The revolutionary MetaTrader 4 gave forex traders unprecedented control over trading strategies and timing. Automated trading systems could be implemented, but the platform was restricted to currency traders only. Equity, bond and options investors were shut out of using MetaTrader 4 despite a surge in popularity. When would stock market investors gain access to this powerful platform?
The release of MetaTrader 5 answered that question in 2010.
Quick Look: The Best MetaTrader 5 Brokers
- IC Markets
- Admiral Markets
What Is MetaTrader 5? And Who Uses It?
MetaTrader 5 is the most recent software release from MetaQuotes Software, the Russian firm behind the trading platform. Unlike its previous incarnation, MetaTrader 5 allowed equities and commodities to be traded alongside the usual forex components. Connection times improved and new indicator tools added. Sounds like a must-have program, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. MetaTrader 4 and 5 might look similar, but they aren’t backward compatible. MetaTrader 5’s programming is written in an entirely different language. MetaTrader 4 software is written in MQL4, but MetaTrader 5 introduced the brand-new MQL5. MetaTrader 4 users have entire libraries of Expert Advisors (which are analytical and trading process automation tools) and other robots, and these became obsolete on the MetaTrader 5 platform.
Naturally, users didn’t want to rewrite or re-purchase robots that worked perfectly fine on the MetaTrader 4 platform.
In the United States, finding a reputable broker that offers MetaTrader 5 is harder than finding a Yankees fan who hates Derek Jeter. Though it opened up to equities, MetaTrader 5 traders represent a very small percentage of the platform’s users. Even the big currency brokers Forex.com and OANDA exclusively support MetaTrader 4. To find a home with MetaTrader 5, you’ll have to venture outside the borders of the United States.
MetaTrader 5 vs. MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 4 is the dominant version of the trading software, but MetaTrader 5 does have some improvements and upgrades. Most prominently, the platform is no longer just for currency traders. MetaTrader 5 added two additional order types and is now open to stocks, bonds, futures, options and forex trading. Popular features like hedging, Expert Advisors and automated strategies can still be used.
Partial orders are now available on MetaTrader 5, along with the six different order types. Eight technical indicators and 13 graphical objects have also been added. MetaTrader 5 adds 12 extra timeframes, so research can be done more extensively than ever.
The MQL5 community is available 24/5 on the new embedded chat feature and emails can now be sent with attachments. There’s an economic calendar that shows important dates and data releases, but one of the biggest new perks in the ability to transfer funds between accounts. You can send money between your forex and stock trading accounts without logging off.
Improvements and new features are plentiful on MetaTrader 5, but the lack of backward compatibility means MetaTrader 4 is still the primary platform. Stocks, options and futures trading is a big step and could open the door for more in the future.
Why Brokers Offer MetaTrader 5
MetaQuotes Software has begun to nudge clients toward MetaTrader 5. The platform is technically superior to MetaTrader 4, but the best forex brokers are hesitant to purchase new licenses and traders don’t want to lose the programming language with which they’ve written so many robots.
A tug-of-war is underway and MegaQuotes has increased the pressure. Support for MetaTrader 4 was recently cut off and new brokers now must choose between MetaTrader 5 or nothing at all.
In addition to MetaQuotes’ gentle pushing, equity brokers can now offer the software for stock exchange trading. Most of the brokers which offer MetaTrader 5 offer a variety of different markets to trade in. Previously, only forex brokers used the platform.
Best Brokers That Feature MetaTrader 5
As of this writing, no brokers in the United States support MetaTrader 5. Plenty of support remains for MetaTrader 4, so American currency traders can experience the platform. If you want to trade stocks or options on MetaTrader, you’ll have to do it outside the United States.
Still, plenty of quality brokerage options exist for international traders who wish to use MetaTrader 5. Benzinga has compiled a list of the best MetaTrader 5 brokers based on functionality, reputation and number of tradable markets.
