Richard Montana | November 17, 2022
Founded in 2012, Darwinex is a London based regulated online brokerage that enables you to trade the markets yourself and invest in the strategies of other traders. They give you access to user-friendly platforms for trading a good range of more than 300+ assets with institutional-grade pricing, FIX API solutions and free historical tick data. I found them to have a very competitive trading environment, including tight spreads, low fees and rapid trade execution speeds. I think they are catered more towards the professional traders who want institutional market access in a retail setup. They are also a good option for those of you who are looking for a social trading platform. The minimum deposit of $500 is quite high but free demo accounts will let you get a feel of what they can offer before making a commitment.
Pros & Cons
- Advanced trading platforms for desktop, web and mobile apps
- Various convenient funding methods to choose from
- Tight spreads, low fees and quick execution speeds
- DARWINs / social trading signals
- Direct market access (DMA)
- FIX API trading solutions
- Free tick data for historical back testing
- Free demo trading accounts
- Cannot accept clients from some countries
- Limited educational materials
- Minimum $500 deposit
- Live chat support could be added
- No Islamic swap-free account options
Darwinex provide you with direct market access (DMA) trading with interbank spreads starting from just 0 pips and low execution latency. Prices are sourced directly from prime brokers SaxoBank and LMAX. There are over 300+ assets for you to choose from including Forex, Commodities, Cryptocurrency, Stocks, Shares, Indices, Metals, Energies & CFDs.
The broker has powerful servers that are connected to their liquidity providers at the London Equinix LD4 Data Centre. Their MetaTrader servers are co-located with liquidity providers to help reduce trade latency. There is no dealing desk (NDD) which avoids a conflict of interest between broker and clients. I would always choose an NDD broker over a market maker as I don’t want to be trading against them.
They use a proprietary liquidity aggregation engine to evaluate the market conditions and direct the trade flow to the best liquidity provider at any point in time. This liquidity aggregation can help to improve execution speeds and offer liquidity during volatile conditions. I found them to have some of the top trading conditions in the industry, comparable with Global Prime.
The broker offers a “hedge fund as a service” model to retail and institutional traders. Through this model, they apply a risk overlay to the underlying trading strategies which are then listed on the exchange and made available to third party capital on the platform. Darwinex’s risk management overlay standardizes risk across the entire spectrum of trading strategies and thus facilities an apples to apples comparison for investors.
There are thousands of trading strategies that you can invest in for a performance fee. Traders who perform well are rewarded with lower pricing; commission as low as $3 per standard lot per round trip is available for those who qualify. When you consider some brokers charge $7 per lot per round turn, you can see there is great savings to be made.
The Darwinex® trademark and domain are owned by Tradeslide Trading Tech Limited, a UK-based company authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They have offices located in London and Madrid. The regulation and insurance are in place to help protect client’s funds and information.
This is top-tier regulation which gives me the peace of mind that I am trading with a broker who can be trusted and has client’s best interests in mind. I appreciate how they aim to be as transparent as they can with respect to clients, employees and the law. I would always choose a regulated broker over an unregulated one.
The broker holds a Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) passport to deliver their services in all EU countries. For a brokerage to offer services to a European, they must be regulated under MiFID as Darwinex are. MiFID provides harmonised regulation for investment services across the member states of the European Economic Area.
The broker states that they hold client funds in segregated accounts with Barclays (UK). Funds in a segregated account are separate from the company funds, which can give assurance in the hypothetical event of insolvency. Client funds are monitored per the FCA´s CASS regime 1, which requires them to reconcile outstanding balances daily and report any discrepancies.
They can accept traders from most countries around the world except for some countries with more restrictive regulations like the USA, Japan and Iran. If you cannot open an account with them due to these restrictions, feel free to find an alternative from our broker reviews.
Darwinex offer their trading conditions across a range of versatile platforms. There is the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platforms available on desktop (Windows / Mac), web and mobile (iPhone / iPad / Android / Tablet). Forex trading, indices and commodities are available on both platforms whereas shares are only available on MT5.
They understand that some traders require more than the capabilities of these platforms and thus offer the following auxiliary libraries to complement the MetaTrader / FIX API stack:
- FIX v4.4 Pricing & Trading Modules (in Python)
- ZeroMQ-enabled Python to MetaTrader Bridge (in Python)
- ZeroMQ-enabled MetaTrader Server EA (in MQL)
- DARWIN API Wrappers in Python & R
You can access Darwinex liquidity via FIX and a proprietary API offering (DARWIN API) to trade DARWIN assets on their Exchange.
