The Forex market has been dominated by MetaQuotes for over 10 years. They have created the most popular trading platform in the world – MetaTrader4 and its modernized version MetaTrader5 (MT4/MT5). The Russian and Cyprus-based company is the undisputed leader among software providers for FX brokers. What makes MetaTrader platforms the first choice for both brokers and traders? Does their popularity mean that they are the best solution available on the market? We checked the key aspects of their success and how brokers can benefit from each of these platforms.
Ecosystem for brokers and traders
Each broker and trader, while selecting a platform, check the possibilities of extending its functionalities. They do that based on the number of plugins and supporting applications available on the market. From a broker’s point of view, it is crucial to have multiple connectivity options with liquidity providers. Plugins to manage execution, trade copying or bonus programs are equally important. Brokers also willingly use applications that support the development of traders’ networks or managed accounts. Examples of such applications can be social trading or PAMM systems. They allow one trader to send trading signals to the accounts of other traders.
Variety of apps compatible with the MT4 or MT5 platform
The strength of MetaQuotes is that they have managed to build a wide network of independent external technology providers who offer their applications and plugins designed specifically for these platforms. There are thousands of programmers who, using the MQL4 and MQL5 languages, create robots, indicators and other useful tools for retail clients. All these applications can be installed directly on the MT4 or MT5 platform.
MT4 or MT5? MetaQuotes says MT5
The problem occurs when the broker wants to exchange the older MT4 platform for MT5. MQL4 and MQL5 languages are not compatible with each other. That means the robots used by their clients for automatic trading simply stop working on the newer version of the platform. The popularity of MT4, which has not been developed for almost 3 years, is still greater than MT5 precisely because of the number of ready-made robots available on the market. Over a year ago, to convince brokers to choose a new platform, MetaQuotes stopped selling the full MT4 license. This means that startup brokers who want to start using the MT4 platform need to use technology providers who offer MT4 White Labels. That, in turn, puts significant constraints on the brokers.
A standalone version of the system
MetaTrader4 and MetaTrader5 are written in C++ programming language, which makes it very hard to decompile (steal the code). Thanks to this decision MetaQuotes was able to provide an enterprise version of its system, which means that each broker can install and manage it on his premise. It is an important feature which gives a lot of flexibility to the brokers who can install various plugins, set full admin configuration and keep all the clients’ data on their servers. MetaTrader4 is also a very simple system, which makes it easy to manage even for startup brokers.
Simplicity over performance
The situation is more complex with MetaTrader5, whose backend was redesigned. The architecture of the system is far more complicated and the countless number of options can be intimidating for some brokers. For this reason, brokers did not welcome MT5 as enthusiastically as MT4. People usually prefer simple solutions and even better performance and more options don’t compensate for the configuration issues, lack of compatibility with the previous platform and bigger challenges for the IT departments. This is why brokers, who want to have a system with a full license start to look for other platforms, which are delivered as hosted solutions. These platforms can provide both extensive flexibility and full assistance with maintenance and daily support.
Desktop, mobile, and web platforms
The major advantage of MetaQuotes’ platforms is their popularity among traders around the world. Both of them offer a clean and intuitive interface which makes them easy to use. The major drawback is that the desktop platform is still the main version. Sure, it gives quite many options for installing plugins. Unfortunately, clients need to install them on their computers. Nowadays, traders demand easily accessible solutions such as web or mobile. And even though there are web versions of both platforms, they’re not in demand. The design is very out-of-date and its functionalities and configuration options are finite.
Mobile versions of the MetaTrader platforms work quite smoothly, but there are no branding options in either of them. Besides, each client who wants to log in to a mobile platform of his choice needs to browse the list of a few thousand brokers, meaning that he will see all the competition. It is quite inconvenient for both clients and brokers. There are few 3rd party providers on the market who built web traders and mobile traders for MT4 or MT5, but as practice shows, they are not much better than the original ones. Still, it is worth checking them if you would like to stand out from the crowd.