Best Forex Brokers in Australia 2018
Often dubbed as the “Wild West” of the Southern hemisphere, it’s hard to know just which broker to trade with in Australia. FX Empire is here to help you decide exactly who to choose as your trusted trading partner. With the insight of our readers from across Australia and the in depth research of our experts we have created a list of the best, most trustworthy and technologically advanced brokers in Australia.
How to Choose a Forex Broker (as an Aussie trader)
Australian inhabitants have often demonstrated resourcefulness in overcoming the numerous hurdles of living in such a sparsely populated area. Over the last 10 years with China’s economy booming at a furious rate, this has resulted in an upswing of exports from Australia and the appreciation of the Australian dollar. As a result, many Australians seeking to gain from the gain in the Australian dollar have taken to retail forex trading. This increased interest in retail forex trading goes to explain why the retail forex trading industry in Australia has been growing at a tremendous pace in recent years.
When it comes to selecting a Forex broker, there are a variety of things to bear in mind. Over the course of this article we will explore the key areas you as an Australian trader should be aware of when it comes to selecting a Forex Broker that will be a true partner to you. We will look at the Australian regulation of brokers, the importance of working with a locally regulated broker, how to choose the best trading platform to trade with, and other key areas such as commissions, spreads and leverage offered by the broker, plus the importance of good customer support.
General Regulations & Australia Regulation
Generally speaking in the online forex trading industry, the untrustworthy brokers tend to be unregulated. To attract your patronage, they often make outrageous claims which they fail to deliver on further down the road. Because of the high risks of getting scammed by an unregulated broker, your search for a reliable and dependable broker should start with those brokers which are regulated.
The Forex market is an over the counter (OTC) market. This means that the market is not regulated by any central regulatory body. In fact before Forex trading became popular on the retail level, Forex trading was largely confined to an institutional level and is largely self regulatory. But as Forex trading became more popular on a retail level, financial regulatory agencies in the more developed economies around the world began to step in, in an effort to protect the interest of the small retail investors.
Some of the standards which financial regulatory agencies around the world have established for Forex brokers operating in their jurisdictions include requiring the broker to have segregated accounts for their clients and the company’s operational funds. This requirement helps to ensure that the broker does not misuse the trading funds that have been entrusted to it by the clients. In other words, traders can rest assured that their funds will be in their trading account whenever they want to make a trade.
In addition, having segregated accounts helps to protect the clients money from being used to pay the broker’s debts, in the event the broker becomes insolvent. In other words, creditors of the broker are not permitted to claim the funds in these segregated accounts as part of the broker’s assets which can be used to pay off the broker’s debt. Another standard industry requirement for a regulated forex broker is the maintenance of a capital adequacy ratio. The purpose of requiring brokers to maintain a capital adequacy ratio is to ensure that the broker will at all time have sufficient liquidity to meet its contractual obligations.
Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)
For traders in Australia, the regulatory authority which they should take note off is the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Established in 1998 under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act, 2001, ASIC is empowered by the Corporations Act, 2001, the Insurance Contracts Act, 1984 and the National Consumer Credit Protection Act, 2009 to be responsible for the following in the financial industry in Australia:
- Consumer Protection
- Corporate Governance
- Promotion Financial Literacy
- Regulating Financial Services
- Regulating Insurance Industry
- Regulating the trading Securities and Derivatives
If you are a beginner trader who is unfamiliar with the online forex trading industry, the best starting point for you is to deal only with ASIC regulated brokers. Regardless of how attractive an unregulated forex broker’s offer may be, there is no point in taking up their “offers” if at the end of the day you find yourself unable to get your money back. Go for the benefits of an ASIC regulated broker which can provide you with peace of mind.
Trading Platform & Software
The next factor to take into consideration when selecting the best forex brokers in Australia to partner with is the performance of their trading platforms. The trading platform is your gateway to the forex market and without a reliable and efficient trading platform, you will not be able to trade the forex market effectively.
What are the main types of trading platform that the broker has provided. Here we are referring to:
Do you have to download a client software such as the MetaTrader 4 client software before you can use the trading platform? This means you can only use that platform from the computer that you have originally downloaded to.
Or is it a web based platform which only requires you to use a web browser to connect to the trading platform? This means you can literally trade from anywhere that you have internet connection. You will login using your username and password.
These are usually a stripped down version of the download or web based trader specifically built for the smartphone or tablet. Additionally some brokers offer their platform as an app which can be downloaded through the app store or Google Play.
In addition, consider if the trading platform is proprietary or a generic platform widely used by the industry.
A proprietary platform can be indicative of the broker’s willingness to invest to improve the quality of its clients trading experience. This is a platform that the broker designs and builds for the use of their traders. It is often highly customizable to the user and can cater for all level of traders.
Often called a white label this is a platform offered by many brokers and branded to them eg, with their logo. The most popular version of this is the MetaTrader 4 provided by Metaquotes. Sirix Trader and cTrader are the next most popular white labeled platforms.
Things to look for in your platform:
- Check if the trading platform is easy to use and executes trades instantly
- Can provide you with a wide array of trading tools to enhance your market analysis
- Look at the quality of the trading charts and see if they can provide you with an in-depth look of the price movements
- Additional tools which further extend your trading capabilities such as economic calendar, currency and pip calculator, updating news stream, trading directly from charts.
