How did I first hear about Olymp Trade?
Last year I attended the IFX event in Cyprus and met a contact who had been a client of theirs, but personally I had never heard of them from anyone else so thought I’d take look at their offerings.
What was my first impression of them as a broker?
My First impression was semi impressed, semi dubious, which was based heavily on the fact that they are registered with ‘The Financial Commission’, a self-regulatory body. As much as this is a fantastic and very clever idea whereby clients of a broker could feel a little more at ease at the thought of potential of compensation being a result from a complaint, one must not confuse this status as being a legitimate Forex regulating body. However, saying that, to be a member of The International Financial Commission is costly for a broker, and they do have the power to ‘blacklist’ a broker should they not adhere to a client complaint whereby the broker is in the wrong. Should the broker then receive bad press published, this could be severely detrimental to a broker’s success.
Nonetheless, Olymp Trade have decided to go this route, which although it is nothing more than a marketing tool to onboard clients, it still holds water to some degree, as clients know they have a ‘body’ to fall back on, should their broker not resolve a complaint, and instead the Financial Commission take some sort of ownership instead.
In addition, I noticed they do not offer MT4, but instead only offer their own platform which made me slightly uncomfortable and also question where they pull their prices from and whether or not they manipulate their prices with sole focus on making profit off client losses.
How easy is it to navigate the broker website?
The website is very minimalistic, making it very appealing and user-friendly for all. Navigation is easy and you are not bombarded with overly complicated information on the first look, which was a breath of fresh air.
Do they offer a good variety of tradable assets?
It struck me as very odd that they do not openly display (on the website) what instruments are available to trade. In fact, very little information is disclosed on the website, which could be considered suspicious. I started a live chat to find out what they offer and was immediately greeted with a link to register, so I had to repeat my question, and was ignored for several minutes. Eventually, the response I received was exactly the same as the first robotic link to register and links to learn how to trade, which I found a little insulting as a potential new client. After an incredibly long wait, I eventually was informed that they offer digital options and Forex; 42 forex assets and 82 digital options. I asked if I could open a demo account so I could check these out, but I was only given a link to a video on the demo and not the actual demo itself- very odd as it seems they are interested only in getting clients to register for a live account right away, with next to no knowledge of what they are signing up for and little knowledge on what the broker even offers.
The live chat experience was a total disaster and I was not even able to get a chat transcript emailed to me, however I think the below screenshots are self-explanatory in regards to the lack of incompetence the live chat support offer.
Do they offer different Account types and what are the benefits?
This information is not available on the website so I asked live chat and was advised there are two account on offer; Options account and Forex account. It was impossible to find out the benefits of the accounts or indeed, any information about either of them as there is nothing on the website about them, and getting an answer from their live chat was like trying to draw blood from a fossilised stone. As a result of this frustrating experience, I ended up calling up the support team on both numbers but to my horror, both numbers were invalid. (I tried both numbers repeatedly to no avail)
The fact it was IMPOSSIBLE to gain an answer to the vast majority of questions any potential client would have, either via the website or customer support avenues, which immediately put me off this broker and made me highly suspicious.
How competitive are their spreads?
By this point, it came as no surprise that this information was not available ANYWEHRE on the website, nor could I get in contact via telephone as both numbers do not seem to be operating, and the live chat team never answered my question regarding spreads, on multiple occasions. In conclusion, a client of this broker will not know anything about trade conditions until you sign up for an account. This is simply not acceptable and above all, a clear indication that the company operates in a highly questionable way.
What is the maximum leverage they offer?
I could not find this information anywhere on the website ‘knowledge base’, so I had to speak to an agent on live chat. After waiting over 10 minutes without ever receiving a response, I sent in a ticket (email). During this time, I had left the live chat open, and after about 15 minutes, I eventually received a response, which was incredibly lengthy but after some clarification is became apparent that for currency pairs the minimum leverage is 1:50, and the maximum is 1:200. For gold and silver, however, the minimum leverage is 1:20 and the maximum is 1:50. Considering these guys seem to be making a substantial amount of their money via the spread, I feel this leverage is not particularly generous or attractive to a new trader; the fact they have such strict caps shows they are safeguarding against their clients making any substantial profits, so that they are able to profit from client losses very easily
What is their commission charge?
This information is nowhere to be seen on the website, so once again I was forced to approach the live chat support. I had to ask the same question over and over and even after a lot of waiting, still did not receive a comprehensive response. Eventually, I was advised that the trade commission charges depend on the volatility of the instrument you are trading. I have never come across variable trade commissions in my trading career as of yet, so this was a little unsettling to me. The trade commission charges can range between 7.5%-15% to open the trade, but you are not charged to close your position. So, for example, if you have a trade size of $200, and the maximum commission charge is 15%, you are going to be paying $30 to open the trade. In any case, a variable rather than fixed commission is odd in itself, and a maximum of 15% is rather costly for a client, especially if you are starting small with your deposit amount.
What do I need to open a verified account?
The website does state on their FAQ page what you need to submit which would be a proof of photographic identification as well as a document to prove your residence, and this must be dated within 3 months (as per checking with a live chat agent)
How long does it take to open a live account?
As per the FAQ page, it takes 5 business days to have your documents approved. I feel this is too long to wait, when other broker’s have this process narrowed down to a matter of hours.
Are desktop/mobile/web trader versions all available?
