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Best Forex Brokers in UK 2020

FX Empire Editorial Board
Last Update:
At FX Empire, we stick to strict standards of a review process. Learn about our review process. FX Empire may receive compensation. Here’s how we make money.

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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79% 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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79% 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

Markets.com
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CFDs carry risk. 73% of traders lose

ASIC, CySEC, FCA, FSCA

$250

1:300

MT4, MT5, Proprietary

2008

Dealing Desk

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CFDs carry risk. 73% of traders lose

ATFX
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Your Capital is at Risk

FCA

$500

1:30

MT4

2014

No dealing desk, STP

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Your Capital is at Risk

First Prudential Markets Pty Ltd
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Your capital is at risk

ASIC, CySEC

$100

1:500

IRESS, MT4, MT5, webtrader

2005

No dealing desk

Visit Broker>

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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73.05% of retail investor accounts lose money

ASIC, FCA, FSP

$50

1:30

MT4

1999

Dealing Desk, Market Maker

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73.05% of retail investor accounts lose money

Plus500
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76.4% of retail CFD accounts lose money

ASIC, CySEC, FCA, FSB, ISA, MAS

$100

1:30

Plus500

2008

No dealing desk

Visit Broker>

76.4% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Vantage FX
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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.

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

$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.

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.

Here’s a list of the Best Forex Brokers for trading in the UK.

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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79% 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

Markets.com

Regulated By:ASIC, CySEC, FCA, FSCA

Foundation Year:2008

Headquarters:Safecap is located at 148 Strovolos Avenue, 2048, Strovolos, P.O.Box 28132, Nicosia, Cyprus.

Min Deposit:$250

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CFDs carry risk. 73% of traders lose

Markets.com was founded in 2008 and was rebranded in 2019 to MarketsX, alongside the introduction of Marketsi in 2020 to invest in real stocks and shares. The broker is part of the TradeTech Group which is a constituent of Playtech PLC, a FTSE 250 company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The Markets.com group offers regulation from the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission (FSC), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority of South Africa (FSCA).

With MarketsX users can trade commission-free on more than 2,200+ CFD instruments covering Shares, Indices, Bonds, Blends, Commodities, Currencies, ETFs and Cryptos. Users can also invest in real stocks and shares via a Marketsi account which comes with an innovative Investment Strategy Builder tool.

Pros: Cons:
  • CySEC, FSC, FCSA, FCA and ASIC regulated.
  • Commission-free CFD trading on 2,200+ instruments.
  • Can invest in real stocks and shares with Marketsi.
  • Feature-rich MarketsX trading platform.
  • Unique and insightful sentiment trader tools.
  • Limited trader education.
  • Spreads are a little higher than others in the industry.

ATFX

Regulated By:FCA

Foundation Year:2014

Headquarters:1st Floor, 32 Cornhill, London

Min Deposit:$500

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Your Capital is at Risk

ATFX is a Forex and CFD broker which is authorised and regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority under the name of AT Global Markets (UK). This company is also a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, offering a high level of safety and security of funds.

With ATFX users can trade on more than 100+ trading instruments covering Forex, Commodities, Metals, Oil, Indices, Shares and Cryptocurrency CFDs on the MetaTrader 4 trading platform for Desktop, Android, iPhone and Web. Both beginner and professional traders will enjoy the impressive trader education tools, webinars and seminars that are available as well as the market research provided and special trading tools such as Trading Central indicators.

Pros: Cons:
  • FCA UK regulated.
  • Commission-free trading accounts available.
  • Spread Betting and CFDs accounts available.
  • Impressive trader education resources.
  • No access to MetaTrader 5 yet.

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:$50

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73.05% 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

Plus500

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

Foundation Year:2008

Headquarters:Building 25, MATAM, Haifa, Israel

Min Deposit:$100

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76.4% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Plus500 is a leading CFD trading platform with support for stocks, indices, cryptocurrencies, and Forex. This commission-free brokerage charges very low spread-rates and offers fast trades on a great platform. Plus500 supports complex trades, includes negative balance protection, and makes trading an educational and hopefully profitable venture.

You can start with a free demo account to test the platform and any trading strategy. Real money accounts offer leverage of up to 1:30. This broker is based in Israel and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.

Pros: Cons:
  • Support for 2000+ products to trade across global markets,including Forex, commodities, shares, indices
    and cryptocurrency CFDs
  • No commission and low spread costs
  • Advanced trades and fast execution
  • Licensed in several regulatory hubs, and publicly listed
  • Only CFDs, no direct Forex trades
  • High rates on margin/leverage accounts
  • Less research data than some competitors

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.

Tickmill

Regulated By:CySEC, FCA, fsa-sc

Foundation Year:2014

Headquarters:1 Fore Street, EC2Y 9DT, London, United Kingdom

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 offers various deposit options, all of which are based on fiat currency. Cryptocurrency-based deposits are not supported.

Tickmill’s business model is that of an NDD broker – that means a Non-Dealing Desk broker. Rather than taking on the other side of the trades themselves they pass them on to third party liquidity providers, who provide the liquidity and take the exposure. This means that Tickmill never has a conflict of interest with their clients.

Pros: Cons:
  • Multiple regulations from CySEC, FCA and SFSA.
  • Zero-commission accounts available.
  • Autochartist provided free.
  • Impressive educational section
  • MetaTrader 5 not available.
  • Cannot trade individual shares.

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.

Read More:

Trade With A Regulated Broker

  • Your capital is at risk