IC Markets is an Australian-regulated forex broker which supports both MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5, so you can choose which one you like best. IC Markets streams prices from 50 different international banks and executes trades as swiftly as any broker on the market. It touts itself as the world’s largest True ECN (electronic communication network) forex broker.
IC Markets has 65 different forex pairs to trade and retail investors can get 500:1 leverage on major currencies. You’ll have ample opportunities in other markets, thanks to CFDs, and IC doesn’t hold back on access. With CFDs, you can trade:
- Stocks: Over 120 large cap stocks trade on the NYSE, Nasdaq and ASX
- Indices: Offers 17 global indices with 200:1 leverage
- Commodities: Precious metals, agriculture products and energy
Bonds from various world governments and cryptocurrencies are available too. IC Markets fully supports MetaTrader 5 and gives traders access to 60 currencies, 16 indices and a range of commodities. Spreads can drop to zero on most major pairs. IC Markets is affordable and offers liquidity in multiple markets, and it’s Benzinga’s top choice for MetaTrader 5 users.
This Russian firm has come a long way since its inception in 2001 and now provides forex and CFD products on a number of global instruments. Admiral Markets also supports MetaTrader 4 and 5 on both Windows and Mac computers. However, 500:1 leverage is restricted to professional clients and Admiral Markets has fewer currency pairs than IC Markets. But the CFD choices are impressive.
Choose from CFD contracts on over 3,000 different stocks and ETFs, 19 indices, 16 commodities and 32 cryptocurrencies. There are only two bonds to choose from: the 10-Year U.S. Treasury Note and the 10-year German Bund.
Admiral Markets has the market access MetaTrader 5 users desire and does a good job of keeping spreads low. Four different regulatory agencies have relationships with the firm, including England’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Forex and CFD traders’ money is safe here and can be put to use in a diverse number of markets.
XM is part of Trading Group, a U.K.-based firm regulated by the FCA. XM is the forex and CFD wing of the firm and it’s got unprecedented accessibility for MetaTrader users. Not only can MT4 and MT5 be used on any computer, but also any smartphone or tablet too. You’ll be able to trade from pretty much anywhere in the world with MT5 for iOS and Android.
XM also gives you more than just a simple trading account. Customer support stands by 24/5 for live help, its video tutorial library use is unlimited and you’ll get daily technical analysis and market research for free. You also get a personal account manager, too — an actual human being!
XM has 55 different currency pairs to trade, along with CFDs on stocks from 17 different countries, commodities and precious metals. Choose from seven different asset classes and thousands of individual products, including indices and cryptocurrencies. XM is a great spot for beginners thanks to its demo account. Newcomers can test out strategies with $100,000 in virtual cash before putting hard-earned money into accounts.
FxPro appeared on the Financial Times list of top brokers three straight years beginning in 2015 and the firm is one of the most trusted brokers in London. FxPro claims to execute trades in 13 milliseconds and processes over 7,000 trades each minute thanks to its No Dealing Desk Execution. Trading on FxPro is fast, safe and anonymous and the broker supports both versions of MetaTrader.
FxPro was named Best Metatrader 5 Broker twice at the U.K. Forex Awards and the platform is supplied for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Trading forex and CFDs and six different asset classes, including big U.S. stocks like Amazon and Netflix. Over 250 different tradable instruments can be purchased through FxPro, including more than 70 different forex pairs and CFDs on stock indices, futures, metals and energy. The firm has been around for over 15 years and is regulated worldwide by the FCA, FSCA, CySEC and SCB.
MetaTrader 5 has enough improvements and new features to warrant a download, but the MetaTrader 4 community still fiercely defends its version. All United States forex brokers support MT4 only. Brokers based in Europe and Australia aren’t as closed off and many support both MT4 and MT5.
If you want to expand your trading into areas like equities and commodities, MetaTrader 5 is a great tool. Just make sure the broker you want to use actually supports it.