MetaTrader’s iOS issue opens brokers’ eyes to other trading platforms

Rick Steves

In a surprising (or-not-so-surprising) move, Apple has removed MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 from its App Store in a huge blow for the leading FX trading platform provider.

“Following a unilateral decision of Apple which was outside the control of MetaQuotes, MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 for the iOS operating system will not be available for download in the Apple App Store, as of today”, MetaQuotes wrote in an email.

“Metaquotes is taking all the actions required, in an effort to restore the apps the soonest possible”, the email added.

The fact is that complaints against MetaQuotes were mounting, with the most high profile case being covered by Forbes earlier this month – about super scam ‘Pig Butchering’ and how it used MetaTrader to defraud investors. Apple spokesperson Adam Dema told Forbes the company was investigating complaints about MetaTrader, and would take additional action to protect App Store users if necessary.

It seems that the ‘additional action’ was taken, even though MetaQuotes had reportedly taken action of its own a couple of months ago. The firm had allegedly made it harder for white label providers to onboard clients.

It is still unclear whether the issues with the iOS mobile apps will be resolved soon for the delight of brokers and traders or will Google follow the example and cut MT4 and MT5 out of its Play Store.

Although the decision was made quietly on Friday, the news quickly reached the whole FX industry, which is already scrambling to find solutions for brokers that have put all their eggs in one basket.

The reality is there are plenty of solutions for brokers besides MetaTrader despite the flocking behavior that has been around for years. Many, if not most brokers across the globe have been making efforts to diversify their portfolio of trading platforms in recent years for many reasons. One of them is the acknowledgment that legacy platforms aren’t able to keep up with the technological advancements and the demands from traders.

The pros and cons of a legacy platform

We spoke with Jon Light, VP of Trading Solutions at Devexperts, to ascertain his opinion on the matter of legacy platforms. While admitting the FX/CFD industry is in a strange situation with regards to having support legacy platforms, he stated the newer breed of traders seems to be forcing changes.

“For nearly 20 years, out of the box platforms for brokers have helped create a large FX/CFD retail market that opened up trading to everyone. This standardised the offering, and made it easy and cheap to setup the technology part of a brokerage. The only other solution was to have something built in-house, which is obviously more expensive and complex.

“After so much time the industry is now locked into this way of working, making it hard for existing brokers to move and new entrants simply offer the same as everyone else. Experienced traders are so used to the legacy platforms which are now the standard it has become a must have part of a brokers offering”, Jon Light stated, while pointing to a new breed of traders who are not only mobile first, but mobile only. “This type of trader demands easy to use, exciting mobile applications.”

“The problem with legacy tech is getting locked into the same offering as everyone else, especially when users have moved on in terms of their expectations. You also see a new breed of brokers that demand modern technology and practices. These brokers have new ideas and differing business models which requires a flexible platform that can grow with them and their direction.”

FXOpen executive says it is a “good thing for the industry as a whole”

FinanceFeeds also spoke with Natalia Zakharova, Head of Sales at FX and CFD broker FXOpen, about the sudden removal of MetaQuotes platforms from the Apple AppStore.

FXOpen is a highly regarded forex and CFD brand with entities located in London, Cyprus and Australia, regulated by the FCA, CySEC, and ASIC respectively. FXOpen offers ECN, STP, Micro and Crypto trading accounts, depending on the jurisdiction.

The broker fortunately is well diversified platform-wise as it not only offers trading via MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5, but also its own proprietary platform TickTrader, built together with software developer Soft-FX.

“There are a large number of unregulated, offshore companies which have no trading infrastructure of their own, no regulatory oversight for what is supposed to be a financial product, and in some cases trading conditions which clearly allude toward a zero-sum outcome”, said Ms. Zakharova. “MetaTrader is used by the majority of ‘white label’ firms which only operate a sales team and whose sole business strategy is to buy lead lists for soliciting deposits which are then used as revenue for the white label.

“It is therefore possible that MetaQuotes will have to work with Apple to figure out what criteria must be met in order to re-list it, which could be the implementation of vetting to ensure that only brokers with their own infrastructure and proper regulation via bona fide financial regulators in top tier jurisdictions would be using it, and providing enough resources to ensure that traders have been vetted as people with enough knowledge to be able to navigate the financial markets properly, and to ensure that actual live financial markets are being offered rather than creating a simulated market which guarantees loss to clients.

“Either way, it is a good thing for the industry as a whole, as the good quality brokerages will be able to sustain their business and prosper, and the bad actors who churn clients via lead lists will not be able to continue their operations as they do not have loyal client bases and will not be able to churn clients anymore.”

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