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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why I stopped tracking my Forex results with MyFxBook

I've always praised MyFxBook as a great attempt to bring transparency to the retail Forex trading world. I have been using MyFxBook to automatically track the results of my LT Trend Sniper Forex robot until today. A couple of issues with MyFxBook have made me reconsider and I will not be using the platform to track the LT Trend Sniper results going forward.

MyFxBook is great in the sense that you can configure your Forex trading platform to push its data every five minutes to MyFxBook under a secure ftp connection. Of course, an advanced user can trick this system and deposit tampered with content on the ftp folder directly for MyFxBook to display BUT, MyFxBook has some other measures to improve the credibility of the statistics. One is, it directly taps into your station using an investor read-only password to compare the data from inside your trading station with what is being received on its ftp end. This is what they call "Track Record Verified" displayed at the top of your results page. Of course, many people opt not to do this and their track record is simply displayed as "not verified".

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MyFxBook also lets people know the last time an account was updated on the ftp. So, if a person wants to display manipulated data by manually placing it in the ftp folder, they will have to be doing this every five minutes otherwise the real Metatrader platform will push its own data, thus overwriting the tampered with content. Of course there are ways around this for a very advanced user with programming skills, but the effort is phenomenal and still it would be an unverified track record where the statistics on the ftp server do not match real trades made inside a trading station. So, it is a great idea and decently well implemented.

The Bad

First issue
Most Forex brokers allow you to connect to Metatrader using different server time zones. This is important because it changes the candlestick formations on your charts. For example if you use a GMT+2 server, you will only see 5 daily candles per week on the daily time-frame. However, if you connect via a GMT-5 server (Eastern, New York time) you will have 6 daily candles per week, as the Forex markets open on Sunday afternoon for this side of the globe. So, this creates a small Sunday candle, with information that covers just a few hours left in the day instead of  a true 24 hour candle, and a Friday candle that is cut short before 12 midnight, New York time. A different candles formation implies different values for almost all indicators, and even different decisions for pure price-action based systems.

A critical issue with MyFxBook is that if you log in to your trading station using a server located on a certain time zone and then log in using a different time zone, Metatrader pushes the trades history to MyFxBook twice (with a different date-time stamp) and MyFxBook is unable to recognize that it is indeed the same trades already registered, only that the user logged in under a different time zone. Therefore, the trades will appear twice on MyFxBook as two different trades made at different points in time, which is inaccurate. Unfortunately this happened to me:

(Click on image to enlarge)

Notice how trades are repeated with a 7 hour difference in the track record. Same entry, same exit, same gain/loss, but trades are duplicated. This is because I logged in to the GMT+2 server and accidentally logged in to the GMT-5 server another day, which is the default one for my broker. In this particular case, this issue is making me look better as the duplicated balanced on that winning trade is larger than the duplicated losses that took place. But this is totally confusing for readers who start to question one's credibility.

Now, once those trades are in MyFxBook's historical, forget it. There is no way to make them disappear. So, naturally, I attempted to create a brand new tracking account for my robot on MyFxBook where I would do my best to never log in using a different time zone. This would not come without consequences: people were already following this particular link (users of MyFxBook can "favorite" trading systems, which is sort of like "bookmarking them" to easily follow them). The followers of this account of the LT Trend Sniper would suddenly see that the robot stopped posting trades one day. A blast communication from me to all of them, asking them to start following another account would just smell fishy and manipulative. But, as time went on I saw no other way around other than exactly doing this despite the consequences. I was resolute to create a new tracking account and I started the process..........

Second Issue
While creating my new tracking account at MyFxBook I faced a second issue that there is no way to deal with. It just so happens that many Forex Brokers will "erase" your very old trading activity from the historical. In theory it is a "soft delete", meaning the records of all the historical trades do exist on the broker side for audit purposes, but, after a certain period of time the broker just wont push that information to your trading station anymore. Your trading station will simply reflect all historical trades as the information is supposed to be stored locally,...well.....unless you needed to re-install. Unfortunately, my Metatrader station started to act up at one point, becoming unresponsive at any click, consuming absurd amounts of memory and blocking my computer. So, naturally, I decided to re-install the software. After I did this, trades older than 6 months simply cannot be seen anymore in the historical inside MT4.

When trying to connect the trading station with the new MyFXBook account to start pushing data, MyFxBook notices that the initial transaction is not available in the historical. The initial transaction is always a deposit to start the trading activity. If MyFxBook doesn't see this initial deposit transaction, then it knows that the historical record is incomplete and it won't allow you to add the system:

When clicking on the "How to fix it" link from the above message, you are taken to a page explaining that the whole history needs to be available, and that if it isn't,......there is nothing they can do. End of story.

(Click on image to enlarge)

At this point, it has just become too much of a hassle. There is no way to reflect a complete track record on MyFxBook. I have no way of adding the LT Trend Sniper on a new account, and I have no way of deleting duplicated trades from the original account.

MyFxBook has a great system to avoid fake track records, and provide credibility to legit ones, but it obviously has issues to iron out that are beyond my control and just affect my own credibility at this point. "Why are there duplicated big winning trades? Why did his trading station stop posting new trades since day X?" "Why is he sending us a blast email asking us to follow another account now?" "Why isn't he posting account statistics to a brand new account as easy as it is?". Rather than answering all those questions at an individual level one by one, I figured it was time to get it over with. This post explains it, once and for all.

Going forward, I will track the Sniper trades on a spreadsheet via Google Docs and will publish it here on the site, removing the old MyFxBook performance widget. The Google spreadsheet is synchronized in real time to wherever it is published. So, whenever I make a change on it, be it a new trade entry or an exit, it will automatically be reflected on this site. There will not be third party verification as it is just me of course, but I will get rid of this headache forever.

There is also a group of people who have adopted the system and they won't let me lie here posting fake entries and exists. This is a 100% mechanical system after all, no subjectivity, so all trades should match.

In addition to this, I will also continue publishing results every year summarizing the entire trading activity for the preceding twelve months. Just like I did with the trading activity of 2014 in this article Profitable Forex strategies - a follow up

Thanks for the patience you have shown reading this long, boring article.


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