Please Note: Our Pacific Financial Derivatives Ltd. (PFD) review is based on a PFDTrader account that we opened with the broker. We tested the account’s features, the desktop version of the MetaTrader 4 platform, and the mobile app. We also reviewed the functionality of PFD’s website.
Data was collected between the 14th and 15th of April.
PFD was established in 1999, headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, and operates a single entity – Pacific Financial Derivatives Ltd. The broker is regulated by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), making it very safe. It has multiple account types catering to the needs of traders with different strategies, but its fees are above the industry average.
The broker received a low mark in the Fees category because it has quite high non-trading costs. Other drawbacks include PFD’s limited research and educational materials, which makes it more suitable for seasoned traders than beginners.
Regarding its advantages, the standard PFD Trader account incorporates a fair amount of instruments that can be traded on MetaTrader 4, which can be used for conducting detailed technical analyses by seasoned traders.
- We evaluated PFD across 9 categories (Trust and Stability, Fees, Tradable Instruments, Account Types, Deposit and Withdrawal, Research, Customer Support, Education, and Platform and Tools).
- PFD scored highly in the Trust category because FMA, a top-tier regulatory body, licenses it. It is also a member of New Zealand’s Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) scheme.
- The broker performed above average in the Account types category due to it offering good overall conditions, affording traders multiple options. PFD also provides niche solutions to traders with particular needs, such as Islamic and MAM accounts.
- PFD also performs reasonably well in the platform category, offering the many trading features available on MetaTrader 4.
- On the other hand, PFD’s services come at a high cost, garnering a low score in the Fees category. We found the spreads to be meeting the industry average, but other non-trading fees diminish the overall competitiveness of PFD’s costs.
- The broker offers almost no research content, such as regular trading ideas or market breakdowns. At the same time, its educational materials lack depth and focus. PFD, therefore, received very low scores in both categories.
- The low level of customer support offered by PFDs makes it less suitable for beginners, but experienced traders can take advantage of the different account types and solutions each one offers.
Who is PFD For?
PFD’s services are tailored to satisfy the needs of seasoned and professional traders. The Multi Account Manager (MAM) tool allows one professional to execute the same trade on many different accounts. Moreover, the inclusion of the Financial Information eXchange (FIX) protocol provides instant access to all relevant trading and economic news and developments.
The standard PFDTrader account, which has no dealing desk and has a leverage of 1:300, allows traders to run trading bots and scalp. Given that the broker offers fast trade execution, scalpers can catch even minute changes in the price action with precision.
About the Author
How Do We Rate?
FMA (New Zealand)
Currencies, Commodities, Indices
🖥Trading Desk Type
ECN, No dealing desk, STP
Your Capital is at Risk
The Financial Market Authority (FMA) licensed PFD as a derivatives issuer under New Zealand’s Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013. The broker is also a member of the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) scheme.
PFD has been working for over 20 years to date, and we found out that the broker has always operated within New Zealand’s active legal framework. Here is what we discerned regarding its current licensing and regulations:
- Pacific Financial Derivatives Limited is regulated by FMA, which has the highest tier-1 ranking on our system, and it’s a member of the Financial Service Provider Register under FSP number 28944.
We have summarised the most important aspects of the entity in terms of regulation and safety below:
|Features||Pacific Financial Derivatives Limited|
|Country/Region||New Zealand, Auckland|
|Regulation||Licensed as a Derivatives Issuer by FMA under FSP number 28944|
|Negative Balance Protection||No|
PFD is a reputable broker with over 20 years of experience providing traders with access to derivatives markets. Its FMA licensing means that PFD complies with some of the strictest regulatory frameworks, though some points are worth considering. Namely, there is no negative balance protection, meaning traders can lose more than what they have in their account balance.
The risk faced by traders is further amplified by the fact that PFD does not have a compensation scheme, and its standard leverage, currently at 1:300, entails higher risk for less-experienced traders. It entails higher market exposure per trade, meaning that increasingly smaller fluctuations in the price action can have a bigger impact on the account balance.
