Since 2011, we’ve traded with and reviewed over 150 UK brokers. To find the best FCA-regulated brokers for you, we’ve dedicated over 50 hours per broker, exploring more than 250 factors across nine key areas. We’ve then compared them to identify the top performers in various categories. With decades of combined experience, our team of trading experts provides reliable and trusted opinions.
The United Kingdom is a leading global financial center, and London vyes with New York as the world’s financial capital. According to the Bank for International Settlements, the UK remained the most important forex trading location globally in 2022, with 38% of global turnover.
In this article, we’ll list our selection of the best forex and CFD brokers regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Founded in 2013, FCA operates independently of the UK government regulating 50,000 financial services firms and overseeing financial markets in the United Kingdom.
The primary objectives of the FCA are to safeguard consumers, uphold market integrity, and foster competition to benefit consumers. The FCA establishes rules and standards to ensure that financial institutions treat their customers fairly, provide suitable products and services, and prioritize customer protection over their financial gains.
There are many benefits to working with an FCA-regulated broker. Traders can be assured that their funds are segregated from the funds of their broker, that they have negative balance protection, and that their deposit is insured up to £85,000. The FCA limits the maximum leverage for retail traders to a relatively modest 1:30.
Choosing the right broker can be overwhelming, but we’ve simplified the process for you. With our extensive database and 12 years of experience, we have carefully selected the best FCA-regulated brokers and categorized them considering that traders have diverse needs, experience levels, and trading styles.
We carefully considered the needs of traders seeking to work with FCA-regulated brokers and focused on the points which benefit this group the most.
Now let’s go through the selected brokers.
ActivTrades was founded in 2001, making it one of the business's oldest forex and CFD brokers. The UK-based firm offers access to over 1000 CFD instruments, including forex, shares, indices, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, commodities, and bonds.
The proprietary ActivTrader platform is well-designed and intuitive enough for beginners. It is also loaded with professional features that can accommodate experienced traders. ActivTrader's unique progressive trailing stop allows you to set up two additional tiers, automatically changing your trailing stop distance if the market reaches a predefined trigger price level. This feature helps you lock your profit in strongly trending markets. MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and TradingView platforms are also available at ActivTrades.
In my live tests, I experienced highly competitive spreads in some instruments, for example, 0.7 pips in EUR/USD. Traders can choose from over 1,100 tradable instruments from different asset classes, including FX pairs, commodities, indices, share CFDs, ETFs, bonds, and cryptocurrencies. Regular webinars from industry experts cover topics such as technical analysis and the psychology of trading that can help to set clients up for success in the markets.
London-based Tickmill performed well in all major categories of our hands-on tests. This well-rounded broker was founded in 2014 and provides access to a wide selection of CFDs, futures contracts, and options.
Among platforms, Tickmill clients can choose between MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and the Tickmill mobile app. Opening a Classic Account with Tickmill requires a minimum deposit of only $100, making it accessible to traders with a modest budget. I noted that Tickmill provides trading micro-lots, which is beneficial for beginners aiming to limit their risk exposure during live trading.
I also conducted thorough testing for over two weeks, engaging with Tickmill's customer support through phone, live chat, and email, and found their assistance to be consistently reliable and helpful.
Tickmill's assortment of research and education materials is extensive and diverse, incorporating third-party tools like Autochartist. I experienced tight spreads at Tickmill, especially in forex and indices, which help traders keep their costs to a minimum. In my hands-on tests, I recorded spreads of 1.6 pips in EUR/USD and 18 pips in gold.
Founded in 2010, IronFX is a global forex and CFD broker with an impressive range of tradable instruments, tools, and account types. The Cyprus-based broker has entities regulated by top-tier CySEC and FCA as well as an unregulated offshore entity.
Traders can access the popular MT4 platform via desktop, web, and mobile. A detailed user guide covers everything from getting started to auto-trading and custom indicators. The IronFX Personal Multi Account Manager (PMAM) platform allows money managers to trade and manage multiple MT4 accounts simultaneously.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is also provided, which enables clients to access their trading accounts anywhere, cut downtime, and enhance the speed of order execution. In my tests, I recorded spreads as low as 0.9 pips in EUR/USD and 38 pips in gold.
FxPro is an award-winning broker providing access to trading in forex and CFDs on commodities, stocks, indices, futures, and cryptocurrencies. As a No Dealing Desk (NDD) broker, client orders are executed with no dealing desk intervention. Founded in 2006, FxPro now has retail and institutional clients in over 170 countries and is regulated by multiple authorities globally, including the top-tier FCA and CySEC.
FxPro’s proprietary platform called Edge provides a smooth and intuitive trading experience. This web-based platform is highly customizable and has popular features such as one-click trading, alerts, and trading from the chart. MetaTrader and cTrader platforms are also available to clients, and these offer automated trading.
FxPro also shines in the Research category with high-quality in-house analysis and a range of proprietary and third-party tools. Materials can cater to both novice and advanced traders, and fresh content is added multiple times daily. I found the live squawk and newsfeed available in the client portal useful for staying on top of the latest stories moving the markets.
