Here are our answers to your frequently asked questions about our products, services, trading conditions and trading in general.

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Trading at ALB

What are ALB’s leverage limits and margin levels?

At ALB the leverage offered to clients is dependent on their classification as either a professional or retail client.

For the professional client, the leverage is up to 1:100.

For the retail client, the leverage is up to 1:30.

The leverage offered and margin level are dependent on the financial instruments being traded. Please refer to the section titled Our Competitive Spreads, which will provide a more in-depth explanation of our products and spreads offered for the respective client account types.

What is the minimum account size for a live account?
At ALB, the minimum account size is $200.00.
What is the minimum lot size for a live account?
At ALB, the minimum lot size is 0.01.
What is a pip?
A pip, short for point in percentage, is a very small measure of change in a currency pair the forex market. It can be measured in terms of the quote or in terms of the underlying currency. A pip is a standardized unit and is the smallest amount by which a currency quote can change. It is usually $0.0001 for U.S.-dollar related currency pairs, which is more commonly referred to as 1/100th of 1%, or one basis point. This standardized size helps to protect investors from huge losses. For example, if a pip was 10 basis points, a one-pip change would cause greater volatility in currency values.
What are CFDs?
A CFD, or contract for difference, is an agreement to exchange the difference between the opening and closing price of the position under contract, rather than buying and selling the underlying security outright.
How are the funds I deposit protected?
By a process called segregation of funds, the forex broker maintains clients funds in segregated client accounts completely separated from the brokers own funds. All client funds deposited with the broker are fully segregated in accordance with strict policies and procedures.
What is stop loss and how can it be used trading online?
A stop-loss order is an order placed with a broker to liquidate a security when it reaches a certain price. Stop-loss orders are designed to limit an investor’s loss on a position in a security.

A stop loss order can be placed at the moment of entering the trade or whilst the trade remains open. Stop loss orders can be placed on open positions as well as pending orders and can be manually adjusted at any time perhaps to reflect changes in market conditions or due to re-evaluating risk. However, it is not advisable to tinker with your stop loss especially when already in a losing position as a stop loss is designed to mitigate loss and protect the individual’s account from excessive loss.

A stop loss is used to exit all positions. The trader sets a stop loss on each trade at a price level they wish to exit a losing position. This is a regular stop loss and is used as the only exit plan for a losing trade.

A trader can manually also exit trades as opportunities arise and conditions change but may set a worst case stop loss order to limit losses in case a manual exit isn’t possible or doesn’t occur.
Having a stop loss doesn’t necessarily mean that your position will be exited at the predefined price especially in a fast-moving market where this is high volatility due to slippage, but your stop loss will be triggered at the next best price available mitigating excessive loss even though in this instance you may have received a worse than expected fill and a greater than anticipated loss.

Do you allow the use of trading algorithms on your platforms?
Yes. Expert Advisors are fully compatible with our MT4 and MT5, and cTrader Automate can be used on our cTrader platform. If you have any questions regarding Expert Advisors and cTrader Automate, please contact our Customer Support.
Why has my pending order not been executed?
If your pending order has not been executed, it may be because you did not have sufficient funds to open the position when the pending order was triggered. If this is the case, the deleted pending order will appear in your account history.

Alternatively, your pending order may not have been executed because the specified price was not reached. Please note that for pending Sell Orders, the bid price must reach your specified level; for pending Buy Orders, the ask price must reach your specified level.

Does slippage occur on your platforms?
Slippage is part of trading and common in the forex market. It occurs at times of high volatility or low liquidity, as well as during major news announcements or during the release of important economic data.

ALB takes all necessary steps to protect traders against market volatility, and our clients benefit from a highly-advanced trade management system that mitigates the risk of negative slippage and guarantees execution at the best available price.

