Rakuten Securities Review
Richard Montana | May 26, 2022
Founded in 1999, Rakuten Securities is a global online broker that offers fixed spread trading on forex and CFDs via the user-friendly and popular MetaTrader 4 platforms. You can trade with very competitive conditions on your desktop and mobile devices with minimal hassle. The broker has a good choice of trading tools to assist you with your market analysis. This includes the excellent Autochartist for automatically finding customised trading signals. If you are a beginner, there are some copy trading solutions via ZuluTrade and MyFxBook but educational content is lacking. However, you can always open a demo account to practice trading online or get started in a real trading environment with a deposit of just $50.
Pros / Cons
- Fixed spread accounts
- Good selection of forex currency pairs
- No commission fees on trades
- Social trading via Myfxbook & ZuluTrade
- Analysis & market reports courtesy of Autochartist
- Free VPS for qualifying traders
- Free demo trading accounts available
- Support Muslim traders with swap-free accounts
- Good customer support
- Strict regulation from top-tier regulators
- Segregated client funds
- Cannot accept clients from some countries
- Limited non-FX instruments
- No variable spread accounts
- Educational materials not yet provided
- Demo accounts expire after 30 days
- No managed account options
- Spreads not fixed at all times
- No FIX API connectivity
Rakuten Securities is one of the largest forex brokers in the world and a pioneer in leveraged forex trading. They offer online forex and CFD trading products and services on the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform. The broker boasts a global presence with a very large customer base from all over the world. The website is available in an impressive 11 languages. Rakuten Securities Australia is part of the Rakuten Securities Inc. which has been in operations since 1999. Rakuten Inc. is publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock exchange. It has a huge market capitalisation of 1 trillion Japanese Yen.
I have been aware of this broker more or less since I began trading online and have held multiple accounts with them over the years. What initially attracted me to them was the fixed spreads that they provide on currency pairs. I use strategies that require tight spreads at all time, so they were a logical choice for me. However, I was disappointed when I discovered that you couldn’t trade on fixed spreads around certain market hours. This limited my options but I understand it is because there is not enough liquidity to justify the fixed spreads at these hours. If the broker was offering a fixed spread of 2 pips on the EURUSD but they were getting a price of 3 pips due to low liquidity, they would technically be down 1 pip. I would have preferred if they just always had a higher fixed spread to cover all eventualities.
Rakuten Securities states clearly that it is a market maker because its order volume is so high that it can act as its own liquidity provider without involving any third party. The broker affirms that it does not act as counterparty to client orders. Market executions are used on all orders and they are executed within milliseconds. The trade execution servers are located in Australia and Tokyo respectively. I wouldn’t usually opt for a market maker broker as they take the opposite side of your trades. This can sometimes lead to a conflict of interest and prices aren’t always as good as what an ECN broker with lots of liquidity providers can offer. I would consider IC Markets as an alternative is you would prefer a non-dealing desk (NDD) broker with deep liuqidity pools. In saying that, the fact they are a market maker means that they are able to set fixed spreads. If you are using a strategy that needs fixed spreads, they could be a great choice. They are one of a few brokers I have come across who have fixed spreads, IronFX before another option.
The broker is regulated by what I would consider to be top-tier regulators. This gives me the peace of mind that they are a broker who I can trust and will operate in an honest and transparent manner. The regulation means that they must comply with strict rules and regulations that are put in place to protect investors. I haven’t had any issue in the many years that I have had an account with them. All of my deposit and withdrawals have been processed without any hiccups along the way.
- Rakuten Securities Australia is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
- Rakuten Securities Australia holds Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) number 418036.
- Rakuten Securities is also regulated by the Japan Financial Services Agency (JFSA).
All Rakuten Securities Australia client funds are held in segregated accounts domiciled in the National Australia Bank (NAB) which is an AA rated bank. This is in compliance with the ASIC regulations. Funds held in segregated accounts are not used by Rakuten for its internal operations. If in the future, the broker becomes insolvent, the segregated funds will be returned to the owners.
The Rakuten website and platform is protected by a 128-bit Secured Socket Layer (SSL) encryption which is provided by “DigiCert SHA 2 Secure Server CA”. This ensures that all user sensitive data, such as credit card details, are encrypted before it is transmitted to the servers over the internet. Internet hackers and cyber thieves are kept away by this SSL technology.