One of the most familiar names in the forex industry, FXCM offers an impressive range of account types, technology, tools, and research. With a history of 24 years, it has been a pioneer in bringing online currency trading into the mainstream. Multiple top-tier agencies, including the FCA, CySEC, and ASIC, regulate FXCM. Jeffries, a publicly traded company, currently owns the London-based broker.
For UK residents, profits from spread betting are tax-free. Traders using an FXCM spread betting account can speculate on forex currency pairs, commodities, shares, and indices commission-free and with leverage.
I tested the Trading Station platform over two weeks and concluded it is well-designed and easy to navigate. Popular features such as watchlists, alerts, 1-click trading, and trading from the chart are all available. Traders can also benefit from FXCM’s first-class educational resources, which include daily webinars, a rich library of articles and videos, and a spread betting guide.
CFD industry giant CMC Markets was founded in 1989 and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) under the ticker symbol CMCX. The broker is overseen by multiple regulators across the globe, including the UK FCA.
Professional traders can benefit from the flagship proprietary Next Generation trading platform which has advanced functionality and an attractive, user-friendly interface CMC Markets provides its clients with a diverse and rich product catalog of 12,000 tradable instruments that place this broker in an elite group.
Active traders especially will appreciate CMC Markets’ tight spreads available that are among the most competitive in the forex and CFD industry. For example, in my live tests, I experienced spreads of 0.7 pips in EUR/USD and 1 pip in the Dax 40.
CMC Markets also excels in research materials, which include quality in-house analysis, third-party content from Reuters and Morningstar, and extensive video programming.
Founded in 2005, London-based FXOpen provides access to trading in forex and CFDs on commodities, indices, shares, and cryptocurrencies. FXOpen has entities regulated by the top-tier FCA, CySEC, and ASIC and one offshore entity that is unregulated.
A pioneer in the CFD industry, FXOpen was the first forex broker to offer its clients ECN trading via the MT4 terminal in 2009. When testing the ECN account, I recorded spreads of 0 pips with a commission of $3.50 per side – far more cost-efficient than most CFD brokers. Reliable customer support is another area of strength at this broker, and I received excellent follow-through over two weeks during my review process.
FXOpen has an advanced proprietary platform called TickTrader and also offers trading via MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and TradingView. I rate this lineup of a first-class proprietary platform, along with three other leading platforms, as way better than the average for the industry.
Established in 2011, FXTM is a global forex and CFD broker headquartered in Limassol, Cyprus. FXTM offers trading in forex and CFDs on commodities, indices, and stocks via the MetaTrader 4 platform and the FXTM Trader App. Three different account types cater to traders of varying levels of experience.
The FXTM app has a modern and intuitive look and feel. Watchlists, tracking of open, pending, and closed positions, 1-click trading, and trading from the chart are among its key features. Traders can access standard order types, including market, limit, and stop-loss orders. FXTM analysis and news are available, making it easy to stay on top of the markets while on the move. Clients can also easily top up funds and make withdrawals through the app.
In my live tests, I recorded spreads of 2 pips in EUR/USD and 36 pips in gold. FXTM earned a high score in our research category thanks to its in-house team producing insightful articles daily. Content covers fundamental and technical analysis and is mainly focused on the forex market. I found their ‘trade of the week’ article useful in providing actionable ideas.
In selecting the best FCA regulated forex and CFD brokers we used the results of our advanced proprietary methodology. All of the brokers listed were among the leaders in our tests.
FXEmpire has been reviewing brokers since 2010 and has pioneered the in-depth evaluation of CFD brokers. Our process has taken years to refine and involved hundreds of reviews. We’ve gone to a granular level – with over 250 data points in our analysis of each broker – so you can feel confident in selecting the right platform.
To provide the most comprehensive view, we break down the brokers according to nine different categories:
In our individual broker reviews, we explain complex areas like regulatory status, so you can easily understand the safety of your funds and the benefits you are guaranteed.
Data is gathered through live testing, research, detailed questionnaires, and in-person broker demonstrations. An account is opened with each broker, focusing primarily on the services of one entity and testing using the most standard account type and platform. We conduct live tests of spreads and measure overnight swap fees and account-related costs.
Our side-by-side analysis reveals whether a broker is competitive in relation to the industry as a whole. Trading platforms take time to master, but we have already done the legwork for you and our evaluations highlight their important features and usability.
For this guide, we selected brokers authorized and regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and based in the UK. We then assessed each broker’s level of financial strength and transparency to ensure reliability. In order to understand the cost-effectiveness, we tested fees and trading costs, including spreads, swap fees, inactivity fees, and withdrawal fees. We took each platform for a test drive, examining available order types, charting, watchlists, and the overall user experience.
Our search also prioritized the availability of a wide range of tradable CFD instruments, including CFDs on UK stocks, and responsiveness of customer support across phone, live chat, and email. We ensured that each broker offered a good variety of fast and easy deposit and withdrawal methods, facilitating smooth transactions.
