Managed forex accounts allow you to buy and sell currency pairs on a full-time basis without needing to do any research or execute trades. Instead, you will be entrusting your money with an experienced trader, who will then manage your investments on your behalf. In return, the managed forex account provider will take a commission on any profits they make.
In this article, we explore how managed forex accounts work, review the best providers of 2020 and provide helpful tips on how to find the right account for you.
What are Managed Forex Accounts?
As the name suggests, managed forex accounts allow you to invest money with an experienced forex trader who will then place trades on your behalf. The overarching concept is that you get to access to the multi-trillion dollar forex trading scene without needing to do any of the work.
This can be a good option for beginners who have no experience of trading, or traders who simply don’t have the time to research the financial markets. While it takes many months, or even years, to learn the ins and outs of technical analysis and in-depth chart reading, managed forex accounts allow you to fast-track to the process.
This is because you will not need to place a single trade, nor you will need to do any research. Instead, you simply need to meet a minimum investment requirement, choose a trader, and that’s it – you can sit back and let the expert do their thing. In return, the trader will keep a percentage of any gains that they make. This can vary from just 10% of realizable profits right up to 50%.
Ultimately, the amount you pay depends on the experience and skill-set of the trader in question. With that being said, there is no guarantee that you will make money.
The online domain is jam-packed with providers that offer managed forex accounts, most of which promise ‘guaranteed’ good results. The truth is that in most cases, you are unable to verify the claims made by the platform, so you really need to tread with caution.
How do Managed Forex Accounts Work?
Although the specific investment steps can vary depending on the platform you sign up with, much of the process remains constant. In a nutshell, you will be investing a fixed amount of money into the trader, who will then buy and sell assets on your behalf. At the end of each month, the trader will retain a percentage of any gains that they make for you. If they don’t make any money they don’t receive a commission.
Before we outline a real-world example of how a managed forex account works in practice, it is important to note that there are two main ways in which you can get started. You can either go direct with a regulated broker that offers managed accounts or through a third-party. Both options come with their benefits, so let’s explore them in more detail.
Managed Accounts Through a Broker
Some online forex brokers allow you to access managed accounts at the click of a button. In the vast majority of cases, this will centre on a copy or mirror trading agreement. For those unaware, this allows you to choose a trader that you like the look of and then mirror their portfolio like-for-like. Any ongoing buy and sell orders that they make will subsequently be reflected in your portfolio.
This is one of the most efficient, flexible, and transparent options you have available to you in your hunt for a managed forex account, because platforms like eToro allow you to view each and every metric of its copy trading investors. For example, not only can you view the trader’s month-by-month ROI (Return on Investment), but you can also see what trades they typically place.
All in all, the process simply requires you to open an account with your chosen broker, deposit some funds, and then choose which investor(s) you wish to mirror. After that, the rest of the process is passive.
Specialist Managed Forex Accounts
If you don’t want to utilize a copy or mirror trading strategy at an online broker, you can sign up with a specialist managed forex account provider instead. The process typically centres on you meeting a minimum investment amount, and then the broker will assign you with a suitable trader. Some platforms allow you to choose a trader that meets your long-term investing goals, as well as verify their historical investment results.
Other platforms instead utilize the benefits of auto trading technologies like AI and machine learning. The process works the same as any other managed forex account provider, albeit, your investments will be facilitated by an algorithm, known as Algo Trading, as opposed to a human trader.
Real Example of a Managed Forex Account
So now that you know the basics of how managed forex trading accounts work, we need to explore how the profit and loss process typically functions. Although the below figures are hypothetical, they reflect the real-world investment process when you trade via a managed forex account.
- You invest $10,000 into a specialist managed forex account provider
- The provider assigns you with a seasoned trader that utilizes a swing trading strategy
- The commission charged on your gains is 20%
- At the end of month one, the trader makes gains of 25%, which on your $10,000 investment, reflects a profit of $2,500 As such, the trader gets their 20% commission, which amounts to $500 ($2,500 gains x 20%)
- This leaves you with a month-end profit of $2,000 – so your portfolio is now worth $12,000
We now need to see what happens at the end of month two when the trader encounters a less successful run of results.
- The trader makes a loss of 10% in month two
- As your portfolio stood at $12,000, this equates to a loss of $1,200
- The trader gets no commission, as they made a loss
- This means that your portfolio is now worth $10,800
As you can see from the above, there is always the chance that the trader will have a losing month. Although you will not be required to pay any commission, this does mean that your investment will go down in value.
What are the Advantages of Managed Forex Accounts?
Still not convinced about the benefits of using a managed forex account? If so, check out the following advantages.
- Perfect if you have no experience of forex trading: The main advantage of investing money into a managed forex account is that you can trade currencies without needing to have an ounce of experience. Instead, you will be utilizing the services of a seasoned trader, who will be buying and selling forex pairs on your behalf.
