Canadian FX Brokers

Discussion in 'Forex Brokers' started by TruNorth, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. TruNorth


    I'd appreciate feedback from anyone who has had experience with Canadian-based FX brokers.

    I'm aware of FXCM (which has a relationship with Man Financial (but I find their charts very difficult to get a readable day to day view and their opening pip spreads are a bit wide), and Oanda, whom I had a very unpleasant experience with after only having a live account for two days.

    I'm looking for a Canadian-based broker who is trustworthy, has a readable and responsive trading platform and charts and that provides helpful customer service.

    Many thanks.
  2. bl33p


    I don't mean to derail the discussion but could you tell about your negative Oanda experience a little? I'm interested as I'm a happy Oanda customer and in general there seem to be very few disappointed with Oanda, so it's kind of natural to be curious about your case.
  3. TruNorth



    Well, basically, I had the carpet pulled out from under me by Oanada Customer Service (after only 2 days live), and with no prior communication having been received from Oanda. It's pretty standard to communicate with a customer if you have an issue with them, prior to cutting them off abruptly from the service they've engaged form you. In my instance, I was phoned mid-day of my second day of live trading and told that the decision had been taken by customer service to close my account because I wasn't a "beneficial customer".

    The reasons given were that toes had got stepped on within Oanda's customer service because I would colloquially refer to the customer service kids as "the kid I spoke with" when I'd provide their requested feedback. Also, that I was "argumentative and condescending" when I responded to one customer service rep--after a customer service rep said "We are happy with it the way it is." when I messaged live help to let them know that the Margin calculator didn't appear to be working because the output fields were greyed and the data you could barely see in them was greyed. My response was "I'm happy that you're so satisfied with yourself, but you're not the end-user, are you? Many traders have eyestrain from staring at their screen for hours, early hours, or long night hours. I appreciate that Oanda may want to differentiate between the input and output data, but could you do that with a different colour font in the output field that stands out? It would be very appreciated." Then the kid said he'd "Pass the suggestion on. However, this was part of what was described to me by someone named Kubai in customer service as "a pattern of behaviour" that leads us to conclude we cannot have a "beneficial relationship". Kubai (Oanda) also claimed I was being "argumentative and condescending" when I tried to clarify with customer service how I could transfer my security pin number to anyone at Oanda without it being seen by human eyes. The pin number was required on the wire transfer form I hadn't seem yet. The cust rep's response to my question was "It sounds like you're entering into this relationship with a great deal of distrust. Perhaps you will want to take your business elsewhere." He didn't bother telling me until I went and found the Wire Transfer Form myself, and then discovered it was an electornic form with an encrpted field for the password, that it was not a fax form. I had been told to "download the wire Transfer Form, so had the impression is was paper to be written on. Anyway, responding to someone as though it is very odd to be hesitant to provide one's security pin number seems odd in itself to me. And my being cautious in this incident was part of the "pattern of behaviour" that caused Customer Service to abruptly shut down my account, without any prior communication with me.

    In my experience (and I've never had a service cut off), it is unheard of to simply call someone up and tell them your business account with them is ending within hours of the phone call.

    A colleague of mine who recently lunched with Richard Olsen (President and CEO of Oanda) was told by Olsen that Oanda does not close accounts abruptly. Hello? Olsen said that he reviews the folder himself before making a decision to close an account. When I asked customer service for Olsen's email address or phone number, I wa sonly provided with a frontdesk email address, which I was told, is seen first by customer service, and passed on by customer service. So, it sounds as if Olsen sees only what customer service at Oanda want him to see. That's probably why I got the impression that customer service at Oanda answers to no one. Most of the kids in customer service are sharp and helpful, but I encountered two (or the same kid twice) who just was looking for a conflict and/or defintiely needed sensitivity training.

    Oanda (Kubai) said he had wired my balance back to me ($121 less than my last balance as I recall). I'll be relieved when it shows up in my account. But I've been very harmed by this unprofessional behaviour.

    So, back to my original question, can anyone in this discussion group recommend a retail broker who is honest, has a good platform with flexible and readable graph/charts, tight opening pip spreads, and good customer support?

    I'd really appreciate it.

    Many thanks
  4. TruNorth



    It only occurred to me tonight as I was talking to someone else about my horribe experience with Oanda, that I may have had the bad experience with them simply because I'm female.

    Customer Service sees your name when tlaking with you, so they know who's female and who is not.

    Some guys--if their identity is latched to being better and stronger than a female--expect to be able to deal with females in a condescending manner, and consider it an aggression if she outmanuevers them and holds her own ground.

    I'm wondering if this guy at Oanda didn't take me seriously as a trader simply because I am female. He might have realized how much harm he was doing had he been imagining himself dealing with a guy. A guy has financial plans, a woman is a "dillitente".

    And being able to flick me away like a piece of lint makes him "the man".

    Just a thought.
  5. Not to be too critical but can you see the juxtaposition in trying to find a Canadian broker to trade currencies? I don't think there is such a thing as a Canadian FX broker. If you have a lot of money the big banks will let you get in on 15 pip spreads. I have worked with some old timers in the Agricultural industry who think this is super neat. I would suggest interactive brokers, there Canadian office is up the hill in Montreal if you walking up to see the Allouttes play, but the real decisions are made in the States. Right now I have a 4 pip spread on CAD with IB, one pip on yen and euro.

