Financial markets are a complex and multi-faceted world that a beginner might find confusing and in some cases overwhelming. The multiple strands of analysis, the plethora of data and the contradictory directions these pull a traders can be confusing. Choosing a broker, determining the ideal trading style and strategies can be overwhelming too.
A beginning trader doesn’t have the necessary knowledge, and often lacks the required time to study the intricacies of the field. It is also quite challenging to stay updated about the several data releases or the news and analysis available to a trader. A managed forex account is an extremely tempting option in such a situation.
What are Managed Forex Accounts?
Managed Forex accounts are an investment opportunity for those who want the potential of returns from leveraged forex trading, are willing to take serious risks, and want to have professionals do the work of trading and selection. It consists of putting money in a Forex account and having a professional trade that money in the Forex markets. Investors who choose this have the hope and expectations of unusually large gains with the understanding that they could experience severe losses.
Essentially it means that a professional trader/account manager carries out the trades on your behalf, and in return receives either a pre-determined salary or a pre-determined share of the profits made while trading.
Trading software has in-built features that allow a client to perform the duties of a money manager (trade of behalf of others), while remaining within the account structure of the broker. This is a safe option. In this the possibility of a money manager siphoning off your money is eliminated. Independent money managers can prove to be double-edged swords. A really competent and honest money manager will maximize your investment, however there is an equal possibility of the money manager duping you. Exercising caution is important as you do not want to be a victim of forex fraud.
How does a Forex Managed Account work?
A fund manager will typically have a large number of accounts to manage at any one time. They usually do not manage these accounts separately but instead within the system they can see all of the accounts as a whole which are under management through their dashboard facilitated by the broker.
This will typically allow them to set allocation methods, or criteria for each of the sub-accounts they are controlling. This allocation can determine how the risks and earnings as well as other strategy points are managed within each of the sub-accounts.
With that said, the ability to do this, and how it is done, depends on a number of factors related to the overall broker that the fund manager has chosen. There are also often multiple types of managed accounts available from each broker.
Different types of Forex Managed accounts
The first type of managed account we will look at is a LAMM (Lot Allocation Management Module) Account type. A LAMM account trader managing the accounts can apply different leverage on sub-accounts depending on their needs and that of their clients. This account type then provides a good degree of flexibility to investors in terms of managing risk through these types of accounts.
PAMM Accounts (Percent Allocation Management Module) are very common when it comes to talking about a managed forex account. Here, earnings and losses are typically equally distributed among the different sub-accounts regardless of the amount of money invested in the account with the trader. The same percentage profit or loss is applied to all accounts. These types of accounts are typically very transparent in that you can view every action taken by the account manager in most cases.
Moving to RAMM (Risk Asset Management Model) and here you will find all of the same great features as you would have through a PAMM account but with improved features for helping manage risk on both ends as an investor and money manager. Using a RAMM account, you can also trade independently of the money manager and decide the portion of your balance to allocate to be managed.
Finally, a MAM (Multi-Account Manager) account is a mix between a LAMM and a PAMM account. This account type comes with the same flexibility you would find in a LAMM account but administered in the same way as a PAMM account.
Safety and Costs of Managed Forex Accounts
Foreign exchange markets are commonly used by sophisticated traders, who take advantage of an ability to handle large amounts of borrowed money to amplify their gains. Forex markets have more liquidity and a faster paced trading action than the stock market offers. Because it is the most active market in the world, transaction costs are lower, making it a popular forum for those who enjoy the thrill of speculation.
Advantages of managed forex accounts
Not everything is doom and gloom about managed forex accounts. It has its own set of advantages. Currency trading involves significant amounts of risks. Only an experienced trader can judiciously utilize trading strategies to take advantage of the market and at the same time reduce or even eliminate risk. For a beginner this is the reason why collaborating with a money manager makes sense. It can in fact, be a great learning curve. An experienced money manager will be able to handhold you through the choppy waters of forex trading and in the process you can learn a lot about the market and its eccentricities.
