By Steven Hatzakis
February 18th, 2019
Last Updated: April 16th, 2019
The ForexBrokers.com Annual Review (3 years running) is among the most cited in the industry. Our Head of Research, Steven Hatzakis, is frequently referenced as a leading analyst covering forex brokers and cryptocurrency. Learn more.
Since 1999, FXCM has been a pioneer in developing online forex offerings for retail traders. With its headquarters in London, FXCM has grown to have multiple international offices and is licensed in several major regulatory hubs globally.
As a Leucadia company (NYSE:LUK), the FXCM Group has multiple entities in major jurisdictions, including entities regulated in the UK, Australia, South Africa and indirect affiliated offices in Canada, and Japan.
While its range of tradeable markets is narrow, FXCM caters well to high-volume traders, algorithmic traders, and traders that appreciate robust charting tools and quality market research.
- Trading Station platform comes loaded with algorithmic trading tools.
- The FXCM App store offers multiple third-party platforms.
- Regulated in multiple major financial jurisdictions.
- Excellent educational resources.
- Discontinued offering CFDs trading on single shares.
- Narrow range of tradeable markets.
- Mini accounts are not offered.
- No longer accepts US clients after losing US regulatory license.
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|Publicly-Traded Company (Listed)||Yes|
|Regulated in Major Hub||Yes|
|Regulated in Emerging Hub||Yes|
|Authorised in the European Union||Yes|
Commissions & Fees
FXCM shines most in its Active Trader account offering, where low commission rates and average spreads provide competitive pricing for high volume traders.
- Using the time-weighted average tradable prices from July 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018, all-in spreads for Standard accounts at FXCM are 1.3 pips on pairs such as the EUR/USD and USD/JPY.
- Active Trader accounts are available for clients that deposit at least $25,000, which come with a lower commission rate of $25 per million and access to premium research. For example, Active Trader accounts are charged as low as £4 per standard round-turn lot (£2 per side) on the EUR/USD pair, bringing the all-in cost to roughly 0.45 pips, based on average spreads of 0.2 pips for Active Trader accounts using the above referenced period.
- Standard account holders are only charged the prevailing spreads, where traders realize the spread on each trade, whereas Active Trader accounts are charged a commission per trade, in addition to prevailing spreads.
- After discontinuing its mini account offering in 2018 and switching its commission-based Standard Account to spread only, the broker’s offering is more focused.
- Dealing Desk accounts are not subject to the FX Commission pricing model at FXCM, such as the Standard Account, and may include a markup in the case of an intermediary, such as an introducing broker, as per FXCM UK’s November 2018 rate card.
|Minimum Initial Deposit||$0.00|
|Average Spread EUR/USD - Standard||1.30|
|All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active||0.80|
|Active Trader or Premium/VIP||Yes|
Platforms & Tools
FXCM sets a high bar. The broker offers a growing range of trading platforms and tools for algorithmic trading, including its Trading Station platform and third-party platforms such as MetaTrader4 (MT4) and NinjaTrader, which are accessible via desktop, the web, and mobile.
- FXCM’s main trading platform, Trading Station, does well at catering to the entire spectrum of what a forex trader needs, regardless of skill level. The Marketscope 2.0 charting feature within the platform, which seems like an entire additional platform on its own, is a powerful charting package that runs in parallel to the main platform window.
- The web version of Trading Station runs smoothly and comes with a respectable array of features, including news, videos, research, market data signals, and links to external resources. Charts pack nearly the same number of indicators as the desktop, with 50 available, and the platform’s 18 drawing tools were generally easy to use.
- Trading Station aside, it’s worth noting that the NinjaTrader platform from FXCM features numerous trading tools, including automated trading capabilities, where trading strategies and indicators can be created from scratch using NinjaScripts.
- The FXCM App store provides various add-ons, technical indicators, and automated trading robots for its Trading Station, MetaTrader 4, and NinjaTrader platforms, as well as access to third-party products and platforms such as the Seer Trading Platform for algorithmic trading.
- There is a dedicated technical support team to assist traders in developing their MetaTrader4 Expert Advisors (EAs). The team will even help code strategies for clients for a nominal fee.
- I was pleased to see the web version of Trading Station upgraded to HTML and that new features were added. However, I did notice a few minor usability issues while trying to resize windows or open a widget into full screen or detach mode. Small quirks aside, the platform has made a major leap ahead, and I look forward to watching it evolve further.
