The Best Automated trading platforms in South Africa can use robot, algo and copy or social trading. Find the best platforms in 2021 to automate your trading and free up your time to do other things.
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The best South African trading platform for automation list is.
South Africa accounts for approximately 5.5% of the global currency markets but it’s responsible for generating the most forex trading volume in Africa. At the same time, according to a recent study, 92% of all trading operations in the foreign exchange market were algorithmic trading.
With automated trading, South African traders can start building a passive income stream. However, you need to choose the right automated trading software and a known programming language so that you can automate your trading strategies.
Our team of industry experts at Compare Forex Brokers has put together a list of the best automated trading platforms for traders with different levels of trading experience. Whether you want to take advantage of the auto trading feature, or the copy trading feature or you simply want to start backtesting a new trading idea, you can choose from these automated trading platforms:
Three broad categories can be distinguished among automated trading applications:
Automated trading comes with several advantages that retail forex traders in South Africa can fully take advantage of. With the help of automated trading platforms, FX traders can:
The first step you need to take before you start algorithmic trading is to choose forex brokers that allow automated trading. Some of the best brokers that allow automated trading systems and are fully regulated by the FSCA are Pepperstone, Markets.com, IG Markets or AvaTrade.
See the complete list of Forex Brokers Regulated By FSCA 2021.
Once your trading account gets approved, use the automated trading software provided by your brokerage trading firm to build your own algorithms or simply start copy trading via trading signals. To become an algorithmic trader you only need to have 3 skills: programming skills, financial markets knowledge and a proven trading edge.
Over the past decade or so, MetaTrader 4 has gained tremendous popularity among Forex traders worldwide and is currently a trading platform offered by almost every online brokerage. The MT4 platform offers:
MetaTrader 4 is also considered one of the best automated trading platforms and one of the most popular forex trading platforms. Below you can see a comparison between MT4, MT5, and cTrader – the most used trading software for automated trading.
MetaTrader 4 offers the broadest opportunities for Forex traders to automate their trading. The platform’s MQL4 Integrated Development Environment (IDE) makes it possible for traders to develop, test, and use expert advisors (EAs) and technical indicators for algorithmic trading. IDE’s core is the MQL4 programming language, which allows for the creation of algorithms for EAs, based on which the latter can trade a particular instrument, monitor market conditions, and explore potential trading opportunities.
By using IDE’s MetaEditor, traders can develop trading strategies and then further test and optimize them in IDE’s Strategy Tester. Once a strategy has been compiled and tested, it can then be run into the MetaTrader 4 platform.
Another advantage of MT4 includes its largest marketplace of trading applications worldwide, where South African traders can choose from over 1,700 expert advisors and over 2,100 technical indicators. Additionally, MetaTrader 4 has a vast online community, where traders can easily find a resolution to a range of issues (for example, issues related to MQL4 programming, developing or testing automated trading systems).
However, along with its advantages, MT4 also has certain drawbacks:
MetaTrader 4 does not allow access to particular markets such as Stocks, Options, and Futures. Traders, however, can access other segments, including Foreign Exchange, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as Stock Indices).
Among the leading online CFD and Forex providers that our team recommends for MT4 algorithmic trading are brokers with ECN execution such as ASIC-regulated Pepperstone. You can read more about this broker in our Pepperstone review.
View Pepperstone Review >>Visit Pepperstone >>
Based on the MQL5 programming language, MetaTrader 5 is a multi-asset trading platform that offers advanced EA backtesting capabilities. MT5 offers 38 built-in technical indicators, 44 analytical objects, 6 pending order types, 4 order execution modes, 21 timeframes and access to the depth of market DOM.
MetaTrader 5 also allows building Expert Advisors (EAs) for trading asset classes that require access to centralized exchanges – Stocks and Futures.
Since MetaTrader 5 is based on the MQL5 coding language, traders cannot run EAs developed in MQL4 for MT4 on this platform. All EAs for MT5 need to be developed in MQL5.
Another distinct feature is that the trading platform allows for multi-threaded backtesting of EAs that can be applied to a wider range of assets, including Stocks and Futures CFDs. This means traders can test multiple trading instruments at one and the same time in the platform’s Strategy Tester.
MetaTrader 5 can also handle both 32-bit and 64-bit expert advisors due to its 64-bit memory capacity. If South African traders are able to build high-quality expert advisors utilizing higher memory capacity, they can enjoy even faster algorithmic trading compared to MT4.
MetaQuotes’ MQL5 programming language for automated strategies allows for building 3 major types of MQL programs:
Among the top online CFD providers that our team recommends for MT5 algorithmic trading are ASIC-regulated ECN brokers such as IC Markets and Pepperstone as well as FSCA-regulated brokers such as AvaTrade and ThinkMarkets.
