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Best Forex Brokers in UK 2021

FX Empire Editorial Board
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The UK is a financial global hub, currently the globes 5th largest economy and the leading exporter of financial services to the rest of the world. That’s due to a combination of reasons, including its central location, its convenient time-zone and it’s relatively loose regulation, plus generous tax laws.

In terms of Forex, the UK is home to some of the most outstanding brokers, known for their quality, transparency and reliability. The below list details some of the very best Forex brokers based in the UK.

The brokers below represent the best Forex Brokers for trading in the UK

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BrokerRatingOfficial SiteRegulationsMin DepositMax LeverageTrading PlatformsFoundation YearPublicly TradedTrading Desk TypeCurrenciesCommoditiesIndicesStocksCryptoCommission on tradesFixed spreadsoffers promotionsOfficial Site
XTB
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77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

CNMV in Spain, CySEC, FCA, IFSC, KNF

$0

1:500

MT4, xStation 5

2002

Market Maker, STP

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77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Iron FX
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Your capital is at risk

ASIC, CySEC, FCA

$100

1:1000

MT4

2010

Bank, ECN, STP

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Your capital is at risk

IC Markets
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Trading Derivatives carries a high level of risk to your capital and you should only trade with money you can afford to lose. Trading Derivatives may not be suitable for all investors, so please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved, and seek independent advice if necessary. A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) can be obtained either from this website or on request from our offices and should be considered before entering into a transaction with us. Raw Spread accounts offer spreads from 0.0 pips with a commission charge of USD $3.50 per 100k traded. Standard account offer spreads from 1 pips with no additional commission charges. Spreads on CFD indices start at 0.4 points. The information on this site is not directed at residents in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

ASIC, CySEC, FSA(SC)

$200

1:500

cTrader, MT4, MT5

2007

ECN, No dealing desk

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Trading Derivatives carries a high level of risk to your capital and you should only trade with money you can afford to lose. Trading Derivatives may not be suitable for all investors, so please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved, and seek independent advice if necessary. A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) can be obtained either from this website or on request from our offices and should be considered before entering into a transaction with us. Raw Spread accounts offer spreads from 0.0 pips with a commission charge of USD $3.50 per 100k traded. Standard account offer spreads from 1 pips with no additional commission charges. Spreads on CFD indices start at 0.4 points. The information on this site is not directed at residents in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

FP Markets
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Your capital is at risk

ASIC, CySEC

$100

1:500

IRESS, MT4, MT5, WebTrader

2005

DMA, ECN, No dealing desk, STP

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Your capital is at risk

ActiveTrades
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"All financial products traded on margin carry a high degree of risk to your capital. They are not suited to all investors, please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved, and seek independent advice if necessary. ActivTrades Corp is authorised and regulated by The Securities Commission of the Bahamas. ActivTrades Corp is an international business company registered in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, registration number 199667 B. ActivTrades Corp is a subsidiary of ActivTrades PLC, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 434413. ActivTrades PLC is a company registered in England & Wales, registration number 05367727."

FCA, SCB

$500

1:400

ActivTrader, MT4, MT5

2001

ECN, Market Maker, No dealing desk

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"All financial products traded on margin carry a high degree of risk to your capital. They are not suited to all investors, please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved, and seek independent advice if necessary. ActivTrades Corp is authorised and regulated by The Securities Commission of the Bahamas. ActivTrades Corp is an international business company registered in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, registration number 199667 B. ActivTrades Corp is a subsidiary of ActivTrades PLC, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 434413. ActivTrades PLC is a company registered in England & Wales, registration number 05367727."

FXCM
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74.74% of retail investor accounts lose money

ASIC, FCA, FSP

$300

1:30

MT4, NinjaTrader, Trading Station, Zulutrade

1999

Dealing Desk, Market Maker

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74.74% of retail investor accounts lose money

TMGM
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The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Investing in CFDs and Margined FX Contracts carries significant risks and is not suitable for all investors. You may lose more than your initial deposit. You don’t own, or have, any interest in the underlining assets. We recommend that you seek independent advice and ensure fully understand the risks involved before trading. It is important that you read and consider disclosure documents before you acquire any product listed on the website. The information and advertisements offered on this website are not intended for use by any person in any country or jurisdiction where such use is contrary to the local laws and regulations. Products and Services offered on this website is not intended for residents of the United States.

