Gallant Trade Copier Review (Our Opinion)
Please note that Gallant announced on April 14th 2017 that it has filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection in order to restructure. We will keep you posted here if their status changes. In the meantime we leave this review live since it may be useful to you when reviewing other services.
Gallant Capital Markets is a global Forex broker established in 2011. They launched their mirror trading platform, called “Trade Copier” in Q4 2013. This platform allows Gallant clients to follow and automatically copy other experienced traders (called ” Leaders”). This review focuses in detail on Gallant’s “Trade Copier” platform and not specifically on Gallant as a broker.
In order to use Trade Copier you must first open a normal Gallant trading account. Once you’ve registered (and even before you fund) you get access to the Leader Lounge, where you can review and copy the available Leaders.
While the Gallant registration process should be straight forward, we did however run into a small problem. While accounts can be opened and funded in USD, GBP, CHF, EUR, AUD or JPY, when you copy a Leader using Trade Copier you need to do this from an account in the same currency as the Leader’s account. This is however not made very clear on the Gallant website. In our case we funded our GBP account in GBP, only to find that almost all Leaders trade with USD accounts and none with GBP. Converting GBP funds to USD is not something normally possible with Gallant and was only performed in our case as “an exception”. Hence because almost all the Leaders you can copy trade with USD accounts, you pretty much should open and fund a Gallant USD account. This is obviously a slight disadvantage for customers from none USD countries since your account and investment will be held in USD and not your local currency (unless you hedge of course).
It’s also worth to mention here that Gallant is registered in the British Virgin Island and that customers from the US are not allowed.
Who are the Trade Copier Leaders
Gallant advertises the Leaders you can copy on Trade Copier as “experienced and professional traders” (and in all fairness, any social trading network seems to use some grand words to describe them). However, who are they?
With Gallant, any live account customer can decide to become a Leader, and thereby make some extra money from their trading skills. I.e. there’s no formal vetting process and there are no specific historical trade performance requirements. Leaders get paid a percentage performance fee of the profits made in the accounts of the clients who copy them (the % amount they can define themselves). The performance fee is based on the equity high water mark, meaning they don’t get paid unless the profits they make exceed the previous highest performance peak.
The key point to take away here is that while anyone can become a Leader and Gallant doesn’t control this (= not so good), ALL the Leaders trade themselves from live real money accounts AND they only get paid for the additional profits they make (= very good). In fact some Leaders have fairly significant account balances themselves (> $10,000) and hence risk reasonable sums of their own money as well.
It’s fairly rare with social and mirror trading platforms that the actual account balances from the traders you can copy is completely shared. Please note though that while this is obviously very positive, the fact that they risk their own money doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all successful. E.g. one of the Leaders, Progressive System (removed from the list since our initial review), managed to lose $ -90,949.67 of their own money.
In Feb 2014 we wrote that because Trade Copier is still fairly new and we’ve only been using the service ourselves for a few months it’s difficult to make a final judgement on the overall quality of the Leaders in the current review. However, looking at their historical performance statistics and strategy descriptions, our initial impression is that there are certainly a few Leaders on Gallant who seem to be appear quite professional. I.e. they seem to have adhered to sound risk management principles so far, while their descriptions are written in a very clear and proficient manner. Some of the Leaders also used to sell the signals from their Gallant account on another mirror trading service (ZipSignals), adding again a little bit more believe to the “professionalism” claim.
As with any of our social trading platform reviews, we also keep this Trade Copier review up to date over time. Among other factors we specifically keep an eye on the turnover of the Leaders. And while it’s still clear that Gallant doesn’t hide Leaders once they’ve lost money (something one of the other social trading platforms did to make their service look better), the initial number of about 40 Leaders has now been reduced to 11. And of those only a few were part of the initial list. I.e. most of the original Leaders have left or have been removed over the past 16 months, and been replaced with a few new Leaders. While turnover of traders or systems is something which occurs over time on any social trading network, the turnover on Gallant Trade Copier over a bit more than a year is very high (and hence a bit worrying).
