OANDA Broker: Review Weigh the Pros and Cons
OANDA, 1996 by Dr. Sturm and Ph.D. Olsen touts it doing "everything currency-related," from currency exchange to providing corporate FX data services to full-fledged global online brokerage services for individuals who want to trade currencies, including retail FX and CFD markets. 1
Globally, OANDA offers both standard and premium account types, as well as a product catalog that includes a wide variety of CFDs and spread betting products across various asset classes, although not all products are available in every region it serves. In addition to Forex, brokers also offer indices, metals, commodities and bonds to provide trading opportunities in financial markets.
OANDA provides most customers with varying degrees of account protection depending on the region. OANDA Europe Limited provides negative balance protection under ESMA, while OANDA Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. provides guaranteed stop loss orders. US customers are the exception, as OANDA Corporation does not provide such protections for their accounts.
In the U.S., OANDA is one of the top performers on the CFTC's Retail Foreign Exchange Obligations Report, which "represents the total amount of funds FCM, RFED, or FCMRFD that would be obtained by consolidating all funds, securities, and assets issued by a single institution. Retail FX." - Client deposits into retail FX accounts or accounts adjusted for net realized and unrealized gains and losses. "
A well-organized website with clear transparency goals, emphasis on customer education and research, multiple user interfaces, and global oversight by regulators puts OANDA at the forefront of online forex brokers.
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Who OANDA is for
OANDA provides clients with access to a variety of financial instruments, but is also ideal for seasoned traders looking for a great desktop trading experience. Product availability varies by region. For example, U.S. clients can only trade Forex, but the broker offers fast and reliable trade execution, research resources above industry norms, a functional user interface, and a verifiable regulatory track record.
- OANDA accepts US clients, making it one of the few global online forex brokers to do so.
- OANDA Corporation is a CFTC registered FCM and RFED and a member of the NFA (#0325821). 3 OANDA Europe is authorised and regulated by the UK FCA (#542574) and clients are entitled to additional asset protection up to £85,000 through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).4
- A wealth of well-designed relevant tools and resources, including Dow Jones FX Select news and various types of calculators, make fxTrade an excellent trading platform. Additionally, the inclusion of TradingView, "an advanced financial visualization platform" in OANDA's desktop and web-based platforms, is a major advantage.
- OANDA offers an impressive array of economic analysis, real-time news feeds, calendars and advanced data analytics not commonly found on retail platforms.
- OANDA does not provide "negative balance protection" for US customers. This means that U.S. traders with negative account balances may owe their brokers money.
- OANDA does not offer Guaranteed Stop Loss Orders (GSLOs) for US or UK clients.
- OANDA does not offer individual stocks, ETFs, industry sectors or cryptocurrencies, which limits its total CFD issuance to 55, well below its competitors.
- OANDA charges a monthly inactivity fee in addition to fees for deposits/withdrawals, bank transfers, debit cards, and ACH transactions.
OANDA is common in the brokerage industry and generates revenue from the spreads offered to clients. Its spread structure is very simple and consists of two pricing options, "Spread Only" and "Core Price + Commission". 5 The former generates revenue from client transactions that “cross” the bid-ask spread, while the latter adds a base commission to the original spread of $50 per million dollars, which is the industry standard. Commission charges are aggregated and credited to the client's account as a cash settlement.
These pricing options are easily found on OANDA's website and apply to both account types offered by the broker, although the displayed spreads vary. For example, the minimum EUR/USD spread for a "Standard" account under the "Spread Only" model is 1.3 pips, while the "Core Pricing + Commission" model has a raw spread of 0.4 pips.
OANDA advertises the use of an automated engine to attempt to accurately track global pricing, but spreads are still subject to market volatility and liquidity. In the spirit of its transparency, OANDA publishes historical spread data for all its asset classes.
US clients have the opportunity to participate in OANDA's Advanced Trader Program, a three-tier rewards system for high-volume traders. Benefits include discounts on spreads or commissions, a designated "dedicated relationship manager", API support, free VPS and referrals, and discounted access to third-party platforms. Tier 1 requires clients to deposit at least $20,000 per month or have a trading volume of over $10 million, while Tier 2 and Tier 3 require monthly trading volumes of $10-500 million and $500+, respectively.
OANDA does not have a minimum deposit requirement for clients wishing to open a "standard" account, but logic dictates that the amount depends on the margin requirement for the minimum trade size the client wishes to make. 6 "Premium" accounts require a minimum deposit of $20,000 and offer customers additional perks such as unlimited free transfers.
The foreign exchange funding fee charged by OANDA for overnight positions is described as "a combination of the underlying liquidity provider's tom-next rate, adjusted for our x% (annualized) management fee".