Regulated and trusted across the globe, IG offers traders the ultimate package of excellent trading and research tools, industry-leading education, competitive pricing, and an extensive list of tradeable products. This fantastic all-round experience makes IG the best overall broker in 2021.
Top Takeaways for 2021
Here are our top findings on IG:
- Founded in 1974, IG is publicly traded (LON: IGG) and regulated in six tier-1 jurisdictions, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for forex and CFDs trading. All jurisdictions considered, IG ranks as the most trusted forex and CFDs broker in our 2021 Review.
- IG is the ultimate forex broker, finishing 1st Overall in our 2021 ranking. Alongside finishing third for Platforms and Tools and second for Research, IG finished Best in Class (top 7) for Offering of Investments (19,000+ tradeable instruments), Commissions and Fees, Education, Mobile Trading, Professional Trading, and Cryptocurrency Trading.
- While IG also offers MetaTrader and premium MT4 add-ons from FX Blue, only 76 tradeable instruments are available. No question, IG's flagship platform is the better choice between the two.
- Established 1974, join 239,000+ traders worldwide Visit Site
|Offering of Investments|
|Commissions & Fees|
|Platforms & Tools|
Is IG Safe?
IG is considered low-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 99 out of 99. IG is a publicly traded company, operates a regulated bank, and is authorised by six tier-1 regulators (high trust), three tier-2 regulators (average trust), and one tier-3 regulator (low trust). IG is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators: Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC), Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Learn more about Trust Score.
|Publicly Traded (Listed)||Yes|
Offering of Investments
The range of markets available to you may vary depending on the IG entity that you choose. Residents of the UK, New Zealand, Japan, and the US must choose their respective local IG entity.
Alongside nearly 20,000 CFDs, IG also offers exchange-traded securities (non-CFDs) for UK residents (IG UK share dealing review), Germany, and Australia to access international stock exchanges. Furthermore, in addition to forex options, IG offers exchange-traded Turbo warrants as part of Spectrum, its Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) in Europe.
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 from any broker's UK entity, nor to UK residents.
The following table summarizes the different investment products available to IG clients.
|Forex: Spot Trading||Yes|
|Currency Pairs (Total Forex pairs)||104|
|CFDs - Total Offered||19537|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||Yes|
|Cryptocurrency traded as actual||No|
|Cryptocurrency traded as CFD||Yes|
Commissions and Fees
IG uses its size to provide traders competitive pricing across the board, regardless of the product you trade, and shines for its active trader pricing available through its Forex Direct accounts.
CFD account average spreads: For mini and standard size contracts, typical spreads during the main trading session from Midnight to 9 pm (0000 – 2100, GMT+1 time) averaged 0.745 pips in August 2020. It is worth noting that just like with other brokers, spreads during low-liquid times are higher than normal, averaging 1.39 pips at IG in August 2020, during the 2100 – 0000 (GMT+1) session.
CFD account active trader rebates: For volume traders who qualify as professionals under EU rules, IG offers pricing discounts via its active trader rebate program. This program provides three tiers. In tier one, if you transact over £50M worth of forex volume per month, then 10% of the spread is rebated. Meanwhile, if you trade over £300M per month, then as much as 20% is rebated. To put this in context, 20% off of 0.745 pips (August 2020 data from main trading sessions) would have resulted in an all-in cost of just 0.596 pips, which is very competitive.
DMA account (Forex Direct): For the savviest traders seeking more significant discounts than what is offered in the CFD account, the DMA account is the better option than the active trader rebates on IG's spread-only pricing. This commission-based offering, Forex Direct, is available via the DMA account and provides traders access to the L2 Dealer platform. The DMA account requires just a £1,000 minimum and uses a tiered pricing scale based on the trader's previous month's trading volume.
DMA account average spreads: With average spreads of 0.165 on the EUR/USD for the 12 weeks ending March 19th, 2019, the all-in spread is 1.3 pips using the base tier of $60 per million for traders that do less than $100M per month. Traders that do over 1.5 yards (billion USD in volume) see their per-side commission drop to $10 per million ($20 round-turn), resulting in an effective spread of 0.165 + 0.20 = 0.365 pips, using the 2019 data.
