Update: As of December 7, 2012, GFT Forex is no longer accepting US clients, and has transferred all of their US-based clients to GAIN capital's retail trading institution, Forex.com. Read the full Forex.com review for more information.
Global Forex Trading, commonly known as GFT Forex, is known for its dazzling charts and prompt customer service. Before a potential trader can even download the free demo, a “GFT licensed Forex specialist” is on the phone inquiring if he can walk the user through the platform.
During the scope of this GFT Forex review, we were impressed with the company's DealBook 360, a 20 MB-plus downloadable trading engine that powers the company's demo, mini and standard accounts. The standard account is the full-featured crown jewel of the line; as its name suggests, the mini account is less robust. There is also a scaled-back, Web-based version (DealBook Web) and a Pocket PC version (DealBook Mobile). Finally, two professional platforms round out the offerings: GFT Prime, for institutional money managers, and Strategy Runner, a rule-setting add-on.
After a quick registration and set up, one of the first things you’ll notice is that there are two icons on your desktop instead of the usual two: there are the DealBook 360 and Chart Studio. Chart Studio has over 100 variations on technical analyses for the trader who wants to devise his own charting system. For the majority, though, this program is an unnecessary extra. You’ll also notice that the software creators borrowed a favorite feature from the Mac: the window shade for minimizing screens.
The GFT Forex site has no trading or platform tutorials to speak of. The company does provide general background information on major financial markets and a glossary. Also, the user can download a software guide (PDF) that explains the platform’s features.
Alternatively, to get the trader comfortable with the DealBook 360 and Forex trading in general, GFT Forex offers the personal touch. An account representative will call and patiently take the novice through the platform and the Forex market. GFT seeks to foster a relationship between company and client. Building trust and customer loyalty is simply a smart marketing move, particularly in Forex.
The software demonstration with an account representative is the key to becoming familiar with the DealBook platform. It is so laden with chart options, graphics tools, and multiple drop-down menus that it would be difficult to navigate solo. In fact, because of the number of viewing options that blanket the screen, a trader can feel pretty claustrophobic without a wide-screen monitor.
Within the platform there are 60 currency pairs from which to choose. The spreads range from a standard three to four pips for majors to a variable market-dependent rate for exotics. Around news time, however, all bets are off. The volatility of the market can throw the spreads into chaos. But, the trader should be able to follow these movements from any of the platform’s tools. The minimum lot size for all platforms is $10,000. Trades can be executed as market, stop, limit, and trailing stop.
To open a mini account, the user must ante up a mere $250. For that he will be offered a completely customizable dashboard and leverage amounts as high as 1:400. There is a Quick Deal chart with big colorful blocks of crosses that can be used to view or make quick trades. Impressively, with a few right and left clicks, the user can also trade off of any technical chart . Not just buy/sell orders but also stop/limits can be made directly from the charts. In fact, one of DealBook’s greatest strengths is the number of ways one can execute a trade.
The standard account requires a $2,500 minimum deposit. Additional deposits are simple to make. Withdrawals, too, may be made online, but these Web pages were not functional at the time of this review. GFT Forex accepts everything from credit cards to paper checks. A small pass-along fee is charged when using PayPal. Withdrawals are executed within a few days. It is important to note that GFT Forex charges rollover fees, although these are not specified on the site.
Finally, some neat options are available on the DealBook that are not found on other platforms. These include a voice-recognition feature and something called ITX (Inter Trader eXchange), which allows clients to trade with each other. In other words, a client can set a bid price and another client can agree to a trade, thus setting up one’s own spreads.
GFT is not for the faint of heart. It is for the trader who is serious about Forex and wants to become more adept at playing the market. There have been some grumblings from GFT clients about slippage, especially at trading time, but, overall, GFT Forex has a strong following and a sterling reputation.
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Sadly, GFT in my experience is one of the worst dealing desks in the US. You interest as a client is not theirs - do not be fooled.Veteran Trader April 2009