Every discipline has its jargon, and the currency market is no different. Here are some terms that a seasoned currency trader should know:

Cable, sterling, pound: nicknames for the GBP
Greenback, buck: nicknames for the U.S. dollar
Swissie: nickname for the Swiss franc
Aussie: nickname for the Australian dollar
Kiwi: nickname for the New Zealand dollar
Loonie, the little dollar: nicknames for the Canadian dollar
Figure: FX term connoting a round number such as 1.2000
Yard: a billion units, as in “I sold a couple of yards of sterling”


What is forex?
Foreign exchange, or forex, is the conversion of one country's currency into another. In a free economy, a country's currency is valued according to the laws of supply and demand. In other words, a currency's value can be pegged to another country's currency, such as the U.S. dollar, or even to a basket of currencies. A country's currency value may also be set by the country's government. However, most countries float their currencies freely against those of other countries, which keeps them in constant fluctuation. The value of any particular currency is determined by market forces based on trade, investment, tourism and geo-political risk. Every time a tourist visits a country, for example, they must pay for goods and services using the currency of the host country. Therefore, a tourist must exchange the currency of his or her home country for the local currency. Currency exchange of this kind is one of the demand factors for a currency.
What is forex trading and how does it work?
The foreign exchange market is the "place" where currencies are traded. The need to exchange currencies is the primary reason why the forex market is the largest, most liquid financial market in the world with over $5 trillion volume per day.

One unique aspect of this international market is that there is no central marketplace for foreign exchange. Rather, currency trading is conducted electronically over-the-counter (OTC), which means that all transactions occur via computer networks between traders around the world, rather than on one centralized exchange. The market is open 24 hours a day, five and a half days a week, and currencies are traded worldwide in the major financial centers of London, New York, Tokyo, Zurich, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Sydney - across almost every time zone. This means that when the trading day in the U.S. ends, the forex market begins anew in Tokyo and Hong Kong. As such, the forex market can be extremely active any time of the day, with price quotes changing constantly.

The foreign exchange market (forex or FX for short) is one of the most exciting, fast-paced markets around. Until recently, forex trading in the currency market had been the domain of large financial institutions, corporations, central banks, hedge funds and extremely wealthy individuals. The emergence of the internet has changed all of this, and now it is possible for average investors to buy and sell currencies easily with the click of a mouse through online brokerage accounts.

Daily currency fluctuations are usually very small. Most currency pairs move less than one cent per day, representing a less than 1% change in the value of the currency. This makes foreign exchange one of the least volatile financial markets around. Therefore, many currency speculators rely on the availability of enormous leverage to increase the value of potential movements. Higher leverage can be extremely risky, but because of round-the-clock trading and deep liquidity, foreign exchange brokers have been able to make high leverage an industry standard in order to make the movements meaningful for currency traders.

How to trade forex?
There are two ways how the forex market can be traded. Its either through fundamental analysis or technical analysis.

Fundamental analysis involves assessing the economic well-being of a country, and by extension, the currency. It does not take into account currency price movements. Rather, fundamental forex traders will use data points to determine the strength of a particular currency.

A fundamental forex trader will analyze the country’s inflation, trade balance, gross domestic product, growth in jobs and even their central bank's benchmark interest rate.

Technical analysis involves pattern recognition on a price chart. Technical traders look for price patterns such as triangles, flags, and double bottoms. Based on the pattern, a trader will determine the entry and exit points. Unlike fundamental traders, a technical trader is not as concerned about why something is moving because the trends and patterns on the charts are their signals.

How to read forex charts?

Line Charts: A simple line chart draws a line from one closing price to the next closing price. When strung together with a line, we can see the general price movement of a currency pair over a period of time.

Bar Charts: A bar chart is a little more complex. It shows the opening and closing prices, as well as the highs and lows. The bottom of the vertical bar indicates the lowest traded price for that time period, while the top of the bar indicates the highest price paid. The vertical bar itself indicates the currency pair’s trading range as a whole. The horizontal hash on the left side of the bar is the opening price, and the right-side horizontal hash is the closing price.