ASIC, VFSC

$100

1:500

MT4

2013

ECN, STP

Visit Broker>

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Investing in CFDs and Margined FX Contracts carries significant risks and is not suitable for all investors. You may lose more than your initial deposit. You don’t own, or have, any interest in the underlining assets. We recommend that you seek independent advice and ensure fully understand the risks involved before trading. It is important that you read and consider disclosure documents before you acquire any product listed on the website. The information and advertisements offered on this website are not intended for use by any person in any country or jurisdiction where such use is contrary to the local laws and regulations. Products and Services offered on this website is not intended for residents of the United States.

Vantage International Group
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Trading Forex and CFDs involves significant risk and can result in the loss of your invested capital. You should not invest more than you can afford to lose and should ensure that you fully understand the risks involved. Trading leveraged products may not be suitable for all investors. Before trading, please take into consideration your level of experience, investment objectives and seek independent financial advice if necessary. Please read our legal documents and ensure that you fully understand the risks before you make any trading decisions.

CIMA

$200

1:500

MT4, MT5, WebTrader

2009

ECN, STP

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Trading Forex and CFDs involves significant risk and can result in the loss of your invested capital. You should not invest more than you can afford to lose and should ensure that you fully understand the risks involved. Trading leveraged products may not be suitable for all investors. Before trading, please take into consideration your level of experience, investment objectives and seek independent financial advice if necessary. Please read our legal documents and ensure that you fully understand the risks before you make any trading decisions.

FBS
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Your capital is at risk

ASIC, CySEC, FSCA, IFSC

$1

1:3000

MT4, MT5, Proprietary

2009

ECN, No dealing desk, STP

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Your capital is at risk

Tickmill Ltd
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CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79.27% and 73.32% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with Tickmill UK Ltd and Tickmill Europe Ltd respectively. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

CySEC, FCA, FSA(SC), FSCA, Labuan FSA

$100

1:500

MT4

2014

No dealing desk

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CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79.27% and 73.32% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with Tickmill UK Ltd and Tickmill Europe Ltd respectively. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Plus500
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72% of retail CFD accounts lose money

ASIC, CySEC, FCA, FSB, ISA, MAS

$100

1:30

Plus500

2008

No dealing desk

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72% of retail CFD accounts lose money

eToro
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67% of retail CFD investors lose money

ASIC, CySEC, FCA, MiFID

$200

1:30

eToro Platform

2007

Market Maker, No dealing desk, STP

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67% of retail CFD investors lose money

Pro Tip: Most of these brokers offer free demo accounts so you can test the brokers and their platforms with virtual money. Give it a try with some play money before using your own cash.

Note: Not all Forex brokers accept US clients. For your convenience we specified those that accept US Forex traders as clients.

XTB

Regulated By:CNMV in Spain, CySEC, FCA, IFSC, KNF

Foundation Year:2002

Headquarters:Warsaw, Poland

Min Deposit:$0

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77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

XTB is an award-winning CFD platform that supports Forex, indices, commodities, stock CFDs, ETF CFDs, and cryptocurrencies. For Forex, XTB supports 48 currency pairs with low-cost spreads. Customers of XTB can choose between trading on the xStation 5 or MT4 platforms. For leverage accounts, this brokerage offers leverage of up to 200:1.

XTB was founded in 2002 with a headquarters in Warsaw. It is regulated in markets across Europe by the IFSC, FCA, KNF, and CySec. XTB has a free demo account and a Trading Academy set of courses for beginner and intermediate traders. 

Pros: Cons:
  • Choose between two excellent trading platforms (xStation 5 or MT4 platforms)
  • A collection of 3000+ trading instruments across six asset classes
  • Low spreads
  • Fewer Forex pairs than some top competitors
  • No 24/7 support

IronFX

Regulated By:ASIC, CySEC, FCA

Foundation Year:2010

Headquarters:Iapetou 2 ag. athanasios, Cyprus

Min Deposit:$100

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Your capital is at risk

IronFX was founded in 2010 and is a trade name of Notesco Limited which is a company registered in Bermuda. Accounts can be opened with the non-regulated entity located in Bermuda, or with the broker’s regulated entity from the UK Financial Conduct Authority – depending on the user’s geographical location. This review is based on www.IronFX.com/en which is the non-regulated arm.