The broker operates a single entity – Pacific Financial Derivatives Limited – that serves clients primarily from New Zealand, but it is also licensed to work with overseas traders. It does not, however, accept clients from the U.S. That is why local and overseas traders alike need to be familiar with New Zealand’s regulations and licensing practices.
Due to differences in legislation, regulatory bodies in different parts of the world may have varying requirements for brokers regarding client funds protection. For instance, PFD’s FMA regulation does not require the broker to have negative balance protection, which is necessary under the MiFID directive in Europe.
Here are the most important aspects of the broker profile traders need to pay attention to:
- Segregation of client funds from company funds. When a trader’s funds are kept in a bank account different from the bank account the broker uses for its own capital, this diminishes the likelihood of accounting errors.
- Compensation scheme. The potential risk of PFD becoming insolvent concerns the broker’s clients directly because there is no compensation scheme. Hence, clients are subject to PFD’s credit risk. PFD is, however, a member of New Zealand’s FDR scheme.
- Standard leverage. The standard leverage is 1:300, which is 10 times higher than what brokers operating under MiFID regulation would normally have. This means that potential profits and losses are multiplied, elevating traders’ overall market exposure to dangerous levels.
- Negative balance protection. There is no negative balance protection, and a trader’s losses could exceed the account balance value.
In our tests for the Trust category, we also cover factors relating to stability and transparency. Here, we focused on how long the broker has been in business, the size of the company and how transparent they are in terms of information being made readily available.
The broker has been operating since 1999, surviving multiple economic shocks. Financial information concerning its spreads and other non-trading costs is easily accessible. Furthermore, PFD provides extensive information concerning its licenses and regulations, exemplifying PFD’s high transparency.
However, the clarity of PFD’s website suffers a bit because of the ambiguity of the ‘About Us‘ section. It is stated that the company is ‘100% beneficially owned by a Japanese investor’, but no further information is provided.
In summary, our findings indicate that PFD can be regarded as having a sufficient level of trust and stability due to the following factors:
- It is licensed by a top-tier regulatory body (FMA)
- It is a member of New Zealand’s Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) scheme.
- Has operated for 23 years.
- Information on the website is presented, for the most part, clearly and concisely.
PFD’s costs are quite high, especially for traders who do not reside in New Zealand. Its floating spreads are competitive, and the PFDTrader account does not have any commissions. Still, all of this is offset by high non-trading fees. There are separate charges for deposits and withdrawals and a so-called ‘Telegraphic Transfer’ (TT) fee. The broker also has a comparatively high inactivity fee.
PFD operates without a dealing desk, meaning that the broker obtains its liquidity from external providers, such as banks and other financial institutions. It makes a profit via the spreads it charges traders, which are prone to fluctuate as global volatility rises and falls. In short, traders may be charged higher spreads when market uncertainty is elevated.
PFD’s trading costs, such as spreads and swaps, as a whole, are competitive, but the broker’s high deposit, withdrawal and inactivity fees make PFD’s non-trading costs less attractive. Transaction costs for overseas traders are even higher, given that they are liable to a $25 “Telegraph Transfer” (TT) fee. Due to high transaction charges, PFD’s fees are likely to seem even less competitive to international traders.
We tested the spread on a PFDTrader account during the London open at 8am UK time and just after the U.S. open at 2.45pm UK time. These are the most actively traded times, which is when floating spreads tend to fluctuate the most. We have listed our findings, which were collected on the 15th of April, in the table below:
|Instrument||Live spread AM||Live spread PM|
Based on our findings, we concluded that PFD’s spreads are competitive for the most part. The spreads on EURUSD, GBPJPY and Gold (XAUUSD) are average, but the spread on Crude oil (WTI) was quite high.
A swap fee, also known as a rollover, is the cost of holding an open position overnight. This cost can vary considerably during periods of heightened market volatility. The values listed below are for one full contract (100,000 units) of the base currency. Swap long refers to the charge deductible or credit receivable for holding a buy position open overnight. Swap short relates to the charges/credits deductible or receivable for holding a selling position overnight.