If you want to know about IC Market’s spreads, the platform features, trading cost, deposit and withdrawals our IC Markets review has the info you need.
cTrader is a trading platform, developed by Spotware Systems Ltd, which is the best platform used with Forex brokers utilizing ECN technology. The platform offers comprehensive chart and watchlist customization options as well as advanced analytical capabilities:
cTrader also grants access to Level II pricing. The automated trading feature of cTrader is called cTrader Automate, which can be used for building robots, visual backtesting, optimization, trade statistics, full backtesting history and the ability to visualize the trading results on the price chart.
cAlgo, also known as cTrader Automate, is an algorithmic trading solution, which allows users to build trading robots and custom indicators with the help of the C# programming language and a proprietary cTrader API. cTrader Automate can help beginners make the switch from manual trading to automated trading.
The code for trading robots (cBots) and custom indicators can also be developed by using the Visual Studio built-in code editor. It is meant to make the coding process as straightforward for users as possible, as it offers a set of functionalities (search, auto-formatting, code completion).
In order to support the development of trading robots and custom indicators, cTrader Automate has several valuable features, including visual backtesting, optimization, trade statistics, deal map etc.
Millions of developers are already coding in C#, so traders can access a large and thriving community without having to learn a new programming language for a single platform.
Another unique feature includes the “Plug & Play” automated trading functionality. With it, South Africa-based users can load a cBot or a custom indicator and click “play” to start trading instantly. This functionality allows traders to install and run trading robots within seconds.
cBots for CFD and Forex trading can also be found and downloaded from cTrader’s constantly growing online community.
Meanwhile, the proprietary cTrader API is designed to support Forex margin trading, as it features all order types, all order modification options, market data and trading history, pre-built indicators, trading instruments and connectivity. This way the API ensures that as much detail as possible is included in an automated trading strategy.
Additionally, every South African user with a cTrader trading account can access the FIX API trading interface commission-free. cTrader FIX API allows retail traders to trade through FIX messages (electronic messages that contain financial data) from their cTrader account. Traders’ unique FIX API credentials can be accessed directly from both the desktop and web-based versions of the cTrader trading platform.
The FIX.API generates messages, which allow traders to receive spot prices with market depth, to submit all types of orders and to monitor their order status. The trading interface offers the following benefits for institutional, professional and high-frequency retail traders:
Forex brokers offering the best cTrader platform is FxPro – and FSCA-regulated brokerage with its own unique execution model. ASIC-regulated IC Markets and Pepperstone also offers cTrader retail investor accounts, which utilize ECN technology.
View FxPro Review >>Visit FxPro >>
South African traders who employ automated trading strategies based on sophisticated technical analysis will certainly find the ProRealTime web-based charting package quite appealing.
This trading software offers a range of timeframes, more than 100 technical indicators, 8 order types as well as access to advanced technical analysis tools such as:
The ProRealCode community is the marketplace where you can discuss trades, share your code with fellow traders to help you with errors or copy off-the-shelf indicators, strategies, and screeners.
With ProRealTime, South African-based Forex traders can build trading algorithms either with the help of assisted creation tools or to program them from scratch.
If traders choose the first option, then the ProRealTime wizard will assist them in creating and specifying their own trading requirements. Or, there will be no need for traders to obtain knowledge of the particular coding language. The trading conditions, the price objectives and the Stop Loss levels can all be specified with the software’s easy-to-navigate drop-down menus. Once all parameters have been set, a code generator will compile the code itself.
Meanwhile, if South African traders know the Visual Basic programming language, then they may find the creation of trading algorithms with the ProBuilder coding language as no challenge, as both languages share some similarities.
When it comes to strategy backtesting, we should note that ProRealTime enables users to backtest their automated trading systems against 30 years of historical data across a range of timeframes. If they wish to do so, users can also backtest their trading strategies with live market data.
ProRealTime Main features are displayed in the table below.
A notable difference from other auto trading platforms, including cTrader and MetaTrader 4, is that ProRealTime allows users to run their automated trading systems even if they are offline. The reason – ProRealTime functions via its own server. Or, traders do not need to use a VPS or to leave their PC constantly running, as is the case with running trading robots or expert advisors on other trading platforms.
Among the best online brokers with whom the ProReal Time software can be accessed, our team of industry experts definitely recommends IG Markets. The charting package is directly integrated with the broker’s trading platform and can be used to trade over 17,000 markets, including Foreign Exchange, Stock CFDs, Commodity CFDs, Cryptocurrencies, Options, Bonds, ETFs and so on.
