It is inevitable that comparisons are made between ActivTrades and one of its rivals, Alpari. Both brokers are centred on the Forex market and entered spread betting comparatively recently, with ActivTrades trailing Alpari by a few months. In addition, both brokers offer the MetaTrader platforms to their spread betting clients.
MetaTrader is a long-established platform, and is the principal software used by Forex traders. It is now available in two versions, MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. It is highly adaptable, and allows users to create custom indicators and custom Expert Advisors, and perform automated trading and extensive back testing. In addition, there are vast libraries of routines available to accomplish various tasks with the charting software.
This allows one point of difference between the two spread betting providers. ActivTrades is now making much of its Smart Template Trend Indicator, introduced less than a year ago and available when you use ActivTrades as your broker. This is a simple add-on for the MetaTrader platform written in the proprietary MQL programming language. It takes three factors, market trend, market direction, and market strength, and combines them to provide the trend indication.
ActivTrades also provides the SmartChart tool, which shows all pending orders on the chart, and the SmartOrder 2 device, which gives one click trading and other features useful for day traders who need quick order entry. It is worth pointing out that there are many other custom tools and indicators available for MetaTrader software, both freely and for a charge, as the platform has been out for many years and has thousands of users. However, it is useful that ActivTrades provides these customized add-ons for its spread betting customers, and will give full support to their use.
Despite entering the spread betting market recently, ActivTrades has been established as a Forex broker since 2001, and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (which replaced the FSA in 2013). Its move into providing spread betting on more than 40 currencies can be seen as doing a favour for its existing Forex clients in the UK, who can now trade on currencies with the tax advantages of spread betting.
However, unlike Alpari it has taken the opportunity to expand its trading market, allowing spread betting on a number of indices, several commodities, and even shares of many large companies. This opens its appeal to the general spread better who requires a selection of financial instruments. It also promises a spread as low as 0.8, which is again better than its rival Alpari’s 1.2. Couple this with customer service available 24 hours a day, five days a week, and it is easy to see why ActivTrades may be taking a greater share of the market.
Given the short history of ActivTrades in the spread betting marketplace, it is difficult to determine overall user satisfaction. It seems to be doing everything right, with a comprehensive and easy-to-use product, and given its long-standing background in Forex trading we would rate this spread betting broker as “worth a look”.