How to volunteer your product or service for FPA Performance Testing

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FPA Forums and Reviews Admin
How to volunteer your product or service for FPA Performance Testing

Attention Company Owners: Please read all the instructions in this thread before submitting a test.

Getting set up for the FPA's Performance Testing Program requires a review page and FPA access to your product or service.

Review Page Requirements

If you already have a review page, you can skip this part.

All products and services listed for Performance Testing are linked to a review page. The policy for having a review page is that it must be at a unique domain owned by your company.

Acceptable examples include,,,

Unacceptable examples include,,, mt4sharingsite/companyname

Think of it from a customer's point of view. Would you pay for an EA, Signals, or Managed Account service from a company that can't afford its own domain? I wouldn't.

A single company may offer more than one product or service from one review page. A number of companies have more than one item being Performance Tested.

Access to the Product or Service

Currently, FPA Performance Testing is set up to get information only from MT4. The programmers tell me that they are ready for MT5 when it becomes necessary to use it.

For all categories of Performance Testing, as if June 1st, 2013, the FPA ONLY accepts live accounts. You may chose any MetaTrader broker you like, as long as it is not a broker that the FPA has marked as SCAM. If you chose a live account, the programmers can cover up the name of the account holder and the account number on the statement displayed inside of the Performance Test.

For EAs, you need to set up your own MetaTrader account with at least $50 in deposits. Bonuses do not count towards this total. Please give the name of the broker, the server at the broker, the account number and the Read-Only investor password. Please mention any non-default settings.

For Signals Services or Managed Accounts, please provide the name of the broker, the MT4 server at the broker, the account number and the Read-Only investor password. By default, pending and open trades are not displayed for Signals Services and Managed Accounts to prevent non-subscribers from copying the trades.

All signals and managed accounts must have at least $500, excluding bonuses. These accounts should ONLY be used for trading the signals or only have been traded by the management service. The FPA will NOT exclude trades prior to a specific date.

For all types of services, please include a few sentences telling about the trading method. This will be added to the Performance Test page and could provide valuable information to people considering buying your product.

If any test from your company ends in a margin call and you want to begin testing again, see the post later in this thread about restarting after a failed test.

To submit all this information to the FPA, please click the "Suggest Product" button on the All Forex Tests Page. All of the information will go straight to the FPA Test Labs.
Performance Test Volunteer Agreement

By volunteering to be in the FPA's Performance Testing Program, you agree to the following...

1. You will provide the FPA with access to your EA, Signals, or Account Management service. You must provide the FPA with investor access to the account.

2. You will not expect the FPA to hide bad results. In cases where the FPA makes a serious error setting things up, a clean restart may be considered. Otherwise, the best that can be done is to start a new account while saving the old results and making them available from a drop-down menu on your product's test page. If this is done, there will be a mention of it on the test page.

3. Restarts will not be done for minor product upgrades. Real users buy your services and apply updates to existing accounts. In the event that an upgrade is very major, a restart may be considered. If a restart is done, old results will remain available from a drop-down menu on your product's test page. The preferred option is to apply upgrades to existing trading accounts.

3.a. See the posting later in this thread about restarting tests that have margin called or lost significant amounts of equity.

4. In the event that your product wipes out most of the equity from an account, the FPA will point this out to our readers. Please be aware that notes on the test page for products that wiped out an account will not be kind. If you want to try again with different settings or a different strategy, that can be done The previous loss of equity will be noted on your product's test page and the old results will remain available.

5. You agree to notify the FPA if you decide to stop trading the account or decide to change the investor password.

6. You and your company certify that the product you are providing for testing does not violate any trademark or copyright laws. If a question regarding intellectual property rights comes up, you and your company agree to cooperate with the FPA's Investigators in researching and resolving the situation.

7. Errors in the data displayed may happen sometimes. The FPA will make every effort to correct these as quickly as possible, but cannot guarantee that these corrections will be made instantly. If you see an error in your product's test page, you agree to notify the FPA and to hold the FPA harmless for such errors. If the error shows your product's performance in a bad light, you may request that we display a note regarding this on the test page.

8. Volunteers may request that the Performance Test of your product be stopped. This information will be displayed on the product's test page.

9. You acknowledge that the FPA is displaying what is happening in the account and agree to hold the FPA harmless if your product's test makes your product or company look bad. The FPA wishes the best of luck to all products being tested, but knows that some will perform badly.

10. You agree at any time FPA employees may visit your home to raid your refrigerator. We probably won't do this. We wanted to see if you were still reading the agreement. Please keep some snacks available in case we do stop by.

