Edge-ucation / Investing Coaching

What is Copy Trading?

  • Declan O’Flaherty

    Declan holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta and has over 4 years of experience investing in financial markets. As a fundamental investor, Declan embraces the investment principles of Warren Buffett and his disciples. This puts a focus on finding businesses with healthy financials, competent and accountable leader, enduring competitive advantages, and those that are selling at discount to what they are worth.

    View all posts

Copy trading has emerged as one of the most innovative and popular trading strategies in recent years. Millions of investors are enjoying the low maintenance, greater returns, and simplicity of copy trading services.

But what is copy trading exactly? How does it work, and who should use it?

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of copy trading, exploring its features, benefits, and drawbacks. We’ll also compare copy trading to other popular trading strategies and examine how it fits into the broader landscape of investment management. By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of what copy trading is and whether or not it’s the right strategy for you.

Copy Trading Explained

Copy trading is a popular investment strategy that allows investors to replicate the trades of a successful trader either manually or through a specialized platform. This method offers an opportunity for investors to leverage the expertise of accomplished traders without dedicating a significant amount of time and effort to learn the complexities of trading.

Copy trading platforms provide a ranking system based on the performance of investors currently using the site, which allows followers to search for traders who meet a specific criteria of performance, amount of trades placed, and industries invested in. Traders can also provide additional information, such as their overall trading strategy and risk levels, which assists investors in deciding which traders they wish to copy.

One of the primary advantages of copy trading is that it eliminates the need for investors to have a deep understanding of financial markets. They can instead rely on the proficiency of successful traders to make informed decisions, minimizing their research efforts. This is particularly useful for novice investors who are just starting to navigate the stock market.

That said, copy trading is not risk-free.

Although successful traders can generate significant returns, they can also incur substantial losses, which, unfortunately, will be replicated in the accounts of their followers.

Moreover, depending on the traders an investor chooses to follow, the copy trades may involve complex and high-risk strategies that could be challenging to comprehend (potentially leaving investors scratching their heads trying to understand how a trader lost such a significant amount of money in a single trade).

Therefore, it is crucial for investors to carefully evaluate the risks and rewards of copy trading before investing their funds.

Who Should Use Copy Trading?

man doing stock trading

Image Source: Navi

Copy trading is a versatile trading strategy that can benefit a wide range of individuals. Here are some examples of investors who may find copy trading particularly useful:

Novice Investors

Investors who are new to the world of trading and investing can benefit greatly from copy trading. By following successful traders, they can gain exposure to the financial markets and learn from experienced professionals.

Busy Investors

Investors who don’t have the time to conduct in-depth market analysis can benefit from copy trading. By relying on the expertise of others, they can automate their investing process and avoid having to spend hours researching financial markets.

Investors with Limited Experience

Copy trading can be a valuable tool for investors who are looking to gain exposure to a particular market, asset class, or trading strategy they have limited experience with.

For instance, an investor who is interested in trading forex but lacks experience in this area can follow successful forex traders to gain insights into their strategies and learn from their expertise.

Investors Seeking Diversification

Investors who want to diversify their portfolio can benefit by following successful traders who specialize in different asset classes or geographic regions.

Investors Seeking Passive Income

By following successful traders who generate consistent profits, investors can earn a passive income stream without having to actively trade themselves.

Step-by-Step Guide to Copy Trading

guide to copy trading

Now that we’ve covered what copy trading is and who can benefit from it, let’s take a closer look at how to get started with copy trading.

Choose a Copy Trading Platform

The first step in copy trading is to choose a legitimate copy trading platform. There are many platforms available, each with their own features and fees.

Some popular copy trading platforms include eToro, ZuluTrade, and NAGA. Whichever you choose, it’s important to do your research and select one that is reputable, transparent on fees, easy to use, and meets your needs.

Open a Trading Account

Once you’ve chosen a platform, you’ll need to open an account. This typically involves providing personal information and verifying your identity. Some platforms may also require you to provide financial information, such as your income and net worth.

