Vantage FX

Vantage FX in test: What’s the Offshore Broker good for?

Vantage FX is an offshore broker based in the Cayman Islands. The broker advertises with favorable conditions in trading and attracts additionally with bonus offers and up to 500 times leverage. Not only did we take a closer look at the offer, we opened a live account with Vantage FX. We capitalized on this account and executed several dozen trades. This review reflects our experience from first contact to payout.

The underlying catalog in the Raw Spread account:

First, a look at the underlying assets that can be traded on Vantage FX. You can choose from 48 FX currency pairs, 13 indices, 6 crypto currencies, 15 commodities and precious metals, 50 US stocks and Hong Kong stocks. This means that the underlying asset catalog is sufficient for most traders. Nevertheless there are CFD brokers, who offer in particular a clearly larger assortment at shares CFDs.

  • 48 FX currency pairs
  • 13 Indices
  • 6 crypto currencies
  • 15 Raw materials/precious metals
  • 50 US stocks
  • Hong Kong shares

Trading Conditions for Vantage FX

We have traded via the Raw Spread account. Here the spreads in FX trading are tighter than in other account models. A commission is charged for this. The commission is 5 EUR per lot for opening and closing. The fee is charged to the account when a position is opened. If the account is held in USD, the commission is 6 USD roundturn.

The FX pairs in the Raw Spread account are marked with a “+”. The spreads are very tight in major currency pairs. We determined these spreads in a random sample:

  • EUR/USD: 0.20 pips
  • GBP/USD: 0.70 pips
  • USD/CHF: 0.70 pips
  • AUD/USD: 0.30 pips
  • EUR/JPY: 0.40 pips

We believe that the spreads are representative of the broker. During our test period of several weeks, we repeatedly carried out spot checks that confirmed the spreads mentioned above.

The spreads are therefore extremely competitive – especially in EUR/USD. Taking into account the commission of 5 EUR, the costs for trading 1.0 lots are thus significantly less than 10 EUR. This value marks the threshold to favorable brokers. The figures below show the market list of the Raw Spread Account at Vantage FX .

Contract sizes start at 0.01 lots in FX trading.

Trading in underlying instruments outside the FX market is commission-free. However, the spreads are wider. However, some major indices have competitive spreads, others are not. Examples:

  • DAX: 1.31 points
  • Dow Jones: 3.61 points
  • EuroStoxx50: 1.41 points
  • CAC40: 2.19 points
  • NASDAQ 100: 1.0 points
  • S&P 500: 0.48 points
  • FTSE 100: 1.11 points
  • HSI: 5 points

There are cheaper brokers for DAX and especially Dow Jones. However, the gap to the top of the market is not too big.

It would be desirable for brokers to have a little more flexibility in terms of contract sizes. The Dow Jones is also only offered from 1.0 contracts upwards with a contract size of 1 USD/point. With an index level of 26,000 points, the positions are then too large for small accounts.

A look at the spreads in commodities trading is also essential. Spreads in important markets:

  • Crude Oil Future: 0.035 USD
  • Gold: 0.18 USD
  • Silver: 0.27 USD

What are the spreads when trading stock CFDs? We have taken a random sample here as well.

  • Amazon: 1.03 USD
  • Boeing: USD 0.19
  • Cisco: 0.01 USD

In short, Vantage FX trading costs are competitive. However, there is still room for improvement, especially for individual indices such as the Dow Jones.

Up to 500 times leverage

With Vantage FX, customers can trade with up to 500 times leverage. This is orders of magnitude more than is allowed in Europe. Leverage can be set on the customer portal. Initially, the leverage is 100:1, but we had 500:1 leverage 2 minutes after the change was made in the customer portal. We were informed of this by an automatically generated e-mail.

The other account models of Vantage FX

Vantage FX offers even more account models. In the Standard STP account, the minimum deposit is 200 EUR. There you trade without commissions, but with wider spreads. In the Pro ECN account, the commissions are somewhat lower. But the minimum deposit is 20.000 EUR.

The MetaTrader trading platform

Vantage FX offers a choice of trading platforms. We traded with MetaTrader4 for our test. Alternatively, there is MeterTrader5 and the MarketsTrader platform. The latter is a web-based platform based on HTML5. MT4 and MT5 are available as client version (for download), web-based and mobile.

