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Forex robots, otherwise known as expert advisors, are trading programs that assist forex traders with managing their trades. We have been aware of algorithmic forex trading programs since the 1990s, with companies such as ED&F Man’s MINT currency fund programs getting plenty of attention from institutional investors. But now they are moving towards the mainstream.

There are now many forex robots available for free and to buy and many brokers eager to help you trade using them. But the question “do forex robots really work?’ really has two sides: the technical side and the human side – and both must be answered.

The Armchair Trader has studied many robots and we find that the human question is rarely addressed. In theory and technically, yes forex robots work. But of vital importance is the client support and continuous software updates which will set aside the successful strategies from the non-performing strategies.

Listen to our podcast on Forex Robots with IFX Robot

The best approach is to filter out the considerable universe of forex robots and expert advisors that are available on the market. The vast bulk will require you to use the mainstream forex trading program, MetaTrader 4. You will also need to be using a forex broker that accepts forex robots.

Forex robots can be used in either an advisory capacity or can be left to make the trades for you. In the latter case, it is important to make sure that you have risk parameters in place within the software and your trading system, to avoid any expensive blow-outs.

Forex robots are automation tools – this gives them the advantage of being able to detach themselves emotionally from the market, something even the best human traders find it impossible to do. One common mistake, however, is for the human to interfere with the robot.

There are hundreds of people either developing or improving forex robots, both within fund management businesses and independently. The better programs will not be free – forex robots come with a price attached.

You will need to do some due diligence before letting a forex robot manage your money: it is best if you can let it run on a paper trading basis first, trading theoretical money, for a number of weeks or months. This will let you assess how it behaves and whether it makes money for you consistently. It also lets you test new robots while you are trading your account with existing software.

We believe that education, understanding, service and adaptability are the key human ingredients that are required for successful robotic forex trading. You can have a good program, but you need human support as well to make it work to its best ability.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse has spent 25 years in journalism and marketing, including as a wealth management editor for the Financial Times group, covering capital markets and international private banking, and as an investment banking correspondent for Euromoney in Hong Kong. He was the founder editor of The Hedge Fund Journal.

Stuart has worked at CMC Markets, supporting the re-launch of its global financial spread betting and CFD trading platforms. He is also the author of two books on trading, published by Financial Times Pearson. Based in The Armchair Trader’s London office, Stuart continues to advise fund managers, private banks, family offices and other financial institutions.

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