Best Copy Trading Brokers in 2022
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The ascent of forex copy trading — also known as social trading, mirror trading, or auto trading — has been ongoing for over a decade. Thanks to social media and an increasingly faster web, financial news and market analysis propagate at lightning speed.
These factors, together with the power of crowd and advanced sentiment data, help to power social copy trading platforms, as investors generate trading signals and enter the market with new positions that people want to copy.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 65% and 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
What is copy trading?
The idea of copy trading is simple: use technology to copy the real-time forex trades (forex signals) of other live investors (forex trading system providers) you want to follow. This way, every time they trade, you can automatically replicate (copy) their trades in your brokerage account.
Best Forex Brokers for Social Copy Trading
Here are the best forex brokers for copy trading, based on our testing of 39 brokers across 113 variables.
- eToro - Best overall platform for copy trading
- AvaTrade - MetaTrader suite, ZuluTrade and DupliTrade
- Pepperstone - MetaTrader and cTrader platform suites
- Vantage - MetaTrader, ZuluTrade, DupliTrade, and Myfxbook
- FXCM - MetaTrader, ZuluTrade, and supports algorithmic trading
- Tickmill - MetaTrader, Pelican Trading, Myfxbook, and ZuluTrade
- OctaFX - Proprietary platform, MetaTrader and cTrader platform suites
Best overall platform for copy trading
eToro is a winner for its easy-to-use copy-trading platform, where traders can copy the trades of experienced investors – or receive exclusive perks for sharing their own trading strategies. eToro expertly merges self-directed trading and copy trading under a unified trading experience. Read full review
- Large number of investors to copy
- Extensive range of markets to trade
- User-friendly platforms and app
- No automated trading strategies
- Stops, limits mandatory on trades
- Research trails competitors
MetaTrader suite, ZuluTrade and DupliTrade
AvaTrade is a trusted global brand that offers an impressive selection of trading platforms, exceptional educational content, and average pricing and research. Our testing found AvaTrade to be great for copy trading, with AvaSocial, ZuluTrade, and DupliTrade available. Read full review
- AvaOptions app is an excellent forex options mobile trading platform
- Offers 44 forex options and over 1,200 CFDs
- Pricing for retail accounts is average, but trails industry leaders
- Desktop platform is slow to load, has outdated design
MetaTrader and cTrader platform suites
Pepperstone offers a growing range of tradeable markets, good-quality research, and support for multiple social copy trading platforms. It offers both MetaTrader and cTrader, and its wide range of available third-party tools and plugins enhances its already-impressive suite of available platforms. Read full review
- Large selection of third-party copy trading platforms
- Competitive pricing for active traders using Razor accounts
- Selection of markets trails industry leaders
- No interactive courses, progress tracking or educational quizzes
MetaTrader, ZuluTrade, DupliTrade, and Myfxbook
Vantage’s copy trading platform trio includes ZuluTrade, DupliTrade, and Myfxbook’s AutoTrade. While Vantage trails industry leaders in areas such as research and education, its MetaTrader offering is bolstered by content powered by Trading Central and a proprietary mobile app. Read full review
- Ranks among best MetaTrader brokers
- Multiple copy trading platforms
- Trails industry leaders in apps and research
- Education falls short
MetaTrader, ZuluTrade, and supports algorithmic trading
|Minimum Deposit||Starts from $50|
FXCM is a good choice for copy trading with its support for ZuluTrade, and a great choice for traders who appreciate advanced trading tools and quality research – though its range of markets remains fairly narrow, and pricing at FXCM is just average. Read full review
- Excellent platforms and tools
- High-quality market research
- Pricing is slightly higher than industry average
- Narrow range of tradeable markets
MetaTrader, Pelican Trading, Myfxbook, and ZuluTrade
Tickmill is most valuable to high-volume, high-balance traders who want to trade only the most popular forex and CFD instruments. Tickmill does offer a variety of copy trading platforms, with support for Pelican Trading, ZuluTrade, and Myfxbook’s AutoTrade feature. Read full review
- Highly competitive pricing
- Above-average research and education offerings
- Small range of markets available for trading
Proprietary platform, MetaTrader and cTrader platform suites
OctaFX delivers a basic, low-cost MetaTrader platform experience, but suffers from a limited range of tradeable instruments. OctaFX is a good choice for social copy trading, and offers its own proprietary OctaFX Copytrading app. Read full review
- Proprietary social copy trading platform connects to MetaTrader
- Growing number of strategies
- Just over 50 symbols to trade
- Not regulated in major financial centers
- Lags in education, research
Copy trading history
Thanks to precise legal terms and ever-evolving trading technology, regulators in nearly every jurisdiction consider copy trading to be self-directed — because the client must decide who to copy, even if the copying happens automatically (for each signal).
It's important to note that not all trading platforms with social features provide copy trading.
