Our Pepperstone review starts with a look at the history that has laid the foundations to the current successes seen by the broker in Australia, and overseas.
Pepperstone Group Limited was founded in Melbourne in 2010 by a team of experienced former traders. The company has grown rapidly over the last 13 years, expanding globally by opening offices in London, Cyprus, The Bahamas, Kenya, Dubai and Germany.
This growth has come on the back of its commitment to providing customers with the latest in trading technology and superior customer service. Through the use of low-latency trading software, it is able to provide retail investors with the same fast trade execution enjoyed by banks and large financial companies.
Pepperstone’s success can be measured in part at least by the number of awards it has picked up along the way. At the UK Forex Awards in 2018, Pepperstone won three coveted accolades including Best FX Trading Conditions, Best FX ECN Broker and Best FX Trading Support.
Another key aspect behind the success that of the broker is the industry leading range of trading platforms that are on offer. Traders at Pepperstone have the choice of almost all industry leading trading platforms to choose from, including:
- Pepperstone cTrader: In-house user-friendly trading platform. Advanced order capabilities and customisation.
- Pepperstone MT4: Trade from your phone, tablet or desktop with the world’s most popular trading platform
- Pepperstone MT5: Get more advanced features and access to CFDs, Stocks and Futures with the powerful MT5
- Pepperstone WebTrader: Access to your Metatrader 4 account from the web. No download or install required.
- Pepperstone TradingView: Gain access to TradingView’s advanced charting tools and interact with over 30 million traders with the latest integration powered by cTrader
Both MetaTrader 4 & 5 provide access to Pepperstone’s popular Smart Trader Tools and Autochartist – a suite of expert trading tools designed to support clients looking to learn more about trading and investing.
With its blend of security and an innovative approach to trading, it isn’t difficult to see why Pepperstone is widely regarded as one of the best Australian Forex brokers.
Products and Trade Offers
Originally founded to trade Forex, it continues to provide one of the best Forex trading platforms in Australia by combining low spreads with fast execution and award-winning support. Spread prices on the Pepperstone MetaTrader 4 & 5 platforms are sourced from a range of providers with the intention that this provides competitive pricing to clients.
Pepperstone Account Types
Pepperstone offers both Razor and Standard account types. Both of these foreign exchange account types offer a number of key features including:
- Forex trading platform (MT4, MT4, TradingView and cTrader)
- 80+ currency pairs
- In line with ASIC regulations, leverage rates are capped at 1:30
- Hedging, scalping, expert advisors are all allowed
- Fast trade execution
- Minimum 0.01 lots trading size
- News trading
The Pepperstone Razor account offers tighter spreads than the standard account. Traders have access to raw spreads from 0.0 pips with a commission charge applied, which makes this account type popular with scalpers.
The Standard account, on the other hand, has easier to understand pricing terms. A standard account has an average of 0.77 pip mark up on the spread with no commission charges applied, instead commission is built into the spread.
Standard accounts come with leverage rates that are in-line with the industry standard. The maximum leverage is 1:30 but for some products the cap is set at a rate lower than that..
Pepperstone focuses almost exclusively FX markets, meaning the total number of non-Forex instruments is less than at most other brokers. While there is an increasing number of other markets being made available on the Pepperstone trading platform, the range remains somewhat limited.
- There more than 800 US, 150 AU, 80 DE, 190 UK stocks CFDs to trade (focused on large-cap names) with margin rates of 10%
- over 20 cryptocurrency CFDs are available
- Soft commodities and metal markets can be traded.
- Energy trading covers a handful of instruments in the Oil and Gas sector
- Indices – there are over 20 major indices available to trade.
Pepperstone Minimum Deposit
While there is a minimum deposit of $200 AUD, it’s worth noting that there are no deposit or withdrawal fees. Cash deposits can be made in various ways, including:
- Credit card,
- Bank transfer
- Broker to broker
- e-Wallets such as Skrill, Bpay, Neteller, Poli and Union Pay.
The main account currencies include: AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CHF, JPY, NZD, CAD, SGD and HKD.
- Low trading commissions
- Great levels of market access in forex
- Automated trading
- Limited number of non-forex products
- Guaranteed stop losses not available
- Mobile trading not particularly strong
Commissions and Fee Charges
Pepperstone’s commission rates & the fees they charge continue to be one of their main selling points. The pricing schedule is relatively transparent and the focus on Forex means the costs involved are relatively straightforward.
Taking Forex as an example, there are four types of account. Spreads on the MetaTrader 4 platform are variable, with quotes coming from as many as 22 Major Banks and Electronic Crossing Networks. By developing this relatively large number of connections with other market participants is designed to result in competitive pricing for clients.
