Established in 2011, ECN Capital is a Forex broker offering all of the basics needed for FX trading, along with modern social trading tools. ECN Capital was founded by a pair of Swiss capital market experts with over a decade of investment experience. Having worked together on the development of algorithm based trading systems, the pair decided to take the next step and open a Forex brokerage complete with a social trading platform. In this ECN Capital review, we fully examine this platform, along with all of the other important factors that one will need to consider when selecting a broker.
ECN Capital offers five different account types, with each offering a different level of services and perks. Of particular interest was the provision of trading signals and VPS service, two services which are not commonly made available. Trade costs can vary by account type, so do take this into consideration should you decide to open an account with this FX broker. As you will see in the breakdown below, educational tools are offered, as is account management service. Most asset groups are provided to all traders, regardless of account type, with the exception of agricultures, which are not provided to Silver account holders.
Although not included in the accounts list, Islamic accounts are made available upon request. Contact the customer service department for assistance with creating this type of account.
ECN Capital offers a web-based SIrix trading platform, a fact which may be disappointing for those who are big fans of the MetaTrader platforms. The reasoning behind this is clear though, as the founders wanted to provide a platform that was centered around social trading. New traders likely will not mind using this platform, as they have not yet had the opportunity to become dependent upon MT4 or MT5. The good news here is that the platform does offer plenty of charts and tools and was actually developed by Leverate, which is a CySEC regulated company. The photo below shows the platform, complete with the social trading area on the far right side.
As the provided platform is web-based, there will be no need for any download. This should come as a relief to Mac users, who have always struggled with MT4, which was designed specifically for the Windows platform. There are no app versions of this platform available, which will of course be a drawback for those who like to trade on their mobile devices. However, it is still possible to trade through a mobile device using a browser.
All account types carry a maximum leverage of 1:200, with the exception of the Mega account, which allows traders to push their leverage ratio up to 1:500. Once again, the type of account that one chooses does make a difference. Even so, do not fret if you start out with one account type and find that you need to change. We often see this with regards to brokers who offer account tiers. As traders grow and progress, they often advance to higher tier accounts in order to take full advantage of all of the available advantages and perks.
The smallest allowed trade sizes are based on account type:
- Silver – 0.01
- Gold – 0.1
- Platinum – 0.2
- Mega – 0.5
- ECN – 0.01 – 0.2
The reason for the variance on the ECN account is the fact that the minimum will vary by asset. Feel free to check out the platform to see what the minimum trade size is for each asset. No maximum trade size is provided by this broker, but the industry average is typically around 1,000 lots, which is a massive trade size and one is much larger than even the most advanced trader will ever enter into. If you are interested in entering into large positions, do check with ECN Capital’s support team.
Commission free trading is available, with the exception of ECN accounts where the fee is $15 per lot. Whenever commission free trading is offered, the fee paid for each trade that you open is determined by the spread (the difference between the price you paid for the asset that you’ve decided to trade on and the price at the time you close the trading position). Swap fees will of course vary by asset and are charged on all account types other than Islamic accounts. Swap fees only apply to positions which remain open after the markets close, so if you do not do this, this cost will not apply to you. If you are a trader who does leave trades open overnight, the easiest way to see swap fees is to check the asset specifications within the trading platform.
The ECN Capital asset list is massive, comprised of currency pairs, indices, commodities, US equities, EU equities, Asian equities, and stocks. There are ten options for trading cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, LiteCoin, Etherum, and Ripple. The breakdown below shows the exact number of underlying assets listed in each asset category.
- 57 Currency Pairs
- 16 Commodities
- 26 Indices
- 135 US Equities
- 93 EU Equities
- 13 Asia Equities
- 15 Stocks
As you can see, there are plenty of assets to choose from. As mentioned above, there was one limitation on Silver accounts, with that being the inability to trade agriculture assets, but aside from that, all account types will have access to all of the assets listed within the ECN Capital asset index.
The spreads within the platform are floating, but do vary by account type. There are target spreads for the various accounts and those can be view sorted by underlying asset on the following web page: https://www.ecncapital.com/target-spreads. We did notice that the target on some assets were quite competitive, while others did look to be higher than industry average. This is actually not uncommon in cases where commission free trading is offered. If you want the best spreads available, you would need to opt for the ECN account, but keep in mind that there will be a per-trade cost on each trade made using the ECN account.
The minimum deposit amount will vary by account type. Any deposit up to $5,000 will provide you with a Silver level account. Amounts above that will provide you with higher tier accounts. The breakdown is as follows:
- Silver Account: $1 – $5,000
- Gold Account: $5,000 – $20,000
- Platinum Account: $20,000 to $50,000
- Mega Account: $50,000
- ECN Account: $50,000
If there is one negative to point out here (and you’ve likely already noticed it), that would be the high deposit requirement for accessing an ECN account. There are many Forex brokers out there who offer a true ECN account with a much smaller deposit requirement. Of course, if you really like what ECN Capital has to offer and have plenty of capital to get started with, this might not be a problem. However, most first-time traders will not want to deposit $50,000 or more to get started. For those individuals, the commission-free Silver and Gold accounts will be the more attractive account level options.
