How did I first hear about ThinkMarkets?
Back in 2016, I recall reading an article regarding their change of brand name from ‘ThinkForex’ to ‘ThinkMarkets’ and had heard that at this time they were launching their own branded platform to go with it.
What was my first impression of this broker?
My opinion was a clean slate until I had heard from a past client on social media that this broker use regulation as a front, and that some clients, when they register, go through to an unregulated entity with awful trading conditions whereby clients stand next to no chance of making profit, because their customized platform is tailored in a way to do so. Meanwhile, other clients who register, would go through to the normal, respected platform (MT4) and have no issues. However, being in the industry long enough, I know that sometimes clients can speak ill of a broker when really it is their lack of trade knowledge that causes losses, and not the broker. Also, I had no evidence to prove the mentioned theory, so I wanted to find out myself.
How easy is it to navigate the broker website?
The website itself is very straightforward and clearly structured, making it very appealing and user friendly for all. They have a fairly detailed FAQ page which is always handy as well for doing some research before you actually register. I must admit I found the webpage a little intrusive, blaring out benefits of the broker, making it seem very corporate therefore somewhat instilling confidence right off the bat, to draw people in.
Do they offer a good variety of tradable assets?
ThinkMarkets offer a fair variety of instruments to trade: Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Shares, Indices and Commodities. This variety is rounded enough to cater for the vast majority of traders so is suitable for those wanting to diversify their portfolio.
Do they offer different account types and what are the benefits?
Yes, you may choose between their Standard account and the ThinkZero account. You may also have the Islamic account version, or you may have a joint account. Note that the Standard account comes with access to MT4 of you may use Trade Interceptor, which is their own alternative platform. However, if you opt for the ThinkZero account, you may only use MT4.
As you can see, this broker has used a very clever tactic (many brokers who offer their own platform as well as MT4 do this) which is to offer trade commission charges on the account you may use their own customized platform (where prices can be heavily manipulated etc), but if you choose the ThinkZero account where you can use only MT4, you are subject to paying $7 round turn in trade commissions, even though the average spreads are preferable on the ThinkZero account, the majority of new traders and potential clients are more likely to dismiss spreads and consider trade commissions as the higher priority. This is a good way to onboard clients and push them gently towards choosing the platform and trading conditions that are manipulated by the broker in such ways that clients more often than not will lose out on trades, with great ease.
How competitive are their spreads?
First of all, note that Thinkmarkets offer 0 spreads (available for Forex, Gold and Silver but only on the ThinkZero accounts). They also offer variable spreads on the other instruments as well. You can see the ‘target spreads’ displayed on the website, which is reference to the minimum spreads you would be offered.
The Forex spreads, overall, are not bad, but the fact that some are 0 is a very clear indication that this is a b book broker; if they are offering their own platform, 0 trade commission charges and 0 spreads, how can they be sending ALL their trades to a liquidity provider? It is clear to me that they are in housing some, if not the majority/all of client trades.
The website displays ‘live spreads’ for a handful of forex pairs. These in fact, are not all actually live, just indicative to what you will see on the live account. Nonetheless, the live spreads are satisfactory across the board of instruments, however, for cryptocurrencies in particular, I was not impressed.
What is their commission charge?
If you choose the Standard account, which gives access to Trade Inception (ThinkMarkets own platform alternative to MT4), you are not charged trade commissions. However, if you opt for the ThinkZero account, which offers MT4 only, you are subject to a commission charge of $3.50 per side per lot, so $7 round turn. I feel this is rather expensive, however for this account, the average spreads are lower (0.1 pips as opposed to 1.2 pips) but this is a solid example of how this broker will always win against their clients; if you choose the 0 commission account, you can trade on their own platform, which is subject to price manipulation etc meaning losses are immediately more likely than profits, for the average client trader. On the other hand, if you opt for the ThinkZero account (MT4 only), and being charged trade commissions, the broker is still making roughly the same money form the client, whichever account the client chooses.
What is the maximum leverage they offer?
Let me break this down for you as there is some confusion when the FAQ page states the maximum leverage of 1:500 as this is only available for ‘Pro traders’ (must meet requirements). All other retail traders must are subject to ESMA policies whereby leverage is capped and very low:
Forex: 1:20 / 1:30
Note that if you wish to trade with the maximum leverage you will need to be eligible to be ranked a ‘Pro Trader’ and meet the following requirements:
40 trades of significant size opened in the last 12 months
Have a financial portfolio that exceeds $500,000 and must prove this
Have work experience in the Financial Sector
The incredibly low leverage being offered is not viable for the average day trader, therefore profits will take a long time to make unless you are highly experienced and are able to deposit large sums of money. The fact you must provide highly personal documentation such as an employment contract and bank statements to prove your net worth, in order to trade with a higher leverage is very off putting and would make most inclined to look for a broker that offers higher leverage, minus the hassle.