The various Pepperstone fees you need to be aware of are outlined below, while more information can be found on their website:
- Edge Standard – $0 commissions and interbank spreads from 0.6 pip
- Edge Razor – AUD $3.5 per 100k traded. With Raw Interbank Direct Pricing and spreads starting at 0.0 pips
- Edge Swap Free – $0 commissions, STP processing and spreads from 0.6 pip (Islamic account)
- Edge Active Trader – Bespoke terms available for high volume and institutional traders
Whilst Pepperstone might not carry all the ancillary services of some of the multi-asset brokers, they certainly offer professional-grade services in terms of pricing and market flow.
What Others Say
“With cTrader, you get robust trading infrastructure, lightning-fast speed, and top-tier liquidity. cTrader was designed by and for traders and has a highly customizable user-friendly interface with order management systems and enhanced charting abilities.” – blockonomi.com
The Pepperstone review by the site blockonomi.com highlights some of the best features of the cTrader platform. Considering clients are also offered TradingView, MT4 and MT5 its clear to see the platform choices cover most bases.
“Pepperstone covers everything an expert Forex/CFD trader could possibly need.” – forexfraud.com
In their Pepperstone review, forexfraud.com highlights the fact that the platform caters to traders at all levels, especially expert traders:
“The combination of fast execution fees, low trading costs and enhanced features which is why Pepperstone is the fastest growing in Australia.” – compareforexbrokers.com.au
The main selling point of the platform is the powerful, efficient and cheap trade execution, as highlighted in this Pepperstone review
Pepperstone also delivers award-winning customer service. This is reflected in the number of awards they have won, including:
- #1 for Customer Service (Australia FX Report – Investment Trends, 2016 & 2017)
- Best Forex Trading Support – Europe (Global Forex Awards, 2019)
- Best Forex Trading Support (UK Forex Awards, 2018)
The support starts at registration when new clients are allocated an account manager who helps traders with on-boarding and, refreshingly, this doesn’t actually come with a hard sell.
Ongoing support from the Help Desk can be accessed via telephone, live chat or email and response times during our testing were very good.
During our own analysis, our testers found the Live Chat didn’t work as well as expected. Chats were closed down prematurely by Pepperstone support staff, meaning our testers had to start some conversations over again with a new member of staff. Despite this, when we did speak with a member of the support team our issues were dealt with promptly and professionally.
Platform Features and Tools
The ever-popular MetaTrader platforms are available for mobile and tablet through Pepperstone via their WebTrader service or as an app download for Android and iOS devices. If you’re using a desktop computer, you can also use the WebTrader app or download MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 directly.
The web-trader version of the platform mirrors the download+install version, has the same full functionality and is even enhanced by Pepperstone’s in-house forex trading technology.
MetaTrader is the world’s most widely used forex trading platform. This popularity stems from it satisfying the needs of the traders that use it. It is robust, user-friendly, packed full of powerful charts and indicators.
Most importantly it supports systematic trading, the MQL language it uses allows the traders to program indicators and it’s also possible to take advantage of their automated trading program Expert Advisors (known in the market as EAs).
The cTrader platform – which has to be downloaded and installed – has similar functionality to the MT platforms. During the testing associated with this Pepperstone broker review, we found the cTrader platform had a professional feel to it.
For example, the execution interface includes a range of more advanced order type settings. Trading can be set to one-click, double click or indeed quick trading can be disabled to ensure fat-finger mistakes are avoided.
As with other brokers that provide direct access into the markets, it is not possible to provide guaranteed stop losses. This means there are theoretically instances where the market price could gap over a traders ‘regular’ stop loss. The absence of guaranteed stops requires flagging up because a lot of traders now use them as part of their risk management policy.
Through the use of optical fibre cross-connects, VPS co-location and hosting at the Equinix (NY4) facility, Pepperstone is able to deliver trade execution with latency as low as 50ms of latency (0.05 of a second). In addition, Pepperstone incorporates trade execution, with pricing from 22 banks and liquidity providers and also offers access to dark pool liquidity.
Moving away from the spec sheet, what this means for traders is they have tighter spreads, fewer delays, fewer rejects and fewer requotes when executing.
The Pepperstone App supports both Demo and Live account trading. It is free to download and available on both iOS and Android Device.
During this Pepperstone broker review, we considered the relative strengths of the Pepperstone app and the MetaTrader (MT4 and MT5) apps, the latter again being available on both iPhone and Android platforms and is also free to download.
The Meta Trader app allows you to connect to brokers’ servers, receive stock prices and currency quotes, analyze financial markets use charts and technical indicators, trade, and view the history of your trading operations. Choosing between the proprietary and Meta Trader service would largely come down to personal preference but both do the job they are set out to do.