The broker accepts clients from all over the world, excluding some countries where restrictions apply such as USA, Belgium, Russia, Iran & Israel. if you find that your country is not accepted, please feel free to look at our broker ratings for an alternative option.
The only platform provided for trading is the popular MetaTrader (MT4) platform developed by software company MetaQuotes. Rakuten provides the MT4 platform as a downloadable windows desktop application and also as mobile apps. If you are a MAC user then you will need to contact the support team for assistance on how to install MT4 on their systems, which is a bit of an unnecessary hassle. Other brokers provide MT4 for MAC by default, including IC Markets. I think MT4 is the ideal platform for new traders because it is very user-friendly. I like how the interface can be customised according to your own needs. You can make the platform to be as simplistic or complicated as required.
The MT4 desktop is packed with a myriad of features, tools and customisability. You can do everything from market analysis to placing and managing trades with relative ease. It has plenty of functionality to meet the demands of all traders, but not quite as many as MetaTrader 5. You can get the MT5 platform and MT4 from other brokers such as Axiory.
MT4 desktop platform features:
- Interactive charts in 3 styles that can be displayed over 9 timeframes.
- 30 inbuilt technical indicators that can be expanded with custom indicators.
- 24 Analytical objects used to conduct technical analysis of the charts.
- 4 pending orders, 2 stop orders and a trailing stop.
- One-click trading.
- Notifications via platform, SMS and email.
- Live quotes and live charts of all tradable assets.
- Supports automated trading through the use of Expert Advisors (EAs).
- MetaEditor for developing EAs, indicators and scripts in the MQL programming language.
- Access to the MetaTrader market where more trading tools can be purchased.
The MT4 mobile app is available for iOS and android devices. Rakuten provides the links to download the apps from the respective app stores. The mobile app is designed for users to access their trading account whilst on the go from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The app interface is simple and user friendly. It maintains most of the same features as the desktop version but is not able to run automated trading systems. I use the desktop platform for that and the trading app to check the progress of my trades whenever I feel like it.
MT4 mobile features:
- The ‘Quotes’ tab displays the live ‘bid’ and ‘ask’ prices of all the tradable assets.
- Fully customisable charts in 3 styles and 9 timeframes. The charts can be zoomed and displayed in various colours.
- 30 technical indicators and 24 analytical objects for conducting chart analysis.
- Complete orders management using market execution, pending orders and risk management tools like Stop loss and take profit.
- Account balance displays in real time even when trades are in session.
- It integrates seamlessly with the desktop version. You can place a trade on your pc and monitor, adjust or close the trade on the mobile app.
The MT4 web platform is great if you need to access your account from different devices. It can run directly in most modern web browsers without needing to download or install any software. I like how it is always up to date and has most of the same functions you will find in the other versions of the MT4 platforms. Again, just like the app it does not support automated trading.
I really like how Rakuten provide you with a great selection of trading tools. You can use them to analyse the markets and find trading signals. There is also a handy VPS so that you can remotely run your platforms around the clock. Most of you can probably get by with the tools that are already implemented within the MT4 platform, but it is nice to have the option of more.
The broker provides Copy Trading services for its clients via Myfxbook’s AutoTrade feature. Myfxbook is a popular social trading network that allows you to copy the strategies and trades of other traders. Rakuten MT4 trading accounts can be linked with Myfxbook in order to access the AutoTrade feature. The minimum account balance required to link accounts with Myfxbook is $1,000. Myfxbook charges a fee of $0.1 for every $1000 traded. There is an excellent range of strategies to suit different trading styles. However, I much prefer to maintain control over my own trading. I personally feel that it is better to learn how to trade for yourself and practice on a demo if need be. This way you are responsible for your trade decisions. I always like to know when and why a trade was taken, which is not always possible if copying signals. If you don’t have the time to trade by yourself, then eToro is widely regarded as one of the top social trading platforms.