Users are offered 7 different types of trading accounts. The Micro, Premium, VIP and Zero Fixed accounts offer a blend of live floating or fixed spreads. The No Commission, Zero Spread and Absolute Zero accounts offer ECN/STP trading. Across the different account types, users are offered a blend of commission-free and commission-based trading with a maximum leverage of 1:1000, 1:200 or 1:500 depending on the account chosen.

The broker offers users the ability to trade on more than 200+ financial instruments covering Forex, Metals, Indices, Commodities, Futures and Shares, on the globally-recognised MetaTrader 4 trading platform for PC, Mac, Web, Android and iOS operating systems. IronFX also offers free VPS hosting, subject to terms and conditions, as well as a copy trading facility called AutoTrade via myFXbook.

Pros: Cons:
  • Free access to Trading Central technical analysis platform.
  • Maximum leverage of up to 1:1000 available on certain accounts.
  • 200+ markets to trade on covering Forex, Metals, Indices, Commodities and Shares.
  • Not regulated or licenced by any financial body (Bermuda based).
  • No MetaTrader 5.

IC Markets

Regulated By:ASIC, CySEC, FSA(SC)

Foundation Year:2007

Headquarters:International Capital Markets Pty Ltd Level 6 309 Kent Street Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Min Deposit:$200

Visit Broker

Trading Derivatives carries a high level of risk to your capital and you should only trade with money you can afford to lose. Trading Derivatives may not be suitable for all investors, so please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved, and seek independent advice if necessary. A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) can be obtained either from this website or on request from our offices and should be considered before entering into a transaction with us. Raw Spread accounts offer spreads from 0.0 pips with a commission charge of USD $3.50 per 100k traded. Standard account offer spreads from 1 pips with no additional commission charges. Spreads on CFD indices start at 0.4 points. The information on this site is not directed at residents in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

IC Markets was founded in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 and is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), as well as the Seychelles Financial Services Authority (FSA).

The broker offers three core trading accounts called Raw Spread (cTrader), Raw Spread (MetaTrader) and a Standard Account (MetaTrader). Spreads start from zero pips on the Raw Spread accounts with commission-payable. The Standard Account offers commission-free trading with spreads from just one pip. The broker also offers demo trading accounts and Islamic swap-free accounts.

Pros: Cons:
  • Raw spread accounts with institutional grade liquidity available.
  • Commission-free trading available.
  • MetaTrader and cTrader available on desktop, web and mobile.
  • Wide range of tradable products with 24/7 customer support.
  • Impressive library of educational material and videos.
  • Beginner traders may be overwhelmed by the choice of markets and platforms.

FP Markets

Regulated By:ASIC, CySEC

Foundation Year:2005

Headquarters:Level 5, Exchange House 10 Bridge St Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Min Deposit:$100

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Your capital is at risk

FP Markets was founded in 2005 and is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), offering segregation of client funds and top tier liquidity. FP Markets is a group of companies that includes First Prudential Markets Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission.

The broker offers the ability to trade on more than 10,000+ financial instruments covering Forex, Equities, Metals, Commodities, Indices and Cryptocurrency CFDs. Users have access to a range of accounts including the Standard Account (commission-free) and Raw Account (commission-based) for MetaTrader users, both offering ECN pricing and maximum leverage of 500:1. Users can also access Iress Accounts which are commission-based.

Pros: Cons:
  • ASIC regulated.
  • ECN pricing and DMA trading available.
  • 10,000+ tradable financial instruments.
  • Wide range of trading platforms and trading tools available.
  • Excellent customer support and education tools.
  • The volume of choice of markets and accounts may be overwhelming for beginner traders.

ActivTrades

Regulated By:FCA, SCB

Foundation Year:2001

Headquarters:1 Thomas More Square London E1W 1YN United Kingdom

Min Deposit:$500

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"All financial products traded on margin carry a high degree of risk to your capital. They are not suited to all investors, please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved, and seek independent advice if necessary. ActivTrades Corp is authorised and regulated by The Securities Commission of the Bahamas. ActivTrades Corp is an international business company registered in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, registration number 199667 B. ActivTrades Corp is a subsidiary of ActivTrades PLC, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 434413. ActivTrades PLC is a company registered in England & Wales, registration number 05367727."

Tickmill was founded in 2014 and is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and the Seychelles Financial Services Authority (FSA).

