This post is to warn others about a particular Forex Broker, MIGFX.CH, and all brokers in general from my perspective.
MIGFX advertises the tightest spreads I can find with any broker, with 5 at 2 pips, and 5 more at 3 pips, and up from there, on more than 30 currency pairs. I was originally led to believe these spreads were the same on their demo accounts and live accounts, however recently I have been told that is not true. The spreads will widen on live accounts during periods of high volatility, however that is true of all brokers I can find. Since I do not have a live account I can't verify that condition, but when they say it does I would assume it does.
The problem I have with MIGFX is they are not based in the United States and are not NFA or CFTC registered. I was told by an associate at NFA that all brokers doing business in the United States must be registered however that can't be true since so many are not. Because of this it would be very difficult to get satisfaction if you have a problem and challenge them in any way. That process is difficult at best with any broker of course but being an international company based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, very much more so. Point being to really think about using them before bothering to demo or live trade with them.
MIGFX requires you to fill out special forms to use Trailing Stops and Expert Advisors. They won't allow use of any Expert Advisor considered to be a 'Scalping Strategy'. No other broker I have checked with requires this.
I was ready to take a chance opening a live account with MIGFX until I could not get questions answered relative to NFA & CFTC registration and why I needed to fill out special form to use Trailing Stops and Expert Advisors. Also the questions addressed in the discussion below about the broker issues common to all brokers, their spreads on live accounts, and platform issues. They simply refused to address them. Because I questioned them they disabled all my demo trading accounts. The reason I had not opened a live account previously was the money transfer issue which I thought had been solved with them adopting Pay Pal. And of course that is why I am posting this to warn as many people as possible about them, and the common practices of all brokers.
I opened a live account with FXDD in February 2008 which I lost most of within a short period of time primarily because I didn't understand how FXDD handled margin and how the Metatrader 4 Platform displays available margin. I over leveraged my account and when that happens with FXDD they close all your trades not just enough of them needed to cover the shortage. When I complained about it they closed the last open trade I had at the time, which was still valid. They told me I was not the kind of customer they wanted and would refund my money, which took several months to get from them.
Much of the discussion below is true of almost all brokers and if you simply follow the logic of what I am saying it ought to make sense and you should realize what I am saying has to be correct.
The use of Trailing Stops and Expert Advisors of course has great potential risks as your computer has to on-line 24/7 to monitor the price movement to make adjustments to the trades based on your settings for Trailing Stops, or programming in the Expert Advisor. Since there are so many potential problems with this it is best to use a VPS if using these. Power failures, PC failures, Windows crashes and reboots, all require restarting the platform to monitor the trades.
Because the Trailing Stops and Expert Advisors live on your computer, and not on the brokers servers, I don't believe the brokers have a way of knowing if you are using them. In the MT4 platform you can set trailing stops no closer than 15 pips from your entry price, which in itself is a feature that stinks in its use. You ought to be able to set it as close as you want. You can write an Expert Advisor that will do it for you but that is an extra process you have to go through to use and you can't use it on a chart that has any other Expert Advisor since you can only have one on any chart at a time.
Point of the preceding discussion being, why do they require special forms at all unless it is to know so they can hunt your stops by spiking prices within their brokerage software which I have been told they have the ability to do. Proving it against the real market will be difficult and time consuming but it could be done to keep them honest.
Brokers claim they only get the spread on any trade but I simply don't believe that to be true at all for small accounts at least. I believe these accounts are all traded in-house and are never sent to the Interbank Forex market at all. The brokers know that 85-92 percent of traders who attempt to trade fail, particularly in Forex. Because of that they know the odds are stacked in their favor new traders will fail and they will get all the money from the trading account in their bank accounts in a relativity short period of time. It is merely a short waiting game to accomplish that. That has to be why FXCM would not let Mike G continue to trade his 10-pip strategy a few years ago. They, along with Revco, of course absconded with millions of dollars from clients who never recovered that money.
I firmly believe if you are successful with any broker you won't be allowed to trade whatever strategy you are using for any length of time. That will of course include the use of Robots if you find one that really works well. I have only found one so far I consider to be reliable to use. The problem with all of them is you can get no support from the people who produce and sell them on the Internet.
Next I want to address the fact that the MT4 trading platform itself has serious flaws or problems, whatever you want to call them. The lack of a clock display on the basic trading platform, lack of other more desirable time frames for charts, lack of certain order types, trailing stops that have to 'live' on the clients computer and have to be 15 pips minimum from price, to name a few. It does have many good features too but with some relativity simple fixes it could be a truly great trading platform. The MetaQuotes Language Editor is much too complicated for most users to use at all, let alone effectively.
I hope you find this helpful in making a decision about brokers, and trading in the Forex Market. Good luck in your endeavors in your venture.