- FXCM’s Trading Station platform and the company’s Active Trader offering can appeal to the sophisticated trader, while newcomers may face a steeper learning curve due to the advanced platform features that may require getting used to in conjunction with FXCM’s educational materials.
- While NinjaTrader doesn’t come pre-loaded with trading strategies, users can either make their own or use third-party developed NinjaScripts, similar to the way in which the MT4 platform operates. The platform also has a market replay and analyzer tool alongside over 150 indicators.
- Best Forex Trading Platforms 2019
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|Virtual Trading (Demo)||Yes|
|Desktop Platform (Windows)||Yes|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||Yes|
|MetaTrader 4 (MT4)||Yes|
|MetaTrader 5 (MT5)||No|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies (Total)||51|
|Charting - Drawing Tools (Total)||31|
|Charting - Trade From Chart||Yes|
|Watchlists - Total Fields||7|
|Order Type - Trailing Stop||Yes|
To score Customer Service, ForexBrokers.com partnered with customer experience research group Customerwise to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the UK. For our 2019 Review, 229 customer service tests were conducted over six weeks.
- Average Connection Time: <3 minutes
- Average Net Promoter Score: 6.3 / 10
- Average Professionalism Score: 4.6 / 10
- Overall Score: 5.8 / 10
- Ranking: 14th (23 brokers)
- View Infographic
FXCM provides forex traders with a wide variety of market research tools and resources that will absolutely satisfy the majority.
- FXCM’s research tools including premium content from Trading Central, news headlines from Investing.com, as well as a market screener tool and a pattern-recognition scanner developed in conjunction with Grid Sight Technologies LTD, which is made available as an indicator.
- It’s worth noting that FXCM has done a good job in incorporating educational information into its research, including webinars and its trading university program. FXCM finished in third place for Education in our 2019 review.
- In 2018 FXCM launched Quant News, featuring webinars, videos, and news articles for algorithmic traders.
|Daily Market Commentary||Yes|
|Forex News (Top-Tier Sources)||Yes|
|Trading Central (Recognia)||Yes|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||Yes|
|Social Sentiment - Currency Pairs||Yes|
Thanks to the combination of Trading Station and MetaTrader4 (MT4), FXCM delivers a reliable, feature-rich mobile offering for forex traders.
- FXCM’s Trading Station mobile app packs a good range of features into a sleek design that was easy to use and comes with advanced features such as a comprehensive trade ticket with advanced order types, including one-cancels-other (OCO) orders.
- Charting comes with nearly 60 indicators and multiple drawing tools. Trend-lines can be drawn with precision thanks to a magnifying glass that auto zooms while dragging the trend-line into position.
- One shortcoming of the Trading Station mobile app is the lack of any apparent watch list, which could be a useful feature and ideally one that would sync with the watch list used on the web and desktop versions of the FXCM Trading Station.
|Apple iOS App||Yes|
|Trading - Forex||Yes|
|Trading - CFDs||Yes|
|Alerts - Basic Fields||Yes|
|Watch List Syncing||Yes|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies||30|
|Charting - Draw Trend Lines||Yes|
|Charting - Trend Lines Moveable||Yes|
|Charting - Multiple Time Frames||Yes|
|Charting - Drawings Autosave||Yes|
Offering of Investments
The following table summarizes the different investment products available to FXCM clients.
|Currency Pairs (Total Forex pairs)||39|
|CFDs - Total Offered||24|
|Cryptocurrency traded as actual||No|
|Cryptocurrency traded as CFD||Yes|
Following its extensive overview of crypto assets in 2017, including various educational content, FXCM launched bitcoin and ethereum as CFDs in 2018.
In 2017, FXCM exited the US market and is no longer accepting US clients. Through this process, part of its holdings were reorganized under the name Global Brokerage (NASDAQ:GLBR), which holds an ownership interest in FXCM. On December 11th, 2017, Global Brokerage filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court. FXCM Group is not involved with the bankruptcy filing, and the restructuring of GLBR will not affect its clients as per regulatory filings.
FXCM is a great choice for active forex traders thanks to competitive spreads, as well as traders seeking to use automated trading strategies. All of FXCM’s platforms offer traders the ability to run algorithmic trading and access advanced charting tools.
That said, the removal of the mini account option and its reduction of total CFDs available from 313 to just 18 does restrict FXCM’s product range offering as a multi-asset broker.
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About the author: 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. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.