The broker provides more than 80+ CFD instruments to trade on covering Forex, Indices, Commodities and Bonds through three core trading accounts called the Pro Account, Classic Account and VIP Account. They also offer a demo trading account and Islamic swap-free account.

Pros: Cons:
  • Multiple regulations and licences.
  • Commission-free trading accounts available.
  • Competitive spreads and overnight swap charges.
  • Impressive range of trader research tools and analysis.
  • No stocks available.
  • MetaTrader 5 not available.

FXCM

Regulated By:ASIC, FCA, FSP

Foundation Year:1999

Headquarters:20 Gresham Street, 4th Floor, London EC2V 7JE, United Kingdom

Min Deposit:$300

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74.74% of retail investor accounts lose money

Founded in 1999, FXCM Group is an international online forex and CFD brokerage brand. In the UK, the FXCM brand is managed by FXCM Ltd. The company is based in the UK and its head office is located at 20 Gresham Street, 4th Floor, London EC2V 7JE, United Kingdom.

The brokerage firm also maintains offices in several jurisdictions such as Australia and South Africa. The broker is well known in the online trading community for suffering massive losses when the Swiss franc was unpegged from the US dollar in 2015. Having recovered from the crisis, FXCM today is focused on catering to the trading needs of both beginner traders and experienced traders.

 Pros:  Cons:
  • Regulated Broker
  • Multiple choices of trading platforms
  • Numerous free trading tools provided
  • Low minimum deposit requirement
  • Comprehensive educational section
  • Limited product portfolio
  • No longer accepts US clients after losing US regulatory license

TMGM

Regulated By:ASIC, VFSC

Foundation Year:2013

Headquarters:Level 28, One International Tower, 100 Barangaroo Ave, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Min Deposit:$100

Visit Broker

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Investing in CFDs and Margined FX Contracts carries significant risks and is not suitable for all investors. You may lose more than your initial deposit. You don’t own, or have, any interest in the underlining assets. We recommend that you seek independent advice and ensure fully understand the risks involved before trading. It is important that you read and consider disclosure documents before you acquire any product listed on the website. The information and advertisements offered on this website are not intended for use by any person in any country or jurisdiction where such use is contrary to the local laws and regulations. Products and Services offered on this website is not intended for residents of the United States.

TMGM is authorised and regulated in various jurisdictions including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC). It also holds an Australian Financial Services Licence and segregates client funds from its own, holding them with tier 1 Australian banks Westpac and National Australia Bank.

With TMGM, users can trade on more than 15,000+ financial CFD instruments covering 7 asset classes including Forex, Metals, Energies, Cryptocurrencies, Commodities, Indices and Shares from the US, Australia and Hong Kong. This can be done from 2 types of trading accounts. The Edge Account offers commission-based trading of $7 per round turn and raw spreads from 0 pips while the Classic Account offers commission-free trading with spreads from 1 pip.

Pros: Cons:
  • 15,000+ financial instruments to trade on
  • Commission-free trading available
  • ECN trading accounts
  • MT4/MT5 and IRESS trading platform
  • 24/5 customer service
  • Limited trader research and education resources.

Vantage FX

Regulated By:CIMA

Foundation Year:2009

Headquarters:Level 4, 42 N Church St, George Town, Cayman Islands

Min Deposit:$200

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Trading Forex and CFDs involves significant risk and can result in the loss of your invested capital. You should not invest more than you can afford to lose and should ensure that you fully understand the risks involved. Trading leveraged products may not be suitable for all investors. Before trading, please take into consideration your level of experience, investment objectives and seek independent financial advice if necessary. Please read our legal documents and ensure that you fully understand the risks before you make any trading decisions.

Vantage FX was founded in 2009 in Australia and is the brand name of the Vantage International Group which is regulated by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) and advertises the segregation of client funds which are held with Australia’s AA rated National Australia Bank (NAB).

The broker offers services that are designed for both beginner and professional traders with access to Forex ECN trading, as well as CFD trading on Indices, Commodities and U.S and Hong Kong Shares on the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 trading platforms for Mac, PC, iOS and Android as well as social trading platforms such as MyFXbook and Zulutrade.

Pros: Cons:
  • Forex ECN Trading.
  • U.S and Hong Kong Share CFDs.
  • Segregated client funds with the National Australia Bank (NAB).
  • Unique bonus and promotional trading offers.
  • No regulation from Europe or UK regulators.
  • Limited Share CFDs on offer.