11. This agreement may be amended or altered from time to time. The most recent version will be displayed in this thread. If you do not agree to these changes, your sole recourse is to request that your Performance Test be stopped.
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Some advice for those who have or are about to volunteer...

1. For those with live accounts, you can now deposit and withdraw money from the account. Currently, the profit calculation should compensate automatically.

It may still be best to put all the money in first. Just set up a separate account for testing. The weekly and total profit calculation now compensates for deposits and withdrawals, but your equity graph will become very hard to interpret.

2. If you plan to close a live account by withdrawing all the money, contact the FPA to stop the test first.

Large withdrawals and deposits no longer affect the weekly and total profit and loss percentage, but the equity graph will be affected. If you want to stop the test and plan to withdraw all money from the account, it would be better to notify the FPA first so that the equity graph doesn't show the account dropping to zero.

If you are running a managed account with a monthly fee as a percentage of the high water mark, withdrawing that percentage of monthly profit is a good thing. That will show potential clients exactly how your service works.

3. Demos are no longer accepted in any category. Only live tests may now be submitted.

4. Make sure that any account you submit has been used ONLY for the service you want tested.

The FPA system is deliberately designed to NOT allow filtering of results by date or any other means. Everything from the initial deposit to the last closed trade will be displayed. Open and pending trades may be covered, but the total floating profit or loss will always be displayed.
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Restarting a Test | Live Testing of EAs

Before the FPA instituted a live account requirement for signals and managed accounts services, many signed up. Some of them crashed again again on demo accounts. Others provided older demo accounts that couldn't continue performing well once the FPA monitoring began, leading to suspicions that those accounts were selected from a large number of demo accounts being traded differently. The abusers were a small minority, but enough problems occurred that requiring a small live account became the obvious way to weed out many of the worst ones.

EAs have previously been allowed unlimited restarts on demo accounts. Most companies haven't abused this, but some have. Too many have restarted whenever the EA showed a significant loss that there needs to be a change in policies. Unlike all those MT4 sharing sites, the FPA now is implementing formal rules on restarts. This is being done to make sure that the FPA's Performance Tests more closely reflect the true potential of the products being tested instead of how well it can be made to run for a couple of weeks or months.

Restarting a Test on a Volunteered EA

Sometimes a test goes badly. For EAs the FPA is running, the FPA will allow restarts on a demo account if the failure of the test is directly due to some error on the FPA's part. If it is because of a problem with the EA itself, the broker, or anything else not under the FPA's control, then this policy requiring live accounts for most EA restarts will apply beginning on September 1st, 2011.

1. Good or bad, no live test may be replaced by a demo test. The FPA will consider letting a demo run alongside a live test, but replacing a live test with a demo test is no longer permitted.

2. Any demo test of an EA that suffers a margin call or had significant drawdown may not be restarted on a demo account. Significant drawdown is defined as losing more than 20% of the initial deposit into the account.

3. For EAs, there is currently no minimum requirement for submitting an initial live test as a volunteer. If a volunteered demo or live test suffers a margin call or significant drawdown, then any restart request will require an initial deposit of at least the non-discounted price of the EA. That means that if an EA claims the original price was $1000, but the website or promotional emails say it's on sale for a limited time for $47, then the minimum opening balance in the event of a restart would be $1000. If the ads say the $97 price will double soon, then the minimum is $194. The bare minimum opening balance for a restart like this will be $100 even if the EA sells for under $100.

4. Any EA volunteer that is in profit, at breakeven, or has lost less than 20% on a demo may submit a live account as a replacement. There is no minimum balance for this other than what the EA needs to trade.

Do not wait until losses are approaching 20%. Testing may not get to your restart request for a few days. If the loss is 20% or greater when FPA's Test Team is about to process the change, then the minimum balance specified in #3 will apply.

5. If you provide the FPA with a demo, assure the FPA that the demo is non-expiring, and it later expires, then a live account will be required with a minimum opening balance of at least $100 (or the amount specified in #3 if the test is in significant drawdown at the time the account expires).

6. Demo restarts of successful EAs running on demo may be considered on a case by case basis. If your company's EA is doing that well, everyone will wonder what the issue if the company never wants to take it live.

7. Just like Signals and Managed live tests, the account number and account owner's name on live EA tests can be covered up.

I think that these policies will reduce the number of restarts. I think the average quality of the EAs being actively tested should increase since EAs that lose significantly won't be able to create demo accounts over and over again.

Restarting a Test on a Signals Service or Managed Accounts Service

Signals and Managed tests already require a live account with at least $500 deposited. If your live test ends in a margin call or a significant drawdown, the minimum amount you'll need in a new account for a restart will be $1000.