Reviewing and Selecting the Leaders
Currently there are about 10 Leaders in the Trade Copier Leader Lounge which you can review and copy (click here visit the current Leader Lounge – registration is free, no need to deposit).
Within the Leader lounge screen you can filter the Leaders by Style, % Performance, Drawdown and Win Ratio values. However, please note that you can only filter them on a small amount of preset values and you cannot rank them. I.e. the Leader search functionality provided by Gallant is extremely basic and you’re pretty much better off scrolling through the full list of Leaders manually.
From the summary screen you can directly copy a Leader or select their profile to view more performance statistics and a full description. The statistics displayed on Gallant Trade Copier are:
- Profit (in real money)
- % Performance since start
- Total Gain in Pips
- current Balance
- current Equity
- Number of Days Traded
- Account Currency
- Leader Leverage
- Max historical DrawDown
- Win Ratio (%)
- Profit Days (%)
- Trades (Won/Total)
- Average Win (in real money terms)
- Average Loss (in real money terms)
- Minimum Starting Balance needed to copy the Leader
- Payment Period (weekly or monthly)
- Performance Fee
The profile also displays 3 graphs: Modified Dietz Time-Weighted ROI (though this one doesn’t always seem to work), Pips Gain Over Time and Gain By Month.
Overall the amount of performance statistics and graphs provided by Gallant is very basic, though it allows investors at least to make some kind judgement on the historical performance. However, the main omission on Trade Copier is that none of the individual historical trades are shared and neither are the current open trades. I.e. as investor you have no way to verify the performance statistics or to look through the individual trades to get an impression of the trading style (you would just need to hope that this is explained in the description and is correct). Not knowing the open trades is also a disadvantage since you wouldn’t know if the trader has lots of trades open or not (A partial workaround is that you can look if there’s a difference between the Balance and Equity. If there is, then there are open trades, though you don’t know in what pairs or direction.) The only key positive factor on the other hand is that the actual live Gallant account balance of the Leaders is displayed.
Risk and money management features
Once you’ve selected a Leader who’s trades you like to copy on Gallant Trade Copier, you have to select the “Copier Mode”. Your choice is:
- Percent Allocation – copies the trades in equal percentage and proportionally of the Leader account balance
- Lot Allocation – copies every trade in exactly the same size order as the Leader account
So either you copy the same size as the Leader, or proportionally, which are pretty much standard options.
However, with regards to managing your risk per Leader or on your overall account, Trade Copier doesn’t provide you with any options to do this. I.e. you cannot specify how much to allocate to a specific Leader or protect your account to close all trades and stop following a Leader once certain parameters are met.
Hence the way your risk is managed is totally dependent on the way the Leaders you copy manage the risk of their own accounts. However, because they use real money Gallant accounts themselves there’s some expectation that they adhere to some sound risk management rules, though there’s obviously absolutely no guarantee this is always the case.
We did however find a small work-around to protect your capital per Leader on Trade Copier. If for example you only want to allocate $500 to a certain Leader you can just request online to open a new Gallant account (it’s automated and take less than 1 hour). As long as that account is in the same currency as the account with your funds in, you can then request $500 to be moved to the new account online as well (takes a few hours). You then just select the new account on Trade Copier when you copy the Gallant Leader you wanted to allocate $500 too.
Once you’re copying a Leader you can monitor your performance from your Gallant MT4 terminal (which you can download and install for free from their website). You can also close any trades opened by Trade Copier Leaders manually using the MT4 terminal. For clients who like to use their mobiles, tablets or Apple device, Gallant also has a VPS available with an online interface, allowing you to perform the same tasks. So while you can easily managed the opened trades, it’s not done within the same interface.
Costs and fees
Opening a Gallant account and registering for the Trade Copier mirror trading service is totally free. Once you start copying a Leader you do however have to pay a performance fee to the Leader on a weekly or monthly basis. The fee normally ranges from 5% to 25% of the profits made for you and is based on the equity high watermark. I.e. they’re only paid for additional profits made.
