Halifax Forex Review
Halifax is an Australian broker which offers a variety of trading instruments, on different trading platforms. One of the very unusual aspects of this otherwise reputable broker is the lack of clear trading conditions mentioned on the company’s website.
The Company. Security of Funds
The Halifax brand has multiple companies behind it, who are all under serious regulation. The primary company Halifax Investment Services Ltd. is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), while there are also New Zealand and US-based companies, which fall under regulation by the respective entities. You can be totally certain, your investment with Halifax would be safe, when it comes to counterparty risk.
This can not be said for some forex brokers, especially most who are registered off-shore. Financial regulators around the world vary in terms of strictness, but the ones who oversee Halifax are some of the toughest. For Instance ASIC requires the implementation of segregated accounts – a broker must keep its clients’ funds in a specified account, which it doesn’t have free access to. In essence, this prevents the company from spending traders’ money for its owн expenses. Furthermore, there is a minimum capital requirement of AUD 1 million for opening a new brokerage. This guarantees a new company has a long-term view, can withstand temporary financial shocks and most importantly, most scammers can’t afford this kind of investment.
In order to accept US clients, Halifax has opened Halifax America LLC, which is under the supervision of FINRA, SEC and NFA. Keep in mind, in the US retail FX traders can only utilize a maximum leverage ratio of 1:50 and holding a long and a short position in the same instrument, at the same time is forbidden (i.e. the FIFO rule applies). Be sure to know which company exactly you would be dealing with, if you decide to open a account with Halifax.
Halifax offers two versions of the popular forex and CFD trading platform MetaTrader and is an introducing broker (IB) to Interactive Brokers, allowing access to a variety of exchange-traded instruments (stocks, futures, options and so on).
Minimum Initial Deposit
There are no restrictions on your account size, if you choose to open a MetaTrader account at Halifax. This practice is becoming more popular over recent years, with brokers (such as IG) removing the entry barrier, in pursuit of new clients. Keep in mind, the minimum deposit shouldn’t be a key factor, when comparing forex brokers. This may be important for beginners, who are willing to risk less, when learning to trade.
We are not certain about the minimum initial deposit for an account with Interactive Brokers, via Halifax. Interactive Brokers requires $10,000 by default, but other IBs and partners have negotiated lower levels.
Average spreads & Commissions
Halifax offers floating spreads. While the company does not clearly mention them on its website, our testing revealed the EUR/USD spread hovering around 1 pip in the early European trading session. This is pretty competitive with the current offers by other brokers. If you are not familiar with them, you can easily view the real-time spread comparison, which we have set-up here.
These are the trading costs when it comes to the broker’s forex offering. On the other hand, we are not aware of the exact conditions on the exchange-traded securities, as offered with the Interactive Brokers partnership.
Halifax offers a 1:100 maximum leverage for currency trading. This level is more than suitable for all trading strategies, which involve some form of risk management. On the other hand FX brokers nowadays offer even higher leverage ratios, like 1:500.
Keep in mind, trading with higher leverage does generate more risk for your investment. If you fully utilize a 1:100 ratio (i.e. trade with a notional value exceeding your account size one hundred times) a mere 1% market move against you, would cause you to loose your entire account. Do take caution when trading leveraged products.
Halifax offers multiple trading platforms, which include two versions of MetaTrader (4 and 5). as well as Trader Work Station (TWS). If you are primarily a forex trader, your choice of platform should be obvious. MetaTrader4 has proven itself over the years, gaining the trust of many forex traders. Its advanced charting capabilities, combined with the ease of use make it an ideal choice for new traders. On the other hand, more experienced traders enjoy the availability of custom indicators and automated trading systems (or Expert Advisors)
While you may be a fan of MT4, trying the newer fifth edition of the platform is something we would advise you to do. Sooner or later the support of the older version will be discontinued and brokers who still use it will migrate to MT5. The two versions of the popular software are fairly similar, with the biggest disadvantage of MT5 being, the fact it can not currently read all of the indicators and forex robots, which are created for MT4. In time, they will also have to update their code.
If you would like to trade exchange-traded instruments, such as stocks, ETFs, futures and options (real options, not the binary type) TWS is a solid platform. It has impressive charting capabilities, lots of order types, and its own automated trading environment. It is one of the preferred options for investors, who look to buy stocks with a 100% cash position (no margin involved) and create a long-term diversified portfolio. It also has a pretty respectable mobile version.
Methods of Payment
Halifax only offers traditional payment methods, like Banl Transfer, Credit/Debit Card and even Cheques (which seems a bit archaic nowadays). Some traders (as well as non-traders) prefer using instant e-wallets, such as Neteller for making online transactions.
Halifax is an Australian brokerage, providing multiple trading solutions. The company is highly regulated, by several of the world’s top watchdogs. The company has a partnership with Interactive Brokers, allowing its clients to trade on the most popular and liquid exchanges around the world. That being the case, we are fairly surprised by the lack of information regarding the trading conditions. Payment options are rather limited.
Halifax Forex Review Conclusion
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