Execution method: Forex Direct streams from interbank liquidity providers where IG acts as an agency broker and doesn't add on any additional spread. Instead, IG adds a commission to each trade you make (similar to IC Markets, FP Markets, or FOREX.com's DMA account). Finally, in the CFD account, users can switch between the execution method via the available order types, depending on if they want to force open a trade with potential slippage, compared to orders that can be rejected if the price is no longer available.
|Minimum Initial Deposit||£250.00|
|Average Spread EUR/USD - Standard||0.745 (August 2020)|
|All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active||0.365 (May 2020)|
|Active Trader or VIP Discounts||Yes|
Platforms and Tools
IG provides an outstanding selection of trading platforms and tools. The functionality is widespread and serves traders of all experience levels. Besides the L2 Dealer and ProRealTime charting platform, I focused my testing on IG's flagship web platform.
IG web platform features: IG's proprietary web-based platform comes loaded with a vast selection of features. Usability is at the heart of the experience. For example, charts open from nearly any view where live market prices or streaming bid/ask rates are shown. There are also endless research and trading tools, including risk-management modules integrated directly. The only minor caveat is you must take a few minutes to set up the layout, as the default view is mostly empty. Multiple custom layouts can be saved.
IG web platform charting: The default charts within the platform feature 30 optional studies and advanced functionality, such as adding up to four alerts on any of 11 supported indicators. Besides five chart types, there is also a tick chart, which not all brokers offer. I also greatly appreciated that zooming in and out, alongside resizing the view across timeframes, felt very fast and smooth. Lastly, trading from the chart with an integrated trade ticket shows risk/reward ratios and allows you to drag any stops/limits with great precision.
Additional platforms: IG offers the MetaTrader4 (MT4) platform and its L2 Dealer platform, where Forex Direct and Direct Market Access (DMA) are available for share trading. While I do not recommend MT4 due to the limited product range, L2 Dealer can be a viable option due to the discounts available for active traders, and for its support of advanced algorithmic order types.
ProRealTime charts: More advanced charting with nearly 100 indicators and automated strategies is available in the ProRealTime platform, a third-party platform exclusively offered by IG in the UK. ProRealTime costs £30 per month unless you make at least four trades during each calendar period. While the ProRealTime layout is highly customizable, my testing left me thinking it could use a modern upgrade. For example, floating windows can get messy and are inferior to modern snap grid layouts. That said, charts were an absolute pleasure to use, especially the automatic coloring of studies, making it easier to view when multiple indicators are added.
|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)||30|
|Charting - Drawing Tools (Total)||20|
|Charting - Trade From Chart||Yes|
|Watchlists - Total Fields||14|
|Order Type - Trailing Stop||Yes|
IG provides traders a vast selection of excellent quality market research from both in-house and third-party providers. Overall, the amount of content in IG's platform is only matched by Saxo Bank, TD Ameritrade (US residents only), and Interactive Brokers.
News and Market Analysis: IG's research tools include staples such as streaming news from Reuters and an economic calendar. Advanced tools include a customizable screener for various asset classes, including CFDs on global stocks, forex, and cryptocurrencies. Demonstrating its innovation, content is even personalized with the new "Recommended News" section that aims to tailor headlines based on your account traits. There are also numerous streaming videos from Reuters and IGTV, with multiple videos daily covering global financial markets.
Trading signals and premium content: IG integrates Autochartist and PIA First into its platform, allowing traders to view trade signals generated by automated pattern-recognition and technical analysis. These trading ideas conveniently enable a trader to copy them with a single click, which pre-populates the trade ticket window. Premium research from Real Vision TV is provided at IG for free to traders who deposit at least $500, and Real Vision research is available for those with $5000 or more on deposit.