- Ideal if you have no time to trade: Even if you do have experience in the online forex space, you might just not have the capacity to trade full-time. After all, it requires a lot of dedication to trade forex successfully. Like PAMM accounts, managed forex accounts allow you to invest in an actively managed portfolio without you needing to do any of the research.
- Some platforms offer verifiable results: The best managed forex account providers allow you to independently verify the results of the trader. This is crucial, as you need to be 100% sure that the platform is being credible with its stated returns.
- Cash-out at any time: Although you should view a managed forex account as a long-term investment, most providers allow you to cash-out your balance at any given time. This allows you to gain access to your cash fast in the event you experience a short-fall.
Best Managed Forex Accounts of 2020
Like the sound of what managed forex accounts offer and wish to get started today? Below you will find our top-rated platforms of 2020.
1. eToro – Invest in Forex via CopyPortfolios
eToro is an online broker that's famous for its social trading features and offers close to 50 forex pairs, as well as a range of other financial instruments. While it's not a specialist managed forex account in the strictest sense, it's a regulated and trusted platform which is a great option for beginner traders looking to invest in forex passively.
This platform has the innovative CopyTrader tool, which allows you to instantly copy the portfolios and future trades of any of the 12 million users of the platform. The most important thing about the copy trading process at eToro is that everything is 100% transparent.
Once you access a trader's profile, you will be able to access a wealth of information, including their historical trading results, the types of currencies they typically trade, their maximum drawdown on a daily, monthly, and annual basis, and their assigned risk profile.
eToro also offers CopyPortfolios, which are professionally managed portfolios that take things to next level. You can choose from Top Trader Portfolios, which are made up of the platform's best-performing investors, you can go with Market Portfolios, which bundle together a range of assets under a predefined market strategy.
You can mirror the portfolios of individual traders for just $200, while CopyPortfolios require a minimum $5,000 investment. There's a range of payment methods accepted, including PayPal. eToro is regulated by three tier-one bodies - the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC - so it's one of the best managed forex accounts in terms of safety and security.
- Catered to newbie traders
- Choose from more than 12 million copy traders
- Regulated by three tier-one licensing bodies
- Limited technical analysis tools
2. World Markets - AI Managed Forex Account Services
World Markets has amassed a strong following in recent years, not least because of the huge returns that it claims to have made since 2017. This includes annualized returns of 647% in 2018 and 718% in 2019. The overarching concept of the platform is that your managed forex account will be facilitated by automated technologies.
The underlying algorithm, which is powered by Microsoft AI, researches the financial markets on your behalf and then proceeds to place buy and sell orders. The lowest amount that you can get started with is $1,500 via the 30-day Trial Account. After that, you'll need to upgrade to the $5,000 Standard Account, which comes with a commission agreement of 20%.
If you want to get the commission down to 10%, you'll need to upgrade to the Gold Premier Account, which comes with a minimum investment of $25,000. Ultimately, your best bet is to go with the Trial Account and assess the AI's trading results before committing to one of the main plans.
- 30-day trial account with a minimum deposit of €2,500
- Upfront about their revenue share model of 10-20%
- No mark-ups on spreads or pips
- Minimum investment on standard account is €5,000
3. FxMAC - 6 Managed Trading Strategies to Choose From
FxMAC is a specialist managed forex account provider that offers six different trading strategies. That is to say, once you choose an investment strategy that you wish to employ, the platforms will then assign you a suitable expert. We really like the flexibility that this offers, as most managed forex account providers do not give you any say in the actual investment process.
Example strategies include technical analysis with moving averages and Fibonacci levels. Alternatively, you might decide to opt for a news-based strategy, which focuses exclusively on the fundamentals. Either way, the entire investment process is automated.
On the flip side, you will need to invest at least $5,000 to get started, with some plans requiring even more. We should also note that the commission structure is very high at FxMAC, with some strategies coming with a 50% revenue share.
- Allows you to choose your trading strategy
- The entire investment process is passive
- Very transparent on its fees
- Minimum investment of $5,000
- Commission is high
4. FX Pig - Middleman Between You and Independent Forex Traders
FX Pig is a third-party platform that sits between you, the trader, and the online brokerage firm. The provider has partnered with a select number of proven forex traders, all of which have been pre-vetted. This means that you will have access to some of the most successful traders in the space.
For example, there's the likes of FX Titan, a forex trader based in Australia who has an excellent track record. The investor requires a somewhat high commission share of 35%, although has an impressive maximum drawdown of just 8.8%.
Although minimum investments depend on the trader that you wish to partner with, they start at just $500. Another advantage of FX Pig is that it offers latency-free withdrawals, so you can cash out your funds without delay whenever you wish.
- Can connect you with proven forex traders
- Get started with a minimum deposit of $500
- PAMM account traders are pre-vetted
- Profit share commission of 35% is huge
Risks of Managed Forex Accounts
The overarching risk of investing in a managed forex account is that there is no guarantee the trader will make money. Even if you’re backing seasoned investors with a verifiable track record in the space, past performance is never indicative of future results. As such, make sure that you have a firm understanding of the risks.