The functional range of MetaTrader also includes Expert Advisors. Expert Advisors can develop and test your own trading systems, test them retroactively and then implement them automatically.

USER INTERFACE AND CHARTS

MT4 is well known and is used by several other brokers. In the basic settings there are line, bar and candle charts with period lengths from 1 minute up to one month. There are various drawing tools like horizontal lines, trend lines, trend channels and Fibonacci retracements. Last but not least, a large library of indicators is available. The parameters of the indicators can be changed.

TRADING SIGNALS AND SOCIAL TRADING?

Vantage FX allows you to obtain signals from the external service Trading Central. It is also possible to connect the account to social trading platforms such as Zulutrade. However, different trading conditions apply.

ORDER TYPES

There are the order types known in MT4. In addition to market execution (i.e. unlimited orders) there are Buy/Sell Stop and Buy/Sell Limit. Stop Loss and Take Profit can be placed when placing an order. These appear as lines in the chart – just like the purchase price.

Handling of Stop Loss and Take Profit

Stop Loss and Take Profit can be typed in manually or set using arrow keys. A click on the arrow corresponds to 0.01 EUR for stocks and 0.01 points for indices. SL and TP appear as lines in the chart and are also recorded in the “Trade” menu. For most underlying instruments, SL and TP have a minimum spread of 5 points or more. Here there are competitors with lower minimum distances. There are no guaranteed stop loss orders – but there are trailing stops.

What market model does Vantage FX trade with?

The broker refers to the Raw Spread account as an ECN account. In fact, it is more likely to be a type of STP trading. The broker routes orders to liquidity providers or the interbank market. This is done by aggregating the bid and ask prices of different liquidity providers and executing the orders at the best possible prices. The broker’s description of this is somewhat contradictory. The broker pretends to have no interest in price manipulation due to this constellation. At the same time, the broker claims to live on spreads in this business model. In our view, there is therefore no guarantee that customers will actually trade at the original prices of the liquidity pool.

MARGIN CALL AND CLOSEOUT

If the account balance falls below 80% of the required margin, Vantage FX will trigger a margin call. At 50%, all positions are automatically closed.

Bonus offers

Unlike brokers in the EU, offshore brokers like Vantage FX offer bonuses. What are the conditions?

We received an automated email from our assigned account manager immediately after opening the account, but before the first deposit was made. In this email we were offered a 25% bonus on the first deposit. The prerequisite was a deposit of 1,000 USD or more. To open an account with the Raw Spread account only 500 EUR are required. However, the e-mail did not mention any bonus conditions such as minimum turnover.

This bonus offer can not be found on the homepage. However, there are other bonuses – for example, a 50% deposit bonus for another account model. The turnover condition: Per standard lot in EUR/USD 1.30 EUR of the bonus amount will be converted into real money.

Payments and verification

The account opening process is relatively simple. First, a short form is filled out on screen, including a slimmed-down KYC catalog. Then an e-mail is automatically sent with the access data for the customer portal.

Before a deposit can be made, customers must identify themselves. This requires an identity card or passport and proof of address no more than three months old. Bank account statements, utility bills, etc. can serve as proof of address. In addition, a photo of the front of the credit card used to make the deposit must be presented. It is possible to partially conceal the card number. These proofs must be photographed and sent by e-mail to the customer service department.

The minimum deposit for the Raw Spread Account is 500 EUR (if the account currency is Euro).

DEPOSIT

Deposits are free of charge and can be made by bank transfer and credit card. Payments are made through Australia National Bank. Deposits are free of charge. For this review, we have deposited by credit card during the German lunchtime. Approximately 1 minute after making the deposit we received a “Payment Receipt” by e-mail. About 70 minutes later we were informed by e-mail that the deposited amount was available for our trading account.

Withdrawals are now only possible by bank transfer. These are also handled by an Australian bank. Here a small surprise awaited us. On the payout page it was stated that up to two payouts per calendar month are free. When the money was received, however, 20 EUR were “missing”. In the subject of the transfer 10 EUR handling fee and 10 EUR foreign expenses were noted.