This is an MT4 plugin tool that scans the charts of different instruments looking for a trading opportunity. When it finds one, the trader is alerted. It is available in 11 languages and fully customisable. This saves the time spent on technical analysis by the trader. The Autochartist software can be downloaded from the brokers website and installed on the desktop version of the MT4 platform. I think this is an excellent tool for automated market analysis and would always look for a broker who makes it available to use for free. This is the type of software that can easily cost thousands if purchased from a third-party. I like how it saves you from needing to watch the charts all day for your signal to appear. You can also simultaneously follow hundreds of instruments and timeframes for customised signals.
As a client of Rakuten, you can subscribe to receive 3 market reports every day. These reports give an outlook of the market when the Tokyo, London and New York markets open. I found them to provide some interesting market insights that I feel could be used to help plan the day ahead if you are day trading. I was actually inspired by some potential trade setups that I may have otherwise been unaware of.
ZuluTrade is amongst the leading social trading networks available today. ZuluTrade enables traders to locate expert strategy providers from their rankings, performance and other statistics. You can choose from a great selection of signal providers with thousands of traders from over 190 countries. It is simple to create an account and copy their trades automatically. To start trading with ZuluTrade, clients are required to sign up to ZuluTrade and then link their MT4 accounts. it is an easy process but as with the Myfxbook signals, I would still prefer to maintain control over my own trading activity. There can be no guarantees on how well these signals will perform moving forward, no matter how good past performance may be.
Virtual Private Server
There is a powerful Virtual Private Server (VPS) that you can take advantage of if you are interested. A VPS is often required by traders who use complex trading styles, trading systems and EAs. I find it to be very useful for running the MT4 platform 24 hours a day, 7 days week. It can also increase latency and minimise downtimes. The VPS can be setup through Amazon and the broker provides an easy to follow guide on how to go about it. I actually use my own VPS from a third-party provider as it is perfect for me to run multiple instances of the MT4 platform so that I can compare brokers and run automated strategies. There are other brokers that provide you with the option of a free VPS, including Switch Markets.
This section on the brokers website gives you access to some of the latest market news as it breaks. Unfortunately, this news section is currently not frequently updated with a sparse selection fo articles. I think this is an area where there is room for signficant improvement. Rockfort Markets provide some indepth market news if this is something you are looking for in broker.
At the moment, there are no training resources on the brokers website. The ‘Learn’ section of the website says that they are putting together the educational materials to assist traders. To be honest, I find this very disappointing. I believe that all brokers should provide at the very least some basic content to help educate traders on trading and the markets in general. If you are a beginner, you might want to consider IronFX as they have great forex trading conditions along with lots of trading guides and tutorial videos to help you get started. That being said, there is the option of a Rakuten demo account which lets you try trading online without any risk involved.
Rakuten give you a limited choice of assets when compared to many other online brokers. There are around 40 forex currency pairs and precious metals which include gold and silver. Also, the broker offers 10 CFD indices. I think they have enough instruments if you just want to trade forex. However, if you are looking to trade other asset classes such as stocks and cryptos, then you will probably want to look for another broker such as XTB. They have lots more tradeable instruments for you to choose from.
The broker offers you only two types of accounts which are based on leverage. The minimum opening balance for both accounts is $50 which is quite low compared to the industry average. One of the standout features of the account are that you get fixed spreads with no commission fees. Fixed spread accounts can be useful for those whose trading strategy requires a consistent spread and helps the trader to calculate the cost of a trade before placing the position. However, it should be noted that at certain times such as during news releases or hours of low volatility, spreads can still increase. I got caught out by this and ended up having to change my strategy to compensate for it. To be fair to the broker, this is clearly stated within the terms. I am still yet to find a true fixed spread broker that does not prevent trading around certain hours. easyMarkets did allow it for a few weeks but soon started preventing my trades from going though.
The Rakuten trading account types that you can choose from are as follows:
This account offers a maximum leverage of 1:100. This account offers lower spreads with the benchmark EURUSD currency pair at 0.5 pips.
High Leverage Account
The maximum leverage available is 1:400. Spreads are slightly higher with the EURUSD currency pair at 0.8 pips. If you need higher leverage, FXGiants go all the way up to 1:1000.
