While the range of tradeable markets is narrow and pricing is just average, traders that appreciate robust trading tools alongside quality market research will find FXCM to be a winner.
Top Takeaways for 2021
Here are our top findings on FXCM:
- Founded in 1999, FXCM Group (FXCM) is a Leucadia Company, which falls under the arm of Jefferies Financial (NYSE: JEF). FXCM is regulated in three tier-1 jurisdictions, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for trading forex and CFDs.
- In our testing, FXCM earned Best in Class (top 7) for its Platforms and Tools, Mobile Trading, and Ease of Use. No question, FXCM delivers in the areas important to traders.
- FXCM offers a limited selection of CFDs, while its vast access to exchange-traded securities is segmented away in a different account and platform. Meanwhile, we found commissions for forex and CFD trading to be slightly higher than the industry average, including for active traders.
|Offering of Investments|
|Commissions & Fees|
|Platforms & Tools|
Is FXCM Safe?
FXCM is considered low-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 93 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), three 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 range of products available to you will depend on which global entity under the FXCM Group houses your trading account. In addition to CFDs, FXCM offers exchange-traded securities across 43 exchanges across Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific. The following table summarizes the different investment products available to FXCM clients.
Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency trading is available through CFDs, but not available through trading the underlying asset (e.g. buying Bitcoin). Note: Crypto CFDs are not available to retail traders from any broker's UK entity, nor to UK residents.
FXCM offering of investments:
|Tradeable Symbols (Total)||276|
|Forex Pairs (Total)||42|
|US Stock Trading (Non CFD)||Yes|
|Int'l Stock Trading (Non CFD)||Yes|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||Yes|
Commissions and Fees
FXCM’s pricing is slightly higher than the industry average when it comes to forex trading.
Standard account spreads: Using the time-weighted average tradable prices from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, all-in spreads on the EUR/USD at FXCM was 1.4 pips, which is higher than the industry average (although it is worth noting that Q2 2020 saw more volatility due to the Coronavirus’ impact on markets).
Pricing discounts: FXCM’s Active Trader program has five tiers, where traders can receive a rebate ranging from $5 per million for level one to as much as $25 per million traded for level five. It’s good, but not great. In comparison, Tickmill and FP Markets offer more competitive pricing for active traders. For example, FXCM’s commission-based pricing has low underlying spreads of 0.2 pips during peak hours using Q2 2020 data for the EUR/USD, yet the effective spread is closer to 1.1 pips after including the commission equivalent of $0.9 per mini lot.
Active Trader program: The requirements for each tier may vary depending on which FXCM Group entity you use. For example, in the UK, a $25k account balance with at least $50M or 500 lots of monthly volume will see the commission per side drop to $3 ($6 round-turn). This brings the effective spread to 0.8 pips, based on an average core price of 0.2 pips, using Q2 2020 data for the EUR/USD. Above $150M in monthly volume commissions drop slightly to $5 per round turn, which would bring the effective spread to 0.7 pips in the above example.
Execution methods via order type: FXCM offers “At Market” orders, which have the potential for slippage, and “Market Range” orders, which can be rejected if the requested price or price range is no longer available. I found this option more favorable than having the execution method separated by account type like FxPro does.
Other notes: FXCM publishes its execution statistics, showing the percentage of orders filled with positive or negative slippage, across its offered order types. Overall, the broker had over 88% of orders with zero or positive slippage in 2020. According to its spread widget, the effective spreads at FXCM on the EUR/USD in August 2020 is closer to 1 pip than the displayed price. This effective spread is due to the likelihood of price improvements (primarily on its limit orders).
FXCM pricing summary:
|Minimum Deposit||Starts from $50|
|Average Spread EUR/USD - Standard||1.4 (Q2 2020)|
|All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active||1.1 (Q2 2020)|
|Active Trader or VIP Discounts||Yes|
|Execution: Agency Broker||Yes|
|Execution: Market Maker||Yes|
Platforms and Tools
FXCM sets the bar high for its available platform and tools and competes among the best brokers in the industry. FXCM finished Best in Class, Platforms and Tools, in our 2021 Review.
Platform options: FXCM’s platforms include its proprietary Trading Station, MetaTrader4 (MT4), TradingView, and NinjaTrader 8, which all support algorithmic trading. FXCM also offers ZuluTrade for social copy trading and Trader Workstation (TWS), powered by Interactive Brokers (IBKR) for stocks.
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 is a viable competitor to MetaTrader, as complex back-testing can be performed, with users even being able to account for potential historical slippage and trading costs.
Trading Station web: The web version of Trading Station comes with a respectable array of features wrapped in a responsive and modern design. From news headlines, videos, research, signals, and analysis from Trading Central, along with links to external resources, I found the platform rich with options. Charts pack nearly the same number of indicators as the desktop version, with 52 available, and the platform’s 26 drawing tools were generally easy to use. There are even seven pre-defined layouts to choose from, such as the News Trader theme.