Fun fact: Many of the early pioneers in social trading technology started out as third-party platform developers, such as Tradency, ZuluTrade, and eToro. While some of these firms are still independent service providers, or ISPs, eToro became a broker, for example.
Forex copy trading platforms comparison
Using our forex brokers comparison tool, here's a summary of the trading platforms offered by the best copy trading brokers.
|Desktop Platform (Windows)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|MetaTrader 4 (MT4)||No||Yes||Yes|
|MetaTrader 5 (MT5)||No||Yes||Yes|
What is the best copy trading platform?
Our testing found that eToro is the best copy trading platform available in 2022, compared to the range of platforms available from brokers and third-party provides such as ZuluTrade, cTrader, the MetaTrader Signals market, DupliTrade, and Myfxbook.
Overall, eToro is the best for social copy trading and cryptocurrency trading, and is our top pick for both categories in 2022. Furthermore, eToro offers a user-friendly web platform and mobile app that is great for casual investors, including beginners.
Is copy trading legal?
Copy trading is legal in most countries, as long as the broker itself is properly regulated. When investing in financial markets through a regulated broker, there are procedures in place during the account opening process that should ensure it is legal for you to trade (depending on your country of residence).
Is copy trading legal in the U.S.?
Yes, copy trading is legal in the U.S. provided that your broker is properly regulated by either the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in the case of forex; or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for stocks. For cryptocurrency copy trading your broker must be a registered Money Services Business, or MSB, and licensed by FinCEN. Copy trading is typically treated like having a self-directed account.
Before copy trading existed, a power of attorney was required to authorize a fund manager to trade on your behalf; but today, individual investors agree to a Letter of Direction, or LoD, which authorizes the broker to copy other trades automatically based on your explicit instruction.
Fun fact: The LoD (which is now incorporated in the platform terms and conditions) was a crucial piece of the innovation that helped legalize copy trading in the U.S., making it largely indistinguishable from a regular self-directed brokerage account. That said, in certain countries, there are still restrictions. In the U.K., for example, additional money-management licenses are required for copy trading.
How do you copy trade?
With copy trading, a trader (signal provider) shares real-time trades with other traders (users). Using a copy trading platform, users can automatically copy the trades of the signal provider in real-time. Each copy trading platform provides optional controls to protect investors. For example, traders can customize the amount of capital they are risking, and which signals to copy.
How do you copy the best traders?
Select the traders whose trades you want to copy, set any limits and thresholds for risk management purposes, and then decide whether you want to copy their existing trades or only new trades going forward.
The best traders typically have the most followers, as well as an established track record of performance (i.e., history of monthly trading results) along with consistent risk-adjusted returns and above-average overall results. Also, depending on your goals, it's important to find the right balance of diversification.
Pro tip: Look at more than just the absolute returns when comparing the best traders to copy, such as by reviewing additional performance metrics — average profit and loss, the number of trades placed, and average trade duration — when making your decision.
Can you make money from copy trading?
Copy trading is like any investment, in the sense that you can either make money or lose money. Your profitability is determined by which traders you follow, as well as the timing of when you copy their trades — both factors will affect any resulting profits or losses.
You should assess the profitability of each trader before choosing which one to follow, and remember: just because a trader is making money at a particular time doesn't mean it's the best time to copy them.
As the market adage goes, "Past performance is not indicative of future results." As copy trading is risky (and many traders do lose money), you should only invest what you are willing to lose. Start with a small amount of capital, and do thorough research before committing to a strategy.
How do I choose the best trading system to forex copy trade?
The best trading system to copy isn't necessarily the most profitable. It is crucial to align your risk parameters with the strategy that best suits your investment goals. For example, a more conservative investor may choose a system with a lower average loss per trade, relative to the average profit. On the other hand, a more aggressive investor may choose a strategy that has higher volatility, which means a higher risk for losses — but also higher relative potential profits.
Many modern copy trading forex platforms contain hundreds or even thousands of signal providers. As a result, it can be difficult for traders to decide who to follow. Thus, it is always important to do research, start with a small amount, and never risk more than you are willing to lose.
Is copy trading a good idea?
While it may sound like a good idea to automate your trading strategy, copy trading still requires active account management — it's not a quick fix or an easy way to make money. Though it's not for everyone, copy trading can help you diversify your existing portfolio when used correctly, and the best copy-trade brokers will offer tools to help you manage your account.
Whether or not copy trading is a good idea for you will depend on your preferences, overall goals, risk-tolerances, and what percentage of your portfolio you plan on allocating to copy trading. You'll still need to specify various risk/reward parameters and maximum drawdown thresholds and decide which providers to copy, if any.
Copy trading still requires you to work when setting it up because it's considered a self-directed account in most countries, compared to a set-it and forget-it investment fund or other passive investments where other people make investment decisions for you.
How do you copy a trade?
You must first decide which investors you want to copy from within the copy trading platform, then allocate a portion of your account balances towards each one, to enable copy trading.
