eToro’s CopyTrader, and ZuluTrade, are the two main contenders in the sphere of copytrading, so it is inevitable that comparisons will arise. This article looks at several factors that may help new traders decide which of the two to go with.
It is impossible to really recommend one trading platform over another, as everyone has different needs and expectations when it comes to currency and/or commodities trading. So the sections below cover comparisons of areas that most traders will consider, although not absolutely every facet, as that would be an article of biblical proportions.
Both have a web browser platform. eToro’s is way more ‘slick’, and very user friendly. ZuluTrade’s looks a bit more outdated, however, are we talking about about content vs style here? I hope not, in this game, content has got to win every time. So, lets look at the ‘content’.
On CopyTrader, there is no real control over lost sizes (yet). At the moment your trades are copied proportionally to your account (more details here). You do have partial control over the ‘trading stake’ by deciding on the amount of your account to allocate to a trader, however, that is about as far as it goes.
On ZuluTrade however, you can decide on exactly what lot sizes you would like to allocate to individual traders (funds in your account permitting of course!).
Being able to set your own lot sizes may to a more profitable trading experience if you’ve selected the ‘right signal providers’ for you and have grasped how to apply the right advanced settings. Or conversely, being able to control lot sizes could be the kiss of death for a new trader on a live account if the don’t know what they are doing.
Ultimately, IMO, the opportunity of control is definitely advantageous, it just needs a bit more care and attention being paid to what you are doing.
Risk (Stop Loss / Take Profit)
Both platforms give you the opportunity to set stop loss and take profit limits on open trades. Zulu gives the further option of defining limits to a given trader prior to the opening of trades. One point here is that for the beginner, one of the advantages of having the limits set for them by the original trader is that they will/should have more experience, and by setting their own, but a newbie may be setting their own without sound knowledge of why the trade was opened.
Having said that, I have noticed on Zulu on occasion that the ‘signal provider’ has not set a stop loss at all, and that is potentially a very dangerous situation. If you use the ‘Alchemy’ tab on ZuluTrade, you can copy other ‘successful’ copytraders’ stop/profit settings automatically to your account for their chosen signal providers.
Obviously eToro charge you for trading on the ‘spread’, but there is no charge on top of this for using the copytrading service – you pay the same spread as for a manual trade.
Zulutrade do charge 1 pip per copied trade on top of your Broker’s spread. (Although there is no ‘standing charge’, so you only ‘pay when you play’).
eToro allow one demo account per email, and my ones have been going for months.
Zulutrade will allow ten accounts per email although they only last for one month each.
The CopyTrader history does not have much legacy. This may be due to the software, but if you want to record all your trades from the beginning then it is a bit of a pain. The software appears to store roughly 50 transactions both of ‘all traders’, and the individual traders’, and this is not a lot. You can take screen dumps of your trades, but you can’t cut and paste from the trading history screen as it runs on ‘Flash’.
ZuluTrader’s history appears to have no legacy limits, and better than that, there is the option to download all the data to an Excel file.
eToro does also offer the ‘CopyTrader View’, which shows current profit and loss by trader, although again this also does not go back ‘all the way’. ZuluTrade’s Excel function will allow you to do this as long as you have some knowledge of Excel (e.g. creating filters/basic formulas – failing that, you can simply get out your calculator and do it manually).
Both platforms offer support via telephone, email or live chat. Live chat on both has been OK, although I was once referred to FAQs by eToro chat, which was kind of annoying although other times my questions have been answered, although subject to ‘flicking through manuals lag’, which is a common element of the majority of chat support on all platforms.
Other Trading Features
Both have charts, although eToro’s opens in a new window, which is a small advantage, and for scalpers (manual trading), it’s nice to see the movement indicators.
Both have daily analysis, although ZuluTrade’s Calendar is great, it lists ‘Upcoming events’ by time, again another useful too for scalpers (not copytraders).
As noted, one platform cannot be recommended over the other. However, eToro is perhaps more suited to those with no previous Forex/commodities experience, and Zulutrade better suited to those with a bit more experience who are willing to put in the time to make full use of the more extensive options available.
Whether beginner or a bit more experienced, you could simply hedge your bets and go for a demo account with both.