    I you are new to forex it is really hard to trade. CAD is a nightmare. I would suggest trading European crosses, like EUR/GBP, GBP/CHF, CHF/EUR with a reversion to mean strategy. If you want to trade the euro or yen I would recommend using long options so you can limit risk without get chopped out, as those currencies are wont to do before they trend.
  6. TruNorth



    Yes, I agree, and understand, that most brokers (probably all) that have offices in Canada have head office in the States. I should have clarified...I would prefer a broker who has an office in Canada (even if head office is i the States), but most importantly, I want to be able to open by account in CAD. It's just giving money away to convert it into USD to open a USD account.

    I also agree with your feeling about taking positions on the CAD. I have yet to figure out what makes the CAD move, so me no touch. haha If I open an account in my native currency (CAD), I can make my best return by taking positions (I play daily trends from early morning until about 11 a.m.) on European currencies, because either currency coming back out to me when the position is closed is going to give me (as someone trading in CAD) a little extra gain when the closed position gets converted into CAD when its credited to my trading account.

    The opening pip spreads you quote for Interactive Brokers sound good. How long have you used them?

  7. I have used IB since Dec 2002. They didn't have forex back then. I have traded mostly futures and futures options in the mean time. In my limited FX trading I have found the fills to be really good, often being able to by on the bid. Also in fast markets i often get a better fill than my limit order.

    I find FX trading to be much harder than equity index and bond future trading. I would suggest that most new traders should head in that direction. If doing well in FX my hat is off to you, you are a better trader than I.
  8. TruNorth



    I trade the daily trends. I'm as impressed by anyone who can trade currency options as you appear to be by somene who can trade during the day. I'd grab my heart and hit the floor over the very thought that I could predict what a currency's value would be at a given future time. yikes.

    But I do think that outside of high-anxiety and uncertainty times--such as this week when eveyrone's trying to second guess what the FRB is really goig to do regarding rate increases (or not)--currency values seem to be managed by business trends and policy applied by those responsible to allow only about 43% to 47% difference from month to month (up or down) value to occur between the "home" currency (e.g., EUR) against the USD , and vice versa. If one studies the daily trends over a period of months, this trend seems to reveal itself. Then I take a daily position trend when the currency is in a clear upward or downward portion of a pattern against another currency. I find this method the most predictable.

    I looked at Interactive's demo trading station and it appears to not be set up with currency pair trading. It appears to be set up such that you purchase currency futures. eek Am I not seeing it, or does IB's platform allow one to set up a single order such that one is purchasing one currency at the open of the order, and buying another specified currency at the close of the poistion, indicating in the order that the position is a long or short position (i.e., if it is a short position one is taking the poistion that the first currency in the pair will go down in value against the second currency in the pair? Also, maybe it's just my confusion at seeing how the platform is laid out, but can one trade daily trends, closing an order at any moment when I make a determination that a trend has run as far as it will for that day?

  9. bl33p


    It's very unfortunate that you were treated in that way. However I think you should try to understand that the live chat is provided as a paid service by not Oanda themselves. This could even be a case of a liveperson employee stepping outside of their limits or at least not doing their job satisfactorily.

    If you use email support, or fill a email contact ticket at Oanda's site, these will go to actual Oanda employees or at least that's the way I understand it to be. I've never had anything but good experiences of their email support.

    You could also have raised the issue at Oanda's message board here as Oanda's other founder mr Michael Stumm himself is known to read and write to that board.

    Sometimes personalities clash, sometimes there is something else, regardless you should at least get all your money back without any problems.

    May I however suggest that referring to customer service professionals as 'kids' might not be the way to start a relationship or discussion with or about them at any time.
  10. TruNorth


    Thanks for the suggestions. I have sent an email to Dr. Michael Stumm. I have not been able to locate a mailing address for Dr. Richard Olsen.

    As regards referring to tech support or customer support desk people as "the kid I spoke to," let me stress that I use this term not when addressing someone face to face, but when referring to the role with a third party. It's not a demeaning or derogatory term (in any of the tech shops I've worked in). It merely references their youth. And, it's shorter to say and write "kid" than Customer Support Rep or Tech Support Staff. I suppose the shorthand for these roles is why I've always heard it used when referring to these roles, and also because these roles are usually kids who are very bright and getting their foot into marketing or an industry through the tech support or customer operation.

    I agree that it's not appropriate to call someone a kid to thier face...that takes on a condescending tone. And I've never done that. I merely referred to the role in the shorthand "kid" or "kids" when supplying management with the customer feedback they requested. When I was 19, we used to refer in third person to each other and other kids around our age as "kid," (e.g., he's a nice kid, etc.), with no derogatory intent attached pr taken. However, the professional and, in my opinion, mature reaction of Oanda customer service would have been to email me with the observation you just did: "It may be taken offensively, etc." I would have been surprised, but seen their point and complied. People have different sensibilities, and I would have appreciated being told I had hurt someone's feelings. It seems to me that someone in Oanada customer support just assumed a lot, and got a head of steam on and just decided he needed the satisfaction of doing the overkill move--"Let's hurt this person by cutting them off abruptly." Very immature and very unprofessional in all my world of experience.
    #10     Jul 26, 2006