What do I need to open a verified account?
Account verification is standard, and the documents you must provide are clearly set out on the FAQ page, dependent upon the account you wish to open (individual/ joint/ corporate)
How long does it take to open a live account?
The FAQ page states that the KYC verification process can take up to a maximum of two working days to be approved. Bear in mind this broker Compliance team do not operate 24/7, so you could be left in the lurch waiting for account approval if you register out of hours.
Are desktop/mobile/web trader versions all available?
For MT4, you are at a luxury to pick and choose from all versions available, however, for their own platform (Trade Interceptor) you will not have access to the web version.
Do they have a minimum/maximum deposit requirement?
For the Standard account the minimum deposit is $250. While the ThinkZero account must be initially credited with $500. There is no maximum limit.
Again, I would like to note here that this is another underlying yet sneaky way in which a broker can make money either way from the clients whichever account type you choose; if you choose the Standard account, you do not get charged commission, initial deposit is lower, but spreads are higher. If you opt for the ThinkZero account, you are charged trade commissions, lower spreads and the initial deposit is double that of the first account. What I am saying here, is that the broker is not tailoring these account benefits for the client traders, but merely setting these out for the broker to profit from its clients, no matter which account they choose.
What deposit and withdrawal methods are available?
Firstly, it is important to note here that ThinkMarkets have a closed loop policy whereby you must withdraw the same amount you initially deposited by, and any profits made on top, must be withdrawn via bank wire ONLY, so ensure this method suits you before signing up. The deposit and withdrawal methods available are: Bank wire, debit/credit Card, Neteller and Skrill. I was disappointed that among these options, Bitcoin is not an option which I know many brokers offer nowadays for its high security, speed, and convenience. Nonetheless, Skrill is also a good option for many, and is typically fast (same day transaction completion).
Which countries are restricted from trading with this broker?
Note that due to regulatory policies, ThinkMarkets do not permit clients from certain countries, however they do not have this information available on their FAQ page, neither will they provide you with this via Live Chat, which struck me as odd. But no matter- when you register for a live account, you may select the country you are from but if it is not visible from the options, then you would be prohibited from registering.
Do they offer a deposit bonus scheme?
ThinkMarkets do not offer any deposit bonus schemes which is definitely a positive as this does not put too much pressure on the deposit amounts clients deposit, especially since the minimum deposit requirement is already $250 (Standard account) and $500 (ThinkZero account).
Do they sell additional products/services/managed accounts?
ThinkMarkets do not sell EAs or signals, but do allow use of them on the account that allows MT4, but interestingly, do not allow use of EAs on their own Trade Interceptor platform- why? This would be too risky if clients had successful EAs in their arsenal, allowing the clients to win on a platform that has been adjusted in a way that causes the client to lose more often than not.
In regards to managed accounts, ThinkMarkets offer both MAM and PAMM accounts. These options are ideal for the more experienced traders to make an extra profit, but also for the broker to enable clients to lose out, via advice of the more experienced clients. Again, this is another undertone method the broker takes advantage off to make extra profit.
If assistance is required, how can you get in touch?
ThinkMarkets are not 24/7, however you can contact them via live chat, email and telephone on a 24/6 basis.
What is the quality of customer service?
Since their FAQ page is fairly thorough, I did not need to speak with their customer support too often, which Is always refreshing to have answers to the minor questions already set out on the webpage. When I did speak with their customer support (live chat/ email/telephone), I was answered within 5 minutes each time, and was always greeted in a professional and friendly manner. I did not have major issues in obtaining answers meaning their support team are well endowed with product and company knowledge.
Do they offer an IB affiliate program?
Yes, you can become a partner affiliate of ThinkMarkets, however in order to find out the commission structure, you must register as an affiliate first of all by sending an email to the dedicated team. I found them to be very vague with displaying information regarding affiliate programs on the webpage. Similarly, it is not possible to obtain this information via customer support, which made me think that potentially some affiliates earn more than others, depending on how experienced they are, and how many clients they can bring in for this broker.
What is my overall opinion of ThinkMarkets?
ThinkMarkets did not impress me that much- they are pretty standard and offer very minimalistic trading conditions for their clients. In a nutshell, low leverage, average spreads and satisfactory customer support is what they offer. Although they are transparent for the most part, I do not feel they are a stand out broker. I also feel that the minimum deposit requirement is rather high for the average trader, especially because I do not feel that you do not really get a good value trading experience, for what you ‘pay’.
I would not feel uncomfortable mentioning this broker to someone looking for one, however, I would not recommend it with enthusiasm as I do not feel it is particularly attractive in any aspect. Compared to brokers with more amicable trade conditions, it is rather basic and lacks any element of excitement that I would feel could retain clientele for a long term trading life.