Ayondo Review (Our Opinion)
Launched in Germany in 2009, Ayondo is currently one of Europe’s fasted growing social trading networks, though their client base seems to expand outside Europe as well. Their aim is to connect investors who want to benefit from the success of other traders with (what they call) their “Top Traders” via an easy to use interface and trading platform. So how does Ayondo fair on this goal?
Firstly it’s worth mentioning that we’ve been a live account customer since 2012 and this review is based on our experience using the latest Ayondo 3.0 platform and ayondo markets. Like any of our other reviews we update this one regularly. We mention this because ayondo markets is their own broker solution which was launched in 2013 (well technically it’s a white labelled version of the Gekko Global Markets platform). In the past, when you signed up with ayondo you had to sign up with a separate partner broker. Now they have their own broker solution, the sign up procedure is easier and the overall experience more integrated.
With regards to the broker spreads, the ones offered on ayondo markets are some of the best you’ll see among leading brokers (for the major pairs) and because there’s no commission to pay to 3rd party brokers (like with some of the other social trading networks), that’s also the spread you’ll get charged when you follow and copy other traders.
UK and Ireland customers can also sign up for an ayondo spread betting account (something popular in these countries for tax purposes). In addition, on December 1st 2015 ayondo also announced their free insurance policy which protects client deposits in personal accounts for up to £500,000. This goes well beyond the existing Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection of £75,000 and is the largest cover we’ve seen in this industry. Very good and important if you consider investing larger amounts.
Follow Top Traders
And yes, here’s where we start mentioning the main reason why someone would join Ayondo as an investor, and that is to follow and copy other successful traders. Currently (last updated May 2016) the total choice of traders you can follow is just under 1,900 with about 100 of those having more than 10 live followers (click here to view the current trader list and their performance). Some of those Top Traders are however fairly seasoned traders with already over 3 years trading history on Ayondo. So while the choice of “trusted” traders isn’t overwhelmingly massive (most have none or a handful of followers), in our first-hand experience, some of ayondo’s leading (most popular) Top Traders have been providing us with consistent returns in our live account at relatively low risk.
Traders on Ayondo can trade on a wide variety of CFD instruments. These include over 30 forex currency pairs, the major US, European and Asian indices, interest/bond rates, precious metals and since October 2013 also a good choice of individual shares (e.g. Coca-Cola, Starbucks and McDonald’s). As investors this means you have the option to diversify your portfolio and follow a mix of traders who trade different underlyings and have different risk profiles.
So, how easy is it to analyse and select the traders you can copy (i.e. ayondo interface review)? You can rank the list of Top Traders by Profit/Loss %, maximum drawdown %, volatility, trades/month or number of followers. When their number of traders was still very limited, this made it fairly easy since depending on the size of the display you use, in all likeliness all of the traders were displayed on the same screen. However, because the list has been growing, ayondo introduced a detailed search functionality in October 2013. This allows you to adjust 14 parameters (such as performance, win ratio, volatility, etc.) to filter their full list of traders to find the best ones for you.
You can directly decide to follow the traders from these rankings list screens or get more detailed statistics on the trader in their ayondo profile screen. The breath of indicators (about 15) and graphs (3) is pretty good, while the trader’s performance is always compared with the leading indices as well (see image on the right). You can also look at the full transaction history, though it’s fairly cumbersome to go back over a long period (since the data is only brought back bit by bit by scrolling down). Unfortunately there’s no ability to download the trade history in Excel or other data format, for those investors who like to do their own analysis. If you’re a live account user you can also view the current open trades of a trader you may want to follow. With a demo account you cannot do this easily (though there’s a work-around by adding them to a new demo account’s portfolio and looking in your watchlist).
With ayondo you can follow and copy up to a maximum of 5 traders in your portfolio. Because the choice of Top Traders is still limited this isn’t much of a limitation to worry about. If you would have 5 traders selected in your ayondo portfolio, by default you would follow each trader with 1/5 of your capital, and their trades are proportionally copied based on that amount. However for each trader you can also select the ‘order sixe’ (0.5x, 1x, 2x, 3x, … , 10x) which allows you to decrease/increase the leverage and risk you take when copying a trader. In addition you can also set a capital loss protection on your overall account. While arguably ayondo’s money management features could be slightly enhanced (e.g. with loss protection at trader level), overall they’re actually fairly simple and intuitive to use and, for the amount and type of traders they have, probably more than enough for most investors.
Once you’ve started copying a trader in your account it’s easy to monitor your progress from the ayondo interface. You can view your over profit/loss, review all current open positions and (if you like) can close positions manually from the same interface. However you currently cannot view the individual contribution of each trader you follow to your overall or monthly profit or loss. Yes, you can review a trader’s individual monthly % performance in their trading profile, but because you don’t necessarily follow a trader from the 1st of the month or with the same ratio, this doesn’t tell you how well they did for you in your account. In our view this is still an important omission we believe ayondo should add to make the reporting a bit more useful.