How long did the payout take? We requested the payout on a Thursday afternoon and received an automatic confirmation via e-mail immediately afterwards. However, when we logged into the account the following Friday, the amount had not yet been debited. On Friday evening of German time we therefore asked the customer service. Early Saturday morning German time we received an automatic debit confirmation. On the following Monday the money already arrived.

In short: Deposits and withdrawals go through Australia and are very fast. For withdrawals (moderate) fees may apply.

Who is Vantage FX? A Short Portrait

Behind Vantage FX is an internationally operating brokerage firm. In addition to the branch office on the Cayman Islands, there are also branches in Australia and Great Britain. These are regulated by the supervisory authorities there (ASIC and FCA). The headquarters of the subsidiaries there are in Sydney and London. Details on regulation:

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), AFSL no. 429801
Financial Conduct Authority, FRN: 590299

Regulation and deposit insurance: What applies offshore?

Vantage FX is operated by Vantage International Group Limited. The company is based in the Cayman Islands. The broker is regulated by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA).

Payments to Vantage FX are initially made to the Sydney-based trading service provider Advantage College. Advantage College maintains an account with the National Australia Bank (NAB). This is also where customer funds are subsequently held. The funds are held in separate accounts.

No exclusion of the obligation to make additional contributions

Customers should note that Vantage FX is subject to margin calls. The losses may be greater than the balance in the account. In practice, SL and TP are good ways to prevent this. In addition, the closeout level of the broker applies. In extreme cases and especially with positions held overnight or over a weekend, such obligations to make additional contributions can still arise.

Taxing profits yourself

Please remember: Vantage FX is not a paying agent for the German tax authorities and does not pay withholding tax on profits. All profits must be taxed independently.

How authentic is the demo account?

Whether a broker is playing with his cards on the table can often be seen by comparing a demo account with a real money account. We have therefore opened a demo account in addition to our live account and compared the conditions. Opening a demo account takes less than 30 seconds. Prospective customers deposit a few data, choose platform and account type and receive an email with the access data directly afterwards.

This is how the spreads in the demo account look like:

  • EUR/USD: 0.10 pips (0.20 pips in the live account)
  • GBP/USD: 0.70 pips (same as live account)
  • USD/CHF: 0.70 pips (as in live account)
  • AUD/USD: 0.30 pips (as in the live account)
  • EUR/JPY: 0.50 pips (0.40 pips in live account)

We carried out the sampling in the live and demo accounts at different times. The broker essentially provides the live prices on the demo account. This clearly speaks for the integrity.

Customer service in the quality test

We have tested the account for a period of about two weeks with a few dozen trades. During this time we contacted customer service via live chat and email. The response time in the live chat is very short even in the German evening hours. The customer service representatives are obviously based in Australia, so the time difference is considerable. All account managers we talked to were courteous and were able to solve/accelerate our presented concerns. The chats were held exclusively in English.

A positive highlight was the broker’s website, even though only parts of it are available in German. On the homepage you can find a lot of useful information about the broker.

Tools and training at Vantage FX

Like most brokers, Vantage FX provides customers with a variety of training opportunities and tools. However, the overall offering is manageable. There is basic knowledge about FX trading and manuals for MT4 and MT5. There is also an economic calendar, trading signals, indicators and information on various topics such as Expert Advisors.

Conclusion

Vantage FX is an offshore broker based in the Cayman Highlands. The broker also operates onshore – then with its subsidiaries in London and Sydney and appropriate regulation. Although regulation in the UK and Australia does not directly affect trading in the Cayman Islands, it does have a confidence-building effect. Customer funds are held in segregated customer accounts at Australia National Bank.

In terms of trading conditions, the broker can clearly compete with most of its competitors. The total cost of trading 1.0 lots in Euro/US dollar is well below 10 US dollars. The spreads in commission-free trading with most indices and stocks as well as commodities are also favorable. With MetaTrader a mature trading platform is available. Although the customer service is English-speaking, it is otherwise very easy to reach and can be quickly activated if necessary. Opening an account and depositing does not take long. In short: If you want to trade offshore, Vantage FX is the right partner for you.

If you don’t want to take any risks at first, open a demo account. This is available within 30 seconds and is equipped with realistic prices.

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