Brokers are in a very competitive industry, and transparency in the fee area is a must for a high rating. The primary costs relate to spreads, commissions, and trading-related fees. There are several other minor fees you might encounter, but if a broker is disguising its assorted fee offerings, then it results in a low rating. Many brokers also tout low fees, but these may only apply to professional accounts.
Read our reviews
We perform a broker evaluation with one object clearly in mind; to provide you with all the information required to make an informed decision about which broker you wish to use. Our opinions are unbiased and our conclusions are based solely on the facts we discover during our research.
We look at strengths and weak points in the areas of fees and commissions, leverages (gearing – in the UK, where money or financial instruments are borrowed to boost the potential return on investment), and spreads (the gap between bid and ask prices). We also assess tools, the platform, education facilities, research, and, very importantly, regulation and customer support. A test of the broker’s trading platform is performed by opening an account so that we can assess ease of use and effectiveness.
Read a few of our broker reviews and see how the testing procedure works and how it translates into an overall score.
How we rate brokers
Finding a reputable and trustworthy broker need not be a daunting task. We at WCB do the heavy lifting for you, and we do not rely on our opinion alone to make our assessment. We scour the internet researching what customers and other reviews have to say, reconcile those opinions with our own, and then offer a simple, user-friendly summary with appropriately weighted ratings.
We provide a list of the very best brokers in the industry and give you comparison tools to aid in your final selection. We also provide a numerical assessment for each section below, based on the ratings of other viewers and our own, after a detailed review of the broker’s website, its demo system and other available materials. Here is a snapshot of what aspects we consider when rating a broker, how we analyse each category and its respective weightage:
Accounts – 10%
Brokers have an option: do they offer a single account or multiple account structure with each one addressing the needs of different customer groupings? Professionals do require specialised treatment, and beginners need access at a reasonable price. If the broker puts too many benefits in the higher account levels, then there is a mark down. If nearly all the benefits are available to all account holders, then there is a markup. Setting up an account should also be easy.
Deposit and withdrawal – 5%
Convenience and cost are paramount, as is responsiveness when providing an assessment. We also consider:
- If there are acceptable minimum deposits?
- How long it takes to get credit for a deposit.
- How quickly are withdrawals processed, and is the process an easy one?
- Are credit/debit cards and wire transfer the only options? These two payment methods can be costly and take time to process.
- Are there several local payment schemes offered?
Trading platforms – 10%
Next to safety, trading platforms can make or break your relationship with your broker. The software must perform and process a variety of execution order types and risk management techniques, without slippage and requotes. In our rating process, we consider whether:
- The broker is a market maker or a straight-through ECN processor.
- EAs, scalping and day trading are prohibited.
- The broker offers MetaTrader products or a proprietary system.
- The proprietary system has had adequate testing in the marketplace.
- The broker has advanced charting and trading tools.
- The formats are intuitive with one-touch trading and quick access to all information.
- The broker offers copy trading.
Mobile trading app – 10%
In today’s fast-paced world, the quality of a broker’s mobile app is critical. We take into consideration, whether:
- The broker offers the MetaTrader family of products.
- The broker has a proprietary software platform.
- The mobile trading app offers the same experience as the direct-access version.
- The customer reviews have been good to date.
- The broker’s mobile offering has been invested in for several years.
- Both Android and Apple devices are supported.
Markets and products – 15%
Markets and products are weighted similarly to fees, but only after safety and trading platforms. The key here is whether the offering will appeal to a large section of the retail trading public. Some of the many aspects considered are:
- Whether the broker offers traditional trading of its assets, or it limits trading only to CFDs
- If the most popular assets are offered, covering forex, stocks, indices, ETFs, commodities, and cryptocurrencies
- What/How many assets are restricted due to the customer’s account classification.
- Whether the portfolio is broad enough to satisfy most customers, but not too large as to be overwhelming
Education – 5%
As much as education and research may be prized by a potential client, its weighting is set at a low level for several reasons. You do want your broker to be responsive when you have a question. Live chat is the best avenue for this exchange, but you do not need your broker as a source for education or training. There is much more definitive information elsewhere on the internet on YouTube or sites devoted to trading advice. Brokers know this and have trimmed budgets back accordingly in this area. The rating reflects breadth and quality.
Safety – 30%
Safety is your most important consideration when choosing a broker. A broker may score highly on every one of the above categories, but if it is a shady operation in a far-off unregulated jurisdiction, then you may never reap the benefits of your trading success. The type of regulator also matters. Many brokers set up shop in weakly regulated countries to avoid accountability. We respect a broker that complies with the FCA in the UK or the CFTC in the US or other strict regimes, and ratings reflect this preference.
WCB wants you to have the very best broker, based on safety first and your needs. Many of the reviews on the internet are out of date or have not kept up with the latest news. We continually update our reviews and try to give you the most current information and comparative tools for your final decision.
Do you have any concerns that we have not addressed? Please contact us and let us know.