When we do broker reviews, we talk to the people at the brokerages themselves. The Good Money Guide is all about providing balanced opinion on brokers. In particular what makes them stand out from their competitors.
So, as we are based in London, XTB, has always been on the peripherals because they are HQ’d and listed in Poland. As such we never really paid them much attention. However, we opened an account, put a few quid in and had a little play about, we also spoke to Josh Raymond, one of the directors who very kindly highlighted some unique features.
Over the course of a 15-minute skype conversation, Josh took use through some of the key features on the platform. You can find out more about XTB from the CEO Omar Arnout or why Josh Raymond joined XTB in the interview we did with him. I would have suggested we meet in person to go through it. But, last time I was due to meet Josh for a coffee in Canary Wharf, he forgot, and didn’t turn up. I can, however, recommend Notes for a bit of people watching.
You can build your own basket of assets on XTB Xstation5
XTB have this excellent tool where you can build your own basket of stocks, FX pairs, commodities and cryptocurrencies. What this means is that if you trade in pairs, or arbitrage markets, or want to build your own sub sector within a sector you can add them to a basket and trade them in one go.
It’s a great time-saving tool for trading multiple assets. You can also see in the basket creator a nice weighting for each asset and amend the contract size and allocation accordingly.
Get platform integrated news, analysis and trading tips from banks
Most brokers have news, technical analysis, economic announcements and fundamental data. Most even have RanSquark (where your computer shouts at you every time there is a market figure), but XTB also has integrated bank recommendations. Which are presented with a chart, I only mention this because so many tips are not presented in this way and as such largely ignored because it’s too much effort to look for a chart and then go back to the tip.
The below comes from Thomson Reuters IFR Markets on the XTB news tab. You’ll have to make up your own mind if bank tips are actually any good. For the most case, you won’t be in line with the analyst’s investment objectives or timescales, but they do provide good stimulus for trading ides none the less.
See a post-trade analysis of where you win and lose
This is quite a nifty feature and I think only SaxoTraderGo has a similarly well-presented feature.
In your account settings, you can see a recap of your previous trades. This gives a very visual representation of which trades you make and lose money on.
This is a really interesting feature because as we all know it’s hard to make money trading. But oddly enough it’s not that hard to pick winners.
Picking on Josh again, we highlighted an article he wrote (The truth about whether trading is actually winnable) when he was at City Index (way back in 2014) showing that the profitable trades were around 60%. It’s just that the losses were larger than the profits. Which suggests, that it is post-trading strategy that is the issue. Not picking trades. So, by using this section to evaluate which trades you most frequently win on you should be able to improve your overall trading strategy.
Change the base currency of your trades on the deal ticket
This may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but it’s actually a really nice feature. One thing traders never really take into account when trading international markets is currency exposure.
Even when trading Forex, traders tend to just look at what is happening on the chart and not the overall economic climate. Trading profits are hugely affected by currency exposure and in some cases can wipe out profits. Also, as tight as deliverable foreign exchange rates are becoming they are still always never below 0.5%.
So if you are in the UK with GBP on account and trading US products your P&L will be in USD. This will then have to be converted into GBP before you can withdraw (unless you want to be at the mercy of your banks tourists rates (which you don’t)).
But, with XTB you can trade cash indices in GBP. So you don’t have to factor in what the USD is doing as well.
XTB has one of the widest ranges of cryptocurrency crosses available to trade
You will, of course, already have read our previous article XTB launches bid to become Binance of the Crypto CFD Trading space by XTB analysts David Cheetham so will know about XTBs broad range of crypto products.
But what makes this interesting is that whilst cryptocurrencies on their own are mega volatile, you can arbitrage between two. Or, even, if you use the basket setting we mentioned earlier you can trade a whole bunch of cryptos in one go.
It’s a handy feature if you want to mitigate some of the risk and trade a diverse portfolio of cryptos. A bit like an ETF.
Get an instant macro market overview with grid charts.
When I first started off as a stockbroker many decades ago we used this pricing system called QTS. It’s long gone now, but it had this great feature where you could get a grid view of a market with a single click. It was a great default view so you can instantly see what was going up or down without having to have multiple screens up.
I know you can set this up manually on most other brokers, but other than CMC, I don’t think it’s that easy anywhere else. XTB, have a really nice feature where you can see all your open charts as a grid. A very handy visual overview of what is going on.
Plus, if you’ve got a pending order you can see the levels on the chart. When I took the below screenshot I had a working stop entry in US500 (top right).
Trade from the charts with stops entries, limits and stop losses
A lot of other brokers let you trade from the charts. In fact, last week when we did a video demo of Spreadex’s platform where we highlighted that you can move your stops from the chart.
Which is an almost essential feature. Because let’s face it you either place stops at support and resistance levels or base them on how much you want to win or lose. So it’s quite nice to set your P&L limits then move your orders based on what the chart looks like.
However, what is unique to XTB (as far as I know) is the ability to place stop entries, stop losses and limits straight onto the chart.
The first click is where you want to buy, second your stop loss and third your limit. You basically draw your trade on the chart and it is created in the dealing ticket.
Close all, profitable or losing trades in one go with xstation5
This is a nice feature to end off our XTB review. When you are done for the day, or popping off to the shops you can select what trades you want to close.
It’s really annoying when you have to click on twenty different trades to close them out when you want to be flat. So on the XTB “Open Positions” tab you can choose to close either all your trades or just the duds that are losing. Or, you can bank your profits by closing all the winners and leave your losers to either get stopped or reverse. But I shall leave it to you to decide if that is a sensible trading strategy.
There are a few other bits too like adding addition sub-accountants or MT4 accounts through the My Account section, trading from an Apple Watch, educations videos and content. Plus you can set up hotkeys and create shortcuts with the F keys.
Richard founded the Good Money Guide (previously Good Broker Guide) in 2015 and has been a broker for 20 years most recently at Investors Intelligence and previously a multi-asset derivatives broker at MF Global (Man Financial). Richard started his career working as a private client stockbroker at Walker Crips and Phillip Securities (now King and Shaxson) after interning on the NYMEX oil trading floor in New York and London IPE in 2001 & 2000.