FBS

Regulated By:ASIC, CySEC, FSCA, IFSC

Foundation Year:2009

Headquarters:N/A

Min Deposit:$1

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Your capital is at risk

FBS is a brand name of FBS Markets Inc which is authorised and regulated by the International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) of Belize and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority in the Republic of South Africa (FSCA). In the EU and the UK, FBS is operated by Tradestone Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC). In Australia, FBS is operated by the Intelligent Financial Markets Pty Ltd with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission regulation (ASIC).

FBS offers the ability to trade on multiple asset classes covering CFDs on Forex and Stocks, Indices, Metals and Energies on the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 trading platforms for PC, Mac, Web, Android and iOS operating systems. Moreover, clients from the countries under IFSC, FSCA, and CySEC regulations have an opportunity to trade in FBS Trader app, all-in-one trading platform. Clients from the countries under IFSC and FSCA regulations can also access copy trading services via the FBS CopyTrade app.

Pros: Cons:
  • Commission-free trading available.
  • Regulated under CySEC, ASIC, and FSCA.
  • ECN accounts available.
  • Can trade on MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and FBS Trader.
  • FBS CopyTrade available for traders and investors.
  • Fast customer live chat service.
  • Good range of deposit methods
  • Limited number of instruments.
  • Regulated IFSC Belize regulation.

Tickmill

Regulated By:CySEC, FCA, FSA(SC), FSCA, Labuan FSA

Foundation Year:2014

Headquarters:3rd Floor, 27 - 32 Old Jewry, London, England, EC2R 8DQ.

Min Deposit:$100

Visit Broker

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79.27% and 73.32% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with Tickmill UK Ltd and Tickmill Europe Ltd respectively. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Tickmill was founded in 2014 and is regulated around the world. This includes regulation from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), the Seychelles Financial Services Authority (FSA), the Financial Sector Conduct Authority of South Africa (FSCA) and the Labuan Financial Services Authority (Labuan FSA).

The broker provides the ability to trade on more than 135+ financial instruments covering CFDs and Futures on Forex, Indices, Commodities and Bonds through four core trading accounts called the Pro Account, Classic Account, VIP Account and Futures Account. The broker also offers a demo trading account and Islamic swap-free account.

Pros: Cons:
  • Globally regulated (FCA, CySEC, FSA (SC), FSCA, Labuan FSA).
  • Commission-free trading and swap-free accounts available.
  • Spreads from 0 pips with ultra-fast execution.
  • Impressive range of trader research tools and analysis.
  • Stocks and MT5 not yet available.

Plus500

Regulated By:ASIC, CySEC, FCA, FSB, ISA, MAS

Foundation Year:2008

Headquarters:Building 25, MATAM, Haifa, Israel

Min Deposit:$100

Visit Broker

72% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Plus500 was founded in 2008 and is the main sponsor of football club Atlético Madrid. The CFD broker’s trading platform which is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority and is also a subsidiary of Plus500 Ltd which is a publicly-traded company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The CFD broker’s trading platform is available for clients in more than 50 countries and is authorised and regulated around the world by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Israel Securities Authority (ISA), among others.

Pros: Cons:
  • Multiple regulations from around the world – FCA, CySEC, ASIC, MAS, ISA.
  • More than 2,500+ CFDs to trade on, covering multiple asset classes.
  • Commission-free trading.
  • Simple to use proprietary trading platform.
  • Multilingual customer support 24/7.
  • No phone support offered.
  • Lack of market news and trader education.

eToro

Regulated By:ASIC, CySEC, FCA, MiFID

Foundation Year:2007

Headquarters:Kanika International Business Center 7th Floor, 4 Profiti Ilia Street Germasogeia, Limassol, Cyprus

Min Deposit:$200

Visit Broker

67% of retail CFD investors lose money

eToro was founded in 2007 and is authorised and regulated around the world through its different subsidiaries. This includes regulation from the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). 

The broker offers a wide range of products through the eToro trading platform and mobile app and includes the ability to trade on more than 2,000+ financial CFD instruments covering Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Currencies and Cryptocurrencies. Users can also access ready-made CopyPortfolios, open Investing Accounts with zero commission, Professional Accounts and access social trading services via CopyTrader which is eToro’s most popular feature. 