The cTrader platform runs a service called cTrader Copy. It involves Strategy Providers who broadcast their trading strategies in return for a fee and Investors who can browse the pool of Strategy Providers and choose if they want to follow one. The fee structure is made up of a combination of management fees, performance fees and volume fees and the setting up and breaking of relationships is very flexible.
MetaTrader’s accommodation of robo trading is long established. The Expert Advisors (EA) part of the MT site are programs that have been developed to allow automation of analytical and trading processes. Using algorithmic models traders can systematically analyse market data and execute automatically.
Research and Learning Section
This Pepperstone review established the broker scored highly in terms of the research and learning materials on offer. There is a wide range of material that comes in various formats.
It starts at ground level by offering user-friendly ‘Learn to trade Forex’ materials that are pitched towards those starting out in the markets. The Webinars and Trading Guides section also introduces more advanced concepts and lay out the basics behind actual trading strategies.
The webinars are of course live events which allow a degree of user interaction but there is also an archive of past webinars to consider. The Trading Guides are in written format and cover topics such as, ‘A three-pillar strategy to set up your forex trading’ and ‘Five rules around managing risk’.
Day-to-day trading activity is supported by an Economic Calendar, a Market Review research note and Autochartist. Those that haven’t come already come across Autochartist are in for a treat. It’s a powerful piece of software that recognises trade setups in the market and helps traders make more informed decisions.
Clients of Pepperstone get access for free and can set themselves up to receive notifications of emerging and completed chart patterns such as Fibonacci retracements, support and resistance levels and volatility indicators. It’s a very flexible system which takes a lot of the leg-work out of market analysis.
There is no research-based on fundamental analysis. Macro-economic themes are discussed but only when pertinent to the forex markets.
CFDs and margin FX are leveraged products that carry a high level of risk to your capital. There is also a degree of counterparty risk associated with placing funds with any broker. Pepperstone has set out to manage these risks by complying with the regulatory requirements of top-level regulators.
Pepperstone is authorised and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). All client funds are segregated in trust accounts with custodian banks including National Australia Bank (Australia) and Barclays (UK). The exact terms and conditions will depend on the domicile of the account holder but these are all clearly laid out in an easy to digest format.
The broker offers a form of Negative Balance Protection but there is some small print that definitely needs to be considered. Put in very high-level terms the question of whether or not the NBP kicks in depends on whose fault it is.
As their site explains:
“The ‘Negative balance protection, automated Risk Management System’ is designed to mitigate losses but cannot offer a guarantee that it will do so. Losses may exceed your deposit amount. The Pepperstone MT4 and cTrader platforms have a built-in automatic stop-out system, however, this does not guarantee the balance will not go into negative; trade execution depends on market liquidity and pricing.”
From time-to-time, the Pepperstone Platform’s automated stop-out procedures may not prevent your Account from incurring a negative equity balance due certain market conditions outside of our control. In these circumstances:
(a) you will not be liable for any negative equity balance on your Account; and
(b) we will adjust your Account equity balance to zero within 1 Business Day.
If you find a negative equity balance on your Account that has not been corrected, please contact us”
Industry award-winning Australian broker with global outreach
Pepperstone has a firm focus on executing trades in forex. Some of their bid-offer spreads are as tight as they get and the direct access into the markets ensures traders access deeper levels of market liquidity
As a result, the actual trade execution is fast, reliable and low-cost. A lot of traders will appreciate using what feels like an institutional-grade broker that has made a firm commitment to this part of the trading process.
Compared to other platforms there are only a handful of non-forex markets to trade and this will matter to some. Other concerns stem from the disadvantages associated with the trading interface giving such direct access into the markets.
Low latency and zero pip spreads are great but on the other hand, it means that guaranteed stop losses can’t be offered and a market gap could, therefore, be costly. In a similar fashion, the level of market access means there is a trade-off in terms of negative balance protection.
To their credit, Pepperstone has demonstrated they are aware of the issue around negative balance protection and designed some kind of framework to try to manage it but there is still a risk to measure and manage.
The research and learning resources are plentiful and useful. As expected, there is an emphasis on forex markets but they are set out to cater for more advanced as well as novice traders. Being regulated by 7 regulations – among which the Tier 1 – ASIC and FCA means the regulatory framework is also up there with the best in the sector.
Pepperstone will continue to attract clients because they aim to be ‘best in class’ in terms of trade execution. Earlier in this Pepperstone review, we mentioned that when outlining their approach to execution this broker uses terminology that others don’t.
That point is worth repeating as in some ways they are pioneering what retail clients can access. The broker will be the best fit for many traders but even those that want a broader range of markets may find it worth trying the demo account to see what a high-grade forex broker offers.