I suppose it should not come as a surprise that Olymp Trade only offers their own platform and not MT4 as an additional alternative, which made me very dubious as this means there is not something to compare to in terms of prices and movement, whereas with a customized platform, you as a trader, are at high risk of being heavily manipulated. Granted, their platform offered is simplistic and clearly set out, but I, as a fairly experienced trader, was not bowled over by their own tailored platform; I much prefer the feel and look of MT4/MT5. However, they do offer web version as well as mobile version, but the fact they do not offer the standard MT4 in addition as an alternative option does raise alarm bells as this platform can be manipulated very heavily in the way of heavily marking up their spreads, manipulating prices and controlling slippage, meaning clients have little control over the chances actually making decent profits on their trades.
Do they have a minimum/maximum deposit requirement?
The minimum deposit requirement is $10 or equivalent, and the minimum trade size is $1 (or equivalent). Withdrawals also must be a minimum of $10.
Do they offer a bonus scheme?
Well, based on the review so far, would you expect anything less of this broker? Of course they offer a deposit bonus! This is just another way in which they have the upper hand over their clients. You receive a 100% deposit bonus when you initially deposit but you must deposit between £30-$200. What struck me as weird is that there is no guarantee that you will actually receive this welcome bonus, it seems like it is luck of the draw, and is only valid within 1 hour after registration. From here on, should you deposit the following:
between $30-$99, you will receive a 10% bonus
between $100-299, you will receive a 20% bonus
between $300- $4,999, you will receive a 30% bonus
$5,000 or over, you will receive a 50% deposit bonus
The mere fact this broker offers a deposit bonus scheme is evident enough that the way in which they operate and make profits is highly questionable; hoodwinking clients to deposit sums over the amount of $5,000 in order to receive a 50% deposit bonus is highly suspect as it is (or should be) common knowledge that deposit bonuses can never actually be withdrawn and the terms and conditions in order to actually withdraw any profit made with their aid, are set out in such a way that it is almost impossible to make such a profit.
What are the deposit and withdrawal methods available?
It is odd that yet again this simple piece of information is not displayed on the website. The only information regarding this on the FAQ page is a direct link to register- again, another semi-aggressive way in which to encourage interested clients to register right away, knowing very little about what they are actually signing up for. I had to obtain these answers from a live chat agent and was advised that the deposit and withdrawal option available are: bank card (visa/mastercard), e-wallet (Neteller, Skrill, Webmoney, E-payments) or bitcoin. The options available are a fair variety and a fibre of confidence was instilled within me knowing I could withdraw my funds fast and securely via bitcoin, which I am familiar and highly comfortable with.
What countries are restricted from trading with this broker?
The countries restricted from trading with Olymp Trade are Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Australia, Canada, the United States, Japan, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Lichtenstein, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and United Kingdom
Do they sell additional products/services/managed accounts?
I had to ask the Live Chat and was informed that Manged accounts are not offered, nor do they sell EAs or Signals. However, on their platform, you are provided with their own indicators and strategies, which of course could help serve to nudge clients into particular trade decisions.
If assistance is required, how can you get in touch?
The website states you can get in touch with a representative 24/7 via live chat, telephone or email. However, both numbers available have never worked for me- it says they are invalid / do not exist, on a multitude of occasions when I have tried to get in touch. Similarly, the email/ticket system takes an age to receive a response: 24 hours+. The fastest route would be Live Chat but even then, it can take sometimes approximately 10 minutes to get a response.
What is the quality of customer service?
If I could summarise Olymp Trade customer service in one word, it would be ‘shocking’. The quality, or lack thereof, of their customer service was poor; consistently unreliable and overall an incredibly time consuming and frustrating experience. The fact the two contact numbers do not even seem to be valid, and waiting for an email response takes longer than signing up with most brokers, leaves you with the option of live chat. This, again, lacked efficiency, competence, and logic. I found myself repeating myself on basic scenarios, and getting increasingly frustrated. Another odd thing si that you could be mid-conversation with one agent and suddenly you are then passed to a new agent without warning and have to keep repeating yourself and before you know it, you have been handed to yet another agent. At first, I thought this was a glitch in my computer until I realised it happened on multiple separate occasions, from separate devices so definitely an issue from their end. In short, I feel their customer support as a whole package is without a doubt, one of the worst that I have had to endure in the Industry of forex brokers.
Do they offer an IB affiliate programme?
This is not a straightforward system- Olymp Trade does not offer a DIRECT referral affiliate programme, however, what they do offer is a third party (Kingfin) which works separately form their platform, which is not just associated with forex advertising. I was not able to get any information from the client support team regarding commission structures as they would simply ignore my question, and the links they provided me with are yet again links to sign up to become an affiliate without providing any information about commission structure prior to committing to the programme.
What is my overall opinion of Olymp Trade?
Initially, the simplicity of their website drew me in, as it was a breath of fresh air… until I realised the reason behind the lack of information displayed openly seemed somewhat shady. You have to ask customer support for all details you would be signing up for, because if you do not, you are immediately greeted with a ‘register’ link every other section of the FAQ page, blinding potential clients from what they really are getting themselves into.
The customer service is awful painful to get a simple answer from, and even when you do get a response, it is a robotic message followed by a link that does not provide any information you actually need.
Their trading commissions are extortionate, and the platform they offer is a tool to easily manipulate trade conditions to enable great profits from client losses.
Furthermore, although there is nothing wrong, per say, with the ‘International Financial Commission’ regulation, this is yet another highly misguiding tool to deceive people into thinking this company are operating in a legitimate fashion.
This is a pure Binary options broker, with a minor element of CFD trading. I am not comfortable at all with recommending this broker to anyone, as I feel they do not offer substantial benefits to any trader, and have nothing but a sole focus on profiting form client losses.