Advanced Currency Markets (ACM), a Swiss company, is one of the new generation of Currency Brokers which have minimised the human element in order to reduce costs for clients. Its managing director, Nicolaos Bang, one of three founders of the business when it was set up in 2002, says, “The company’s site is the second most popular place to trade currency on the net.”
The highlighted options, by default, are the most frequently traded currencies, such as the dollar against the euro and the euro against the British pound, but a selection of drop-down menus enables you to bring up other currencies or commodities, such as silver and gold. Dozens of different currency pairs are available, in 14 different languages.
An extensive price history is also available if you need it, along with market analysis originally from firm’s 24-hour dealing desk. But after that you’re on your own; ACM offers no trading advice.
A trade is simple
The firm’s ethos of keeping things simple also means that after a couple of clicks, your trade is complete. This also brings in another advantage of Internet trading; the ‘what you click is what you get’ (WYCIWYG) concept, which simply means no slippage, ever. In days past, a call to your broker to buy or sell currencies meant that you were effectively exposing your hand.
Brokers could and often would offer you a price based on what you were proposing to do, not what the market was offering, potentially eroding your returns before you’d even made your trade. With WYCIWYG, you get the market price each time, every time, without interference.
ACM also charges no commission on trades, making money instead through ‘pips’ in the company’s buy and sell prices. These are 1/10,000th units of those currencies quoted to four decimal points, such as dollars and euros, and 1/100th units of those quoted to two decimal points, such as the Japanese yen. Mr Bang claims ACM has a pip spread of ‘two to three’ as opposed to the ‘three to four’ offered by its competitors.
Equity is all
Sites such as ACM also apply leverage to their trading process, so that the customer can take a position in the market for more than the equity deposited in his trading account.
Therefore, if the broker offers a 1 percent margin, the client will be able to trade up to 100 times his equity.
That’s all great, however, as long as things go according to plan. Mr Bang is keen to stress that “negative equity is impossible with ACM”, and that the company will always err on the side of caution when accepting new customers. The maxim ‘never stake more than you cannot afford to lose’ applies equally, whether you are trading on- or offline; ACM is almost exclusively a web-based concern, although telephone back-up is available 24/7 should your internet connection go down. “Our individual clients, on average, work with accounts in the US$30,000 to US$100,000 range, but our minimum deposit for a new account is US$5,000. For our institutional clients, the sky is pretty much the limit.
“We can offer these clients a ‘white label’ service in which we tailor the trading platform to their individual needs in terms of branding and layout.
There is no charge for this service.”
ACM’s base in Switzerland offers the benefits you would expect from the country, including total discretion.