Fund Your Account

After opening an account, you’ll need to fund it with money. Most copy trading platforms accept a variety of payment methods, including credit/debit cards, bank transfers, and e-wallets. Choose the payment method that is most convenient for you and make your first deposit!

Choose a Trader to Follow

After funding your account, it’s time to choose a trader to follow. Most copy trading platforms have a list of traders ranked by their performance, allowing you to easily identify successful traders to follow. You can also filter traders based on their trading style, risk tolerance, and other criteria.

Set Your Investment Amount

Once you’ve chosen a trader to follow, you’ll need to decide how much money to invest. This can be done by setting your investment amount as a percentage of your total account balance or by a set dollar amount per trade.

The key here is to balance risk with reward and set an amount that you feel comfortable with.

Remember, copy trading is based off automated trading algorithms, which means the trades will happen automatically and without oversight from yourself. Ensure your risk is mitigated and you’re not investing more than you’re willing to lose in any given trade.

Start Copying Trades

After setting your investment amount, you can start copying trades. Whenever the trader makes a trade, it will be automatically replicated in your account.

Monitor Your Investments

It’s important to regularly monitor your investments to ensure that they are performing as expected. You should also keep an eye on the trader you are following to make sure their performance remains consistent.

Withdraw Your Profits (or Reinvest)

If you make a profit from copy trading, you can withdraw your funds at any time. Most copy trading platforms allow you to withdraw your funds using the same payment method you used to deposit them. Alternatively, you can use the returns from your copy trades to follow other traders or increase the amount of each trade.

Pros and Cons of Copy Trading

While copy trading can be a useful strategy for investors looking to benefit from the expertise of successful traders, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons of this approach.


  • Easy to Get Started: Copy trading platforms make it easy for investors to start copying trades with just a few clicks. There’s no need to have extensive knowledge or experience in trading.
  • Access to Expertise: By following experienced traders, investors can benefit from the knowledge and experience of seasoned professionals, potentially increasing their chances of making profitable trades.
  • Diversification: Copy trading allows investors to diversify their portfolios by following multiple traders, each with their own trading strategies and risk tolerances.
  • Time-Saving: Copy trading can be a time-saving strategy, as investors can rely on the expertise of others rather than conducting their own market research and analysis.
  • Transparency: Most copy trading platforms provide transparency regarding the past performance of their traders, letting you know the exact return and stats of each potential trader to follow.


  • Risk of Losses: As with any investment strategy, copy trading involves risks, and investors can still lose money, especially if they follow traders who engage in high-risk trading strategies.
  • Lack of Control: When copy trading, investors give up control over their investments, as they’re essentially relying on the decisions made by strangers to invest their money.
  • Hidden Fees: Copy trading platforms may charge fees that are not immediately obvious to investors, such as performance fees or spreads on trades.
  • Limited Customization: Investors may not be able to customize the trades they copy, which can limit their ability to tailor their investment strategy to their own goals and risk tolerance.
  • Limited Learning Opportunities: Copy trading may not provide investors with the same learning opportunities as actively trading on their own, as they are relying on the expertise of others rather than developing their own trading skills.

Copy trading can be a powerful tool for investors looking to benefit from the expertise of successful traders. However, it’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks carefully before deciding whether to use this strategy. By understanding the pros and cons of copy trading, investors can decide for themselves as to whether or not this is right for them.

Other Trading Strategies

other trading strategies

While copy trading is a popular and accessible way to enter the world of trading, there are a variety of other trading strategies that investors can use to achieve their financial goals.

Here, we’ll explore some of the most common trading strategies besides copy trading, including mirror trading, social trading, long-term investing, and technical analysis trading. By understanding the differences between these strategies, investors can choose (or combine) the styles that best fits their needs and investment goals.

Mirror Trading

Mirror trading is a type of automated trading where investors can copy the trades of multiple traders at the same time. The idea behind mirror trading is to replicate the decisions of several traders, with the aim of reducing risk and increasing diversification. Mirror trading platforms typically use complex algorithms to identify the most profitable traders to follow, based on their past performance.

