A forex robot is forex trading software that automates trading decisions. The most popular robots for retail traders are built around the MetaTrader platform. These robots run on MetaTrader as "expert advisors," and they can do just about anything, from giving you a signal to place a trade, to placing and managing the trade for you automatically.
- A forex "robot" is trading software that makes trading decisions for you, more or less acting as an advisor, but robots have their pros and cons.
- Your robot can be programmed to trade for you all day, every day, although you might want a hand in what it decides on your behalf.
- Some forex robots rely heavily on backtests in a process known as “data mining.” They base their moves on this approach.
- Not all forex robot manufacturers are reputable or reliable, so be sure to do your homework first before jumping in and allowing one to take over.
Pros and Cons
If you have a forex strategy that's strictly mechanical and doesn't require a human in the decision-making process, you can program your forex robot to trade for you 24 hours a day.
Many companies create and sell forex robots, but be careful whom you deal with if you're in the market to buy one. It's not uncommon for a company to spring up overnight and start selling an "instant riches" forex robot, including a money-back guarantee, only to disappear in about 45 days or so.
The majority of made-for-purchase forex robots are not profitable, so do your research first if you're planning on purchasing one. It's best to be wary, because there's a great deal of curve-fitting or data-mining bias in the made-for-purchase offerings.
Data-mining bias is the unspoken enemy of many traders who purchase forex robots. It refers to the process of "cherry-picking" the best backtest out of hundreds or more, and presenting that backtest as the likely outcome for the purchaser of the forex robot.
David Aronson is one of the leaders of the fight to make investors aware of data-mining bias. Aronson has written an excellent and detailed book titled "Evidence-Based Technical Analysis." Among many other good arguments, he asserts that the systems or indicators that are said to be the best performers or most accurate predictors of future performance are likely false conclusions. The finding of the outlier is often proved by looking at one data set and not testing that indicator over multiple cycles or the environment.
There are some successful robots out there, but be aware of the data-mining bias that is front and center of most made-for-purchase systems. Typically, these systems maintain an edge and manage risk successfully. They're less about high win rates and more about position sizing and cutting losses quickly.
If there was ever a good example of "buyer beware," this is it. The phrase is extremely applicable to forex robots. When you're thinking about buying a system, ask yourself, "If it works so well, why is it being sold at such a discount?" Altruism is typically not the intention. Subpar systems are often sold as soon as a data-mined outcome can be put together so an uneducated buyer can purchase the code.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does a forex robot cost?
The cost of forex trading robots varies significantly, but keep in mind that cheap services might be cheap for a reason. If a service costs less than $100 or so, then you should take extra precautions to research the service and ensure that it is actually a better deal than more expensive services.
How do you create a forex trading robot?
To create a forex trading robot, you'll need a brokerage that gives you access to the trading software's application programming interface (API). Not all brokerages offer access. Once you can access the API and program your trading robot, you need to come up with a strategy. That means identifying profitable trading signals and backtesting them to ensure they're consistent. After that, you just need to put the pieces together and tell the trading API what to do when those trading signals are triggered.