Getting to grips with the all-new MetaTrader

THE latest version of the MetaTrader platform has been launched in the UK. MetaTrader 5 offers a raft of new features, designed with the aim of making the professional trading experience available to the retail trader (see below, right).

Alpari is one of the first to offer the latest incarnation of the MetaTrader platform. “MT5 is a highly advanced trading platform, giving traders a great deal of choice and flexibility,” says Andrey Vedikhin, chief executive of Alpari. “Technological innovation is pivotal in providing outstanding trading services and we aim to be at the forefront of the forex market by offering cutting edge platforms and products.” Vedikhin adds: “It is revolutionary that with MetaTrader, retail clients can now enjoy no dealing desk, direct market access, market depth, one-click trading and no re-quotes – advantages usually reserved for large-volume traders.”

The new Strategy Tester feature on MetaTrader 5 allows traders to test, tweak and tune strategies in minutes rather than hours. In order to put strategies through their paces, traders use historical data to find out how well a particular strategy would have performed in the past – allowing them to tune a strategy before it is applied to live markets. The Strategy Tester gives traders access to a remote computer cluster and the calculation capacity of thousands of computers all over the world to accelerate the optimisation process. Though the usual caveat that “past performance is not an indicator of future results” applies, by thoroughly testing out a strategy, it allows traders to have a better idea of how it will fare in real world conditions.

One of the most interesting developments for the MetaTrader platform is its new depth-of-market feature – giving forex traders a view of current market activity for a particular pair. As forex is an over-the-counter (OTC) market with dealers negotiating directly with each other, there is no central exchange or clearing house from which to derive the data in the way that you would with an equity. For an FX trader, the best way to get market depth information is to access a consolidated view of available orders from a broker’s liquidity providers. A broker with only one liquidity provider reduces its ability to fill orders. A broker with a large pool of liquidity providers will have a larger range from which to match an order, meaning faster execution, fewer requotes and reduced price slippage. To give an example, if you were trying to buy one lot of sterling-dollar and the depth-of-market feature shows that there are 10 lots on the buy side at $1.5830, you know that this buy order for one lot will be filled immediately. Without this, you’re shooting into the unknown, hoping your $1.5830 buy will be filled.

■ No dealing desk (NDD) execution with access to multiple liquidity providers (bank liquidity)

■ Direct market access (DMA) and market depth to analyse market liquidity

■ One-click trading and no re-quotes for speed of execution

■ Spreads from 0 pips and up to 1:500 leverage

■ New order types and advanced order expiration types including “fill or kill”