Users of the Zorro trading platform can also connect to and trade at Darwinex via Zorro’s MT4 & MT5 Bridge solutions.
I would say they have one of the most impressive ranges of platforms that I have seen from any broker. There are platforms for beginners and those who just want a simplistic interface for quick and easy trading. There are platforms for institutional and professional traders with more complex trading strategies. I think they could improve slightly by incorporating the cTrader platform like Axiory do. However, unless you are specifically looking for that platform, I feel that the available options should be more than adequate for all traders.
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)
MT4 is one of the most widely used trading platforms by traders across the globe. It comes in multiple languages and is known for its intuitive user interface that makes it a popular choice for novice and advanced traders.
I really like how MT4 is fully customisable with a wide range of features including technical indicators for chart analysis, multiple time frames, multiple order types, trading templates, real time price quotes, alert notifications and automated trading.
The built in MetaEditor enables users to code their own custom indicators and expert advisors (EAs) in the MQL4 programming language. There is a strategy tester for testing systems over historical data and a large online community where other MetaTrader users share indicators, EA’s and ideas.
I have used the platform for manual and automated trading for many years now and never felt the need to switch over. It is available through most brokers and capable of doing much more than I actually need it to do for my trading activity. I use the MT4 desktop platform to run automated systems around the clock and the MT4 app to keep progress of my trades and the latest market prices.
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)
MT5 is similar to MT4 with a few extra features including more time frames, more order types, additional technical indicators, depth of market and multi-currency back testing. I think MT4 should be sufficient for most traders but if you want extra functionality and to trade stocks, you might prefer MT5 in the long-run. The main reason I opted for MT4 myself is that it was the best platform at the time. Once I learned how to use it, I decided to stick with it. That being said, MT5 is so similar that once you learn how to use one, you can easily use both. The only frustrating thing is that MT4 uses the MQL4 programming language whereas MT5 uses MQL5. This means that if you develop a tool for either platform, it is not cross compatible with the other. I have automated systems for MT4 that I would love to use in MT5 but I just haven’t got around to recoding them as of yet.
MetaTrader Web Platform
The MetaTrader web platform allows you to run MetaTrader directly in your browsers without having to install or run any additional software. It contains the majority of features as the desktop version and is compatible with most major web browsers. I think it’s great how it runs in the web browser as this means you can access it from anywhere and it will always be up to date. However, you cannot run expert advisors in the web platform or the mobile app for that matter.
MetaTrader Mobile Platform
The MetaTrader mobile platform is available for download on both Android and iOS. You can get it from the relevant app store as a free download or from the brokers website. This platform is useful for those of you who need to trade whilst on the go from anywhere in the world provided there is an internet connection. Most of the main features from the desktop platform are available including chart analysis and push notifications. You can open, manage and close positions. I am a big fan of mobile trading apps as I like to check my positions and follow the markets whether on the sofa, in bed or travelling around.
The Financial Information eXchange (FIX) protocol was introduced in 1992 and is an open messaging standard controlled by no single individual or entity, and can be structured to meet the requirements of each entity that employs it.
FIX protocol provides the framework for straight through processing (STP) and connections between a wide range of counter-parties. It is vendor neutral with flexible and standardized exchange transactions between parties. Standardized fields of data serve as the building blocks of all FIX messages, and allow the flow of information from beginning to end in a transaction.
FIX benefits include short round-trip transaction times, support for multiple brokers and convenience for strategy developers using different programming languages that supports socket communication.
I would put the Darwinex FIX API solution up there with the best available to retail traders. If this is an important feature for you, Valutrades also have a powerful FIX API setup worth checking out.
ZeroMQ to MetaTrader Connectivity
ZeroMQ is an Open Source, Asynchronous Messaging Library and Concurrency Framework for building an extensible, high performance bridge between external (non-MQL) programming languages and MetaTrader.
ZeroMQ enables programmers the flexibility to connect various codes in numerous ways whilst eliminating a user’s dependence on MetaTrader supported technology. Strategies and indicators can be developed in C/C#/C++, Python, R, Java, etc and deployed to market via MetaTrader.
Zorro to MetaTrader Connectivity
Zorro is a free software tool for financial analysis, machine learning, and algorithmic trading strategy development. It is capable of back testing and live trading with a simple interface that has a sophisticated set of features and capabilities.