The fee is set by the Leader and often depends on your invested balance as well. Here’s a fairly common example of a fee structure you see in the Gallant Leader Lounge:
- Balance Level 1: $500-24,999 -> 15.0 %
- Balance Level 2: $25,000-49,999 -> 12.5 %
- Balance Level 3: $50,000+ -> 10.0 %
Personally we believe a performance fee structure is very fair, and don’t mind rewarding a trader when they make money in our account. While the High Watermark method on Trade Copier is very fair, from experience with this on another platform, you’d need to watch out for the behaviour of some traders once they made a few losses. They’ll only get paid if they first recover from those, which has led to some taking massive risks and ultimately blowing their accounts.
While the only cost on Trade Copier is the performance fee, it’s worth noting that Gallant does charge quite a bit when you withdraw money from your account. A wire fee of $60/£40 is charged, which within the broker industry is on the high end. Because the money is held in their account on the BVI, we also got charged a small deposit fee for the wire from our own bank.
The spreads on Gallant depend on the account type and opening balance. They start from 2 pips for a micro account (min. deposit $250), to 1.5 pips for a standard account ($2,500) and 0 pips (commission instead) for a pro account ($50,000).
Reviewing the slippage (i.e. difference between the price the Leader got and the price you got on a copied trade) on Trade Copier is difficult because Gallant doesn’t share the individual trade history of the Leaders. The only way to partially check this is by looking at the reported daily pips profits and compare those with the daily trade history e-mails you receive from Gallant. Not easy and not sure how accurate this is. Our first impression though is that there’s certainly some slippage occurring on Trade Copier as the results seems to be slightly less in our account (rough estimation 1 to 3 pips per copied trade). Because the Leaders are on the same platform as you, we’d have expected slippage to be smaller (we do need some more data though to make a clearer opinion on this and will update this review when we get this). Please note though that if the account type of the Leader is different than yours, results will certainly differ a little bit since the spreads will differ.
We already mentioned we had a few problems with Gallant when funding our account. We used both e-mail and telephone support. E-mail support gets back within 24 hours and if you cannot get connected to someone on telephone support, they normally call back within a few hours. While our problems were eventually sorted, we must admit that the process was certainly a bit slow and we had to chase up a few times from our end.
There some .pdf guides on Trade Copier available on the Gallant website, though they are pretty basic.
Quite simply, there’s currently no social interaction possible between investors and Leaders (i.e. no comments, forum or ratings). The only interaction is for Leaders to add information to their description in Trade Copier, but we’ve not seen any Leaders actively update this. It’s pretty much purely a mirror trading platform.
Gallant Trade Copier review Pros:
- All Leaders trade from real money accounts
- Full account balance of the Leaders ($ amounts) is shared
- Leaders only paid for profitable trades
Gallant Trade Copier review Cons:
- pretty much all Trade Copier accounts can only be in USD
- No demo account
- Poor Leader filter and no search functionality
- Some strategies require high initial investment ($10,000)
- Basic performance statistics and graphs
- Individual Trade History not shared
- Current Open Trades not shared
- Basic risk management controls (using workaround)
- So far still new overall service and platform
- High wire fees
- No interaction with the Leaders possible
- No US customers allowed
- Slippage unconfirmed
- Fairly high Leader turnover
In summary, Trade Copier looks like a first attempt by Gallant to join the growing market of social and mirror trading. Compared to the dedicated and more established social trading networks, the features for analysing the Leaders and managing your risk are still very basic. A key omission in our opinion is that Gallant doesn’t share the individual trade history of the Leaders and neither the open positions. More positive is the fact that all the Leaders send their signals from their own live accounts (i.e. they risk their own money) and these live account balances are shared (so you can see how much they risk). In terms of performance it’s a bit worrying that most of the initial Leaders have been removed or left the Trade Copier platform over the past 15 months. It’s also unclear how much effort Gallant is putting into actively recruit new top performing Leaders, since the choice has decreased significantly and at the last time of checking was very limited (about 10). As always, we’ll keep you posted and this review will be updated when new releases are launched by Gallant or new facts become available.
Last updated: April 24, 2017
Please note that this review is based on our experience with a real money client Gallant account. The pictures included are from our live Trade Copier account. Please make sure you understand the risks of investing on mirror trading platforms before you consider investing yourself since this type of investing is not be suitable for everyone.