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Alternatives to MT4?

January 1st, 2010

With the upcoming release of MetaTrader 5 I’ve actually started investigating alternatives to the good and old MetaTrader 4. Why, isn’t MT5 good you say? Well, after running the Beta for just a day basically, I can say that it feels almost the same as MT4 and that it probably is very good. MQL5 seems good, but why MQL4 isn’t still supported I can’t understand. It would have been nice being able to use old EAs and indicators. Unfortunately the strategy tester isn’t activated in the Beta, so I can’t test that yet, but it is said to be multi-threaded and able to test multi-asset strategies, good stuff. Also there’s a order depth function (and view) now, which makes MT5 much more equities-trader friendly of course.

There is a change to the way positions are handled that I don’t think should be enforced by the platform though, and this is my gripe with MT5. It seems the NFA really have scared the Russians at Metaquotes into submission, so there is no hedging possibilities and a strict FIFO order execution in MT5. This isn’t good for anyone I think, and especially not for us that run multiple strategies (EAs) on the same account. Also, grid traders like RoboMiner is effectively hindered (luckily RoboMiner have a different strategy for NFA brokers with today’s MT4 that should work with MT5).

I’ve mailed my brokers (Alpari UK, Forex.com/UK and JadeFX) with questions about their plans about the upgrade, and the possibility to stay with MT4 (or even run both in parallel). We’ll see what they say, if they know themselves. I would like to use MT5 for trading equities and futures, and I really think this is what MetaQuotes have been focusing on.

Hopefully I won’t need another platform, perhaps the non-NFA regulated brokers can get a different version with hedging and free order close order, but just in case I’ve started looking around a bit. I already have experience from the JFOREX platform used by DukasCopy (as used by FAP Turbo Evolution), but I never liked it. Also the minimum accounts at DC is $10000 and the minimum contract size is $1M. That is too much for me, so it isn’t a alternative.

Another quite popular product is the NinjaTrader (current version is 6.5, but 7.0 is in beta). I’ve downloaded and started fiddling with it. NT works with quite a few different brokers, including Forex.com that I already have an account with. There’s also a few ECN brokers like PFG and MBT. First impressions is that it is a good product, not quite as intuitive as MT4/5, but very manageable. The scripting language seems great.

So, is there any other alternatives?  I’m looking for free platforms (or at least platforms that the brokers pay the fee for) with small deposit limits ($1000 or so) and regular lot sizes (0.1 lot for ECNs and 0.01 for bucketshops). Of course it has to be possible to run automated strategies. Any tips? :)