If in doubt about the above refer to the below list before you select a platform to trade on:
- Comprehensive charts
- Fast Execution of trades
- Mobile capable
- User Friendly Interface
- Wide range of trading tools
Commissions, Spreads & Leverage
With trading costs being one of the main factors which determine a trader’s profitability, most forex traders’ first instinct is to look at the commissions that brokers charge as well as the spread that they offer. Depending on the broker’s business model, most brokers do not charge any commissions. Instead, their main source of revenue will be the spread which traders pay each time they make a trade. The spread is merely the difference between the BID and ASK price. For frequently traded currency pairs, the spreads which a trader pays can range from zero pip to 5 pips. In addition when evaluating the spreads offered by the broker, check if the spreads offered is fixed or variable. For traders who wants certainty with their trading cost, it is better to opt for fixed spreads as they do not change according to market volatility as opposed to variable spreads.
Although most brokers do not charge any commissions, this is not the case with brokers who offer ECN trading capacity. An Electronic Communications Network or ECN broker allow traders to deal directly with the liquidity providers hence allowing then to take advantage of the interbank rates offered by the liquidity providers. To compensate for the loss of revenue by giving traders direct access to interbank rates, ECN broker’s charge a small commission instead. This commission can be fixed or based on a percentage of the trading volume.
The leverage ratio offered by forex brokers is also another important consideration to take into account. For Australian traders, the leverage enjoyed by them is considerably higher than what most brokers in Europe are offering their clients. Most European brokers due to regulatory restrictions are only permitted to offer their clients up to a maximum of 1:100 leverage ratio. Whereas for Australian regulated brokers, they are permitted to offer a maximum of 1:500 leverage ratio.
The types of trading accounts offered by forex brokers depend on the target market which the broker is targeting. For beginner friendly brokers, the type of trading accounts offered usually have a low minimum deposit requirement as well as the ability to trade in small amounts or lots. For premium brokers, the account opening requirements is usually higher and often beyond the financial capability of the small retail trader. Nevertheless, the services offered by these premium brokers are usually personalized and exceptional. In addition when looking at the types of trading accounts that are provided by a broker, always make it a point to study their withdrawal policies and ensure that you are comfortable and agreeable with the terms provided. Some brokers may provide free withdrawals while others may charge their clients a high fee each time their clients makes a withdrawal request. Finally, check how long a broker usually takes to process a withdrawal request. Most regulated brokers usually take 3 business days to process a withdrawal request whereas some process a withdrawal within the same day.
It should be noted that the forex market is a 24 hours market with continuous trading activities going on throughout the entire trading day. Because of this, you want to ensure that your broker is capable of supporting you on a 24 hours basis and not just during office hours. Furthermore, check if the broker provides multiple methods of communicating with the support team. The more methods that the broker has made available, the more accessible the broker is when you have to contact the support team for assistance. Other factors to consider with regards to a broker’s customer support service are whether the broker provides multilingual support and localized support telephone numbers.
In a competitive industry such as the online forex trading industry, most forex brokers try to provide additional services in order to help them differentiate their services from other brokers in the industry. Some of the added features or benefits provided by these brokers may include the following:
- Free Trading Alerts
- Free VPS
- Interest on trading account balance
- Loyalty program and rebates on trading cost
- Market Analysis
- Market commentary
- One to One Consultation with in house expert
- Robot or Signal Trading Services
- Sign up Bonuses
- Social Trading Support
- Trading Competition
Because of the proliferation of forex brokers on the internet over the last decade or so, many beginner traders find it difficult to differentiate between the various types of brokers in the industry. To help our readers make the right choice, we have conducted in depth reviews of various brokers in the industry based on the guidelines that we have mentioned in this guide. Our goal is to provide you with a shortlist of brokers that meet a high operating standard as well as being able to meet all the traders’ trading requirements.
Always be wary of brokers that make outrageous claims such as “Risk Free Trading” or “Guaranteed Profits” as risks will always be present when trading the financial markets. Remember, no one can guarantee your profits. As an Australian trader, the best forex brokers to trade with in Australia are those brokers which have taken the initiative to be regulated by ASIC. This shows that the broker is willing to invest time and effort to gain their clients’ trust as well as to protect the legal interests of their clients. In other words, they are not fly by night operators that will disappear with your money. Lastly, by trading with ASIC regulated forex brokers, you will have fewer difficulties in referring any complaints that you might have about your broker to ASIC.
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- United Arab Emirates
- Russian Federation
List of Brokers
|BROKER||USER RATING||REGULATED BY||HEADQUARTERS||MIN. DEPOSIT||OFFICIAL SITE|
|ASIC, CySEC, FCA||Israel||$100||Open Account|
|ASIC, BVI, FSA(JP), FSB, MiFID||Ireland||$100||Open Account|
|ASIC, CySEC, FCA||Cyprus||$200||Open Account|
|CySEC, FSB||Cyprus||$100||Open Account|
|BaFin, FCA||United Kingdom||$300||Open Account|