You are able to develop, back test and trade your strategies in the Lite-C programming language. Zorro has a bridge plugin for MT4 & MT5 so that you can control MetaTrader directly from your Zorro trading strategies written in Lite-C, without any knowledge of MQL required. This is an excellent tool for those of you who want to combine your coding skills with your trading strategies.
One of the standout features of Darwinex for me is they give you the ability to invest in DARWINs. With great emphasis already put on this feature, there are not many standalone tools provided for using to assist with your own trading besides the FIX API and free historical tick data. However, the provided platforms are already packed with an abundance of powerful trading tools, probably a lot more than anyone would ever need. That is not to mention the fact you can get a plethora of free and paid add-ons to extend the platforms capabilities even further. If you do want some market analysis software like Autochartist or Trading Central, you could consider GO Markets as a viable alternative.
Darwinex Tick Data
Darwinex provide clients who have live trading accounts with high quality tick data on a range of assets for help with researching and developing trading strategies. Tick data is useful for robust back testing especially with a strategy that relies on short term market movements and intraday trading.
I have used tick data in the MetaTrader platforms many times in the past and continue to do so until this very day. I find it is invaluable for backtesting automated systems over historical data in order to try and get a rough idea of how a particular strategy may have performed. Of course, tick data does not take into account certain factors such as real-time liquidity and slippage, but it is the closest we can get to accurate back testing in my opinion.
If you are a beginner, there is the Darwinex online training school that was created to share their knowledge with traders to help them improve their trading education and skills.
The Darwinex Investors Programme is aimed towards training novice investors who are starting to manage passive investments in DARWINs.
The programme includes apps for iOS and Android devices and multimedia, interactive educational material. There are practical cases to learn how you can apply what has been learned along with self-evaluation exercise. Also included is a rewards system based on the achievement of objectives and student support service.
The brokers website has a vast frequently asked question (FAQ) section that covers many questions related to accounts, platforms and trading. There is an active online community forum where clients share trading ideas and knowledge. I found there to be plenty of helpful information and learnt a few new things whilst browsing around.
Darwinex give retail and institutional traders seamless access to a wide range of trading instruments across multiple markets including Forex, Commodities, Cryptocurrency, Stocks, Shares, Indices, Metals, Energies & CFDs. I think there is enough to create a diversified portfolio whilst you will find most of the assets you would expect from most brokers.
You can have access to trade 40+ forex currency pairs based on major, minor and exotic currency crosses. Cryptocurrencies can be traded based on Bitcoin, Ethereum and more. They offer metals trading on gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Energies Crude Oil (WTI) and Natural Gas are available to trade.
CFD’s can be traded on Indices including AUS200, NDX, SPX500, UK100, WS30 and more. There is also 30+ stock CFD’s based on shares of major US companies such as Apple, Amazon & Facebook. It would be great if they could add some more individual stocks like TMGM who thousands to choose from.
You can choose to trade your own account or follow the strategy of other traders. Traders who already have a profitable trading strategy can choose to list their strategy on Darwinex and receive a 20% success fee from the profits made by other traders who follow the strategy. I think it is great that those who don’t have the time or skills to trade manually can copy signals of other traders. Just keep in mind that this does not guarantee success.
For retail clients, a minimum initial deposit of 500 GBP/EUR/USD applies, and for corporate clients the minimum is 10,000 GBP/EUR/USD. This is quite high compared to the industry standard. If you want to get started with a much smaller deposit, Fusion Markets have a minimum deposit requirement of just $1.
A DARWIN combines a trading strategy managed by a trader with Darwinex’s independent risk management engine. You can open an account of your own to invest in a Darwin. There is a 20% performance fee only for profitable DARWINs. The trader’s incentive is to perform well consistently.
The website displays the performance of DARWINs with the strategies of independent traders from over 100 countries listed. There is a diverse range of short and long-term trading strategies to choose from with underlying instruments from multiple markets including currencies, stocks, commodities and/or indices.
Professional clients who meet certain criteria can apply for a professional account that can give monthly volume-based rebates, lower commissions, a dedicated account manager and no ESMA leverage restrictions. Whilst reduced costs can be a great incentive to trade larger volumes, as a professional trader, you will not gain access to the same account protection as a normal retail trader.
