least there is a selection of providers to choose from.
Pepperstone offer very user-friendly access to the cryptocurrency markets. There is no need for specialist crypto wallets and traders can take short as well as long positions in efforts to benefit from the significant price moves associated with the crypto markets.
Crypto can be traded over all platforms and leverage varies from 1:2 to 1:5. The instruments available are Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash and Litecoin. There are no commissions, and the spreads and execution are as competitive for crypto as they are for other types of assets.
Charting and tools
The cTrader, and the MT4 and MT5 MetaTrader platforms provide market leading charting functionality. They each have distinctive aesthetics which will go a long way to helping traders select the one that matches their personal preference. MetaTrader offers surgically sharp visuals whilst cTrader allows easier access to Indicators. Each come with a very long list of indicators which would meet the requirements of even the most advanced trading strategies.
Pepperstone provide a comprehensive range of resources designed to cater to traders with all levels of experience. From a comprehensive Glossary through to more detailed and technical subjects, the material is well laid out and easy to navigate.
Few of the Educational resources are necessarily ground-breaking but it is noting some brokers don’t even provide this level of support.
Those looking to develop their trading ideas would likely make the step up to some of the other tools which Pepperstone offer. Autochartist, ZuluTrade and the MetaTrader MQL suite are just three of many resources which clients of Pepperstone can access. These third-party services allow clients to test and develop trading ideas in a trading environment.
Trader protections by territory
Pepperstone operate under license from two of the most highly regarded regulators in the world the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
Clients will find their particular domicile will determine which framework they fall under. As with all brokers potential users would do well to carry out their own due diligence as the protections offered by the respective bodies are quite different. EU based traders who hold accounts with Pepperstone Limited (70 Gracechurch St, London, United Kingdom EC3V 0HR) receive protection from the FCA which includes features such as investor protection to a maximum value of £85,000
As well as being regulated by ASIC and FCA the firm segregates client funds with tier 1 banks and offers a variety of fee-free funding methods.
How to open an account
The Demo account takes moments to set up and registration covers traders for both the MetaTrader and cTrader platforms.
The Live account application process takes longer to process. This being the market norm for a broker operating under license from one of the more rigorous regulators. On the plus side the process has a few neat technical features to help new clients get the information uploaded and over to the onboarding team.
Accounts can be funded using: bank transfer, credit/debit card, broker to broker, skrill, Bpay, Fasapay, Neteller, Poli, Kiwi Wallet and Union Pay. The minimum opening balance is AUD$200 and account currencies include: AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CHF, JPY, NZD, CAD, SGD and HKD
Account type and platform selection may determine which instruments are available to be traded. The broker provides the information required to ensure clients set up appropriately here: https://pepperstone.com/uk/trading-platforms and here: https://pepperstone.com/uk/trading/accounts
Pepperstone’s customer support has a very good reputation, and our testing found the standards of service are still exceptionally high. It is offered on a 24/5 basis which is in line with the rest of the sector.
The team can be contacted using Live Chat, via a free-phone telephone or email. The FAQs section is also useful. The questions and answers appear designed to help clients develop their understanding of the platform and trading in general. This was welcome considering the FAQ sections of other brokers appear solely designed to steer traders towards opening an account.
Testing using the mobile app (Android platform) established that moving between screens could result in being logged out of the Pepperstone account. The Live Chat team weren’t necessarily slow in responding to Live Chat queries but switching to other screens is natural enough when waiting for replies to queries. Unfortunately moving to another screen resulted in our testers losing connectivity with open Chats and having to start again. This was a minor glitch in what is otherwise an exemplary customer support service.
Pepperstone is obviously focused on ensuring its clients benefit from a trading experience which is as good as it can possibly be. The platform has the feel of having been built by traders. For starters, execution, trade flow, commissions, trading dashboards and charting tools are all top-grade. The positive features though extend further and deeper than with most other brokers. The tech-heavy theme extends to API connectivity and well thought out server location. The broker is a market leader in terms of the variety of Copy Trading and Social Trading services on offer, something which will be particularly appealing to those looking for a more hands-off trading experience.
There may not be as many instruments as at some other brokers. Those traders who are happy to accept that compromise, and particularly those who specialise in forex markets will find the Pepperstone ticks an awful a lot of boxes.
How do I open a demo account with Pepperstone?
A Pepperstone demo account can be set up in moments by filling in the few lines of information needed here: https://secure.pepperstone.com/register?legalEntity=demo&locale=%7BglobalSet:657:localeLanguageCode%7D&_ga=2.231178205.319228155.1578080575-1796297010.1577962848&_gac=1.23767624.1578083131.CjwKCAiA6bvwBRBbEiwAUER6Jcg2_QtEwMLR30RuH-yCx1K4PYjohao8YcKHM3rwks02sOvC9lrWEhoC52cQAvD_BwE. It offers access to a range of great trading platforms but is only available for 30 days.
What fees does Pepperstone charge?
This is a bit complicated. The pricing schedules are actually very transparent, but the broker offers a wide range of accounts and platforms in an effort to accommodate all types of traders. The information relating to charges can be found here: https://pepperstone.com/uk/trading/spreads-swaps-commissions
What bonus terms does Pepperstone offer?
This will depend on client domicile but there is some opportunity to hook up to bonuses and secondary income streams. The firms Refer-a-friend https://pepperstone.com/uk/refer-friend and Active Trader Program https://pepperstone.com/uk/why-pepperstone/active-trader-program are both worth looking into.Please be advised that certain products and/or multiplier levels may not be available for traders from EEA countries due to legal restrictions.