Founded in 1989, CMC Markets (LSE: CMCX) has grown to become one of the leading retail forex and CFD brokerages, offering nearly 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 60,000 clients worldwide through its 15 offices globally and across its entities regulated in the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Commissions & Fees
CMC Markets offers highly competitive pricing, with average spreads on the EUR/USD as low as 0.7 pips and typical spreads of 0.772 pips, according to CMC Markets price data for the 30 days ending November, 2017.
|View All Fees||CMC Markets||IG||Saxo Bank||City Index||XTB|
|Commissions & Fees|
|All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active||0.772||0.363||0.600||0.690||N/A|
|All-in Cost GBP/USD - Active||1.115||1.092||0.900||1.220||N/A|
|CFDs - Total Offered||10172||15000||9000||10000||2100|
In our 2018 Forex Review, CMC Markets finished Best in Class thanks to its low spread offering, which is available to all its customer segments and account types. Close competitors include its direct peers in the multi-asset category: IG, Saxo, Dukascopy, Gain Capital, and XTB.
However, for more aggressive pricingOne final note on pricing, CMC Markets does 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.
For our 2018 Forex Review, 129 customer service phone tests were conducted over three months. The data collected is institutional grade. On average, three questions were asked for each test. To score each test, the tests were divided into three separate groups and scores were given for the time taken to connect with each support representative and the ability of each representative to professionally (and thoroughly) answer each question. A Net Promoter Score was also given for the overall experience.
- Average Connection Time: 1-2 minute
- Average Net Promoter Score: 5 / 10
- Average Professionalism Score: 4.3 / 10
- Overall Score: 5.1 / 10
- Ranking: 30th (43 brokers)
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 economic calendar events in the Next Generation platform and on the company’s website. CMC Markets also offers pattern recognition tools to live account holders, as described below in the Platform & Tools section.
Platforms & Tools
The CMC Markets 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 configuration, including five default layouts that can be further customized.
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.
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.
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.
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, with a full list of patterns available to live account holders.
The sentiment tool, also available to live account holders, provides a clean experience 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 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.
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.
That said, Next Generation is a platform that still relies on a flash-enabled web browser to power its charting, for example. It is important to note, because flash is outdated and no longer supported in multiple browsers. Looking ahead, we’d like to see the platform transition to HTML5 sooner than later to ensure a fluid experience for all customers.
Bottom line, while Next Generation is a powerful web platform that most traders will enjoy.
Using the CMC Markets’ mobile app on my Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone was a positive experience as the app is cleanly designed and comes packed with research tools, powerful charts, and filters to scan products by asset class.
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.
In terms of choosing from the nearly 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.
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.
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.
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.
While the charting experience was impressive, one minor drawback is that zooming in and out across different time frames was not always fluid.
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 close to other leading multi-asset brokers with proprietary platforms such as IG Group, City Index, and Saxo Bank.
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.
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 the largest 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.
Compared to my 2017 review, CMC Markets maintained its position but hasn’t built on it further. For example, several of its peers improved their offerings by revamping their mobile apps, shifting to HTML5 on their web platforms, and launching Cryptocurrency CFDs on Bitcoin and Ethereum. 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.
Nonetheless, with nearly 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.
For our 2018 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 43 international forex brokers. Each FX broker was graded on 140 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
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.
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