Disclosure

Trading in forex and contracts for difference (CFDs) is highly speculative and involves a substantial risk of loss. Choosing a higher leverage on those products can lead to high losses. Following portfolio management or copying the trading activity of other traders, even though they may be professional traders (physical or legal persons) is not obligatory and cannot guarantee success. You should not trade CFDs and forex either by yourself or with the use of an expert advisor (robot), or copy the trading activity of other traders, unless you are prepared to sustain a total loss of your initial investment (deposit). 

EDT Financial LTD owns and operates Cyprus-based TrioMarkets, offering an unusually small catalog of forex, indexes, commodities and metals. Currency pairs are traded directly, and other assets are tradable through CFDs (contracts for difference) and/or spot markets. No spread betting is offered to U.K. or Republic of Ireland account holders. The broker touts straight-through processing (STP) to liquidity providers to reduce conflicts of interest, but it still acts as a counterparty adding poorly-documented mark-ups to bid and ask spreads to generate profits.

Stock trading is listed under the Products menu, but marketing materials disclosed no spreads or commissions. When questioned through live chat, the customer service representative said, “Sorry, we no longer offer share trading.” This raises trust and misrepresentation issues because they are actively recruiting new customers with incorrect information about their product catalog. In addition, the demo account application page does not work, which added to our concerns. 

A minimum $500 is needed to open a basic account but a hefty $5,000 is required for a standard account that offers more-competitive minimum spreads. Disclosure above that account level is insufficient, with advanced and premium tiers that permit fixed and variable spreads listing no minimum funding level. Meanwhile, the “Asset Management” tier raises the ultimate red flag, touting “expected annual performance” up to 40%, a return last achieved by the S&P 500 index in 1954.

Pros

  • Metatrader 4 and Mobile platforms

  • EA package expands feature set

  • Social/copy trading platform

Cons

  • Limited features on web platform

  • No advanced or proprietary technical analysis platform

  • No real-time news

Trust

2.5

The broker is licensed in mainland Europe through Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) Ref HE336081 and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Ref 702759 in the United Kingdom. They are compliant with European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) rules that limit leverage and the broker provides client services that include negative balance protection. An ESMA-mandated disclosure indicates that 82% of retail accounts lose money when trading CFDs at the brokerage, much higher than EU rivals.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) provides up to GBP 50,000 coverage to UK clients in case of a broker default and they list no additional or private coverage. UK client funds are held locally at Barclays Bank but money handling for mainland Europe includes fewer protections as the fine print states that funds can be held at multiple third parties outside of Cyprus. Compensation for broker default is lower than in the UK, up to EUR 20,000 through the Cyprus Investment Compensation Fund (ICF).

TrioMarkets offers no guaranteed stop loss protection but traders can download a large set of broker-branded Expert Advisor modules that include sophisticated order management. Even so, site disclosures are limited to minimum spreads, with no data on average spreads in the last month, quarter or year. They also fail to disclose how much spreads widen during off-market hours, raising the potential for unpleasant surprises. This lack of transparency makes it hard for prospective clients to evaluate bottom line trading costs before opening accounts.

No two-tier authentication is used in the TrioMarkets desktop or web-based platform but Metatrader offers one-time passwords (OTP) that add a security layer. Their dealing desk acts more like an ECN intermediary than a market maker, passing orders directly to liquidity providers, but the fine print states they act as a counterparty on all trades. This system raises odds that mark-ups added to spreads will be higher than industry average but, once again, no cost breakdowns are provided.

Desktop Experience

3.8

The broker offers standard desktop, web and mobile Metatrader 4, along with the MT4 TRIO XTEND, which is a package of Expert Advisor add-ons that expand order customization, risk management, desktop display and social trading capacity. The marketing page lists Connect, a major upgrade to MT’s weak news function, but the zipped package omits this useful module. Social and copy trading is offered through the EA package and TrioSocio platform, but the interface is hidden behind an account gate that is inaccessible. Curiously, the home page doesn’t list this platform, so its current status can’t be confirmed.

Mobile Experience

3.7

TrioMarkets uses standard MT4 mobile applications for the web, iOS and Android, allowing easy syncing between platforms. All mobile versions are useful but limited in functionality, which is expected, but some customers may want more sophisticated feature sets. Account holders can set custom price alerts, build watch lists and do basic charting but the apps don’t provide a true alternative to the standalone platform.