Deposit Methods & Costs
If there is one area in which ECN Capital truly needs improvement, it would be in the area of providing clear and concise banking information. While they do provide instructions for how to deposit, they are not extremely clear with regards to all of the specific payment methods that are accepted. As of this writing, they claim to accept the following:
- Deposits by credit card
- Electronic payment methods
- Bank wire transfers
- Online wallets (Skrill, Netteler, WebMoney)
It appears that no charges are assessed on deposits, but we do know that banks often charge their clients for sending wire transfers. Check with your bank or other payment processor to find out what, if any, fees apply when sending outgoing payments. Once you’ve chosen the deposit method you wish to use, step by step instructions for proceeding with the deposit will be provided. Should you run into any problems, contact customer service.
Withdrawal Methods & Costs
It is assumed that the same payment methods available for deposits will also be available for withdrawals, as that is typically how Forex brokers choose to handle withdrawals. A withdrawal fee of 25 to 50 USD or EUR is charged on bank wire withdrawals. Again, ECN Capital does not provide many payment details and should consider making their methods, costs and processes clearer to prospective clients who are seeking this information in advance of making the broker selection decision.
Withdrawal Processing & Wait Time
ECN Capital guarantees that transferring of funds withdrawn from clients’ trading accounts will be completed within 7 business days. The 7-day period begins from the moment the withdrawal request is submitted. Withdrawal requests can be submitted from the “withdrawal” page which is accessible from the account back office. As usual, withdrawals are paid out to the payment method which was used to fund the account, so if you choose to deposit via bank wire transfer, the sum withdrawn will be issued by way of bank wire transfer as well. Bank wire transfers may also be used to issue any profits which exceed the initial deposit amount, regardless of the chosen deposit method.
Bonuses & Promotions
ECN Capital offers two types of bonuses, including a deposit bonus and cash back bonus on losses. Both types of bonus are offered on all account, with one exception. On the Silver account, only a deposit bonus is offered. With each account tier, the offered bonus amounts climb higher. With the Mega and ECN accounts, up to a 100% cash back bonus is offered on losses, which is actually quite incredible. Obviously, all bonuses, regardless of which broker they are offered by, do come with terms and conditions which must be met. Be sure to read these so that you will fully understand what is required of you in order to collect the bonus funds.
Educational & Trading Tools
An online financial course and one-on-one training is made available to all, while a FX trading e-book is provided to everyone except Silver account holders. Platinum, Mega, and ECN account holders will be able to take advantage of provided webinars and an analyst manager. There is an on-site education area which provides some basics, including strategy, leverage, spreads, and pips information. An economic calendar is also provided.
As for trading tools, the social trading option within the platform is noteworthy. However, there is another helpful tool offered and this would be trading signals. As you can see above, the length of time during which one will receive signals is based upon their account level. Silver account holders will only receive them for one week, whereas Mega and ECN accounts will always have unlimited access to the signals that are provided.
24/7 support is offered for all with the exception of, yes, you guessed it – Silver account holders. The available contact options include telephone, live chat, direct email and email via a contact form which is provided on the website. The single provided contact number is +41445510256, while there are two email addresses provided:
Technical assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org
Client services: email@example.com
There are brokers which provide many more contact options, but the fact remains that the only matter of real importance is that a broker quickly responds to questions and problems, regardless of contact method. Poor customer service is nearly always an indicator of a sub-par broker, while excellent service is nearly always an indicator of a broker that is above average.
Although not advertised on their website, ECN Capital does offer free demo accounts upon request. If you create a live account, a demo account can then be created via the trading platform without having to contact the support team. If you prefer not to complete the registration process in advance, it will be necessary to contact the support staff to request instructions for how to proceed with opening only a demo account.
ECN Capital is an offshore broker registered at Suites 103, 106&107, Premier Building, Victoria, Mahe, Republic of Seychelles and therefore can accept a wide range of clients, including those from the U.S. Many assume that offshore brokers are always a scam. While this does sometimes prove to be the case, it certainly is not always. The best advise is to do your due diligence and investigate any unregulated broker fully prior to making a deposit. If a broker is truly bad, it will be quite easy to determine this by simply reading broker reviews such as this one, along with actual reviews of current and past clients (just beware of any suspicious negative reviews posted by competing brokers – while not extremely common, this sometimes does happen).
ECN Capital falls into what we often consider our ‘Maybe’ category. Some brokers offer mass appeal and clearly will be a good choice for most traders, while others such as this one are not mass market targeted. Obviously, we cannot know exactly what your objectives and requirements are, so we cannot definitively say that this broker is or is not right for you. What we can say is that the positives here include access to signals, social trading, VPS service, plenty of assets, access to an account manager, and plenty of account types. The drawbacks include higher minimum deposit requirements, lack of payments information, and for some, the absence of the MT4 platform. Are these deal breakers? Ultimately, that is up to you to decide.