While its range of tradeable markets is very narrow, FXCM caters well to high-volume traders, algorithmic traders, and traders that appreciate robust trading tools alongside quality market research.
Top Takeaways for 2019
After spending several hundred hours testing 28 forex brokers over six months for our third annual forex broker review, here are our top findings on FXCM:
- Founded in 1999, FXCM is a subsidiary of a public company (NYSE: JEF) and is regulated in three tier-1 jurisdictions, making it a safe (low-risk) broker for trading forex and CFDs.
- FXCM earned Best in Class (top 7) awards for multiple categories, including Platforms & Tools, Mobile Trading, MetaTrader, Active Trading, and Education. Overall, FXCM ranks among the best brokers for MetaTrader and copy trading.
- Compatible with various supported platforms, FXCM's App store provides various add-ons, technical indicators, and automated trading robots for algorithmic trading. We were impressed.
- FXCM offers a very narrow selection of tradeable products. While 39 currency pairs are available for trade, only 32 CFDs are provided with no single-stock CFDs.
- Customer service at FXCM barely meets the industry standard. The broker finished 14th (out of 23) in our national testing from locations across the United Kingdom.
|Offering of Investments|
|Commissions & Fees|
|Platform & Tools|
Is FXCM Safe?
FXCM is considered low-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 90 out of 99. FXCM's parent company is publicly-traded, does not operate a bank, and is authorised by three tier-1 regulators (high trust), two tier-2 regulators (average trust), and zero tier-3 regulators (low trust). FXCM is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators: Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and via Friedberg Direct, with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). Learn more about Trust Score.
|Publicly Traded (Listed)||Yes|
Offering of Investments
The following table summarizes the different investment products available to FXCM clients. While FXCM's launch of several tradeable baskets (e.g., JPYBasket, EMBasket, USEquities, and CryptoMajors) was a welcomed addition in 2019, the removal of the mini account option and the reduction of total CFDs from 313 to just 32 restricts FXCM’s product range offering as a multi-asset broker. No single-stock CFDs are offered at FXCM.
|Forex: Spot Trading||Yes|
|Currency Pairs (Total Forex pairs)||39|
|CFDs - Total Offered||32|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||Yes|
|Cryptocurrency traded as actual||No|
|Cryptocurrency traded as CFD||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.
Spread data: Using the time-weighted average tradable prices from April 1, 2019, to June 30, 2019, all-in spreads for Standard accounts at FXCM are 1.3 pips on pairs such as the EUR/USD and USD/JPY.
Pricing discounts: Active Trader accounts are available for clients that deposit at least $25,000, which comes with a lower commission rate of $25 per million and access to premium research. For example, Active Trader accounts incur as little as £4 per standard round-turn lot (£2 per side) on the EUR/USD pair. Therefore, the all-in cost after commissions is roughly 0.45 pips (based on average spreads of 0.2 pips using the above referenced period).
Other notes: Standard account holders are only charged the prevailing spreads, whereas Active Trader accounts are charged a commission per trade, in addition to reduced prevailing spreads. Also, dealing desk accounts (e.g., Standard Accounts) are not subject to the FX Commission pricing model at FXCM, and thus may include a markup in the case of an intermediary (introducing broker), as per FXCM UK’s November 2018 rate card.
|Minimum Initial Deposit||£300|
|Average Spread EUR/USD - Standard||1.3 (as of Q2 19)|
|All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active||0.7 (as of Q2 19)|
|Active Trader or VIP Discounts||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), ZuluTrade, and NinjaTrader (desktop-only), which are accessible via desktop, the web, and mobile.
Trading Station desktop: FXCM’s flagship trading platform, Trading Station, caters well to forex traders of all skill levels. One highlight is the Marketscope 2.0 charting tool within the platform, which is a powerful charting package that runs in parallel to the main platform window.
Trading Station web: 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. Pros aside, our testing did surface a few minor usability issues while trying to resize windows or open a widget into full-screen mode; however, they were hardly a deal-breaker.
Ninja Trader: It’s worth noting that the NinjaTrader platform from FXCM features numerous trading tools, including automated trading capabilities. For example, trading strategies and indicators can be created from scratch using NinjaScripts. While NinjaTrader doesn’t come pre-loaded with trading strategies, users can either make their own or use third-party-developed NinjaScripts, similar to how the MT4 platform operates. The platform also has a market replay and analyzer tool alongside over 150 indicators.
Algorithmic Trading: The FXCM App store provides various add-ons, technical indicators, and automated trading robots. FXCM supports Trading Station, MetaTrader 4 (MT4), and NinjaTrader platforms, as well as access to third-party products and platforms such as ZuluTrade and the Seer Trading Platform for algorithmic trading. There is a dedicated technical support team to assist traders in developing their MT4 Expert Advisors (EAs). The team will even help code strategies for clients for a nominal fee.
FXCM provides a wide variety of market research and related resources. Overall, it isn't award-winning, but it will satisfy the majority of forex traders.
Research tools: FXCM’s research tools include 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.
Educational content: It’s worth noting that FXCM has done an excellent job of incorporating instructional information into its research, including webinars and its educational program. For less experienced algorithmic traders, FXCM's Quant News offers webinars, videos, and news articles.
Thanks to the combination of Trading Station and MetaTrader4 (MT4), FXCM delivers a reliable, feature-rich mobile offering for forex traders, including algorithmic trading. Advanced features, such as a comprehensive trade ticket, offer advanced order types, including one-cancels-other (OCO) orders.
Mobile charting: With nearly 60 indicators and multiple drawing tools, charting in the FXCM mobile app is a pleasure. Trend-lines can be drawn with precision thanks to a magnifying glass that auto zooms while dragging the trend-line into position.
Mobile watch list: While the Trading Station mobile app may appear to lack a watch list, it is worth noting that any instruments selected to be shown will, in fact, sync across devices.
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)
FXCM is an excellent 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.
Since 1999, FXCM, also known as Forex Capital Markets, 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.
After its exit from the US market in 2017, FXCM no longer accepts US clients. Today, FXCM operates as a subsidiary of Jefferies Financial Group Inc. (NYSE: JEF), formerly known as Leucadia. Learn more about FXCM at Wikipedia.
FXCM Trading Features
|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|
FXCM Research Features
|Daily Market Commentary||Yes|
|Forex News (Top-Tier Sources)||Yes|
|Trading Central (Recognia)||Yes|
|Social Sentiment - Currency Pairs||Yes|
FXCM Mobile App Features
|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|
2019 Review Methodology
For our 2019 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 28 international forex brokers over a six month time period. Each broker was graded on 81 different variables and, in total, over 60,000 words of research were produced.
While encouraged, broker participation was optional. Each broker had the opportunity to complete an in-depth data profile and provide executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting.
All data submitted by brokers is hand-checked for accuracy. Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .1% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
Forex Risk Disclaimer
"There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, 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 related instrument. 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.
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.