We documented PFD’s fees in the table below:
|Instrument||Swap Long||Swap Short|
|EUR/USD||Charge of $4.4||Credit of $0.7|
|GBP/JPY||Charge of $0.5||Charge of $8|
PFD’s rollover on the EURUSD is high, but the rollover on the GBPJPY meets the industry average. Similarly to what was observed regarding the spread, swap fees are also exposed to changing market volatility. That is so because PFD obtains its liquidity from third-party providers.
Overseas clients of PFD are liable to a $25 ‘Telegraphic Transfer’ (TT) fee payable on funds the broker sends them, such as withdrawals. PFD’s banks charge this amount to effectuate funds transferred to an overseas account. Local transfers are not liable for such a transfer fee.
If no trading orders have been filled for more than six months on a trading account, it will be charged a dormant fee of $25 for inactivity. The fee will be charged each month until the trading activity is resumed or the account balance drops to zero. Then, the account will automatically be classified as dormant/closed.
PFD also charges deposit and withdrawal fees. Depending on the preferred transaction method, those fees may range from 1% to 4.4% of the transacted amount.
PFD’s final score on the Fees category suffered the most from the high non-trading fees for transactions, particularly for overseas traders. The broker’s costs lose their competitive edge internationally, but this is not the case for traders from New Zealand. They are the ones who would benefit the most from PFD’s industry-average spreads and swaps on a standard PFDTrading account, which has no trading commissions.
PFD scored above average in the Platform category because of the variety of trading indicators and drawing tools available to traders, allowing them to conduct thorough and sophisticated technical analyses. The broker incorporates MetaTrader 4, the most popular and widely used platform globally. Its mobile app version is also effective and easy to use.
We tested the desktop and mobile app versions of MT4, focusing on the abundance and applicability of the available trading indicators and drawing tools, the clearness of information, and the platform’s overall sophistication.
While MT4 may seem rugged to some traders, particularly to newbies, the platform boasts an impressive wealth of charting tools and accessories that seasoned and inexperienced chart artists alike can use to study price action behaviour.
PFD’s mobile app, in turn, affords flexibility as traders can make quick adjustments to their running positions even on the go.
By being the most popular trading terminal in the world, MT4 has pretty much become the benchmark of a well-structured platform. With the instruments watch list and a list of available indicators positioned on the left side and the chart on the right side, MT4’s different components are arranged neatly in a logical manner that is easy to follow.
Technical traders can use the desktop version of PFD’s MT4 platform for everything from examining the price action to order execution.
The most crucial objective of any chart is to represent information clearly and concisely. Here is a list of some of the most important features of MetaTrader 4 that PFD clients can take advantage of:
- Chart variations. The price action can be represented either using bars, lines or candlesticks. Traders can also choose from 9 different timeframes, allowing them to observe the behaviour of the price action from multiple angles.
- Trading indicators. The standard PFDTrader account consists of 53 different indicators, which traders can use to examine the behaviour of the market at different stages. For instance, Moving Averages can be applied whenever the underlying price action is trending, whereas the Stochastic RSI indicator is suitable whenever the market is range-trading.
- Drawing tools. PFD clients can also choose from 21 different drawing tools on the platform, which can be used to contextualise the current state of the price action. For instance, the Fibonacci retracement levels can be utilised to outline the key support and resistance levels within an existing trend.
Traders can either open simple market orders at the spot price or place the more intricate limit orders at a different price level. PFD’s platform also offers classic stop-losses as well as trailing stop orders. Those are used to limit the overall risk while leaving the profit potential of the underlying position uncapped. PFD also offers one-click execution directly from the platform.
The mobile version of PFD’s MT4 app is practical, yet clarity necessarily drops when the platform is opened on a smartphone. This problem is not unique to PFD but is rather commonplace in the industry. Smartphones’ screens have smaller resolutions than desktop devices, thereby compressing all relevant information within a much narrower space.
