IC Markets Review
IC Markets’ competitive pricing and scalable execution make it an excellent option for algorithmic traders. Though it supports an impressive range of third-party tools and plugins, IC Markets’ research and education offerings are not as impressive as those offered by industry leaders.
IC Markets pros & cons
- Maintains regulatory status in one tier-1 jurisdiction and one tier-2 jurisdiction, making it a safe broker (average-risk) for trading forex and CFDs.
- Offers competitive pricing across all account types with low average spreads.
- Third-party research and trading tool plugins enhance the IC Markets MetaTrader offering.
- IC Markets is our top-ranked MetaTrader broker in 2022.
- Has significantly expanded its range of markets from 204 symbols to more than 3,500.
- IC Markets’ low-cost, scalable execution makes it a perfect fit for traders who want to run algorithmic strategies.
- Trails the best forex brokers when it comes to its scope of market research and the quality of its educational content.
- Lacks a proprietary trading app.
|Offering of Investments|
|Commissions & Fees|
|Platforms & Tools|
|Mobile Trading Apps|
Is IC Markets safe?
IC Markets is considered low-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 86 out of 99. IC Markets is not publicly traded and does not operate a bank. IC Markets is authorised by one tier-1 regulator (high trust), one tier-2 regulator (average trust), and one tier-3 regulator (low trust). IC Markets is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators: Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC). Learn more about Trust Score.
|Publicly Traded (Listed)||No|
Offering of investments
IC Markets offers a total of 3,583 tradeable instruments across its Australian, Cyprus, and Seychelles-based entities. The table below summarizes the different investment products available to IC Markets clients.
Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency trading is available at IC Markets 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 U.K. entity, nor to U.K. residents.
IC Markets offering of investments:
|Tradeable Symbols (Total)||3583|
|Forex Pairs (Total)||61|
|US Stock Trading (Non CFD)||No|
|Int'l Stock Trading (Non CFD)||No|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||Yes|
|Crypto Disclaimer (UK)||Note: Crypto CFDs are not available to retail traders from any broker's U.K. entity, nor to U.K. residents (except to Professional clients).|
Commissions and fees
Global entity: Spreads at IC Markets vary depending on the trading platform you use, your account type, and your chosen IC Markets entity. IC Markets has three regulatory entities available: European (based in Cyprus), Australian, or its offshore entity based in Seychelles.
Account types: IC Markets offers three account options: the commission-free Standard account (spread only), and the commission-based Raw Spread and cTrader Raw Spread accounts.
cTrader versus MetaTrader accounts: The cTrader Raw Spread and the IC Markets (MT4 or MT5) Raw Spread accounts have a near-identical commission structure. The difference in pricing between the two comes down to platform choice. The cTrader-linked account commission is lower by about a tenth of a pip, at $3.0 per side for every 100,000 units, or $6.00 per RT. The Raw Spread account, which uses MT4 or MT5, charges $3.5 per side for every 100,000 units (1 standard lot) or $7.00 per round turn (RT).
Effective spreads: IC Markets lists its average spread on the EUR/USD at 0.02 pips (August 2021). After adding the commission equivalent of 0.6 pips for the cTrader account, the all-in cost comes to 0.62 pips (or 0.72 on MetaTrader in the Raw Spread account) – which is competitive. Alternatively, the Standard account lists an average spread of 0.62 pips and is commission-free, making it an attractive option.
Active traders: IC Markets offers discounts to traders that trade over 100 standard lots per month.
Agency and dealer execution: IC Markets provides execution on an agency basis, which means orders may be subject to positive or negative slippage – there are no requotes and no instant execution. That said, IC Markets is still considered a dealer and counterparty to your trade. Though it routes orders to nearly two dozen liquidity providers, it does not hedge all trades and thus does manage some risk as a counterparty (dealing desk).
IC Markets pricing summary:
|Average Spread EUR/USD - Standard||0.62 (August 2021)|
|All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active||0.62 (August 2021)|
|Active Trader or VIP Discounts||Yes|
|Execution: Agency Broker||Yes|
|Execution: Market Maker||Yes|
Mobile trading apps
IC Markets provides mobile apps for the three platforms it offers – MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), and cTrader – all of which come standard for iOS and Android. The lineup is good; however, it should be noted that the leaders in mobile (e.g., Saxo Bank, CMC Markets, TD Ameritrade) all offer proprietary trading apps.
Tools comparison: The MetaTrader and cTrader suite have similar mobile functionality and charting. The platform you choose will likely depend on whether you trade manually or use desktop platforms for automated trading systems.
Algorithmic trading: Automated trading is not possible with the mobile versions of the cTrader and MetaTrader platforms. That means they are primarily useful for managing existing positions or manually opening new trades. Copy trading is available on mobile with supported third-party platforms such as ZuluTrade and Myfxbook.
IC Markets mobile trading:
|Apple iOS App||Yes|
|Alerts - Basic Fields||Yes|
|Watch List Syncing||No|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies||30|
|Charting - Draw Trendlines||Yes|
|Charting - Trendlines Moveable||No|
|Charting - Multiple Time Frames||Yes|
|Charting - Drawings Autosave||No|
Other trading platforms
IC Markets has strengthened its position as an excellent choice for algorithmic traders thanks to the availability of both the MetaTrader and cTrader platforms, as well as its execution methods (i.e., no requotes) and the ability to place orders within the spread.
Overall, IC Markets is once again our pick for best MetaTrader broker in 2022.
Platforms overview: IC Markets offers the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) trading platforms developed by MetaQuotes Software Corp., alongside the cTrader platform developed by Spotware Systems. Additional add-ons available for MetaTrader clients include the Advanced Trading Tools package for the desktop version, along with plugins from AutoChartist and Trading Central. While these third-party plugins must be installed separately, their ability to enhance the MetaTrader experience makes them worth the extra effort.