NinjaTrader desktop: It’s worth noting that the latest version (version eight) of NinjaTrader for desktop is available at FXCM. The platform features numerous trading tools, including automated trading capabilities. For example, trading strategies and indicators can be created from scratch using NinjaScripts. Users can either make their own or choose from over 1000 NinjaScripts developed by third-parties. This structure is similar to how the MetaTrader platform operates. The platform also has a market replay and analyzer tool, alongside over 150 default indicators.
Algorithmic Trading: The FXCM App store provides various add-ons, technical indicators, and automated trading robots. FXCM supports a wide array of specialty platforms, including QuantConnect, MotiveWave, AlgoTerminal, AgendaTrader, Sierra Chart, NeuroShell Trader, StrategyQuant, Capitalise, and the Seer Trading Platform for algorithmic trading. There is also a dedicated technical support team to assist traders in developing their MT4 Expert Advisors (EAs).
FXCM trading platform:
|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 provides a respectable variety of market research from a combination of in-house content and third-party materials. Overall, FXCM’s research is a touch above the industry average and will satisfy most forex traders.
Research tools: FXCM’s research tools include premium content from Trading Central, news headlines from Investing.com, and FxStreet. There is also a market screener tool on FXCM’s website. There is premium content from eFX Data, which I found to provide high-quality market analysis. Finally, FXCM Plus provides signal and trading ideas powered by Trading Central, which is also integrated into its platforms.
In-house content: FXCM produces videos with its Daily Snapshot series featuring market coverage from its analysts, available on YouTube. I also found the Insights section rich, yet content had not been updated in over a month and was more focused on educational content in lieu of market news.
If you reside in the EU: some of FXCM research services and content are not available to EU residents, such as the in-house research (i.e. Trading signals, live online classroom, SMS trade alerts, video library, and trade volatility tool).
|Daily Market Commentary||Yes|
|Forex News (Top-Tier Sources)||Yes|
|Trading Central (Recognia)||Yes|
|Social Sentiment - Currency Pairs||Yes|
FXCM provides education primarily in the form of in-house articles and videos, including content produced on its YouTube Channel, which I found are above average in terms of quality when compared to the industry average.
Written materials: There are primarily two comprehensive trading guide articles, including forex trading for beginners and traits of successful traders. Both are well referenced with some unique insights using the company’s historical data. There are an additional 20 articles dedicated to charting, 17 about indicators, 13 about trading tips, over 70 articles in the beginner section, and 10 for advanced traders.
Video content: FXCM’s video library has dozens of videos. However, beyond platform tutorials, I was unable to view them due to the reliance of Adobe Flash not being supported by major browsers anymore. Luckily, FXCM has a YouTube channel with organized playlists covering its educational videos and archived webinars. Beyond platform tutorials, FXCM should expand its variety of educational videos for forex to help offset its unviewable Flash videos.
|Has Education - Forex or CFDs||Yes|
|Client Webinars (Archived)||Yes|
|Videos - Beginner Trading Videos||Yes|
|Videos - Advanced Trading Videos||Yes|
|Investor Dictionary (Glossary)||Yes|
Thanks to the combination of Trading Station and MetaTrader4 (MT4), FXCM delivers a reliable, feature-rich mobile offering for forex traders.
MetaTrader mobile: While FXCM doesn’t offer the MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platform, the broker’s wide support for third-party algorithmic trading platforms makes up for that difference, including on its flagship Trading Station platform.
Trading Station app charting: With nearly 60 indicators and multiple drawing tools, charting in the FXCM mobile app is a pleasure. Trendlines can be drawn with precision thanks to a magnifying glass that auto zooms while dragging the trendline into position.
Trading Station app features: 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. Also, the app includes a comprehensive trade ticket, which offers advanced order types, including one-cancels-other (OCO) orders.
FXCM mobile trading:
|Apple iOS App||Yes|
|Alerts - Basic Fields||Yes|
|Watch List Syncing||Yes|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies||30|
|Charting - Draw Trendlines||Yes|
|Charting - Trendlines Moveable||Yes|
|Charting - Multiple Time Frames||Yes|
|Charting - Drawings Autosave||Yes|
FXCM is an excellent choice for algorithmic forex traders thanks to its wide array of related platform options that support 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.
FXCM also caters well to beginners, thanks to its range of educational materials and easy to use platforms. For forex and CFDs trading, FXCM ranks Best in Class across multiple categories, including Platform and Tools, Mobile Trading, and Ease of Use.
Since 1999, FXCM, also known as Forex Capital Markets, is an early 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. Jefferies holds $45 billion in assets as of May 31, 2020. Read more on Wikipedia.
2021 Review Methodology
For our 2021 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 27 international forex brokers over a three-month time period resulting in over 50,000 words of published research.
Each broker was graded on 108 different variables, including our proprietary Trust Score algorithm. This innovative scoring system ranks the level of trustworthiness for each broker based on factors such as licenses, regulation and corporate structure (read about Trust Score here).
As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy.
Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .1% each year, providing site visitors with 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.