MetaTrader 4 Defies All Odds, Gains Market Share in 2018

The legacy platform from MetaQuotes is still dominating the retail brokerage space despite an MT5 push.

The market has long been predicting the demise of MetaTrader 4, despite the rock-standing domination of the trading platform over the retail forex space. Closing on 15 years since the product has been released, it remains the industry standard offering, especially for brokers that are aiming to address the needs of algo traders.

Add to that the fact that the company that developed the software also released a successor called MetaTrader 5 in 2010. Eight years have now passed without the new platform being able to surpass the dominance of MT4.

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The Hard Data

Over 2018, the Finance Magnates Intelligence department collected a dataset which sheds light on the continuing importance of MetaTrader 4 for the retail forex brokerage industry. Our first chart below details the amounts of volumes brokers are transacting via the MT4 platform across the global retail broker industry outside of Japan.

MetaTrader 4 Volumes 2018
Share of Global Retail FX/CFDs Volume Traded via MT4, Source: Finance Magnates Intelligence

Traders appear to be creatures of habit, and the slow but steady adoption of MT5 over the past couple of years apparently is not doing enough to change the industry trends. As we can see, the turn of the first quarter of 2018 saw just above 50 percent of total trading volumes outside of Japan traded via MT4.

Until the end of the year, that market share has reached as high as 55 percent. The increase in the market share of MT4 has been steady throughout the year, reaching a peak at the end of the 3rd quarter.

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MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 4, Market Share vs Other Platforms, Source: Finance Magnates Intelligence

As our charts show, the composition of the market shifted in favor of the legacy platform of MetaQuotes towards the end of the year. Whether or not that has to do anything with the new ESMA regulations is pure speculation. That said, it is worth noting that several large brokers which have been relying on proprietary platforms did lose clients.

Did ESMA Cause MetaTrader 4’s Rennaisance?

Data from publicly-traded companies are pointing to a sharp impact from the ESMA changes. The likelihood that clients shifted to brokers outside of the EU, which are more MT4-centric is confirmed from the chart below.

IC Markets
IC Markets, Average Monthly MT4 Volume 2018

The average monthly trading volume via MetaTrader 4 at IC Markets steadily increased throughout the year. The rise from $308 billion monthly as of the end of Q1 to almost $500 billion per month during the final three months is a whopping 61 percent increase.

There is little doubt that this sharp rise is related to the harsh regulatory changes in Europe. Australian brokers have lately been actively pursuing licensing in the EU to take advantage of their strong growth and join the race to accommodate the needs of European customers.

The latest companies from the land down under to acquire a CySEC license are IC Markets itself late last year, and most recently FP Markets.

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