Islamic accounts that comply with Sharia law are available upon request although the broker insists that it is strictly for Muslims and so, anyone who applies for Islamic account must provide a proof of his faith. It is nice to see them cater towards traders with different religious beliefs but this is something that I would expect from all broker nowadays.
Demo accounts are available to test the different trading platforms and conditions before opening a real account. Demo accounts are unrestricted and unlimited. However, they will be disabled anytime there is no activity in the account for up to 30 days. You can always open another account if this is the case.
The customer care service is available from Monday to Friday. They can be reached on phone, email, Skype, web chat, WhatsApp and social media. The live chat services are available from 9am to 5pm (Sydney time) from Monday to Friday. All unanswered messages will be replied on the next working day. On social media, they are available on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. The support team also have a detailed FAQ page where most answers to questions are detailed. They also have a ‘guides page’ containing some PDF guides on MT4 desktop, MT4 mobile and VPS installation. I have always received a satisfactory response from the support team although they could improve by extending support hours to weekend like FP Markets do.
The broker has a good variety of payment options for you to make deposits to and withdrawals from your account. I like how we can use digital payment providers as this is often once of the quickest ways to get access to your funds. They are also one of a few brokers who support crypto funding, Hugos Way being another option. Rakuten Securities asserts that it abides by the counter terrorism and Anti-money laundering laws. Therefore, the broker rejects cash deposits and third-party payments which is pretty much standard practice.
The following payment options are available for you to choose from:
- Bank Wire transfers: Clients can do a direct transfer to Rakuten’s NAB bank accounts from their banks. There are no deposit charges but withdrawals are charged at $25. Local withdrawals in AUD are waived. International bank transfers take 3-5 business days while domestic transfers take 1-2 bank working days.
- Skrill: This is an e-wallet payment gateway which is accepted for both deposits and withdrawals. There are no deposit fees but a withdrawal fee of 2% is charged. Skrill deposits are processed instantly while withdrawals take up to 2 business days.
- Neteller: This is a global e-wallet payment option that Rakuten accepts. 2% withdrawal charges apply while deposits are free. Withdrawals can take up to 2 days while deposits are processed instantly.
- Credit/Debit cards: Payments through cards are available via Neteller. The cards accepted are MasterCard, Maestro, American Express and Visa cards.
- Bitcoin: This cryptocurrency is accepted for payments via the Neteller and Skrill payment processing platforms.
It is a simple process to open an account with Rakuten. You just need to click on the “open live account” button found on the topmost part of all the pages on the brokers website. The application form consists of 4-pages that require personal details, employment details, source of funds, trading experience and account information. The final step is to upload a proof of address and a photo ID. This is a normal part of the KYC process.
After uploading the necessary documents and submitting the application, a thank you message is displayed. If successful, the account is verified and opened within 24 hours. You can then deposit into your account using any of the convenient funding options and commence trading. I was able to complete it and receive my login details within minutes. It is great that the whole process is done online, making it quick and easy to complete.
Overall, I appreciate how Rakuten is an experienced broker that has been in operations for a long time in Japan. They have since expanded the company operations globally, endorsing partnerships, opening offices and attracting patronage from traders all over the world. I really like how they implement advanced and innovative trading technologies with very fast servers which complete trade executions in less than a second. Its liquidity pool is superflux, hence the company’s decision to remain ‘market makers’ without any trade manipulations. Clients’ deposits are kept segregated as the broker must comply with all regulatory standards and verifies all clients using various procedures.
The MT4 platform is well accepted among most traders and it is a good choice for all types of trader and investor. The integration of social trading through ZuluTrade and Myfxbook is commendable for those who are looking for copy trading solutions. The Autochartist is an excellent tool that is very beneficial to traders who need to conduct thorough technical analysis of various instruments, charts and timeframes. Fixed spreads are used on all account types with no commissions charged on trades. however, I was disappointed that fixed spreads do not apply during certain hours, coincidently these are the hours I wanted to trade.
Despite the many positives, I found the assets listing of this broker to be very small when compared to other brokers that offer thousands of tradable assets. Also, you do not get any analysts to help with daily insights and market news. There are no training resources currently provided to educate beginners, although there is the option of a demo account if you want to get a feel for trading online. I think they could be a good broker for anyone who wants to trade forex via an easy to use platform with minimal hassle.