Earlier this year it was reported that MetaQuotes was close to launching a new webtrader for its MetaTrader 4 platform. As with the iOS and Android apps the firm already launched, the new webtrader would allow any broker offering MT4 to provide their customers a web-based interface to trade with. Since introducing the webtrader in a demo setting, MetaQuotes has signed up several brokers who offer the product, among them are Alpari and XM.
With the product out, Finance Magnates has canvassed multiple brokers and technology providers for their view on the webtrader and how it compares with existing, but more costly alternatives that are already in the market.
Cheap but Effective
The overriding consensus from forex industry participants was that the new webtrader provided a ‘no thrills’ browser-based trading interface. But, like the available mobile apps, it was inexpensive. As a result, the webtrader was viewed as having a definitive place among brokers who were looking for a cheap solution to offer web-based trading to their customers.
No EAs and Minimal Value Add
The question though is whether such an offering is even needed by MT4 brokers? According to several MetaTrader 4 brokers, their response was that there was a limited demand for a webtrader from their clients, as customers seeking flexibility in monitoring their accounts were satisfied with the mobile app.
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This opinion was based on their client bases being attracted to MT4 for its ability to operate algorithmic trading with Expert Advisors (EA). As such, without being able to run EAs, or other unique features, the webtrader wasn’t viewed as a product that would create additional value or new demand from customers.
The question of value add is one that technology providers are counting on as they now compete with MetaQuotes in offering webtraders to brokers. In this regard, webtrader providers such as Leverate, ChartIQ or PandaTS, believe that there is a place for more sophisticated and customized MT4 webtraders, as they can increase customer engagement and overall lifetime value.
Examples of customizations include the addition of news sources, social trading, behavioral trading tools and proprietary signals. Over the last several years, available webtrader features have expanded as brokers have shown interest in easier to use platforms for their customers who may be turned off by MetaTrader’s interface or due to the requirement of having to download it.
The bottom line for brokers is whether they believe there is value to be gained by using a more advanced feature webtrader or the cost effective version from MetaQuotes. The answer though may not be apparent until a broker actually offers a webtrader to its clients. Among brokers canvassed for their opinion were firms that had previously tried webtraders however failed to draw much interest from their clients.
Also important is whether a broker has a need to market a new type of platform interface to its clients. For firms that believe they could benefit from offering a web-based platform alternative to MT4 with customized features for browsers, the MetaQuotes version isn’t expected to cut it as a unique solution to be marketed.