Compared to copy trading, mirror trading allows investors to follow multiple traders at once, rather than just one. This can be beneficial for investors who want to spread their risk across multiple traders. However, because mirror trading platforms use complex algorithms, investors may have less control over which trades they replicate compared to copy trading.

Social Trading

Social trading combines elements of social networking with copy trading.

More specifically, social trading platforms allow investors to follow other, more experienced traders and see their trades in real-time. Investors can also communicate with each other, sharing knowledge and expertise.

Compared to copy trading, social trading offers more opportunities for interaction and collaboration between investors. Social trading platforms often have community features such as forums, where investors can ask questions and share information.

Long-Term Investing

Long-term investing involves buying and holding investments for an extended period, typically several years or more. Long-term investors typically focus on fundamentals such as earnings, dividends, and company growth potential, rather than trying to time the market or use technical indicators to place trades.

Compared to copy trading, long-term investing requires more patience and the ability to analyze companies on a fundamental basis. Long-term investors need to be comfortable with short-term fluctuations in the market and be willing to hold their investments through market downturns.

Technical Analysis Trading

Technical analysis trading involves analyzing charts and using technical indicators to identify trends, helping traders make strategic decisions. Technical traders use a combination of price charts, moving averages, and other tools to identify opportunities in the market, making this approach particularly useful for short-term traders looking to take advantage of market fluctuations and volatility.

Unlike copy trading, technical analysis requires more skill and expertise from the individual placing the trades. Technical traders must have a solid understanding of chart patterns and technical indicators to be successful. However, technical analysis trading is also more flexible than copy trading, allowing investors to adjust their strategies in response to changing market conditions.

In summary, while copy trading is a popular strategy, investors have a range of approaches to achieve their investment goals. From mirror trading to social trading, long-term investing to technical analysis, each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses and investors should select the strategies that best align with their goals and comfort level.


In conclusion, copy trading can be an effective and convenient way for investors to enter the world of trading, especially for those who are new to the market or don’t have the time or expertise to research and analyze investments. By copying the trades of experienced traders, investors can potentially earn impressive returns and diversify their portfolios with little effort.

However, copy trading is not without its risks, and investors should be aware of the potential downsides, such as the lack of control over trades and the possibility of following unscrupulous or poorly performing traders.

Moreover, there are many other trading strategies besides copy trading, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Whether it’s mirror trading, social trading, long-term investing, or technical analysis trading, investors should choose the approach that falls in line with their values and financial goals.

Ultimately, successful trading requires a combination of knowledge, discipline, and a clear investment strategy. By taking the time to understand different trading strategies and investing approaches, investors can increase their chances of making informed and profitable decisions.

Copy trading is just one tool in the tool box investors can use to achieving financial success.

We are not brokers, investment, or financial advisers; you should not rely on the information herein as investment advice. If you are seeking personalized investment advice, please contact a qualified and registered broker, investment adviser, or financial adviser. You should not make any investment decisions based on our communications. Our stock profiles are intended to highlight certain companies for YOUR further investigation; they are NOT recommendations. The securities issued by the companies we profile should be considered high risk and, if you do invest, you may lose your entire investment. Please do your own research before investing, including reading the companies’ public filings, press releases, and risk disclosures. The company provided information in this profile, extracted from public filings, company websites, and other publicly available sources. We believe the sources and information are accurate and reliable but we cannot guarantee it. The commentary and opinions in this article are our own, so please do your own research.
Copyright © 2023 Edge Investments, All rights reserved.


  • Declan O’Flaherty

    Declan holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta and has over 4 years of experience investing in financial markets. As a fundamental investor, Declan embraces the investment principles of Warren Buffett and his disciples. This puts a focus on finding businesses with healthy financials, competent and accountable leader, enduring competitive advantages, and those that are selling at discount to what they are worth.

    View all posts

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