PFD clients can download MT4’s mobile version on their smartphones. The platform runs on Android devices and iPhones. Our test was completed on an Android device.
MT4’s mobile version has most of the features incorporated in the desktop version, and trade execution is equally as easy. However, information is harder to collect, which is why the app is less suitable for conducting complex market analyses.
The app can instead be used to monitor the account’s performance while on the go or when you need to make urgent adjustments to a running position, but you are not sitting in front of a computer.
Charts on MT4’s mobile app version necessarily focus on a much narrower and limited window of the price action compared to the desktop version. Nevertheless, traders can still rely on the same number of tools and features:
- Chart variations. The price action can be represented either using bars, lines or candlesticks. Traders can also choose from 9 different timeframes.
- Trading indicators. The platform has 30 different trading indicators, which traders can use to examine the behaviour of the market at different stages. For instance, Moving Averages can be applied whenever the underlying price action is trending, whereas the Stochastic RSI indicator is a good fit for whenever the market is range-trading.
- Drawing tools. PFD clients can also choose from 24 different drawing tools on the platform, which can be used to contextualise the most current state of the price action. For instance, the Fibonacci retracement levels can be utilised to outline the key support and resistance levels within an existing trend.
Order execution from the mobile app is not difficult, and traders can choose from some of the most popular order types in the industry, such as stop-losses and trailing stop orders.
PFD does not provide a wide range of tradable instruments. However, the available ones vary in type. The standard PFDTrading account has 49 FX pairs, several commodities and indices, and a couple of cryptocurrencies.
The greatest variety in PFD’s assortment of instruments is available on FX pairs at 49. Those involve majors and minors, as well as more exotic currency pairs. PFD also offers gold, silver, crude oil, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and several indices.
Contracts for Difference (CFDs) are financial derivatives used for trading on margin. To put it simply, they allow traders to speculate on the price action of a given asset without physically owning the underlying. Trading CFDs with leverage is appealing because orders are easily transacted. The leverage can multiply the profits you generate from your winning positions. However, it can just as easily increase the losses you incur from your failing trades.
The list of tradable instruments on a PFDTrader account consists of the following:
- 49 currency pairs
- Majors, Minors and Exotic
- 6 Indices
- Australia 200, UK 100, Germany 30, France 40, EU Stocks 50, China H-Shares
- 4 Commodities
- Gold, Silver, Crude Oil, Brent Oil
- 2 Cryptocurrencies
- Bitcoin, Ethereum
The assortment of trading instruments is adequate enough to satisfy the needs of most retail traders: from scalpers, who may strive to catch a few pips on highly volatile instruments such as the German DAX index, to day traders aiming to ride a long-lasting trend, such as what is commonly observed on the price of crude oil.
Listed in the table below are some of the most notable trading instruments currently available with PFD:
|EURUSD | GBPUSD | GBPJPY | EURGBP | USDJPY | USDCHF | USDCAD | EURCAD |||Gold | Silver | Crude Oil | Brent Oil|
|CAC40 | Xetra DAX | EuroStoxx 500 |||Bitcoin | Ethereum|
PFD offers 24/5 customer support, available via live chat, email, and phone. While queries are answered almost instantly, the support team seems to be struggling in some areas. They have a good command of English, though support appears to be unavailable in other languages.
We conducted our customer support test on the 18th of April at 10 am GMT. We contacted the support team via the live chat screen that appears on the bottom-right corner of the main page. An agent connected almost instantaneously, and his response to the raised question was fast.
However, when questioned about the ‘Technical Analysis’ feature of the PFDTrader account that is specified on the ‘Accounts‘ section of the website, the agent seemed to be confused at first. Then, he stated that ‘Technical Analysis’ did not mean trading ideas or market breakdowns, as the term seems to suggest, but rather, it is meant to indicate that the platform has trading indicators and drawing tools.
The language used in the ‘Accounts’ section is thus misleading, which lessens the overall transparency of the website. Nevertheless, the customer support agent promised to contact PFD’s IT department and make the necessary changes, which would be a step in the right direction.
