I am retired, elderly and live in Florida. Since becoming elderly I dislike being outside in the Florida summer heat and humidity so during the summer I stay indoors and potter around with currency trading. Although I rarely go long and short at the same time when the prohibition against so doing was introduced in the US I decided to get a foreign broker, ITFX who have their corporate offices in Toronto, Canada. Of course, these days, where a corporate office is said to be may bear no relation to where the business is actually located. For those who like to trade with higher leverages the upcoming NFA regulation effective on November 29, 2009 limiting traders to a leverage of 100:1 could be, providing ITFX doesn’t follow suit, another plus for ITFX. Does anyone get the feeling that this and the recent regulations the NFA has introduced are more for the broker’s benefit rather than that of their clients?
ITFX use an MT4 platform and although I am aware of the disadvantages that can be placed upon traders using that platform, my thinking is that provided one is aware of them (and of course everyone using the MT4 platform should investigate it thoroughly before going live) then they can have nothing about which to complain. I opened a demo account with ITFX and traded it for a while and then opened and funded a live account May 11, 2009.
As is often the case with MT4 brokers the operation of the live platform was different to the demo version in that there was a delay between the time an order was entered and the time it was filled, not that much, but noticeable. The explanation I was given by ITFX is that the delay was due to the order having to travel to the trading dept and back to me. Also, as I recall, the distance between the price at which one could enter an order and the market price was less on the demo platform than on the live platform but I wouldn’t swear to it and I’ve not been back to recheck it. Unfortunately, it is much wider than that on many other competing MT4 brokers. However, the only time I can see it being a continuing problem is for those who scalp, which I don’t. In fact the only times I found it a problem was if I was in a trade and had set a profit target but decided I wanted to close it prematurely, in which case ITFX wouldn’t allow it. On the other side of the coin, with ITFX, one enjoys fixed and narrower spreads than many other MT4 brokers. However, remember that ALL brokers reserve the right to alter spreads AND THEY DO so with all brokers go by your experience and not by what they say. Additionally, during the four months I traded with ITFX I never received a single re-quote or “the trade context is busy” so beloved of another big MT4 broker.
Opening the live account was interesting. ITFX allows deposits by check (cheque), wire, PayPal, MoneyBookers and credit cards. I couldn’t make the Money Bookers or credit card process work. Money Bookers customer service is non-existent so I made my initial deposit by PayPal who debited my credit card. BIG mistake because I found out the rapacious credit card companies treat such transactions as cash advances and charge a hefty percentage. Anyway, I moaned and groaned to the CC and they refunded the transaction fee. Subsequently I ascertained that if one makes a deposit by PayPal but has one’s bank account debited instead of one’s credit card, then there aren’t any charges, so after the first one that’s the method I used.
Having read numerous instances on various forums where (especially profitable traders) experienced difficulty in getting their money out of their brokers, I tested ITFX quite soon after opening the account by withdrawing some money via PayPal and I received it the same day I asked for it. Then, at the arrival of the cooler weather, having increased what I put in by what I thought was a very respectable percentage, around the middle of September 2009 I withdrew the bulk of my money and suspended my trading. Once again, when I asked ITFX for my money I received it in full on the same day I asked for it.
During the four months I traded FX via ITFX I experienced two issues. One was the fault of the Canadian Postal Service and the other was an electronic glitch somewhere in the platform on my computer, in the transmission or in their server. In both instances the problems were handled by ITFX expeditiously in a gentlemanly manner to my complete satisfaction. They answer emails very promptly. Also, they have a toll free answering service in the U.S. where one may leave a message and they will usually return your call. However, if you have a pressing issue I found it best to call their office directly. Either way, an email or a direct phone call will get you prompt attention.
Initially, when I started trading with ITFX I was charged US 10 cents a side commission for each trade. When asked why I was told that is what traders in the “scalping” group get charged. When I pointed out that I wasn’t a scalper they took me out of that group at once. Seemingly it’s a sort of “don’t ask don’t tell” deal where new clients are entered into the scalping group automatically. I asked them three times before I got an answer as to what their definition of a scalper is and this was their reply:
“There are a variety of factors involved in determining whether one is a scalper:
How long does one hold each position
How many positions taken per day
How many pips going for
Limits used? EA used?
Generally, the cutoff would be around 7-15 positions/day, 10-20 pip profit, max 30 minute.” position.
That is a rough outline”
As you can see, in that their reply is somewhat ambiguous and subject to interpretation, it would be best for anyone thinking of opening an account with ITFX, to establish before so doing, in what category ITFX would place them.
Forex brokers get quite a lot of criticism, indeed, I was once treated badly by another MT4 broker – but it was my own fault, I should have done my homework on them first. However, in my opinion I think FX brokers perform a useful service and are entitled to be paid for what they do and earn a return on their investment, after all, without them retail traders wouldn’t be able to trade. When all is said and done I am very satisfied with ITFX and based upon my experience wouldn’t dissuade anyone from opening an account with ITFX.
This is a report of my own experiences with ITFX. Before posting this I sent a copy to ITFX telling them of my intention to post reviews of ITFX asking them if it contained any factual errors, they didn’t answer this question so I assume that it is factually correct. Other than being a satisfied client I have no interests, financial or otherwise, in ITFX.