With eToro, users can also access a wide variety of educational tools such as a Daily Market Review, Video Tutorials, a Trading School, a Podcast and News and Analysis section. This is on top of the research provided by CopyTrading providers in their own channels. 

Pros: Cons:
  • CySEC, FCA, ASIC regulated. 
  • 2,000+ markets to trade on.
  • Choice of trading, investing and copy trading accounts. 
  • Leading social trading platform for CopyTrading.
  • Feature-rich eToro Trading Platform for web and mobile.
  • Customer support Live Chat feature not available in all regions yet.

*Only cryptos are available in US

How to Choose a Forex Broker (as a UK trader)

Ever since the global financial crisis in 2008, the number of new forex brokers joining the industry has plummeted tremendously. In addition, we also see a large number of brokers exiting the industry entirely. In a highly competitive industry such as the online forex trading industry, only the strongest get to survive. While this means that only the established brokers stick around to offer their services, you still need to do all the due diligence to ensure that the forex broker that you partner up with is the right broker for you. In this case we have conducted all the due diligence on your behalf.

But here’s what you do need to think about, what kind of a trader are you? First you need to establish your trading needs.

To find the best forex broker that will meet these needs will require some research. Since there are hundreds of brokers on the internet that are trying to compete for your custom, there will definitely be plenty of choice. Nevertheless, these brokers must comply with a certain set of criteria before they can even be considered. First of all, you need to ensure that the broker can be trusted to handle your money. In addition, you also want a broker that can provide you with a reliable trading platform to trade with. Of course, there are also other factors that you look at such as the trading cost in terms of commissions and spreads, as well as account types available, customer support and other value added services.

General Regulation

The online forex trading industry operates on a global basis on the Over The Counter (OTC) market. The OTC market is largely unregulated hence leaving the field wide open for scam brokers to try and scam unsuspecting traders. Nevertheless, you can protect yourself by trading only with regulated brokers. Regulated brokers unlike their unregulated peers, operate within the strict confines of the regulations imposed by the regulatory authorities. These regulated brokers are usually based in major financial centers around the world such as London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York.

Because forex brokers are operating in different jurisdictions, the regulatory requirements of each broker are different. Nevertheless, there are certain requirements which are considered the industry standard and are followed by regulatory authorities from all over the world. An example of this is the need for the broker to keep segregated accounts for their clients’ funds and the broker’s operational funds. Another standard requirement among regulated forex brokers in the industry is the need to maintain a specific level of liquidity to ensure that the broker has enough liquidity to meet their contractual obligations.

UK (United Kingdom) Regulation

For a UK based trader, the best option is to look for brokers which are regulated by the UK regulatory authorities. In the UK, the relevant financial authority for the forex trading industry is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA is an independent body from the UK’s government. It is financed by the membership fees collected from the members that it has oversight over.

Brokers under the FCA’s jurisdiction are required to show a minimum of 1 million in operating capital and this number increases as the number of traders increases. In addition, FCA regulated brokers are required:

  • To process all withdrawal requests instantaneously
  • To submit yearly audited reports to the FCA for scrutiny
  • To submit periodic financial statements of capital holdings to ensure that the broker is in compliance of its capital adequacy ratio.

By trading with a regulated broker under the FCA, you also have the benefit of protection of your trading funds under the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme). All FCA regulated firms are required to be a member of the FSCS. The aim of this scheme is to compensate traders of the loss of the money in the event the broker runs into insolvency issues. Under the FSCS, traders are guaranteed protection up to a maximum amount of £50,000. In the event of liquidation, traders will receive 100% of their money up to £30,000. Above £30,000, they will get to receive a maximum of 90%.

Trading Platform & Software

Apart from regulatory oversight, another important factor that needs to be carefully evaluated is the choice of trading platform that the broker has provided. Most brokers usually provide their traders with a selection in order to cater to the different categories of traders in the online trading community. These platforms are usually in the form of a desktop application, web based platform or a mobile trading app. The platforms may also be proprietary (built by the firm itself or for the firm) or provided by a third party trading solutions provider such as MetaQuotes Software, the developer of the popular MetaTrader 4 platform.

What you want to verify with a broker’s trading platform are:

  • The ease of use
  • The execution speed
  • The charts quality
  • Range of Technical Indicators
  • The risk management tools
  • Social trading capability

Spreads, Commissions & Leverage

The next thing that you need to be concerned about is the trading cost. This can take the form of commission charges or spreads or a combination of both.