View IG Markets Review >>Visit IG Markets >>
eToro is the leading innovator in the social trading field. The brokerage complies with strict regulatory standards of some of the most respected regulators globally, including Australia’s ASIC, United Kingdom’s FCA and Cyprus-based CySEC. Currently, eToro’s social trading platform is being trusted by more than 20 million users from 140 countries, as it allows them to discuss trading-related matters, exchange knowledge of financial markets as well as other social interactions.
eToro’s social features incorporate two products:
South Africa-based traders with little experience as well as people lacking the time required to constantly monitor market developments have the chance to earn a passive income by simply duplicating the trading activity of other users on eToro’s platform in real-time. Copied traders can be selected based on certain criteria – return for the past 12 months, risk score, assets under management (AUM) or the number of copiers.
Automated trading with eToro’s CopyTrader is not associated with any management fees or other hidden costs, while the minimum deposit required is, at present, $500.
According to the broker’s statistical record, the 50 most copied traders on its platform generated an average annual return of 83.7% in 2020.
Once a top-performing trader is located, clients need to allocate a part of their available account balance to him/her to begin copying his/her positions in the market automatically. Clients are granted full control over the copy, meaning they can pause or stop it, set a Stop Loss, add or remove funds whenever they wish.
Another unique feature offered by eToro, which takes automated trading to a higher level is CopyPortfolios. It is a long-term investment vehicle that is meant to generate reasonable returns in exchange for minimized risk. CopyPortfolios bundles a collection of assets, which can be either:
The minimum investment amount required is $1,000 and there are no investment management fees.
Copy-trading can also be beneficial for South Africa-based eToro clients with trading experience and proven trading strategy. If they opt to join the broker’s Popular Investor program and get copied by other users, they will be able to earn a second income, paid by eToro every month. There are a set of requirements that traders need to satisfy, with some of them concerning maximum risk score, minimum equity or minimum AUM.
Note that to be entitled to a monthly payment, traders need to have obtained the rank of Champion.
Please take the time to read the whole eToro review if you intend to trade forex through them.
South Africa-based traders who seek to take advantage of market volatility by employing other variations of auto trading, such as copy trading, may find the MetaTrader 4 trading signals tool as an appropriate choice. Without having to leave the trading platform, users can subscribe to and act on trading signals generated by experienced traders from within the huge MetaTrader 4 community.
Users can duplicate the activity of other traders in real-time directly into their live trading account with any brokerage that offers the MT4 trading platform. The service is also accessible on an MT4 demo account.
On one hand, users with little or no trading experience can select from over 3,200 free and paid trading signals across a number of financial markets and access a variety of trading systems by seasoned traders.
On the other hand, traders with a solid approach to global markets have the opportunity to earn a second income, if they satisfy certain criteria to become signal providers. All subscribers who opt to copy their trading system will have to pay them a trading fee.
The list of signal providers can be accessed from the “Signals” tab of MT4’s terminal window, with those who have achieved the best trading results being listed at the top. Signal providers can be filtered and selected based on their:
The MT4 copy trading service can be used either with low-cost CFD and Forex brokers such as Fusion Markets or with true ECN brokers such as IC Markets, Pepperstone or FP Markets. With the latter, South African clients will be able to enjoy CFD and Forex trading with no dealing desk execution, no re-quotes and minimum slippage.
Another good choice of an MT4 brokerage is Markets.com. The MT4 Signals service can be employed with over 2,200 trading instruments across multiple asset classes (currency pairs, Stock Index CFDs, Bonds, Commodity CFDs, ETFs, Cryptocurrencies among others).
View Markets.com Review >>Visit Markets.com >>
Yes! Automated trading can be profitable but it can be a long trial-and-error process. Your algorithm or expert advisor can be profitable as long as you have a proven backtested and forward tested trading strategy.
Building a profitable trading robot comes down to following a simple five-step process.
Not all trading bots are created equal so, depending on how advanced the bot is or how many features have, the price can vary from as low as $10 to a high of $30,000 – according to the prices listed on the MQL5 marketplace.
The best automated trading platform that beginners can use to develop algorithmic trading systems is MetaTrader 4. The MetaQuotes Language 4 (MQL4) is an easy programming language that brings together one of the largest auto-trading communities worldwide.
Check out the top 10 best MetaTrader 4 forex brokers HERE.
Justin Grossbard has been investing for the past 20 years and writing for the past 10. He co-founded Compare Forex Brokers in 2014 after working with the foreign exchange trading industry for several years. He also founded a number of FinTech and digital startups including Innovate Online and SMS Comparison. Justin holds a Masters Degree and an Honours in Commerce from Monash University. He and his wife Paula live in Melbourne, Australia with his son and Siberian cat. In his spare time, he watches Australian Rules Football and invests on global markets.