Darwinex Review

May 19, 2020 07:49 PM ET
Darwinex Review

Review Summary 

Darwinex is a regulated online brokerage that was founded in 2012 and is based out of London, England. With over 300 assets and institutional grade pricing, Darwinex strives to provide the best platform for sophisticated traders to trade the market, with free historical tick data as well as FIX API. 

 

Darwinex

RATING

7.5

YEAR FOUNDED

2012

LOCATION

UK

REGULATION

FCA (UK)

US AVAILABLE

No

TRADING INSTRUMENTS

Commodities, Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Shares, Stocks, Indices, Energies, CFDs, Metals. 

TRADING PLATFORMS

MetaTrader4, MetaTrader5, Web, Mobile, FIX API

MINIMUM DEPOSIT

$500

DEPOSIT METHODS

Wire Transfer, Credit Cards, Paypal, Skrill, Trustly

Base currencies

3

Inactivity fee

No

Withdrawal fee amount

10 EUR/GBP/USD

Max. Leverage

Up to 1:200

Min. Spread

0 pips

Currency pairs

42

Demo account

Yes

Social / Copy trading

Yes

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons 

  • Strict Regulations

  • US Clients Not Allowed

  • Social Trading

  • Limited Educational Material 

  • DARWINs

  • Large Minimum Deposit

  • Direct Market Access

  • Trading Tools are Limited

 

In-depth Darwinex Review

Darwinex is an online brokerage founded in 2012 and based out of London. The brokerage offers over 300 assets to its users, spread across forex, cryptocurrencies, stocks, shares, commodities, Metals, Indices, energies and CFDs. Apart from providing institutional-grade pricing and free historical data, Darwinex also provides Direct market access or DMA, along with interbank spreads that start from as little as 0 pips. Their prices are directly sourced from prime brokers such as LMAX and SaxoBank and possess low execution latency. The  brokerage has a more than 3000 strong client base and provides services to over 80 countries worldwide. 

When it comes to its service, Darwinex offers a “hedge fund as a service” model to both institutional as well as retail traders. It offers thousands of trading strategies that users can invest in, in exchange for a performance fee. Traders who perform better are rewarded by the platform with lower commissions and pricing. 

Darwinex also uses a proprietary liquidity aggregation engine. This allows the platform to evaluate prevalent market conditions and channel the trade flow to the best liquidity provider at any given time. This in turn helps to improve execution speeds, offering liquidity to traders during volatile trading conditions. 

  • Regulation: Both the Darwinex trademark and the domain are owned by parent company Tradeslide Trading Tech limited, based in the UK. The company is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority or the FCA. Apart from London, Darwinex also has an office in Madrid, Spain.
    For delivering services to EU customers, the broker possesses a “Markets in Financial Instruments Directive” (MiFID) passport.  For any brokerage to offer services to European based customers, it is required by law for them to be regulated under MiFID. 

Account Types and Opening

Darwinex offers users the ability to either follow the strategy of other Darwinex traders, or trade their own account. Traders on the brokerage who already have a profitable strategy can proceed to list it on Darwinex itself. They can receive a 20% success fee from the profits made by other traders who follow the selected strategy.

The minimum initial deposit for retail clients is 500GBP/USD/EUR, while it is 10,000USD/GBP/EUR for corporate clients. There are two types of live accounts that a user can choose from, namely, Individual Live Account and Corporate Live Account. There are some other types of accounts as well, which will be discussed in brief below. 

  • Professional Accounts: Professional accounts can only be applied for by professional clients that meet certain criteria. A professional account comes with lower commissions, a dedicated account manager, monthly volume based rebates and no ESMA leverage restrictions. 

  • Talent Linked Pricing: In Darwinex, well performing traders are rewarded with lower transaction costs.  Darwinex bases their rating of trading strategies on their proprietary algorithm called Darwinex Score(D-score).  It aims to measure the odds of the future performance of a particular trading strategy. The D-Score is made up of 12-sub algorithms which aim at formulating a fair and transparent way of quantifying trader skills.  Traders at Darwinex can be rewarded with decreased commissions of up to 40%.

What are DARWINs?

