Alpari UK Limited
Alpari UK is based in London. The company does operate throughout the world. In 2013, Alpari decided to liquidate its U.S. operation, for reasons most forex traders could easily appreciate.
Alpari is one of the older online forex brokers, with a history dating back to 1998. It also offers trading facilities for precious metals, spread bets and CFDs, but for purposes of this review, it is their forex operation that will be considered.
This broker does offer five different types of forex trading accounts. Complete details are available on Alpari’s well-designed website, but here is a brief overview.
• Market-Alpari’s newest account type requires only $200 for the minimum deposit.
• Pro-Two offerings, one with a $10,000 minimum deposit and the other requiring $20,000. At the higher level, traders are offered two additional trading platforms, known as Alpari Direct Pro and Alpari Direct.
• Spread Betting Account-£250 minimum
• MT5-$200 minimum and includes use of the MetaTrader 5 trading platform.
All of the accounts have some common characteristics. With the exception of the higher funded of the two Pro accounts and the MT5 account, MetaTrader 4 is the trading platform. All the account offer at least 37 currency pairs, with four of the five providing 57-59 pairs.
Commissions and Spreads
Alpari promotes spreads of as low as zero pips. This claim is denoted with an asterisk and further information that spreads will be higher in mainland China and the Middle East. There is also indication on the website that the MT5 account may have commissions imposed upon it at some point in time.
Alpari is a No Dealing Desk (NDD) broker, meaning that it does not re-quote currency prices when a trader attempts a transaction. They also function as an Electronic Clearing Network (ECN), matching buy and sell orders rather than acting as a counter-party, as is the case with a Market Maker broker.
Many traders are experienced with the MetaTrader 4 platform, so establishing an account with Alpari will not require a sharp initial learning curve. Users of the Alpari Direct Pro and Alpari Direct platforms are generally favorable in their remarks. At some time, it would be conceivable that Alpari will introduce a simple proprietary platform for new traders, as some can find MetaTrader 4 initially intimidating. They have mobile apps for Apple and Android devices that are well designed for small screens.
Deposits and Withdrawals
Forex trading accounts can be funded with all major credit and debit cards. Alpari UK also accepts Switch, Maestro, Visa Electron and 3D Secure authenticated Visa/MasterCard UnionPay cards. NetTeller and Skrill deposits are also acceptable.
Accounts can also be funded by bank wire transfers and check.
Regarding withdrawals, the only method Alpari seems to offer is bank wire. This places them behind many other brokers that offer several withdrawal options, especially when it is common practice for banks to charge fees for wire transfers.
Customer support is given more than adequate attention at Alpari. Customer service representatives can be accessed via telephone, email and live chat.
There are considerable trading and training resources available on the Alpari UK website. There are articles, video tutorials and webinars, along with a helpful section for new traders regarding the MetaTrader 4 platform. There is also a section devoted to the use of Expert Advisors (EA) for purposes of engaging in automated trading.
Alpari also provides resources pertaining to research and trading tools, along with forex news related to daily analysis throughout trading sessions and upcoming economic events.
Regulators and Safety
Under the Financial Services Act of 2012, regulatory authority of Alpari was switched from the Financial Services Authority to the Financial Conduct Authority. Alpari has a reputation for compliance and even takes measures to exceed the base requirements, so traders can have reasonable confidence in the financial stability and business practices of the company.
It is possible to obtain leverage of as high as 500:1. This is reduced to 200:1 on trades above certain limits, a practice Alpari describes as floating leverage, however, the larger Pro account and the MT5 account do not have this feature.
Sign Up Bonuses
Alpari’s website does mention a promotion where a new account could qualify for up to $4,000 on certain accounts, but this section of the website is dated 2011. It does not appear at this time as though there are any current promotions of any kind. At any rate, choosing a broker on this criterion alone is probably not in anyone’s best interests, since there are usually some fairly convoluted terms and conditions involve with such offers.
Alpari’s longevity and generally positive perception by clients would seem to indicate that they are a forex broker deserving of careful investigation. They seem to be constantly innovating in the attempt to appeal to as many potential traders as possible, which is indicative of a vibrant, substantial business.