The MetaPRO website makes no secret that their EA is optimised for 2010, and I wasn't of a mind to believe anything else.
Incidentally, the MetaPRO website is quite informative and factual and consists of several linked pages rather than the typical one-page salesletter which seems to be the norm in the EA business. The website contains both backtests and forward tests, together with an explanation of what the EA actually does and what it's looking to achieve.
MetaPRO Forex is delivered in its own self-installer which makes for a nice and easy set up and it comes with its own 9 page PDF instruction manual which, in my opinion, isn't particularly clear. That said, I know enough about these things to be able to get it up and running to find out what it's really made of.
About the EA
MetaPRO Forex works on just the EURUSD currency pair on the 1 hour timeframe and it claims to be a "swing trader". For anybody who's unaware, swing trading involves detecting turns in the market at support and resistance levels and either buying or selling the market as close as possible to the turning points. Swing traders tend to stay in the trade until the next turning point, at which time they tend to close out and reverse the position in the other direction.
You would therefore expect the trade pattern of a swing trader to be buy -> sell -> buy -> sell, and so on. It is generally rare to see several successive buy trades or several sell trades in succession.
Setting MetaPRO Forex up
Although there are a number of external parameters within MetaPRO Forex that the user can adjust, the EA comes with its own set files.
The main user inputs involve the risk/money management employed by the EA. It seems to use 3 methods for money management. Method 1 involves allocating a percentage capital to the EA and then using some mumbojumbo to calculate the lot sizes, method 2 involves trading with fixed lots and method 3 involves risking a user-determined percentage of the account on each trade which is based upon the distance of the stop-loss. If I were to use this EA live, method 3 would be my approach.
The user has a few other options to do with stop-loss and take-profit levels. There is also an overriding-parameter which allows the EA to set and adjust the SL and TP, and seeing as this is supposed to be a swing-trader, I opted to let the system calculate the SLs and TPs.
The Strategy Tests
Having mentioned previously that I suspected MetaPRO forex was heavily optimised for 2010, I began by running a couple of tests for just that year to see how it performed. The first test was with FXCM using a 3.0 pip spread, and I then repeated the test with Tadawul using a 2.0 pip spread.
Both of these tests were performed using the money management method 1 which I described above. This wouldn't be my preferred money management approach, but it was the method employed within the set file and I chose to run with it.
FXCM - 2010 - 3.0 pip spread
Tadawul - 2010 - 2.0 pip spread
Although the test results showed the returns to be pretty healthy, the drawdowns were a bit too high for my liking and I would expect to see them reduced if the risk was lowered.
Looking at the results, it wasn't difficult to see that there is a fine dividing line between success and failure with this EA. The rate of winning trades is not too far above 50% and the risk/reward ratio is very close to 1. You would only need to see a slight worsening of either of these two values for MetaPRO Forex to turn from being profitable into being loss-making.
Having already suggested that the EA was optimised for 2010, I decided to see what would have happened in previous years and ran a test from 2008 through 2010 using Tadawul.
Tadawul - 2008 through 2010 - 2.0 pip spread
Although the 3 year results are obviously not good and confirm my initial thoughts that MetaPRO has been heavily optimised for 2010, they also highlight my previous assertion that there is a fine line between success and failure as far as this EA is concerned. The report shows the win rate dropping from 58% in just 2010 to a 3 year average of 48%, and this is the main reason the EA is unprofitable.
Despite being unprofitable over any sustained period, MetaPRO Forex has been profitable recently. Seeing as we are currently trading in the present and not 3 years ago or 10 years ago, I guess that fans of this EA will argue that current profitability is the most important thing, and offer a case for buying and using the EA in the short term while it still remains profitable. The fact remains though that the EA is unable to demonstrate any long term profitability and it is likely only a matter of time before it surrenders its recent profits and goes into decline.
I also can't help but think that with some better optimisation, MetaPRO could be made into a more robust product which would survive the test of time. It's internal coding is reasonably clean, it's not overly reliant upon broker spreads, it's ECN compliant and it is also 3/5 digit broker compatible. All of these things are positives, but they're offset by one major negative which is a lack of long term profitability. In addition to the profitability aspect, MetaPRO also doesn't appear to be NFA compliant. In test it appeared to open both long and short trades simultaneously, rendering it unsuitable for an army of US-based users who are restricted by non-hedging rules.
Unfortunately, the user is only really able to optimise TP and SL values himself. The so-called swing entries and exits are found using standard indicators and the EA does not include any option to optimise the indicator settings which I suspect would be necessary to get MetaPRO working profitably over any prolonged period. I'm not even convinced that the EA is a swing-trader in the true sense of the term - instead, I believe it simply follows a set of lagging indicators. Anybody purchasing the EA is therefore reliant upon the vendor continuing to provide timely updates with freshly optimised settings.
As part of my testing, I've set MetaPRO Forex up on a $5k Alpari UK demo account trading the EURUSD symbol on the 1 hour timeframe. I'm using the H1 default settings with the exception that I am only risking 4% of the account on each trade.
You can monitor MetaPRO Forex's performance at MellyForex by clicking here.