Trading is a science, but it also involves a bit of emotion too. Keeping your emotions in check during trading is extremely important, as otherwise you might succumb to the volatility in the market. Here again a money manager can prove to be invaluable. Then there is the question of time.
A non-professional trader may not have enough time to dedicate to the market. A money manager solves that problem. A full-time account manager’s job is to ensure that the client’s investment reaps maximum profit, as his earnings are directly linked to it. So, you can expect complete dedication from him.
What you need to be careful of?
Account managers must seem like heavenly creatures who are waiting for an opportunity to help you earn more. Well, it isn’t that simple. There are several inherent dangers that lurk beneath the advantages mentioned above. You need to be wary of these.
The relationship between a money manager/account manager and the client (the actual trader) involves a degree of blind trust between the two. It is physically and practically impossible to keep a tab on the manager’s every action. Also, a degree of independence is also crucial in the manager’s functional role.
The money manager should be given the freedom to utilize his experience and knowledge of the market to increase profitability and contain risk. If this freedom isn’t provided then the fundamental requirement of the manager is eliminated. These aren’t excessive requirements; however the assumption is that the account manager’s intentions are honest. In case his sole intention is misappropriation of funds or mismanagement of the trader’s account, then these same requirements can be a danger.
Hiring an account manager also means that you do not learn anything about the market and the science of trading yourself. The ultimate goal should be to control and trade your own funds. Instead of hiring an account manager take the reins of trading in your hands. Begin with small, low-risk trades. In your free time study the market dynamic to gain knowledge and confidence during trading. Even if you end up losing small amounts, it won’t affect your financial condition much, but teach you about the market.
If you do decide to hire an account manager conduct a thorough background check. Past trading records are a good indication of the manager’s capability, competence and honesty, but they aren’t full-proof. Check the necessary licenses and certifications before you handover the management of your wealth to a stranger.
Example of Managed Accounts with AvaTrade broker
For money managers looking to trade for their clients, the MAM account through AvaTrade should be considered. The MT4 MAM terminal gives strong account service and functionality to the money manager looking to trade block trades for client sub-accounts.
Account managers can trade using EAs (Expert Advisors), can set up sub-groups for different strategies, and have the flexibility for different commission structures.
There is great liquidity, reliable execution and the spreads are competitive.
- Multiple account types available including balance, LAM, PAMM and equity
- Multi-language trading platforms cater for traders across the world
- A dedicated IB manager
- Strong regulation across multiple jurisdictions
- Inactivity fees of $50 USD per quarter kick in after just three months
Forex Managed Accounts Fees Comparison
As with much of what we have covered with the best managed forex accounts, there are two aspects to the structure of fees. The important question to answer, is how does an account manager get paid?
In attracting followers, the account manager can generate income in one of two ways:
- The broker pays the money manager (usually monthly) depending upon how much volume is traded. They may also get additional payment depending on the number of followers they have.
- The followers pay the money manager. Commissions and/or performance fees can be earned by the account manager, paid by their followers.
It means that how the broker sets up the structure of the system will have a direct impact on the trading fees for the followers. Subsequently, with some brokers, trading through a managed forex account can be free.
Reputable Managed Forex Accounts Checklist
There are a number of important factors to consider when picking an online Managed Forex Accounts trading brokerage.
- Check your Managed Forex Accounts broker has a history of at least 2 years.
- Check your Managed Forex Accounts broker has a reasonable sized customer support of at least 15.
- Does the Managed Forex Accounts broker fall under regulation from a jurisdiction that can hold a broker responsible for its misgivings; or at best play an arbitration role in case of bigger disputes.
- Check your Managed Forex Accounts broker has the ability to get deposits and withdrawals processed within 2 to 3 days. This is important when withdrawing funds.
- Does your Managed Forex Accounts broker have an international presence in multiple countries. This includes local seminar presentations and training.
- Make sure your Managed Forex Accounts can hire people from various locations in the world who can better communicate in your local language.