PFD has only several deposit methods and even fewer options for withdrawal. Both are costly and take longer than average to process. That is why the broker’s score in this category is so low.
|Deposit Method||Base Currencies||Fees||Processing Time|
Domestic 3.4% + fixed fee
International 4.4% + fixed fee
|POLI Online Banking||1||1%||Instant|
PFD offers only two options for withdrawals. Clients can either make online or Paper mode requests. In the former case, the requested funds will be sent to the client’s debit or credit card or e-wallet. There will be a 2% withdrawal fee for domestic and international transactions. In the latter case, third-party fees may apply, depending on the client’s bank, in addition to the above-mentioned Telegraphic Transfer fee of $25.
Transactions times may vary greatly, depending on where the client is from and the chosen deposit or withdrawal method. Additional information can be found on PFD’s deposit page.
Setting up a live account with PFD is a fairly straightforward process that does not take long to complete. The broker has several account types tailored for the average retail trader and a more complex MAM account type for professionals. This variety earned PFD a high mark in this category.
The account type that is most popular among small retail traders and beginners is the PFDTrader account, which does not have a minimum deposit requirement. There are no commissions on it, and the spreads are average for the industry, making it more accessible and appealing to newbies. There is no dealing desk, and traders are allowed to scalp and run trading bots.
Account verification does not take a long time, though what is peculiar in this case is that PFD is asking clients for their banking information as part of the account creation process. This is done for identification purposes.
Each trader has a unique trading edge and needs, so choosing the right account type is of utmost importance. If trading is a marathon, then selecting the proper account is akin to buying the most comfortable running shoes. It boils down to whether the account features can help you enhance your strengths and lessen the impact of your weaknesses.
|Swap||Per Trade||Per Trade||Net out for unhedged positions|
|Commission||Zero||1$ per side/ standard size lot||1$ per side/ standard size lot|
|Min. Deposit||No minimum||No minimum||$1000|
PFD generates profits via the spread it charges its clients. It charges higher spreads on a PFDTrader account compared to the other two options. However, this is partially offset by the fact that it does not have any commissions for trade execution. In terms of overall practicality, the difference between a PFDTrader account and PFDPro boils down to the current spread rate.
Since it operates without a dealing desk, PFD obtains its liquidity from external providers, such as banks and financial institutions. This means that the final cumulative spread that a retail trader pays is a combination of PFD’s fixed spread and the spread the broker pays its liquidity providers. Why is this so important?
At times when markets become volatile, liquidity tends to drop. This raises costs, including the spreads PFD is quoted by its liquidity providers. Consequently, traders tend to pay more when market uncertainty is elevated. It follows that accounts with commission-free trading would lose their appeal at such times if their spreads are generally higher than account types with fixed lower spreads.
Another important thing to consider when choosing the right account type is the offered leverage. Essentially, the leverage is the mechanism that CFD brokers use to enhance the market exposure of their clients. The leverage can multiply a trade’s profits, but it can also increase its losses, depending on where the market goes.
To understand how leverage works, suppose you were to set up a PFDTrader account with an initial deposit of $1000. With a leverage of 1:300, your total market exposure would be multiplied 300 times, reaching $300,000 ($1000 x 300). You would then have $300,000 to trade with, whereas your market exposure with the same $1000 deposit on a PFDProPlus account would have been $100,000. That is so because the leverage there is 1:100.
While the former option entails greater flexibility, the latter is arguably more stable. If you were to execute an order that generates a $100 loss on your PFDProPlus account, that alone would be a huge hit to your net balance (1/10th of the $1000 deposit). In contrast, similarly constructed trade would have generated a loss three times bigger on a PFDTrader account due to the bigger leverage.
In addition to the three main account types, PFD also offers the possibility of opening a swap-free Islamic account. Moreover, there are the Multi Terminal and Multi Account Manager (MAM) options. They allow professional traders to place simultaneous orders on multiple trading accounts. This is also known as block order trading.