Charting: Charts on MetaTrader and cTrader are excellent, with a good variety of default indicators pre-installed and an even larger array available from third-party providers. The IC Markets cTrader platform offering includes both the web-based and desktop versions.
MetaTrader Tools: IC Markets provides access to the Advanced Trading Tools package, which is a suite of platform add-ons developed by FX Blue LLP. IC Markets also provides installable third-party plugins from Trading Central and AutoChartist.
Algorithmic trading: The desktop version of MetaTrader supports algorithmic trading, and the cTrader suite includes trading applications such as cAlgo for automated trading, and cTrader Copy for social copy trading. IC Markets is popular with serious algorithmic traders due to its low cost and execution methods, and its support for Virtual Private Servers (VPS).
VPS services: For traders that complete at least 15 standard lots, IC Markets offers several free third-party Virtual Private Servers (VPS) services for hosting client algorithms.
Social copy trading: In addition to cTrader Copy and the native Signals market from MetaTrader, IC Markets offers the Myfxbook (AutoTrade) and ZuluTrade platforms for copy trading across its global brands.
IC Markets trading platform:
|Virtual Trading (Demo)||Yes|
|Desktop Platform (Windows)||Yes|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||Yes|
|MetaTrader 4 (MT4)||Yes|
|MetaTrader 5 (MT5)||Yes|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies (Total)||51|
|Charting - Drawing Tools (Total)||31|
|Charting - Trade From Chart||Yes|
|Watchlists - Total Fields||7|
|Order Type - Market||Yes|
Though IC Markets has shown improvement with daily articles and its Web TV section, research remains a weak point in its overall offering compared to the best brokers in this category, such as IG and Saxo Bank.
Research overview: IC Markets posts several articles each day on its blog, including a technical and fundamental forecast. I found the quality of the research content to be pretty standard, though not quite as rich as what you see from industry leaders such as IG and Saxo Bank.
Market news and analysis: IC Markets delivers in-house technical and fundamental analysis content by way of its blog, and provides daily updates in its market analysis section. There are videos from Trading Central and short clips that recap market events under the Web TV section, as well as live trading sessions posted to the IC Markets YouTube channel.
IC Markets research:
|Daily Market Commentary||Yes|
|Forex News (Top-Tier Sources)||Yes|
|Trading Central (Recognia)||Yes|
|Social Sentiment - Currency Pairs||Yes|
IC Markets has a good range of content for beginner as well as advanced traders, with over 100 written articles and dozens of videos. However, content is not organized by experience level, and there is no progress tracking or quizzes, which are both features I’ve come to expect from the best forex brokers in this category.
Learning center: The educational content at IC Markets is organized into six series, such as Forex Trading 101 and Trading Plan 101. The quality of the articles are a touch above the industry average. IC Markets has also created a podcast series known as “IC Your Trade”, and has a YouTube channel that hosts a catalog of archived webinars.
Room for improvement: IC Markets could enhance its educational offering by developing courses that feature progress tracking and quizzes, and by adding the ability to filter content by experience level.
IC Markets education:
|Has Education - Forex or CFDs||Yes|
|Client Webinars (Archived)||Yes|
|Videos - Beginner Trading Videos||No|
|Videos - Advanced Trading Videos||No|
|Investor Dictionary (Glossary)||Yes|
IC Markets appeals primarily to algorithmic traders that use the MT4, MT5, or cTrader platforms, and who need agency execution coupled with competitive spreads and low commissions.
Catering to high-frequency traders helps IC Markets achieve significantly higher trading volumes relative to its peers, as automated trading strategies can typically do higher turnover than manual traders.
Access to third-party social trading services like Myfxbook and ZuluTrade helps to round out IC Markets’ overall offering and make it appealing to retail forex and CFD traders, but I generally do not recommend IC Markets unless you are an algorithmic trader or if your manual trading strategy is spread-sensitive.
Is IC Markets a good broker?
IC Markets is a good broker for investors who want to run automated trading strategies on MetaTrader and cTrader platforms. IC Markets provides social copy trading platforms and a growing selection of research and educational materials, and offers competitive pricing.
Is my money safe with IC Markets?
IC Markets is regulated in Australia, Cyprus, the Bahamas, and Seychelles; the degree of safety of your funds will depend on which entity holds your funds.
For example, in Australia, the National Guarantee Fund does not provide any protection when trading CFDs, but IC Markets maintains indemnity insurance and holds your funds in a Client Moneys Trust Account). For clients of IC Markets in Cyprus, the Investors Compensation Fund can protect eligible retail clients in the unlikely event of bankruptcy, for up to 20,000 euros per account held by IC Markets EU.
IC Markets was founded in 2007, and factors such as its years of operation and scope of regulatory licenses should be taken into consideration when choosing a broker. Going with a broker that is well-capitalized also reduces your potential counterparty risk.
What is the minimum deposit for IC Markets?
The minimum deposit at IC Markets starts at $200 to open a live account, regardless of the account you choose, including the Standard, Raw, and cTrader account options. There are also over a dozen funding methods available, ranging from bank transfers and credit cards to third-party payment providers such as PayPal and UnionPay.
About IC Markets
With servers in New York (Equinix NY4) and London (Equinix LD5), IC Markets has positioned itself as an agency broker that caters to scalpers and high-frequency algorithmic traders who require low-latency and fast execution. Founded in 2007, IC Markets’ monthly trading volume surpassed $1 trillion in March 2021. IC Markets has 260 employees, per its Wikipedia page.
2022 Review Methodology
For our 2022 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 39 international forex brokers over a three-month time period resulting in over 50,000 words of published research.
Each broker was graded on 113 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.Read more on forex trading risks.
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.