Since the FPA has no way to tell who entered the trades in the account, a client account where the client stops trading your signals or enters some of their own trades is not an excuse. If you get a client to volunteer to provide an account for Performance Testing, you need to explain to the client that you need warning if the client intends to stop trading your signals or before entering other trades in the account. It's safer to use your own account.

Big Failures

In the event of any exceptionally spectacular failure of any product or service, the FPA reserves the right to decline allowing any restart or to require a larger opening balance for a restart. Examples include items like a highly profitable martingale or grid system that blows out the account under a week or any service that trades without stops being wiped out by a large market swing.
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More on Demo vs. Live Testing of EAs

I try to keep the rules simple and straightforward. Test volunteers keep coming up with complicated scenarios. Here are some new rules, effective as of the day before anyone asked.

1. If a company has any test (EA, Signals, or Managed) that has drawdown greater than 20%, any new EA that is volunteered must be on a live account. The minimum opening balance is the non-sale price of the EA. If any test of a company has over 20% drawdown, all new managed and signals tests will require the same amount as a signals or managed test restart.

For EAs with a subscription fee instead of a one time payment, the minimum balance is the charge for a 1 year subscription. If your EA works on a profit sharing plan, minimum balances will be treated the same as if it was a managed accounts test.

Some companies have multiple websites. Sometimes I know this. Sometimes it's hard to link them. Don't make me hunt you down.

2. I like to see comparisons. If there are no products in significant drawdown, a live account vs. demo account on the same broker for the same EA is good. Live account on one broker vs. live account on a different broker is good. A second demo account of the same EA using the same settings isn't as useful, even if the accounts are on different brokers. If you submit 2 demo accounts or a second demo account of the same things, only one will be posted.

3. Some review pages are getting too many demo test links. Even if all the tests are successful, no review page with 3 demo tests can add any additional demo tests from now on. If you have so many good EAs, please show some confidence in your robots by opening live accounts for a few of them.

4. All of these balances for live accounts are referred to as opening balances. I'm willing to be reasonable about this. If you started an account that needs $500 using only $100, it can still be submitted after the total account equity passes $500. It needs to remain above that amount while testing processes the submission.

I'm trying very hard not to completely ban demo accounts for EA volunteers. There are some non-scalping bots with promising long term performance on demo. I don't want to prevent a new company with an interesting EA from being able to show off their product. I and the FPA Test Team hope that the expanded set of rules is broad enough to close any loopholes that might be abused.
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Demo limits and containment

Please note that this whole thread is overdue for a rewrite. I've got at least 1 more big policy changes to announce before the end of 2012. Once that's done and I have all the information in one place, I'll be reorganizing this whole thread. In the meantime...


Last week's FPA staff meeting had some heated debate over demo accounts in EA Performance Testing. One viewpoint was that we should be open and make no changes to rules allowing demos to run indefinitely. The opposite view was that demos have no place in Performance Testing. Below is the compromise that I proposed and got approved...

At the end of November, all EA demo accounts that had been running 52 weeks or more will end.

At the end of December or beginning of January, all EA demo accounts that have been running 16 weeks or more will end. After that, all demo tests will be shut down when they are 15 to 16 weeks old.

The ONLY exception is that demo accounts running parallel to live accounts may be left running as long as the live test account is running.

Until December 31st, 2012, replacement and parallel EA live accounts for company with no tests that have failed, been abandoned, or are 20% or more in drawdown may be started with NO minimum balance.

As of January 1st, all new live EA tests will require a minimum deposit of $50. Bonuses, gifts from the broker, IB payments, prizes for contests, etc., do not count towards the $50 minimum. Be aware that FPA testing can almost always tell if an account is a cent account. So far a couple of companies have been caught trying to pass off a $5 cent account as a $500 account. Other companies have tried to pass off demo accounts as live accounts. FPA testing can always detect if an account is live or demo. If either of these happens again, any company involved will have warnings added to its review page.

As of January 1st, if a company is eligible to start an EA on demo, any new demo test submitted must be less than 2 weeks old at the time of submission.

I think the advantages of this policy are...

Time limited demos allows new companies that may have limited funding a chance to show off their EAs for a few months.

The 2 weeks age limit on submitted demos will end worries that an old demo submitted was a "best of breed". I'm always worried that an old demo that is submitted was selected from several dozen demos running slightly different settings over a long span of time.