To understand how Darwinex works, we first need to take a look at DARWINs. A DARWIN is a combination of a trading strategy managed by a Darwinex trader, along with the brokerage’s own independent risk management engine. Users can open an account if they want to invest in a DARWIN. Profitable DARWINs carry a performance fee of 20%.
Darwinex displays the performance of different DARWINs, from over 100 countries. It encompasses a diverse set of both short and long term trading strategies which can be applied with underlying instruments on multiple markets including commodities, stocks, indices and forex. 

How to Open a Darwinex Account?

Opening an account at Darwinex is very simple and quick.  Users are required to fill in a short online form after which they must confirm their email. The brokerage requires a proof of identity such as a passport or driver’s license, and  proof of address like utility bills. The required documents should be uploaded for verification.
After the Darwinex team verifies the above documents, users can proceed to fund their accounts and begin trading. The process of signing up as an investor on Darwinex, is quite similar. However, Darwinex requires some information from the investor regarding his/her trading history and trading strategy. 

Opening an account at Darwinex

Deposits and Withdrawals

When it comes to deposits and withdrawals, Darwinex provides their users with several options. For instance, Darwinex accounts can be funded using debit/credit card, bank transfers as well as online payment services. Darwinex usually covers the deposit costs with most of the deposit methods. However, some fees may be associated with certain payment methods.

Users looking for a quicker way to fund their account can use an online payment processor, such as Skrill or PayPal. However, it should be noted that the availability of these payment processors depends on the user’s country of operations. Bank transfers usually take a few business days to complete.

Users have three base currency options while opening an account at Darwinex, namely, GBP, EUR or USD. This is great for users who want to avoid currency conversion fees. As mentioned before, the minimum deposit amount for individual or joint accounts is 500  GBP/EUR/USD, while it is  10,000 GBP/USD/EUR for corporate accounts.  Additionally, the minimum amount for subsequent deposits at Darwinex is 100 GBP/EUR/USD. It should also be noted that Darwinex charges a fee for any deposit a user makes less than 500 GBP/EUR/USD. 

  • Minimum Deposit Amount: 500 GBP/USD/EUR

  • Minimum Withdrawal Amount: 10 GBP/USD/EUR

How to Deposit Funds at Darwinex? 

Users can use bank wire transfers from a bank account in the same name as the user’s Darwinex account. Alternatively, Darwinex also supports Trustly, which is a payment method that allows users to make bank transfers from an online bank, directly from the brokerage site itself.
Darwinex users can also use a 3D secure enrolled MasterCard, a VISA or VISA Electron credit or debit cards for deposits of up to 10000 EUR/GBP/USD, while the maximum amount that can be deposited using Skrill and PayPal is fixed at 5000 and 2000 EUR/USD/GBP respectively, per account. 

How to Withdraw Funds from Darwinex? 

The methods of withdrawing funds are the same for depositing at Darwinex. However, some specifications are present which are required to be met. These are listed in brief below. 

  • Darwinex requires a proof of bank account ownership before a user can process a withdrawal via bank wire. A bank statement can be used for this purpose. It usually takes up one business day for verification to be completed. 

  • Funds which have been deposited from cards or payment processors such as Skrill or PayPal, must be withdrawn using the same source of the deposit. 

Commissions and Fees

Users who buy DARWINS are subjected to an execution cost of all the trades when the trading strategy has been copied and applied. Beside this, the user is also required to pay a performance fee of 20% of the profits obtained by a particular DARWIN, on a quarterly basis. 

  • Base Fees: All Darwinex users including self-directed traders as well as investors incur the spreads on each trade, along with a commission. Spreads are mostly variable, with the round turn commission charged being equal to  5 units of the user’s base currency. For instance, when trading the EUR/USD pair, the commission will be based on the Euro. This means that a euro currency base pair would incur a charge of €2.5 per side for one standard lot ( 100,00 units)

  • Darwin Performance fee: Investors on Darwin who subscribe to a strategy are required to pay a quarterly performance fee of 20%. This is however, only applicable if the subscribed strategy reaches a new high watermark. The performance fee is similar in nature to the incentive fee structure of any typical hedge fund. 

  • Commissions for Deposits and Withdrawals: A commission of 5 EUR/GBP/USD is charged for any deposits made by bank wire, which are below 500 EUR/GBP/USD. Additional charges may be present for depositing amounts less than 2000 USD via bank transfers,
    Users using Skrill or PayPal can incur an additional commission of 0.5 %. When it comes to withdrawals however, Darwinex passes all applicable withdrawal costs to its users.