DailyFX and IG Community: IG powers DailyFX, a blog-style news website that provides IG's clients with news content and various research tools. Finally, IG Community, a recently launched social network resembling an advanced forum, brings together over 80,000 users. While the content is crowdsourced, I found it to be of value because IG hand picks the best research articles. There is also a time-line, akin to a social network showing member's actions, such as new joins, follows, and comments on threads.
|Daily Market Commentary||Yes|
|Forex News (Top-Tier Sources)||Yes|
|Trading Central (Recognia)||No|
|Social Sentiment - Currency Pairs||Yes|
IG is a leader for its educational content, offering a vast selection of formats including video, written articles, and even progress tracking and quizzes. In addition, IG even has its own mobile app for education, in addition to educational courses by experience level on IG Academy, numerous weekly webinars, and guides provided by Daily FX.
DailyFX: With eight trading guides for beginners, five advanced guides, and written materials in a course designed with progress tracking, DailyFX has a good array of educational content. For example, there are seven articles about risk-management with Bollinger Bands. In addition to educational content, there are 17 beginner articles, and support is also available for additional languages.
IG Academy: There are eight courses organized by experience level, where each one provides multiple chapters with quizzes incorporated throughout, creating an interactive experience. I also liked that specific chapters had video content included, in addition to lesson summaries.
Videos: In addition to numerous archived content and playlists on its various YouTube Channels, IG provides multiple webinars per week. Its in-house staff covers educational topics live, such as the Technical Analysis Masterclass. Even archived webinars are organized by experience level, making it easy to find what you need quickly.
IG Community: As noted in the research section above, the IG Community produces content that is curated by IG, and this includes educational articles. For example, there are traders sharing their personal views, such as regarding any past trading failures and success.
|Has Education - Forex||Yes|
|Has Education - CFDs||Yes|
|Client Webinars (Archived)||Yes|
|Videos - Beginner Trading Videos||Yes|
|Videos - Advanced Trading Videos||Yes|
|Investor Dictionary (Glossary)||Yes|
|Tutorials/Guide (PDF or Interactive)||Yes|
IG's mobile app competes with the best in the industry as the app comes packed with plenty of features that will satisfy both casual and advanced traders.
Tools: IG's mobile app includes features such as alerts, sentiment readings, an economic calendar, and watch lists, including detailed market information for each instrument, all packed within a well-designed layout. Watchlists automatically sync with IG's web platform.
Charting: IG's mobile app is also loaded with 30 technical indicators, 20 drawing tools, and 16 time frames to select from across five chart types, including tick charts. If you take the time to access the menu, setting up charts is easy. The only drawback is that chart indicators added in the web do not automatically sync in mobile, although they can be saved as presets. Still, it was an absolute pleasure to use IG Mobile charts, as they felt fast with high precision when zooming in and out across timeframes.
Research: In the IG Mobile app, research is limited to news headlines from Reuters, signals from Autochartist, and PIA First.
Educational videos: For educational content, IG offers a separate standalone mobile app called IG Academy.
MetaTrader: While I do not recommend using MetaTrader with IG, the app is available.
|Apple iOS App||Yes|
|Trading - Forex||Yes|
|Trading - CFDs||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|
Retail forex and CFD traders who want a trusted, low-cost broker with brilliant tools, research, and access to nearly every global market (over 19,500 tradeable assets) will find that IG is a fantastic choice. IG finished Best in Class across multiple categories in 2021, including Offering of Investments, Commissions and Fees, Platform and Tools, Research, Education (1st), Mobile Trading (1st), Professional Trading, Crypto Trading, Trust Score (1st), and Overall (1st).
Bottom line, IG is my top pick for 2021.
As an early pioneer in offering contracts for difference (CFDs) and spread betting, IG was founded in 1974 and has grown to be a global leader in the online trading industry. IG is a London-based public company listed on the London Stock Exchange's FTSE 250 (LON: IGG).
As of its Annual report for the financial year ending May 31st, 2020, IG has 1921 staff and a market capitalization of £2.8B, servicing nearly 239,600 active clients globally across its regulated entities in the UK and internationally. 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. Each broker was graded on 108 different variables and, in total, over 50,000 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.