Traders who perform well are rewarded with lower transaction costs. Darwinex rates trading strategies based on a proprietary algorithm that they call the Darwinex Score (D-Score). This aims to quantitatively measure the odds of a trading strategy (DARWIN) performing in the future. They state that it is composed of 12 sub algorithms, being a clean, transparent and fair way to quantify trader skills. Using the D-Score, traders can be rewarded with reduced commissions by up to 40%.
Demo accounts are available if you would like to test the different trading platforms, conditions and DARWINs before opening a real account. I would always start on a demo account with any broker. I feel it is a great way to check to see if they have suitable trading conditions for my strategies.
Signing up as a trader at Darwinex requires completing a short online form and then confirming your email. You then need to upload a proof of identify (e.g. passport or driver’s license) and proof of address (e.g. utility bill). This is normal as part of KYC procedures. Once the accounts team have verified your documents you will then be able to fund your account and commence with your trading. The process to sign up as an investor is similar although you will need to provide them with more information on your trading strategy and history. It could be hassle to get started but they do have one the most powerful copy signal setups I have seen from any broker.
You can get excellent customer service via email, phone and a contact form on their website for emergency issues only. They could benefit by offering an online chat option as many other brokers do. I find this to be the most convenient option for me to get a quick answer to my questions. Regardless, the support team have always been very prompt and helpful over the years that I have held an account with them.
Your Darwinex accounts can be funded via bank transfer, credit or debit card and online payment services. They cover deposit costs with the majority of deposit methods. Some fees may be charged when using certain payment methods. Bank transfers may take a few business days to clear whilst some methods such as card payments can be instant.
If you want something quick then you may consider an online payment processor, they offer such as Skrill or PayPal. Please note that some methods may only be available to specific countries. I much prefer the digital wallet options as they give me quick access to my funds. If there is some market news that I want to try and take advantage of, I wouldn’t want to be waiting around days for payment to clear.
Accounts can be opened in GBP, EUR, USD. The different currency options are beneficial as currency conversion fees do not apply when using an account in your own currency. I think they could improve by supporting some more currencies.
The minimum amount required for your first deposit is 500 GBP/EUR/USD for individual / joint Darwinex accounts and 10,000 GBP/EUR/USD for corporate Darwinex accounts. The minimum amount for subsequent deposits is 100 GBP/EUR/USD. The minimum amount for withdrawals is 10 GBP/EUR/USD.
Darwinex charges a fee for any deposit lower than 500 GBP/EUR/USD. Deposits via bank transfer are card must be made from an account in the name of the Darwinex customer.
Compare Broker Features
|This Broker||AvaTrade||IG||IC Markets|
|Regulated||ADGM FRSA, ASIC, BVIFSC, CBI, FFAJ, FSCA, IIROC, JFSA||ASIC, BaFin, CFTC, DFSA, FCA, FINMA, FMA, FSA, FSCA, JFSA, MAFF, MAS, METI, NFA||ASIC, CySEC, FSA, SCB|
|Commission||From $0||From $0||From $0|
|Instruments||Forex, Commodities, Crypto, Stocks, Indices, Options, Bonds, ETFs||Forex, Commodities, Crypto, Stocks, Indices, Options, Bonds, ETFs||Forex, Commodities, Crypto, Stocks, Indices, Bonds|
|Platforms||MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, AvaTradeGO, AvaOptions, AvaSocial, DupliTrade, ZuluTrade||MetaTrader 4, IG Platform, IG Progressive Web App, ProRealTime (PRT), L2 Dealer, FIX API||MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, cTrader|
|Funding||Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, E-Wallets||Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, E-Wallets||Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, E-Wallets|
Overall, I think that Darwinex is a very innovative broker utilising advanced technologies to provide trading services for both traders and investors on a retail and institutional scale. They focus greatly on the social aspect of what they offer through the DARWINs managed accounts where traders can invest in other strategies for a performance fee. The overall trading costs improve based on performance which helps to encourage responsible trading. Generally, the broker has low fees and tight spreads. I found the platforms to be very flexible with the FIX API solution attractive for the more advanced traders and MT4 offered for beginners. There are some excellent trading tools implemented for convenient access to an institutional trading setup. You can choose from lots of funding options and the account opening process is relatively straightforward, all done online. Despite the many positives, I did find the educational materials to be slightly lacking and think they could reduce the minimum deposit slightly. That being said, Darwinex are one of my top brokers for trading online in a regulated environment.