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Through its offices regulated in major financial centers, CMC Markets offers beginners and advanced traders a wide range of offerings across global markets with its Next Generation trading platform, which is packed with innovative trading tools.

By Steven Hatzakis / April 4th, 2017 / Updated: June 15th, 2017

help 92
Trust Score
Dislikes
  • Lack of support for automated trading strategies and no MT4 platform
  • Web platform is flash based
  • TradeMaker desktop platform available only to legacy clients after being decommissioned

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Founded in 1989, CMC Markets (LSE: CMCX) has grown to become one of the leading retail forex and CFD brokerages, offering over 10,000 CFD instruments across major asset classes including forex, commodities, and securities markets. In 2016, CMC Markets was listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker CMCX, with an initial valuation of $1 billion, making it one of the largest technology IPOs of the year.

CMC Markets offers its Next Generation trading platform as a web-based platform that is also available as a mobile app for Android and iPhone/iPad devices.

CMC Markets serves over 57,000 clients worldwide through its 14 offices globally and across its entities regulated in the UK, Canada, and Australia.

Commissions & Fees

CMC Markets offers competitive pricing, with spreads on the EUR/USD as low as 0.7 pips and typical spreads of 0.8 pips, according to CMC Markets price data for the 30 days ending September 30, 2016.

Overall, with highly competitive spreads available on major forex pairs, CMC Markets ranks near the top compared to its key competitors with similar offerings.

Based on these rates, CMC Markets’ spreads are most comparable to its main multi-asset competitors, including IG, Plus500, and Saxo Bank’s commission-based offering.

View All FeesCMC MarketsIGSaxo BankCity IndexXTB
Overall 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Commissions & Fees 5 Stars 5 Stars 4.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars
All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active0.7730.3630.6000.690N/A
All-in Cost GBP/USD - Active1.0901.0920.9001.220N/A
CFDs - Total Offered1017275009000100001585

Overall, with highly competitive spreads available on major forex pairs, CMC Markets ranks near the top compared to its key competitors with similar offerings.

In addition, CMC Markets spreads are competitive as is, and don’t come with the volume or deposit requirements typically accompanying active trader offerings.

However, for more aggressive pricing, CMC Markets also offers liquidity rebates to active traders that surpass at least £50 million in notional trading volumes per month, with rebate levels ranging from £5 to as much as £10 per million for those that trade even higher volumes.

Customer Service

Starting with live chat support, it is important to note this is provided only from within the platform and not on the company’s website. This is similar to how Saxo Bank offers live chat, although Saxo Bank provides live chat only to clients with balances of $100,000 or more. Other brokers, such as Plus500, offer live chat both on the platform and on their websites. I had little trouble at CMC Markets using the live chat and having my questions answered.

Live chat aside, from within the same support tab on the platform are a number of additional help categories, including a quick start guide, platform tours, trading strategy, and live trader events. The links from these support resources redirect to the company’s website or YouTube page.

CMC Markets YouTube Channel

With email support, after setting up a demo account, I received follow-up emails from CMC Markets’ staff, along with contact information, including a phone number to reach customer services or to simply reply to the email directly.

Finally, on the phone, reps varied with their times to connect, but generally the experiences were positive. During one test, I was impressed as a receptionist transferred me to client services where the support representative was highly knowledgeable about the trading platform and CMC Markets’ policies with regard to overnight carry charges and liquidity rebates.

Overall, CMC Markets does well in the customer services category as the staff are professional, courteous, and resourceful.

Research

CMC Markets’ research offering is rich with content from an in-house team of global analysts, including its Insights News, CMC Markets Blog, CMC TV, and social media channels, and external content streamed within the platform from Reuters.

Traders can also access additional tools within the platform, including pattern recognition software and client sentiment tools – both of which are available to live account holders. The market calendar window provides a countdown to the time when each economic news event is expected to be released – a very neat feature to help traders prepare in advance.

In terms of research, CMC Markets does well in this category as there are multiple channels for content and several ways for traders to research ideas using pattern recognition and economic calendar events in the Next Generation platform and on the company’s website.