Companies like showing off their results even if it's on demo. Allowing an existing demo to keep running with a parallel live account means that FPA viewers can see both sets of results.
More on minimum deposits for live accounts and restarting after failures

Sometimes a company can learn from its mistakes and improve. Sometimes a company just wants to grab money again and again without improvement. I want those who learn and improve to have more chances. I want those who just want to grab your money to quietly go out of business.

Failure had a price. Repeated failures mean that a company has to show greater confidence in its products or services to get a restart in the FPA's Performance Testing Program.

Previously, rules were added for restarting after a failed test. Failure is defined as any test that ended 20% or more in drawdown from deposits or any active test that is 20% or more in drawdown. If a failed test continues to run, it it possible that it can move above the 20% loss limit and no longer be considered to count as a failure.

Abandoned tests also count as failures. If a test stops trading for an extended period, the FPA will email twice. If there is no reply, the test is considered to be abandoned. If the investor password changes, the FPA will email twice. If there is no reply, the test will be considered to be abandoned. If all money is withdrawn from a test account and the company does not notify the FPA within 5 business days, the test is considered to be abandoned.

Some companies kept starting new products to avoid the restart after failure rules. This is why one failure now applies across all products from an individual, a company, or a related group of companies.

Now there are companies with multiple failures wanting restarts. If a company wants to show off after repeated failures, the minimum deposit needed for new test accounts is going to go up based on the number of failures.

Signals/Managed Accounts
No failures. All tests require at least a $500 deposit.
1 failure doubles that to $1000.

For 2 failures or above, there is an absolute minimum, which may be increased based on what clients need to invest themselves. The largest number is the amount of money needed.

For Managed Accounts, the minimum balance listed on the company's website to have the account managed is the alternative minimum. For Signals that are free if the client signs up using the signals provider's IB link or that use a profit sharing plan, the minimum balance required by the signals provider is used. For signals providers that have a fee, 12 months of the undiscounted fee is used. For companies with multiple options to pay, the largest amount is used.

To make this more readable, I'm just going to use the term "minimum managed balance" to cover all the choices.

No failures. $500 deposit.
1 failure doubles that to $1000
2 failures, Minimum managed balance, minimum $2000
3-4 failures, twice minimum managed balance, minimum $4000
5-6 failures, 3 times minimum managed balance, minimum $8,000
7-8 failures, 6 times minimum managed balance, minimum $20,000

9 or more failures, please ask.


No failures and demos - No company may have more than 3 demo accounts listed on its review pages. If a demo is restarted on a live account, this can reduce the number. If a company has 0-2 demos running, a time limited demo may be submitted. It will be stopped 15-16 weeks from the initial deposit. The maximum time from initial deposit until the demo is submitted will be limited to 4 weeks. If a live account using exactly the same settings is submitted at the same time or before the end of 16 weeks, then the demo may run in parallel as long as the live account keeps running.

No failures and live accounts. The minimum opening balance now $50 (as of June 5, 2016).

EAs sometimes have more than one way to pay. Like Managed and Signals, restarts after failures have an absolute minimum and a minimum calculated by the cost of the EA. In all cases, the largest number is the minimum needed to submit the account for testing.

For EAs with a single price, the undiscounted purchase price will be used. If there are several pricing options, the most expensive undiscounted price will be used. If there is a monthly subscription, 12 months of the undiscounted price will be used. If there is a free option using the EA seller's IB link, the minimum balance to qualify for this will be used.

To make the list simpler, I will use "undiscounted price" to cover all payment options.

1 failure - Undiscounted price of the EA, minimum $100
2 failures - Twice the undiscounted price of the EA, minimum $250
3-4 failures – 3 times the undiscounted price of the EA , minimum $500
5-6 failures – 6 times the undiscounted price of the EA, minimum $1000
7-8 failures – 10 times the undiscounted price of the EA, minimum $2500

9 or more failures - please ask.

All minimums for new tests must be actual deposits. Bonus money will not be counted towards minimums.

Some company may opening a new website to pretend to be a new company to avoid these minimums. If that happens, warnings added to their review pages and any Performance Test pages at the FPA.

Some account failures may be viewed as unusual or spectacular. If this happens, the FPA reserves the right to increase the minimum or to reject all new test submissions.
EA Demo Test Phaseout

As of June 1st, 2013, the FPA will no longer accept any new demo accounts for performance tests. Time-limited demo tests submitted before then will be allowed to run for 15-16 weeks and then will be shut down.

There will be no exceptions.

On or before September 30th, 2013, all parallel demo tests will be stopped. At that point, the FPA's Performance Testing program will be 100% on live accounts.

Once this is done, I'll try to get these rules re-written to take out references to demos and make the whole thing more compact and clear.
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