Setting up an account with PFD is easy. We have broken down the process in several quick steps:
- Step 1 – Once you click the ‘Sign Up’ button on the top-right corner of the main page, you will be asked whether you want to create a demo account, sign up online, or use the Paper mode. The former entails registration through the website, whereas the latter means filling in a form and sending the necessary documents via mail.
- Step 2 – If you have opted to proceed online, you will be taken to a registration form where you need to fill in your personal details, such as name and address.
- Step 3 – A confirmation email will then be sent to you. You need to open it and verify your email address.
- Step 4 -You will again be taken to the registration form, where you need to state additional information, such as personal banking details.
Demo accounts serve as a broker’s business card. You can use them to test the services provided by PFD, as well as to polish your own trading skills in a safe environment. This is particularly important if you are not familiar with MetaTrader 4.
PFD accepts clients from all over the world, excluding the U.S. PFD also does not work with clients from countries sanctioned by the UN & OFAC, such as Cuba, Iran, Laos, North Korea, and others.
PFD’s research materials are few and with a very limited scope. The broker has a press room section on the website, but it hasn’t been updated in nearly two years. This lack of variety and insightfulness is why the broker received such a low score in this category.
When we evaluate the research materials on a broker’s website, we typically focus on the wealth of information that is made available and its breadth. Concerning PFD’s website, we found out that it lacks any video materials, webinars, regular market breakdowns or any other type of supporting materials. There is a news section, but as can be seen below, the last entry was dedicated to the U.S. election of November 2020.
The broker does not offer any support for beginners wanting to learn more about the intricacies of trading. Traders relying on regular insights to gauge the ever-changing market sentiment via fundamental analysis will also likely find PFD’s website to be lacking substance, except for an economic calendar.
PFD does not provide many educational materials apart from a glossary and an introductory article on the basics of trading. The available information is sparse and lacks depth, which is why the broker scored so poorly in this category.
The glossary section of PFD’s website breaks down the meaning of 15 trading concepts. While the explanations of concepts such as ‘margin requirements’ and ‘pip values’ are thorough and the inclusion of practical examples is quite helpful, the glossary is very limited. More could have been done to broaden its scope.
PFD also has an ‘introduction to trading‘ section, consisting of a single article that builds upon the information presented in the glossary. Essentially, it represents a more detailed version of the glossary complemented with even more practical examples and screenshots. It, nevertheless, does not go beyond explaining basic terminology.
PFD is a broker based in New Zealand, providing financial services to traders since 1999. Some of its features may appeal to traders who cannot enjoy the same level of freedom in Europe and elsewhere. Still, this implied flexibility also implies looser trading conditions, such as higher leverage, entailing risks of its own.
Our review found PFD to be reliable due to its strong licensing as a derivatives issuer by FMA, a tier-1 regulator. Traders should, however, keep in mind that PFD does not have a negative balance protection or compensation scheme. This means that traders are exposed to certain trading and non-trading risks, such as PFD becoming insolvent.
PFD’s trading costs are average compared to the broader industry. The broker also has very high non-trading fees for deposits, withdrawals, and inactivity. For the most part, those do not apply to clients from New Zealand, but international traders are liable for those high transaction fees.
PFD’s varied account types are the broker’s strongest feature, which is bolstered by the inclusion of the sophisticated MetaTrader 4 platform. PFD has thus fostered a nice symbiosis between its different account types and an intricate platform that can be used to carry out complex technical analyses.
The broker fails to impress with its research and education materials, which lack breadth and insightfulness. As a whole, PFD’s service may be more relevant for seasoned traders than beginners wanting to learn more about the nature of trading. The more experienced traders can benefit from PFD’s more intricate solutions, such as the possibility to scalp.
FMA (New Zealand)
Number Of Employees
Trading Desk Type
ECN, No dealing desk, STP
Wire Transfer, Credit Card, PayPal, Poli
Wire Transfer, Neteller
Time to Withdrawal
Time to Open an Account
Currencies, Commodities, Indices