- Account Minimum: $100 to $10,000
- Fees: EUR/USD – as low as 3 pips
- Best for: Traders outside the US and UK
Founded in 2013, Lead Capital Markets Ltd. offers online trading through Trade.com. The company is headquartered in Cyprus and regulated by the financial authorities at the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission. Trade.com provides Forex, index, commodities, shares, and cryptocurrency markets; however, traders in some markets, like in Japan, Canada and the US, are restricted from working with Trade.com.
Dealing spreads and trading costs are average overall; however, the broker's registration status doesn't provide enough transparency to allow users to be confident that those costs are always typical. Trade.com is best for traders who are unable to work with brokers in jurisdictions like the US, the UK, or Western Europe. Investors who are primarily focused on Forex and CFD trading but would also like to trade US stocks and ETF’s may find Trade.com an interesting dealer.
Industry standard trading platforms, including MetaTrader 4 (MT4).
Wide selection of markets including crypto, stocks, ETF’s, and Forex.
24/7 phone support was readily available and very helpful.
Registration in Cyprus results in less transparency into brokerage costs.
Wide trading spreads increase costs for active investors.
Separate trading platform for “live stocks” and ETF trading.
Because registration in Cyprus does not provide the same type of oversight and account protection of brokers registered in the U.K. or the U.S this is a drawback for Trade.com. It must be acknowledged that Forex dealers registered exclusively in Cyprus do not have the best track record when it comes to protecting account holders. While that may be unfair to some companies (and it's true that the U.S. and U.K. have had their own share of problems) traders should keep this in mind. If Trade.com defaults, any shortfall of funds of up to €20,000 may be compensated for under the Investor Compensation Fund (ICF).
Trade.com did use better internet encryption than typical, which was a big plus. There are no guaranteed stop losses, but account holders are provided with negative account balance protection, which is important during a period of extreme market volatility.
Investors can use virtually any order type including stops, limits, market orders, and advanced conditional orders through Trade.com’s version of MetaTrader MT4 and their own custom web-based trading application. Default order sizes and the ability to trade from MT4’s navigator window (where current positions are listed,) or right from the charts makes the workflow process very efficient.
Investors can use software plug-ins for MT4, known as Expert Advisers (EA’s,) to execute virtually any trading strategy. With some effort, EA’s can be customized within the MT4 platform, to allow you to make your trade management process very efficient. The custom trading application was not as flexible or functional as MT4, but it was faster and easier to use.
Trade.com has a custom mobile trading platform as well as the mobile version of MT4. The mobile trading platform offers similar functionality to the web-based application. Traders can access trading instruments, advanced order types, a favorites watchlist, and account information all from their mobile device. Although the mobile platform also includes charts, that functionality is limited compared to the alternative mobile app for MT4.
The custom mobile app is easy to use and has enough minimal functionality to execute trades and do some analysis. The asset classes (Forex, shares, indexes, etc.,) were easy to find and add to a favorites list. The app was easy to install, but we are diisappointed that it had minimal security protections beyond password access. This could be a problem for traders who rely on mobile access and frequently access sensitive account information on the go. Depending on your region, the apps may be unavailable in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Trade.com offers a lot of research and insight tools that range from technical reports and economic calendars to stock analyst reports and research. However, some features are only available to traders who deposit a minimum amount in their account. For example, access to Trading Central's technical alerts and reports is only available to "gold" accounts with at least $10,000 on deposit. The daily update video was very poor quality and too short to be very useful for traders looking for a concise update and actionable ideas. Although webinars are available, the schedule was inconsistent and the samples we were able to view were not impressive.
The best research features available from Trade.com is the charting applications in their web-based platform and MT4. Although neither of these are considered state-of-the-art anymore, they were very flexible and contained most of the default indicators investors look for.
Most of the educational materials at Trade.com are basic and even a little superficial. It isn't unusual in the industry to have thin education in an attempt to "check a box" for prospective clients. However, we liked the "tooltips"-style education in the Web-based trading platform that gave a guided tour around the features and functions to help shorten the learning curve.
Trade.com maintains a YouTube channel with some commentary and educational videos available. Most of the content on the channel was dated and stale, but a patient investor may be able to find some helpful information.
The special features we consider most valuable were included with MT4. Traders who use Trade.com's WebTrader platform won't see backtesting, auto-trading, or trade analytics; but there were a few other features we thought were worth pointing out. In particular, we were impressed with the speed of the WebTrader platform and how easy it was to set up trades, navigate to different markets, and use research tools without becoming overwhelmed.
Trade.com has wider spreads than the industry average, but there were no commissions. There was an extensive list of cryptocurrencies available including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dash. Account fees were reasonably limited except for a surprising inactivity fee for accounts left idle for 90 days. There was a nominal minimum account balance required ($100) to open an account. Trade.com scored well on the breadth of products available. While we liked the straightforward spread-only cost structure some traders may actually find it cheaper to trade with a broker that charges a commission for or stocks and ETFs or that charge higher account fees with a narrower spread.
The process for trading live shares and ETF’s is a little different than it is through a broker-dealer in the US. The investor has a “beneficial interest” in the shares and dividends, but orders are still conducted over-the-counter. This means that although Trade.com promises some price improvement, it is impossible for investors to know for sure where their order is being routed.
Commissions and Fees
Trade.com typically had wider spreads than the industry average, but there were no commissions. There was an extensive list of cryptocurrencies available including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dash. Account fees were reasonably limited except for a surprising inactivity fee for accounts left idle for 90 days. There was a nominal minimum account balance required ($100) to open an account. Trade.com scored well on the breadth of products available. While we liked the straightforward spread-only cost structure some traders may actually find it cheaper to trade with a broker that charges a commission for some trades or that charge higher account fees with a narrower spread.
Customer support hours are comprehensive and there are multiple methods to contact a support representative. Customer service representatives are polite and quick to respond to questions. While we found contacting support to be an above-average experience, Trade.com's website has a very limited FAQ section for quick answers to common questions.
The level of customer service increases depending on your account balance. For example, investors with more than $2500 in their account get a “dedicated” account manager. Investors with more than $50,000 in their account qualify for “premium” customer service. For new investors, with a large account, the extra support may be an advantage but Trade.com does not provide details about the additional benefits of these enhanced service levels.
What You Need to Know
Trade.com has higher costs than average, but a no-commission structure across all markets. It was disappointing to see inactivity fees that kicked in after 90 days; otherwise, costs associated with having an account were minimal. The available markets were extensive and included many cryptocurrency markets as well as stocks, indexes, commodities and Forex. Registration in Cyprus and a relatively recent launch (founded in 2013,) is a little worrisome.
Traders who aren't bothered by the registration and cost issues will be pleased to see the choice of a fast custom web application or MT4 for trading most of Trade.com’s markets. Trading in live shares and ETF’s is conducted through MetaTrader's MT5, which has similar features and functionality of MT4. Overall, Trade.com is above average for Cyprus-based dealers and could be a good choice for traders unable to open a Forex or CFD brokerage account in more established markets.