Ayondo also advertise a feature called “Follow the Followers” which will allow you to find the best performing investor accounts and copy them. However, don’t get too excited about this feature just yet since the message “will be available soon” has accompanied it for the past 4 years … so unlikely it’ll be released any time soon.
Slippage (i.e. the difference in opening/closing price the trader you copy gets and the price you get) can often be an issue with social trading as well, and therefore it’s important we investigate it as part of our review as well. While it’s not easy to check the slippage (you currently have to login to your ayondo markets account to check your individual trade closing prices) we’ve noticed only small levels of slippage (i.e. less than 1 pip per trade cycle). Obviously this low slippage has mainly to do with the fact that both the Top Traders’ signals and your trades are executed on the same ayondo platform (i.e. no time delays and price differences between different brokers causing slippage).
As investor (or trader) you can also try the full experience using their fully functioning ayondo demo account (click here to try). In case you want to try with a live account, the minimum investment is 100 Euros, GBP or dollars (and even with these amounts you can copy up to 5 Top Traders because the ayondo platform can execute trades at sizes smaller than micro lots).
With regards to “social” interaction features, there’s currently no ability to interact with the Top Traders or other investors (e.g. no comments on the profile pages). The basic online help and FAQs are useful, while the telephone and e-mail support we received were responsive and knowledgeable. There are occasional webinars and all customers also get free access to Sentiment-Trader real-time market analysis.
Become an ayondo Top Trader
With regards to who can become Top Trader on ayondo, essentially anyone. Traders can send signals from a live or demo ayondo account. There are 5 career levels to achieve (from Street Trader to Institutional) and reaching each level depends on their performance (profit made) as well as their risk management (drawdown). The commissions ayondo pays to the traders increases with each level, though their performance is constantly monitored and they can drop a level too if performance drops off. We believe ayondo’s compensation method is currently probably the most fairest and best (for investors) in the industry. The main reason for this is that they compensate traders not just for their performance (i.e. making profit) but also for their risk management approach. And the better they get at each of those the more money they make (which is fair in our view because as long as someone makes money in our account we’re happy for them to be compensated accordingly).
One restriction for traders is the fact that they have to enter their traders via the ayondo “TradeHub” trading interface, which doesn’t support automated trading robots. However the web interface is very easy to use with fully functioning iPhone and Android apps available to trade on the go. Ayondo have also mentioned that traders can soon use the MetaTrader platform as well to send signals (which support EA robots). To be honest though we prefer following or copying manual traders instead of automated trading robots. Hence not an issue for us, though it may explain why the total number of traders on ayondo is less than on those platforms which support these automated systems.
At the moment, almost every trader in the Top 10 on ayondo sends their trade signals from a real money account (i.e. they risk their own money). Outside the top 20 this amount drops quite a bit and quite a few traders send signals from virtual money accounts. Nevertheless the number of Real Money Traders has been growing ever since the option to send trade signals from a real money ayondo markets account was released on August 28th 2013. Traders get their Ayondo “Real Money Traders Badge” when they have a balance greater than 500 EUR or 500 GBP (though unfortunately the actual balance they trade with and hence risk themselves is not shared).
If you’re a successful trader yourself than the earnings potential at ayondo is quite substantial since you can earn up to $5 for every LOT generated by someone following you. While ayondo’s investor base may not be the largest among similar social copy trading networks, the earnings potential is significantly boosted by the fact that the majority of them are from more affluent countries and invest larger amounts. Anyone with over 100 followers will have a nice extra income.
So in summary, while there are certain some additional features ayondo can add to their social trading platform, overall their interface is fairly intuitive and easy to use. The number of top traders is not massive, but the numbers have been growing steadily and there are quite a few good ones you can follow. We believe the ayondo commission model should over time help ensure the great traders rise to the top and keep their trading style within acceptable risk levels. The fact that investors can try with a demo account first and start with a very small investment should also help with minimising their overall risk.
ayondo review Pros:
- Automated risk management (proportional to the trader)
- Top Trader’s commission is based on their performance AND on their risk management approach
- Some good quality/low risk Top Traders to follow
- Low investment entry cost (from 100 $, Euro or £)
- Low slippage
- Wide range of instruments can be traded
- Fully functioning demo account available to try
- Easy sign-up with integrated broker solution (ayondo markets)
- Spread-betting accounts available for UK and Ireland customers
- Client deposits protected up to £500,000
ayondo review Cons:
- Still limited amount of popular/high performing “Top Traders” though most of them now send their signals from a real money account instead of a virtual money one
- While available to view in the interface (but difficult), no ability to download trader’s transaction history in Excel or other data format for external analysis
- No capital protection at trader level (only at account level)
- Unable to view contribution of individual traders towards your overall portfolio performance
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Like any of our other reviews, this one is also based on out experience with a live account and is updated regularly if our views or performance changes, or if new features are launched. Please also note that CFDs and Spread Betting are high risk investments. If you don’t understand the risks of investing on a platform like ayondo, then please obtain independent advice to see if this is suitable for you.