CMC Markets Next Generation Web Calendar Forecast

Platforms & Tools

CMC Markets’ Next Generation is a powerful web platform that can be easily accessed from any flash-enabled web browser. It is important to note that flash is outdated and no longer supported in multiple browsers as the shift to HTML5 continues. Without question, we would like to see the Next Generation platform migrate away from flash in 2017.

The Next Generation trading platform comes packed with several unique tools and numerous features to support beginner and advanced traders. The many features, ranging from simple to complex, offer multiple levels of customization.

CMC Markets NextGeneration Web

Looking at the trade ticket, the design is simple, yet it can be expanded to add stops and limits as well as to see the depth of book (level 2) pricing. Switching between order types from the trade ticket window is very easy, as is choosing between the available stop-loss orders (normal stop-loss, trailing stop, and GSLO).

The estimated margin is also shown on the bottom of the trade ticket window, depending on the trade size and related margin requirement for the specific product. Furthermore, the trading product/instrument can be changed via a search bar on top of the trade ticket window.

Another unique feature on the platform is module linking, which lets users connect a series of windows on the layout so that when an instrument is changed in one module, it will update across other linked modules with relevant data for the same instrument.

The module linking on CMC Markets’ Next Generation platform seems natural for the user experience – whether you are using a watchlist or any other linkable window – and is an industry standard practice for leading US online stockbroker platforms.

Yet another unique feature in the Next Generation web-based version is Portfolio Mixer, which lets you create a basket of various holdings, based on a net asset value (NAV) amount consisting of all the individual allocations and the weighting for each one in your ‘My Mix’ portfolio.

CMC Markets NextGeneration Web Portfolio Mixer

I found the tool very simple to use to see how a theoretical portfolio would have performed over time, yet there is room for further enhancements such as typing in the amount per allocation instead of using the sliding button to adjust the weightings for each holding.

When it comes to charting within the Next Generation platform, the experience is quite powerful as there are plenty of tools and a long list of 69 technical indicators and studies that can be added to each chart.

When it comes to charting within the Next Generation platform, the experience is quite powerful as there are plenty of tools and a long list of 69 technical indicators and studies that can be added to each chart. Many other forex brokers offer only a few dozen technical indicators, on average.

CMC Markets NextGeneration Web Chart

Additional options include ‘chart type,’ ‘draw tools,’ ‘timeframe,’ and ‘patterns,’ which can be quickly accessed from the bottom of each chart window, and each section comes with plenty of options.

One feature that stands out from the charting experience is the pattern-recognition tool, which complements CMC Markets’ research offering. The tool offers traders numerous options for trading and analyzing price action.

CMC Markets Next Generation Pattern Recognition

The pattern recognition feature is available when you open a live account, which also provides access to the client sentiment indicator that shows the sentiment of the firm’s collective client exposure (both buys and sells) for each trading instrument. This is a neat tool to quickly gauge the sentiment of other traders. In addition to CMC Markets, brokers such as OANDA publish sentiment indicators for their clients’ aggregate market exposure.

CMC Markets NextGeneration Web Sentiment

CMC Markets doesn’t currently offer MT4 or MT5, and the current version of the Next Generation platform doesn’t feature the ability to run automated trading strategies – even though pattern recognition and social-trading tools are available. Traders with algorithmic trading may opt to use FXCM, FOREX.com, FxPro, or other brokers that support such trading, including platforms such as MetaTrader or cTrader.

While many brokers offer a desktop platform, I was not disappointed that the Next Generation platform is only web-based. Without question, CMC Markets’ Next Generation platform ranks near the top among multi-asset brokers with web-based platforms, including IG and Saxo Bank. Interestingly, these three platforms lack any support for automated trading or algorithmic-driven strategies.

Mobile Trading

Using the CMC Markets’ mobile app on my Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone was a positive experience as the side menu made it easy to explore the app after logging in for the first time, and the app is nicely designed.

The default screen shown on login can be customized in the app settings or will auto-select and show open positions; a subtle feature picky traders will appreciate.

 CMC Markets Next Generation Mobile Quote Screen

In terms of choosing from the 10,000+ products available, CMC Markets manages to keep the process simple, as users can search the product library where products are grouped by asset class, or they can start off with a blank search by product name.