Trading Instruments and Markets

Darwinex offers an impressive collection of trading instruments across multiple asset classes and markets including commodities, cryptocurrencies, stocks, shares, metals, indices, Forex, energies and CFDs. They offer over 40 forex currency pairs, major, minor and exotic currency pairs, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash and CFDs such as AUS200, NDX, SPX500 etc. 

  • Forex Trading: Darwinex offers 42 currency pairs, with a leverage available from 20:1 and 200:1. The maximum leverage is 30:1 for retail clients when trading major currency pairs. For minor and other currency pairs, the maximum leverage allowed is 20:1. Users meeting the criteria for being a professional client can access leverage of upto 200:1. 

  • CFD Trading: Darwinex offers CFD trading on Index, commodities, shares and cryptocurrencies. 

    • Index CFDs: Darwinex offers CFDs on several important indices such as  WS30, STOXX50E, UK100, SPX500, SPA35, NDX, AUS200 etc. 

    • Share CFDs: Darwinex users are offered Direct Market Access to a selection of CFDs of the most liquid of NYSE and Nasdaq stocks as well as 30 DJIA constituent stocks. Leverage is capped at 5:1 for both retail and professional clients. 

    • Commodities CFDs: Darwinex provides 6 USD denominated CFDs on commodities to trade for their users. These include Silver, Gold, Palladium, West Texas Crude. Natural Gas etc. 

    • Cryptocurrencies CFDs: Darwinex offers CFD trading on 5 major cryptocurrencies including Ripple, Litecoin,  Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

Trading Platforms and Tools

Darwinex offers its users the option of choosing one of many efficient and world-class trading platforms. These include both MetaTrader 4 and 5, a proprietary API offering and other important trading tools. In addition to this, Darwinex provides some auxiliary libraries to complement its MetaTrader/ FIX API stack. These include, 

  • ZeroMQ-enabled MetaTrader Server EA in MQL

  • ZeroMQ-enabled Python to MetaTrader Bridge in Python

  • Pricing and trading modules for FIX version 4.4 in Python

  • DARWIN API Wrappers in Python

Darwinex Trading Platforms and Tools

  1. MetaTrader 4: Considered as one of the most widely used platforms in the world, MetaTrader 4 is a popular choice for both novice as well as professional traders. The trading platform comes with an intuitive user-interface and multiple language support, making it a popular choice across many countries worldwide. It is fully customizable and provides a wide range of features such as multiple time frames and trading templates, multiple order types, real-time price quotes, automated trading, alert notifications and technical indicators for chart analysis. 

MetaTrader 4 comes with a built-in MetaEditor. This enables users to code their own expert advisors as well as custom indicators using the MQL programming language. Systems can be tested by a strategy tester over historical data. There is also a large online community behind the platform, where users can share indicators, EAs and trading ideas with each other. 

  1. MetaTrader 5: MetaTrader 5 is the next instalment after MetaTrader 4, packed with some new and extra features such as more order types, time frames, technical indicators and multicurrency back-testing. Both MetaTrader 4 and 5  provide a web platform for users to access MetaTrader directly from their browsers without the need of installing any additional software or plugins. It offers almost all of the features present in the desktop versions and is compatible with browsers across operating systems. 

  2. Zorro to MetaTrader Connectivity: Zorro is a freely available software tool, used mainly for financial analysis, algorithmic trading strategy development and machine learning.  It allows users to back-test as well as trade live, through its simple yet effective interface. By using Zorro, traders are able to develop, back-test as well as trade their own strategies using the Lite-C programming language. It comes with a bridge plugin for MetaTrader, allowing its users to directly control the strategies using Lite-C, without  requiring any knowledge of MQL. 

  3. ZeroMQ to MetaTrader Connectivity:  ZeroMQ is known as an Asynchronous, open source, messaging library and concurrency framework. It is used for building an extendible, high performance bridge between external programming languages and MetaTrader. Through ZeroMQ, programmers can connect various codes in numerous ways, eliminating a user’s dependence on the only MetaTrader supported technology. The C/C#/C++ programming languages, along with Java and Python, can be used to develop both strategies and indicators. 