Candlestick Charts: Candlestick charts show the same price information as a bar chart, but in a prettier, graphic format. Candlestick bars still indicate the high-to-low range with a vertical line. However, in candlestick charting, the larger block (or body) in the middle indicates the range between the opening and closing prices. Traditionally, if the block in the middle is filled or colored in, then the currency pair closed lower than it opened. In the following example, the ‘filled color’ is black. For our ‘filled’ blocks, the top of the block is the opening price, and the bottom of the block is the closing price. If the closing price is higher than the opening price, then the block in the middle will be “white” or hollow or unfilled.

What time does the forex market open?
To effectively answer this question, it will depend on the individual’s time zone. Applying a time converter will give you the equivalent of the starting time for each session in your country or region and it will also provide a breakdown of how the forex sessions overlap. The session typically begins with the Sydney open which then overlaps with the Tokyo session. Afterwards the European session begins, which over laps with the New York session. A visual is provided below.

  • Sydney 5pm to 2am EST (10pm to 7am UTC)
  • Tokyo 7pm to 4am EST (12am to 9am UTC)
  • London 3am to 12 noon EST (8pm to 5pm UTC)
  • New York 8am to 5pm EST (1pm to 10pm UTC)

In our case, our time zone is CET, hence the forex market is open from Sunday 23:00pm until Friday 22:59CET.

How do institutions trade forex?
There are actually three ways that institutions, corporations and individuals trade forex: the spot market, the forwards market and the futures market. The forex trading in the spot market always has been the largest market because it is the "underlying" real asset that the forwards and futures markets are based on. In the past, the futures market was the most popular venue for traders because it was available to individual investors for a longer period of time. However, with the advent of electronic trading and numerous forex brokers, the spot market has witnessed a huge surge in activity and now surpasses the futures market as the preferred trading market for individual investors and speculators. When people refer to the forex market, they usually are referring to the spot market. The forwards and futures markets tend to be more popular with companies that need to hedge their foreign exchange risks out to a specific date in the future.
What is the spot market?
More specifically, the spot market is where currencies are bought and sold according to the current price. That price, determined by supply and demand, reflects a myriad of things, including current interest rates, economic performance, sentiment towards ongoing political situations (both locally and internationally), as well as the perception of the future performance of one currency against another. When a deal is finalized, this is known as a "spot deal". It is a bilateral transaction by which one party delivers an agreed-upon currency amount to the counter party and receives a specified amount of another currency at the agreed-upon exchange rate value. After a position is closed, the settlement is in cash. Although the spot market is commonly known as one that deals with transactions in the present (rather than the future), these trades actually take two days for settlement.
What are the forwards and futures markets?
Unlike the spot market, the forwards and futures markets do not trade actual currencies. Instead they deal in contracts that represent claims to a certain currency type, a specific price per unit and a future date for settlement.

In the forwards market, contracts are bought and sold OTC between two parties, who determine the terms of the agreement between themselves.

In the futures market, futures contracts are bought and sold based upon a standard size and settlement date on public commodities markets, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In the U.S., the National Futures Association regulates the futures market. Futures contracts have specific details, including the number of units being traded, delivery and settlement dates, and minimum price increments that cannot be customized. The exchange acts as a counterpart to the trader, providing clearance and settlement.

Both types of contracts are binding and are typically settled for cash for the exchange in question upon expiry, although contracts can also be bought and sold before they expire. The forwards and futures markets can offer protection against risk when trading currencies. Usually, big international corporations use these markets in order to hedge against future exchange rate fluctuations, but speculators take part in these markets as well.

Note that you'll see the terms: FX, forex, foreign-exchange market and currency market. These terms are synonymous, and all refer to the forex market.

What is leverage in forex?
Leverage is defined as the ratio of the amount of capital used in a transaction to the required margin. In other words, leverage gives you the ability to control much larger amounts in a trade with a relatively small deposit (your margin). For example, if the EUR/USD rate moves up 100 pips from 1.1200 to 1.1300 and you had invested $1000, you would have made $10 on that trade.