For research purposes, another useful feature in the app is the economic calendar where you can subscribe to an event. Doing so automatically creates an alert so you can be notified when the news release time approaches.

 CMC Markets Mobile Economic Calendar Alerts

Like much of the rest of the app, charting was as equally impressive as the platform’s web version. Although only 23 of the 69 technical indicators are available on the mobile app, it’s still a good offering compared to many of CMC Markets’ competitors, which often lack this variety or have no technical indicators on their mobile apps at all. The same applies to drawings tools, too, which are often hard to come by.

Meanwhile, other firms’ mobile apps, such as those of thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade or Interactive Brokers have hundreds of technical studies to choose from for technical enthusiasts, yet CMC Markets does well in providing a high-quality selection, along with powerful drawing tools that include moveable trend lines.

 CMC Markets Mobile App Chart

To make technical analysis easier, simply rotate your phone to the horizontal mode, which makes it easier to perform chart customizations. Furthermore, it provides a cleaner experience for drawing trend lines, adding indicators, and zooming in and out.

What CMC Markets has accomplished is impressive and it shows the broker has taken its time during development.

While the charting experience was impressive, I also found the quote interface pleasing. CMC Markets does a good job providing detailed quotes and includes additional contextual information related to trading such as margin rates, spread details, and rollover or swap costs for holding positions overnight. The detailed quotes are especially helpful when viewing forex pairs you don’t frequently trade.

 CMC Markets Next Generation Mobile App Detailed Quote

The overall look and feel of the CMC Markets mobile app closely resembles the web-based version of the Next Generation platform, while the user interface does well in dealing with the challenge of organizing so much information with limited screen space. What CMC Markets has accomplished is impressive and it shows the broker has taken its time during development.

Overall, the CMC Markets mobile app ranks highly compared to other leading multi-asset brokers with proprietary platforms such as IG Group, City Index, and Saxo Bank.

Other Notes

CMC Markets provides clients with various tiers for margin, depending on the size of a trader’s overall net position per instrument. There are five tiers in total: The Tier 1 margin, using EUR/USD as an example, was 0.2% or 500:1 leverage up to  18 million units, and Tier 5 was 8% or 13:1 leverage for positions above 155.5 million units. Other brokers, including Saxo Bank, provide a similar tier-margin approach based on position size.

Up to certain position thresholds which vary depending on the instrument you trade, CMC Markets offers a Guaranteed Stop-Loss Order (GSLO), which, as its name implies, guarantees the stop-loss order rate clients choose when setting risk thresholds on their positions. There is a premium for using the GSLO – for example, $8 per 100,000 units using the EUR/USD, and the GSLO also affects the prime margin, which is the amount at risk specified in the GLSO based on the rate chosen.

Final Thoughts

CMC Markets is a great choice for Forex and CFD traders as the company’s Next Generation platform is powerful and versatile with plenty of configuration options and tools for traders to customize the platform to meet their needs. 

In terms of FX product offering, CMC Markets offers a huge selection of forex pairs, with over 183 pairs available, making its pricing attractive across an extensive range of currency pairs, compared to most brokers who offer only the most popular forex pairs.

With over 10,000 instruments to choose from across nearly every asset class and global market, CMC Markets is a great choice for traders looking for a multi-asset solution and broad range CFDs and forex pairs at competitive prices and with a low minimum deposit to open a live account. Close competitors to CMC Markets in terms of product offering, range of markets, and minimum deposit to open a live account, include IG Markets, XTB, and City Index.

Methodology

For our 2017 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 20 international forex brokers. Each FX broker was graded on 255 variables. Learn more.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to foreign exchange trading, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or currency pair. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses. Learn more.

View all CMC Markets Fees & Features
Steven Hatzakis

Reviewed by Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Over the past 18 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.


Ratings Overall

Summary

Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
Platforms & Tools
Research
Customer Service
Mobile Trading
Education

Best in Class

2017
 3

Overall
  • Overall
  • Commissions & Fees
  • Offering of Investments
  • Platforms & Tools
  • Research
  • Mobile Trading
  • Active Trading

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Trading CFDs and FX involves a high degree of risk. All data was obtained from a published web site as of 4/05/2017 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The ForexBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.

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