Spreads

Most forex brokers in the industry do not charge commissions on the trades that they execute unlike in the equity market. Instead, traders are required to pay a small spread in lieu of the absence of commission charges. The spread is just the difference between the BID and ASK price. Depending on the currency pair, it is usually less than 5 pips for the most frequently traded currency pairs. With spreads, you want to know if the broker offer fixed or variable spreads. With fixed spreads, the spread doesn’t change according to the market conditions. Variable spreads on the other hand is dependent upon the market conditions.

Commissions

Some brokers operate with a Non Dealing Desk (NDD) business model. With this business model, the broker simply relays your orders to the interbank market where it will be matched. For this service, the broker usually charges a commission on top of the spreads that you pay on the interbank market. Usually the commission is based on a small percentage of the trading volume.

Leverage

In addition to trading costs, check how much leverage is the broker offering. The leverage ratio is simply the amount of capital which you can borrow from the broker to increase your market position. For example if a broker is offering a leverage ratio of 1:500, this mean for every pound in your trading account, you can increase your investment by a factor of 500.  In other words, it is possible to hold a market position worth £50,000 with just £100. Take note that while it is possible to increase your profit potential with leverage trading, the risk of losing more than what you invested also increases when you use leverage.

Account Types

The types of trading accounts that are available vary from broker to broker. Brokers who are beginner friendly and cater to small time traders often provide their traders with micro and mini trading accounts. These accounts allow traders to trade in amounts that are smaller than a standard trading lot. A standard lot is equivalent to a market position of 100,000 units of currency.

  • With a micro account, you can trade in a lot size as small as 1000 units of currency.
  • A mini account lets you trade in a lot size of 10,000 units of currency.

In addition, different types of trading accounts have different benefits and privileges. The higher ranking is the trading account, the more privileges will the account holder be entitled to.

Minimum Deposit

The type of trading account that traders can open is also dictated by the minimum initial deposit. The Mini account is the lowest grade trading and often requires only a small initial minimum investment which is usually £250. At the other end of the scale, we have the Premium or VIP trading account which usually requires a substantial amount of minimum initial deposit and can run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Customer Service

While it is easy to get distracted by all the bells and whistles offered by a broker, you should never neglect to check out their customer support services. This is because of the fact that no matter how experienced you are as a trader, there will always come a time when you will need the assistance of the customer support team. When that time comes, you want to be able to get in touch with the support team without any hassles.

Hence, check what are the methods that the broker has made available for communicating with the support team. If a broker’s customer support team is difficult to reach or to get in touch with, you might want to rethink about your choice of broker and save yourself a lot of frustration at the end of the day.

In addition, take note of the hours that the support services are available. Remember that the forex market is a 24 hours market and it doesn’t operate within the confines of normal office hours. Hence, if the support services are only available during office hours, you might find yourself regretting your broker choice when you really require the assistance of the support team to resolve your problem.

Additional Services

There are some brokers who offer additional value added services in order to differentiate themselves from other brokers in the industry. These additional value added can be the provision of a free trading signals service or free VPN service. Other valued added services that can be taken into consideration include comprehensive trading education and robot trading services. While some of these additional value added services might be nice to have, it is important to remember that they should only be taken into account after evaluating the basic services provided by the broker.

Conclusion

Regardless of how experienced or capable a trader might be in spotting profitable opportunities in the market, he is only as good  as the broker that he is using. If a broker is unwilling to cooperate and provide the kind of services that the trader needs to capitalize on the trading opportunities, then it might be better for the trader to just keep his money in the bank. The forex market doesn’t have any clear rules or precedent on how it will behave and this creates a good opportunity for those who are skilled in analyzing the market to score a profit.

But we mustn’t forget that a huge part of the trader’s success comes from the broker that provides him with all the tools to make a proper analysis and the platform to carry out the trade. If either of these is missing, then the trader will find himself tremendously handicapped. To help our readers avoid any of this unpleasantness, we have carefully screened some of the leading forex brokers in the industry and prepared a selection of the best UK forex brokers for you to choose from.  These UK forex brokers are selected based on meeting all the above mentioned criteria that we have discussed about earlier in this guide.

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Trade With A Regulated Broker