However, by using a leverage of 1:100, every $1 you invest is worth $100, so with your $1000 margin you can open a $100,000 deal. As a result, your $10 profit is magnified to $1000.

Another way to think about leverage is to think of it as a loan. If you have $1000 and take a ‘loan’ that equates to $100 for every one of your dollars, you have $100,000 to trade with. Once your trade has been concluded, you return the ‘loan’ amount and keep the resulting profit.

It's important to note that leverage is often considered a double-edged sword since large price swings on accounts with higher leverage increase their chances of experiencing losses especially when the account is not adequately capitalized and the individual or entity lacks a full understanding on the proper use of leverage. As a result, novice traders are encouraged to use minimal leverage whilst they increase their knowledge and experience but also as an exercise on how to make use of leverage properly which will translate into better risk management. The more seasoned professional can use leverage as a tool to accelerate their returns and grow their initial investment.

What are swaps in forex?
A currency swap, sometimes referred to as a cross-currency swap, involves the exchange of interest – and sometimes of principal – in one currency for the same in another currency. Interest payments are exchanged at fixed dates through the life of the contract. It is considered to be a foreign exchange transaction. In a currency swap, the parties agree in advance whether or not they will exchange the principal amounts of the two currencies at the beginning of the transaction. The two principal amounts create an implied exchange rate. For example, if a swap involves exchanging €10 million versus $12.5 million, that creates an implied EUR/USD exchange rate of 1.25. At maturity, the same two principal amounts must be exchanged, which creates exchange rate risk as the market may have moved far from 1.25 in the intervening years.
What is spread in forex?

Forex brokers quote two different prices for currency pairs: the bid and ask price. The “bid” is the price at which you can sell the base currency. The “ask” is the price at which you can buy the base currency. The difference between these two prices is known as the spread. The spread is how “no commission” brokers make their money. Instead of charging a separate fee for making a trade, the cost is built into the buy and sell price of the currency pair you want to trade. Therefore, a broker that doesn’t charge commission has typically built in the cost of initiating and closing the trade into the spread and this is the broker’s fee.


How do you calculate swap on the index funds?
The swap is calculated by taking the annual percentage, dividing it by 100 to get a 1%, then diving it by 360 – the average number of banking days in a year. Then you multiply it by the closing price, the volume and the contract size.

Formula: Annual percentage / 100 / 360 × Closing Price × Volume × Contract size

Example: You have a contract for 0.5 lot of US30, with the contract size being 10 and the price being 25,911.3. The annual percentage is -3. Your swap is (-3) / 100 / 360 × 25,911.3 × 0.5 × 10 = -10.80 USD.


Can I go short on equity CFDs?
Yes, you can go either long or short on top companies from around the world.


Can I trade cryptocurrencies?
Yes. At present, ALB offers five of the most popular crypto currencies to trade including:

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin
  • Ripple
Do I need a virtual wallet to trade cryptos?
No, since you are not actually purchasing the cryptocurrency outright when you trade spot cryptocurrencies, there is no need to have a virtual wallet to store them.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin was the first decentralized cryptocurrency. Created in 2009, Bitcoin uses blockchain verification technology to secure and protect peer-to-peer transactions. Like other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is decentralized and not regulated by a central bank or any one government.
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is a popular open-source, decentralized cryptocurrency platform and operating system created in 2015 that uses blockchain technology for security. “Ethereum” or “ether” are both terms used when referring to the cryptocurrency generated by the Ethereum platform. For more info on Ethereum.


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    Our CFDs are leveraged products which can carry a high level of risk to your capital and investing in them can result in losses that exceed your initial deposit. Investors do not own, or have any rights to, the underlying assets. These products may not be suitable for all investors. Please make sure that you fully understand the risks involved and seek independent advice if necessary.