For example, if an investor that you are copying buys 100,000 units of the EUR/USD currency, you will see the same proportionally-sized trade in your account, depending on how much you allocated (the trade size in your account may be smaller or larger, depending on how you configure your account when initially subscribing to copy each investor).
Pro tip: Once you find one or more traders you wish to copy from within a copy trading platform, you will need to decide whether you want to only take on any new trades they establish, or immediately copy any of their pre-existing positions that may already be open. There may be additional parameters that you can configure — such as the maximum amount of risk you are willing to take for each trader you copy — and other controls that may affect how you manage your account when copy trading (these can vary depending on the copy trading platform you use).
Besides choosing a trader with good historical results, it's important to look at the performance statistics for each system, such as the amount of risk taken (maximum drawdown) and average trade size, duration, and frequency of trades. Some investors select more than one strategy, but having enough capital and choosing the right risk parameters (if any) is crucial when you copy trade forex strategies. Remember, copy trading is risky. Never invest more money than you are willing to lose.
Does copy trading really work?
Yes, copy trading really works, and you can verify the proof by checking the results of the best-performing traders. Likewise, there are traders that do lose money when copy trading. The key to success is picking the right strategies at the right time, and then allocating enough capital to each strategy, in addition to setting any risk/reward thresholds depending on your needs.
Copying a trader who has a successful track record or history of positive returns is no guarantee that you will succeed, although it can help increase the probability of making money compared to copying a trader that has poor historical performance.
Pro tip: The tools available for analyzing traders and managing risk can vary widely across copy trading platforms, and database biases may come into play (for example, recency bias, which can lead to simply following the trader currently performing best, which is not always the best choice). In addition, investors may be led astray by strategy drift — which is when a trader deviates from the strategy that led to their historical performance, which can produce unexpected results. The key to success is to do your research and keep up to date with your account performance, and intervene when necessary if copy trading doesn't work for you.
Other thoughts on copy trading
Understanding how social copy trading networks calculate trading performance is an essential aspect of successful copy trading, as it affects the ordering of trader rankings. The method used to measure and track profit and loss also influences trade copiers.
Instant backfill bias is just one example of the challenges social trading technology developers face if they permit traders to instantly upload their entire trading history at the click of a button.
Such challenges have been known for years, and thanks to broker procedures, regulation, and robust technology, these concerns are mostly non-issues, especially for top-rated forex brokers. Nonetheless, if in doubt, it's always prudent to check and ask questions.
eToro is a winner for its easy-to-use copy-trading platform where traders can duplicate the trades of investors across over 2300 instruments, including exchange-traded securities, forex, CFDs, and popular cryptocurrencies.
- Trust: eToro was founded in 2007 and is regulated in two tier-1 jurisdictions and one tier-2 jurisdiction, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for trading forex and CFDs.
- Commissions: For trading forex and CFDs, eToro is slightly pricier than most of its competitors, despite recently cutting spreads and introducing zero-dollar commissions for U.S. stock trading.
- Copy trading platforms: eToro's main innovation is merging self-directed trading and copy trading under a unified trading experience. It is a winning combination.
AvaTrade is a trusted global brand best known for offering traders an extensive selection of trading platform options. Our testing found AvaTrade to be great for copy trading, competitive for mobile, mostly in line with the industry average for pricing and research, and a winner for investor education.
- Trust: Founded in 2006, AvaTrade is regulated in three tier-1 jurisdictions and three tier-2 jurisdictions, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for forex and CFD trading.
- Commissions: Compared to pricing leaders such as IG and Saxo Bank, AvaTrade does not rank among the best brokers for low-cost trading, except for clients designated as Professional traders in the EU.
- Copy trading platforms: Alongside MetaTrader, AvaTrade offers its proprietary platforms, as well as ZuluTrade and DupliTrade, for social copy trading. The variety of platform options makes AvaTrade competitive in this area.
For our 2022 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 39 international forex brokers over a five-month time period resulting in over 50,000 words of published research. We reviewed the following brokers: ACY Securities, AvaTrade, BDSwiss, BlackBull Markets, Capital.com, City Index, CMC Markets, Eightcap, eToro, FinecoBank, Forex.com, FP Markets, FXCM, FxPro, HYCM, IC Markets, IG, Interactive Brokers, Legacy FX, Moneta Markets, OANDA, OctaFX, Pepperstone, Plus500, Saxo Bank, Swissquote, TD Ameritrade, Tickmill, TMGM, TopFX, Trading 212, Trade Nation, Vantage, VT Markets, XM Group, and XTB.
Each broker was graded on 113 different variables, including our proprietary Trust Score algorithm. This innovative scoring system ranks the level of trustworthiness for each broker based on factors such as licenses, regulation and corporate structure. Read about our Trust Score here.
As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy.
Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .1% each year, providing site visitors with quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
- Best Forex Brokers for 2022
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"There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses." Learn more.
About the Author
Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.