With that being said, the best strategy that you can employ to mitigate these risks is through diversification. The easiest way to do this is to create a highly diversified portfolio of copy traders at eToro.
For example, as the platform allows you to mirror trade from $200 per investor, a $2,000 investment would effectively get you an army of 10 expert traders. If and when a particular trader has a bad month, you might not feel the effects of this if your other traders ended up in the green. Alternatively, you could invest $5,000 in a professional managed diverse portfolio made up of a number of traders.
How to Choose a Managed Forex Account
There are literally hundreds of managed forex accounts in the online domain of all shapes and sizes. While this gives you ample choice to find a provider that meets your needs, it is important to note that most of these platforms typically fall short. By this, we mean that they make super-bold claims that rarely come to fruition.
With this in mind, we would suggest making the following considering prior to joining a new managed forex account platform.
- Type of Managed Account
Your first port of call is to assess the type of managed forex account you will be opening. For example, if you want to build a highly diversified portfolio of expert traders while at the same time retaining some control of where your money goes, it might be worth opting for a platform like eToro.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you want to automate the entire end-to-end process, FX MAC might be your best bet. This is because their traders have already been pre-vetted and the platform takes care of everything once you’ve invested money.
- Verifiable Results
Regardless of the type of managed forex account you wish to open, you need to ensure that there is a way for you to verify their stated returns. For example, just because a provider claims to have made triple-digit returns over to the past few years, there is no guarantee that this is actually the case.
Instead, only opt for platforms that allow you to personally verify the historical trading results of your chosen investor. If this isn’t possible, then the next best thing is to use a provider that offers a demo account or free trial of some sort. Our recommendation is to go with a licensed and regulated platform, as that way you’ll know the claims are reliable.
- Minimum Investment
There is quite a disparity when it comes to the minimum investment required by managed forex account providers. For example, platforms like FX Pig have managed forex accounts available for as little as $500, while sites such as World Markets have a minimum standard balance of $5,000. If you want to start off with really small amounts, you’ll need to choose a provider that offers low minimums.
- Payment Methods
You then need to think about how you intend on paying for your investment. As most managed forex account providers allow you to use a traditional Visa and MasterCard, you should be able to get funds int the platform instantly. Providers like eToro also support e-wallets like Paypal, Neteller, and Skrill, which can provide faster deposits and withdrawals than bank cards.
- Revenue Share
Other than a few exceptions such as eToro and its copy trading feature, you will always need to pay a commission when investing in managed forex accounts. The percentage that you pay can vary wildly, with the most sought-after and proven investors typically demanding high commissions.
In fact, revenue shares can sit anywhere between 10% and 50%. What you shouldn’t do is choose a provider just because they offer a low commission model. After all, you typically get what you pay for, so it could be worth paying more if the trader has a verifiable track record of making long-term gains!
- Withdrawal Policy
Before depositing funds into a managed forex account platform it is crucial that you read and understand the terms surrounding withdrawals. This is because some providers will install a minimum redemption period, which means that you will not be able to withdraw your investment until the stated term has passed. We would suggest avoiding such providers, as there might come a time where you need to withdraw your balance in full without delay.
In summary, managed forex accounts give you the chance to invest in the forex market in a passive manner. This is because you will be entrusting your money with an experienced trader who will buy and sell currency pairs on your behalf. This can be especially beneficial if you want to gain exposure to the space but you have no experience or knowledge of how things work.
However, you do need to remember that there is no guarantee that your chosen trader will make you a profit. On the contrary, there is every chance that you will lose money. With this in mind, it’s absolutely fundamental that you do your homework before investing with a managed forex account provider.
There are many options out there, but if you’re looking for a trusted and regulated platform, eToro is a great choice. You can choose between manually copying individual traders or going for a completely professional managed CopyPortfolio, so the choice is yours.
What is the best managed forex account?
There is no easy answer to this question, as it all depends on what you're specifically looking for in a platform. However, our pick for the best managed forex account is eToro, due to its licensing and the fact that users can either copy individual forex traders of invest in professionally managed portfolios.
How much money do I need to use a managed forex account?
Again, this can vary quite considerably depending on the broker and account plan that you opt for. For example, while the likes of FxMAC require at least $5,000, at FX Pig you can get started for $500. However, you're unlikely to find a $100 minimum managed forex account.
What commissions do managed forex accounts charge?
Revenue-share agreements will typically mirror the historical trading results of the investor. As such, you could end up paying anywhere between 10% and 50%. You won't pay any commission if the trader has a losing month.
When can I withdraw my money from a managed forex account?
As long as you are using a managed forex account provider that does not install a minimum redemption period, you should be able to withdraw your investment out at any given time.
Are there any hidden fees to look out for when investing in managed forex accounts?
With most managed forex trading accounts, the only fee that you need to be made aware of the revenue-share agreement. Other trading-related fees, such as commissions and spreads, will be reflected in your monthly gains or losses.