We looked at the range of account types available for CFD trading to determine if they could cater to both beginners and advanced traders. Finally, we considered the quality of research and educational content offered by each broker, with the aim of helping traders better understand the financial markets, develop effective trading strategies, and make informed decisions.
When looking for a broker regulated by the FCA, you should pay special attention to the following points.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a Tier-1 regulatory body in the UK that is considered one of the top and strictest regulators due to its rigorous regulatory standards and commitment to ensuring a secure and fair trading environment. To be authorized and regulated by FCA, brokers must undergo audits, meet capital requirements, and provide segregated accounts and negative balance protection.
FCA regulation ensures that the broker complies with fair and ethical trading practices and participates in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) that protects client deposits up to £85,000 in case the broker becomes insolvent.
You can search the FCA website to confirm the broker’s status and check for any disciplinary action. The broker’s size and operating history are also worth considering. You can usually find these on the company’s LinkedIn page.
Also, FCA imposes restrictions on the leverage available to retail traders. The maximum leverage for major forex pairs is 1:30, for non-major forex pairs, gold, and major indices it is 1:20. For commodities other than gold and non-major equity indices, the limit is 1:10, and for individual equities and other reference values, it is 1:5. For cryptocurrencies, it’s limited to 1:2.
Read more about best regulated forex brokers.
Most leading forex and CFD brokers have multiple entities, often a mix of top-tier regulators such as FCA, CySEC, or ASIC, and at least one offshore entity. To get the benefits of FCA regulation, you must open an account with the FCA-regulated entity of the broker. You need to watch out for this because some forex and CFD brokers will steer customers to open accounts at their offshore entity instead of the entity overseen by a top-tier regulator.
Working with a broker that keeps spreads and commissions to a minimum can make the difference between profit and loss at the end of the day. This is a crucial point for day traders. Also, don’t be caught off guard by miscellaneous account-related fees, such as inactivity and withdrawal fees. As a major hub for forex trading, you might expect that the UK is home to some of the most competitive forex brokers in terms of trading fees, and our tests proved this to be true.
Check out our list of best lowest spread forex brokers.
Typically, the minimum deposits at CFD brokers are relatively low. For example, among FCA-regulated brokers, they can range from $0 in the case of CMC Markets to $100 in the case of FXPro.
A broad range of account types helps a broker cater to different trader profiles. For example, a simple STP account may be the best for beginners in the markets, while an ECN/raw spread account can help sophisticated, active traders keep their costs to a minimum.
ECN accounts typically route orders straight to the interbank market, while STP accounts send orders directly to a counterparty that might be another STP broker, market broker, or ECN broker. Via ECN accounts, spreads are tighter and the speed of order execution is faster, making them suitable for active, short-term traders. However, a commission is charged in addition to the spread.
When choosing a trading platform, prioritize one that is intuitive and easy-to-navigate to ensure a smooth start in the trading world. Opt for platforms, typically browser-based, that are developed by the broker as they tend to be more user-friendly. Key features to look for include watchlists, trading from the chart, search functions, news feeds, and a customizable interface.
Check out our dedicated guide on best forex platforms.
Platforms like MetaTrader 4 and 5 offer advanced features such as backtesting, automated trading, and a wide range of order types, although they might be less user-friendly. These considerations will guide you in selecting a platform that suits your trading style and needs.
Having solid support on hand is essential. Check the hours of availability, for example, whether help is on hand 24/7 or only during business hours. Chat support is the most convenient, so look for an easy-to-access chat window built into the broker platform. In the case of a platform outage, it is also important to be able to contact support via phone.
Being designated as a professional trader at an FCA-regulated broker allows access to greater leverage, and trading in CFDs on cryptocurrencies. However, professional traders don’t benefit from negative balance protection, meaning you’re responsible for preventing your account from slipping into negative balance and your losses could surpass your initial deposit. Also, certain categories of professional clients are not eligible for compensation under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
To be eligible to be categorized as a professional client, you must meet two of the following three criteria.
A common scam in the forex and CFD industry involves vendors offering a trading strategy that guarantees an outlandishly high return in little time. These may involve automated trading using bots or a signal service where trades are shared via chat or social media. Nobody can guarantee returns with certainty, and it is more likely that such strategies will lose money. When assessing strategy or signal providers, you should look for a live track record audited by a third party, and also be conscious that past performance does not guarantee future results.
Traders should also be cautious about opening an account with an unregulated offshore broker. Such brokers may offer a straightforward account opening process, bonuses, and high levels of leverage but client funds are typically not protected. Meanwhile, brokers regulated by top-tier authorities must undergo regular audits and are held accountable for misconduct. Traders can also benefit from having their funds held in segregated accounts, negative balance protection, and a compensation fund in the event of broker insolvency.
Dan Blystone began his career in the trading industry in 1998 on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Later Dan gained insight into the forex industry during his time as a Series 3 licenced futures and forex broker. He also traded at a couple of different prop trading firms in Chicago. Dan is well-equipped to recommend the best forex brokers due to his extensive experience and understanding of the brokerage industry.
At FXEmpire, we strive to provide unbiased, thorough and accurate broker reviews by industry experts to help our users make smarter financial decisions.