  4. FIX API: Introduced in 1992, the financial Information Exchange protocol or FIX is an open messaging standard which is not controlled by any single individual or entity. It can be structured to meet the requirements of any user.
    In Darwinex, the FIX protocol provides the necessary framework for STP or straight through processing, as well as connections between a wide range of counter-parties. It has standardized and flexible exchange transactions between parties and is vender neutral. Fix messages are made up of standardized fields of data, allowing the flow of information in a transaction from beginning to end.
    Users can benefit from FIX by getting support for multiple brokers and short round-trip transaction times. 

Darwinex Tools

Darwinex does not provide its users with many standalone trading tools besides the historical tick data and FIX API. This is due to one of the main features of Darwinex, the ability to invest in DARWINS. 

  • Darwinex Tick Data: Users who have opened live trading accounts have access to high quality tick data on a range of different assets. This can be a helpful asset while developing and researching new trading strategies. It is especially useful for conducting back-testing with strategies that rely on intra-day trading and short-term market movements.

User Experience

Darwinex provides both a Mobile trading platform as well as social trading capabilities through DARWINs

  • Mobile Trading: Darwinex users have access to the MetaTrader Mobile platform which is available for both MT4 and MT5. This mobile app is a useful tool to have for traders who prefer trading on the go, requiring just a stable internet connection. It provides most of the powerful features provided by the desktop and web apps, such as chart analysis, opening, managing and closing positions, as well as push notifications. It is available for both Android as well as iOS devices, on their respective online app stores. 

  • Copy Trading: Darwinex offers its own unique twist of CopyTrading through its platform and the concept of DARWINs. As mentioned before, a DARWIN is an investment product on the platform which combines a trading strategy of another Darwinex trader, along with the platform’s independent risk management engine.  Through this, traders get access to a broad range of configurable parameters for sorting through over 2000 trading strategies submitted by other traders. Users can also research performance rankings using either custom or predefined filters such as “overall return”.
    In other words, Darwinex transforms the trading strategies into a new asset which can be invested on by other users. The DARWIN automatically replicates trades which are opened or closed by the traders. This is a form of copy trading which has a proven and effective track record as all DARWINs are listed with the same level of risk associated with each. 

Research

Darwinex provides many educational resources including special programs, FAQ sections, instructional videos and more. Educational resources are helpful for novice traders who are new on the platform and want to become accustomed to the various nuances of the trading world. 

  • Training School: Darwinex provides an online training school to help traders by sharing knowledge on vast trading topics and skills. 

  • Investor Programme: Darwinex introduced an Investor’s Programme which is aimed towards training novice investors who are investing in DARWINs. This program is inclusive of interactive educational material and apps for both android and iOS. There is also a reward system based on student support service and the achievement of objectives. 

Education

  • FAQ Section: Darwinex has a vast archive of frequently asked questions (FAQs) along with an active online community forum. 

  • Demo Account: Unlike most other brokers, Darwinex does not provide a demo account of its own. However, users can open a MT4/MT5 demo account instead. Opening a demo account can be especially helpful for novice traders, who can experience real-time trading in a risk freeway. Demo trading in MT4/MT5 gives users access to all the same assets, spreads and prices as usual. 

Customer Service

Customer service is provided to users through email and phone. Users can alternatively reach them by filling out and submitting a contact form if they have some urgent queries that need to be addressed right away. Surprisingly, Darwinex does not provide an online chat option, which is almost the norm among online brokerages.

Safety and Security

Apart from being regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, Darwinex takes a number of precautions and puts security protocols in place to achieve reliability and security. For the protection of investor funds, Darwinex holds them in segregated accounts in the Barclays Bank (UK). This assures users that the necessary steps would be taken if the company were to be insolvent. Client funds are additionally monitored by the FCA’s CASS regime 1. This requires Darwinex to reconcile any outstanding balances on a daily basis and report in case of any issues.

To serve their clients in the EU, they are regulated under the MiFID. It is also supported by the FSCS scheme, that offers protection to users in the case of broker insolvency or liquidation.  

Conclusion

Overall, Darwinex is an innovative broker which focuses greatly on the social aspect of trading through the DARWINS managed accounts. They provide flexible platforms to accommodate both novice and experienced traders. However, they have a small number of trading tools and limited educational material.


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