RECOMMENDED FOREX BROKERS
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XPro Markets is a South Africa-based broker offering forex, commodities, indices and cryptocurrency trading. Having a license makes it nominally more trustworthy than many offshore brokers operating in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. But unfavourable trading conditions and excessive fees leave it far behind the competition. XPro Markets has very few advantages that cannot compensate for the obvious disadvantages.
XPRO MARKETS REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
XPro Markets is operated by Ukuchuma Financial Services (PTY) LTD, which is stated to be authorized and regulated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) of South Africa. A check of the regulator’s database confirms that this information is correct.
Ukuchuma Financial Services belongs to the same group of companies as IGM Forex Ltd, which manages the Cyprus-licensed broker IGMFX. Although the FSCA oversees the activities of brokers to ensure the safety of their clients, brokers in South Africa provide fewer benefits and guarantees to traders than their competitors in the European Union or the United Kingdom.
XPro Markets claims to offer negative balance protection, but In the EU and the UK brokers must also participate in guarantee schemes that cover a certain amount of the trader’s investment if the broker becomes insolvent. These guarantees amount to up to 20 000 EUR in the EU and 85 000 GBP in the UK. European brokers also have to maintain a significant net capital of EUR 730 000, which reduces the likelihood of bankruptcy.
XPRO MARKETS TRADING SOFTWARE
XPro Markets offers the industry’s most established trading software – MetaTrader 4 (MT4). In addition to desktop, the platform is also available in a web version as well as mobile apps. Here’s what the desktop version looks like with a Demo account:
Although it has been on the market since 2005, MT4 is still perfectly adequate for most brokers’ needs. This platform has established itself as industry standard because of the wide range of features, including a variety of options for customization, multiple account usage, designing and implementing custom scripts for automated trading and backtesting trade strategies.
However, its functionality is undeniably lagging behind more advanced platforms, including the newer MetaTrader 5 software version. Some brokers offer packages of software extensions that bring MT4’s capabilities closer to newer platforms, but XPro Markets is not one of them.
XPRO MARKETS TRADING CONDITIONS
The XPro Markets website describes four types of trading accounts – Classic, Silver, Gold and VIP. Here we encounter the first problem with this broker – it is not clear from the description of the accounts what the requirements are for upgrading to a higher package with more favorable terms. Such information is missing both on the website and in the Client Agreement.
Usually different accounts have different minimum deposits, but XPro Markets specifies one level for all – 250 EUR/USD. This is not a particularly competitive level – many leading brokers allow you to start trading with a minimum deposit of 100 USD or even less.
The indicated indicative spread of 2.5 pips for the benchmark currency pair EUR/USD is also too unfavourable. In the trading platform we saw an even higher level of over 3 pips. Only the VIP account theoretically offers a spread of 0.9-1.4 pips, which is comparable to the industry average. But as noted, it is not clear what the requirements are for creating a VIP account.
Looser regulations in South Africa allow XPro Markets to offer very high leverage – up to 1:400 for forex, 1:200 for indices and commodities, 1:5 for cryptocurrencies. For comparison, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and accordingly all EU regulators limit leverage to 1:30 for major currency pairs, 1:20 for non-major pairs, gold and major indices, 1:10 for other commodities and non-major indices, and 1:2 for cryptocurrencies. High leverage creates the opportunity for more significant profit, but correspondingly increases the risk of sudden and excessive losses. All leading regulators therefore restrict leverage for retail traders.
The South African registration allows XPro Markets to offer bonuses and promotions, which is also prohibited in more strictly regulated jurisdictions. We find reference to “Bonus Terms and Conditions” in the Client Agreement, but no such document can be found on the website. Nowhere are specific bonus and promotion programs mentioned or described.
XPRO MARKETS DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
According to the website the minimum withdrawal amount is 10 EUR/USD for credit cards and 100 EUR/USD for wire transfer. But the Customer Agreement specifies that the minimum for all withdrawals is 100 USD or equivalent. Only amounts not exceeding the deposited amount may be withdrawn by credit card or e-wallets. If the withdrawal exceeds this amount, the remaining amount will be transferred by bank transfer.
XPro Markets states that it does not charge deposit fees, but there are significant withdrawal fees:
Most leading brokers do not charge any transaction fees and even cover bank fees up to a certain amount.
But withdrawal fees are not the only additional cost that differentiates XPro Markets from most of its competitors. In the legal documentation we find a long list of fees. These include a monthly maintenance fee of 10 EUR/USD, and a monthly inactivity fee that starts at 80 EUR/USD after one month and reaches 1,000 EUR/USD after 12 months. On top of that, if the customer wants to reactivate his account after 12 months of inactivity, he has to pay a 2000 EUR/USD fee. These amounts are outrageous and more reminiscent of the schemes of financial fraudsters than the practices of legitimate brokers.
And that’s not all – if the customer asks for a chargeback, XPro Markets reserves the right to charge him a “research fee” of 150 USD or close his account.
Despite being a licensed broker, XPro Markets is very questionable. The only theoretical advantage of this brokerage is that it offers risk-prone traders to use high leverage. But the extremely unfavorable trading conditions completely negate this.