Although MT4 is the dominant retail FX platform, it’s got its interface limitations. This includes one click trading, multiple order close, and inability to detach windows. Another big complaint is lack of a Mac version. Alleviating the latter issue has been the creation of webtrader interfaces that connect directly with a user’s MT4 account. While it doesn’t provide a pure MT4 on Mac solution, webtraders have become an important part of broker’s arsenals. They allow brokers to market towards Mac users and meet demand from clients requesting a browser based option for trading.
For broker’s sourcing their own feed aggregation in their MT4 servers, and simply require a browser based interface that can be integrated with customer accounts, Xogee was an early entrant to meet this new demand. However, after signing on many brokers and establishing its name within the industry, Xogee’s operations were shut down by MetaQuotes who sued them along with other providers for what they claimed “our technologies are unlawfully used by some third-party developers who directly hack network protocols between MetaTrader 4 Server and client terminals in order to sell their solutions.” At the time it was suspended, Xogee claimed that it had over 50 clients using its webtrader. With a gap in the market, it has allowed a new batch of MetaQuotes approved firms to step in. One such company is TradeSpot FX.
TradeSpot FX, part of Divisa Capital Group, develops MT4 related solutions that includes an MT4 webtrader, mobile trader (“FX Lite”), MAM solution (“MAT”), Trade Copier and a Binary Options plugin for MT4. Describing how their webtrader works and how it falls within MetaQuote’s third-party guideline, James Mason, Managing Director at TradeSpot FX stated, “WebTrader was developed using MetaQuotes’ documented server API guidelines and operates as a MT4 server side plugin. Trades placed on the WebTrader are instantly sent to the MT4 Server using the native server api for processing. Depending how the MT4 plugin or groups are configured, the broker can decide how to process the trades via Manual, Auto, Virtual Dealer or Bridge execution. This differs from other similar products that use the MT4 Manager API to process and confirm trades. The benefit is more flexibility when it comes to risk management, such as deciding hedging rules for clients.”
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Among UI’s the TradeSpot FX webtrader includes the usual set of features such as charting, trading cubes, and one-click trading that have become synonymous with webtraders but in many ways is an upgrade to the ‘out of the box’ MT4 platform. TradeSpot FX offers two different versions of its WebTrader – Silverlight (Microsoft) and HTML5. According to Mason, “The Sliverlight version delivers a rich GUI environment with similar functionality of MT4 plus added features such as one-click trading, a profit calculator for Stop and Limit orders and the ability to build custom indicators. TradeSpot FX’s upcoming new version was built using the latest HTML5 technology, which does not require a plugin and runs on most smartphones and tablets.” Both the Silverlight and HTML5 WebTrader platform can be branded for individual brokers.
Looking ahead, one of the big questions in the whole webtrader industry is what happens if MetaQuotes launches a competing product? During 2012, they became active in creating products that compete with third party vendors. This includes a mobile offering, liquidity bridge components for MT5, and trading signals.
Currently though, Mason stated that TradeSpot FX is seeing lots of demand in the sector with more than 20 brokers either using or testing out their product, brokers which include Alpari, Varengold, Divisa Capital, and ILQ. In response to how TradeSpot FX would deal with MetaQuotes launching a competing product and how they will aim to add value, Mason answered that “We welcome the competition as this fosters innovation among the companies developing products and solutions for traders. In the end, this innovation brings new technology to market that helps brokers and traders realize more profits. “