Research

2.7

The broker has constructed an otherwise disorganized research portal with basic news, market updates and an economic calendar. The video chart analysis section offers the most impressive materials with 11 timely TA presentations, but there was no archive of past work. The page also has loading difficulties, further reducing usefulness. A check of TrioMarket’s YouTube page found 12 platform tutorials and no market analysis.

A random click revealed a second News section not linked to the resources menu. This portal also has a Market Review link that accesses a handful of stale, dated articles. Fortunately, an equally hard-to-find “daily analysis” section contained current information and an 81-page archive going back to 2016. However, no research materials are accessible through a search function or tagged topics, making it difficult to find particular time frames or ticker-specific data.

Education

3.8

TrioAcademy features four comprehensive e-books and more than 20 on-demand videos. Unfortunately, hitting a video link triggers a disclaimer pop-up that freezes the page, forcing the user to hit the browser back button. This functional breakdown matches mistrust themes noted with stocks and the broken demo account. Fundamental Knowledge and Trading Platform sections included nine basic tutorials.

Special Features

4.5

Spreads drop and perks increase from the Basic to the Standard and Advanced account tiers in an efficient discount program not tied to volume levels. TrioMarkets offers an API and VPS hosting to higher level accounts, allowing greater automation and customization. Metatrader 4 provides limited automated trading while special account tiers permits professionals and institutions to hook up their own systems.

The broker uses straight-through processing to liquidity providers, claiming it “optimizes the speed of transactions by avoiding any interventions of a dealing desk.” But TrioMarkets does act as a counterparty according to the fine print, adding mark-ups to the bid and ask spreads. Little is offered about mark-up levels or calculations in the marketing materials and disclosures, raising the potential for abuse. The same holds true for overnight lending fees.

Investment Products

2.4

The small product catalog includes less than 100 instruments, with an adequate forex listing and limited index, metals and commodity markets. Currency pairs are traded directly through foreign exchange markets rather than CFDs while metals and commodities can be traded through CFDs and spot markets. The lack of spread betting for UK and Ireland is uncompetitive, given tax advantages and multiple rivals that support this market venue. Shares are no longer offered but that hasn’t stopped the broker from featuring them prominently on the home page.

Commissions and Fees

3.5

Minimum spreads are above average for accounts between $500 and $4,999, at 2.4 pips. This drops to 1.4 pips at $5,000 and 1.1 pips for the “advanced” account, but the broker doesn’t disclose financial requirements for that tier. Spreads drop to 0.0 pips on the fixed-spread account, which requires payment of a commission that starts at $5.50 each side. There’s no disclosure on average spreads, mark-up fees or overnight lending rates, raising the potential for higher-than-expected trading costs

Withdrawals are unusually expensive at 1.5% of the transaction plus another 1.5% for wire transfers. That means clients will pay a hefty $150 plus currency conversion to transfer $5,000 into their local bank. Dormant fees are also higher than industry average, with $30/month charged after just three months of inactivity. That fee was well-hidden in the fine print and not disclosed on marketing pages, adding to trust concerns.

Customer Support

4.8

Customer support hits all the bases, with 24/6 chat, email and local phone numbers in seven countries. Online chat is available to new and prospective clients, but it took three to five minutes to reach a human representative. The TrioMarkets Twitter feed had just 328 followers, possibly reflecting issues uncovered during the review, while the Facebook page had more than 23,000. Bare-boned FAQs contained a few basic items an account opening, funding and withdrawals as well as trading venues and company information. 

What You Need to Know

It’s tough to recommend TrioMarkets to traders or investors at any capitalization or experience level due to site omissions, bugs and misrepresentations that include incorrect stock information, a broken demo account, and no average spread, mark-up or overnight lending fee disclosures. High-end, professional and institutional traders may wish to take a second look if they have skills to minimize these deficits, seeking the trust level needed to access high-end features that include potential discounts, VPS hosting and an API interface. 

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Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of six months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on their platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting over 3,000 data points that we weighed into our star scoring system.

In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out a 320-point survey about all aspects of their platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of their platforms at our offices.

Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels. Click here to read our full methodology.