FXCM Review

Overall Rating

3

Fast Facts
  • Account Minimum: $50
  • Τέλη: Seven to 1.3 pips (regular), 0.2 pips active trader only
  • Best for: Professionals looking for a full-scale desktop trading experience

Αποκάλυψη

Trading Forex/CFDs on margin carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors as you could sustain losses in excess of deposits. The products are intended for retail, professional, and eligible counterparty clients. For clients who maintain account(s) with Forex Capital Markets Limited ("FXCM LTD"), retail clients could sustain a total loss of deposited funds but are not subject to subsequent payment obligations beyond the deposited funds and professional clients could sustain losses in excess of deposits.

Originally founded in New York in 1999, London­-based FXCM grew rapidly on both sides of the Atlantic, becoming one of the world's largest retail forex broker following the 2010 acquisition of U.K.-­based ODL Group. Regulatory issues began one year later, starting with fines triggered by accusations of slippage malpractice and ending with a permanent ban on U.S. operations as part of a Feb. 2017 settlement with Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Jefferies Financial Group, formerly Leucadia National Corp, stepped in as primary economic owner after the bankruptcy of FXCM's parent later that year and still holds a majority interest.

The broker is now licensed in the United Kingdom, Αυστραλία, Νότια Αφρική, and several EU countries, providing a limited range of forex, CFD, and spread betting products to retail, professional, and institutional clients. It currently runs 10 sales offices on five continents, leveraging the Jefferies relationship to restore its damaged reputation. They adhere to EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) requirements, revised under MiFID II and MiFIR in Jan. 2018, and are compliant with ESMA regulations that went into effect in Aug. 2018. Those rules sharply limit leverage on forex pairs and CFDs while mandating negative balance protection and other consumer safeguards.

Impressive platform choices support all types of trading styles and account levels while a robust educational portal focuses primarily on lower­-skilled clients. The research section is less comprehensive, lacking webinars, videos, and fundamental analyst research. Bottom line trading costs are difficult to estimate from site documentation, generating transparency issues for both standard and active trader accounts. This lack of full disclosure would greatly benefit from multiple real­-world examples and detailed side-­by-­side cost comparisons.

Πλεονεκτήματα

  • MetaTrader and home­grown Trading Station

  • Social/copy trading platforms

  • Algo trading APIs and third-party specialty platforms

Τα μειονεκτήματα

  • Weak CFD coverage

  • No share coverage

  • Specialty platforms incur fees

Trust

3

The broker is authorized in the United Kingdom through the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under registration number 217689 and insures clients against default for GBP 50,000 through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). They provide no additional protection through private insurance. They are also regulated in Germany, Italy, France, Νότια Αφρική, και η Αυστραλία. Client funds are segregated from company funds but FXCM is a counterparty for all client transactions through a dealing desk. The hook­up with Jefferies Financial Group, a well-­regarded financial institution, goes a long way in fixing their damaged reputation but trust will take years to fully restore.

Desktop Experience

3.5

Clients can open forex, CFD, and spread bet trades using the industry ­standard MetaTrader 4 or the broker's homegrown Trading Station, which includes many additional features. They also provide a social/copy trading platform through ZuluTrade as well as multiple third party and API applications. Ωστόσο, many higher­-end products incur subscription fees or are restricted to active trader accounts. The Trading Station web platform has migrated from Adobe Flash to HTML 5 in the last year, adding a layer of security lacking in the soon-­to-­be­ discontinued Flash.

Mobile Experience

3

Trading Station for iOS, Android, and the web are more feature­ rich than MT 4 mobile apps, which are offered as an alternative. Clients can access a broad range of technical indicators and advanced order types, but two drawbacks undermine the proprietary app's functionality. Πρώτη, it provides no second layer of authentication, continuing an omission found in MetaTrader platforms. Δεύτερο, push notifications for Android are not enabled and don't support real-­time alerts, a core feature on other mobile platforms.

Research Tools and Insights

2

Research sections feature a standard set of trading tools, including economic calendar, third-party market news, and daily technical levels. Ωστόσο, the depth of basic and advanced fundamental analysis is well­ below industry average, with few in­-house or macro market resources. The section doesn't stream webinars or videos, adding to a sub­par portal that could use a major redesign. Επιπλέον, many technical analysis resources are hidden behind an entry form that requires opting­ in to a marketing list.

Εκπαίδευση

4

The educational section is more robust than the research portal, providing broad- based forex education and platform tutorials. Clients can sign up for live classrooms or access a subset of past recordings while a separate video library focuses primarily on platform tutorials rather than technical or fundamental education. Clients can also get a basic set of trading guides through e­mail by registering for the opt­ion marketing list. The portal lacks CFD education and would greatly benefit from a dedicated search function or one­-page listing of all resources.

Special Features

4

An active trader program offers cost savings as well as tighter spreads, market depth, and other features that include four free APIs. Ωστόσο, qualified candidates will pay commissions instead of spread costs, raising confusion about actual savings over a standard account. The broker provides VPS hosting but lower-­end accounts will pay a $30 monthly fee. Automated and algo trading interfaces are impressive, including a number of high-end third-party platforms that incur monthly fees.

Investment Products

3.5

The list of forex, CFD, and spread betting instruments is below industry average, with just 63 total securities that include just two cryptocurrencies—Bitcoin and Ether. There's no share coverage and the list of exotic currency pairs is unusually small. U.K. and Ireland clients can choose between CFDs and spread bets, but pay attention to the fine print because they carry different average spreads unlike many U.K. μεσίτες. Index CFDs feature a subset of major world instruments, but clients can trade just nine major commodity CFDs.

U.K. accounts can be opened for £300, which is above average for this venue. Additional fees can add up quickly, undermining the usefulness of published average spreads. The fine print indicates the broker may be compensated through mark­ups to spreads received from liquidity providers as well as mark­ups to rollover fees. They also charge inactivity fees and higher than average withdrawal fees for bank wire transfers. And, although active traders gain access to dynamic live spreads and market depth, orders are still processed by the dealing desk rather than through the interbank system.

Commissions and Fees

2.5

Published commissions and spreads are average-to-competitive, but the lack of side­-by-­side comparisons and real­-world examples raise confusion about bottom line costs. The site publishes average spreads but there's no time­ of­ day break out and trades made during off market hours are likely to incur much higher costs. This lack of predictability could deter many potential clients, especially with prior regulatory offenses undermining confidence. Ωστόσο, the broker publishes regularly updated positive and negative slippage data in an effort to rebuild trust.

Με Την Υποστήριξη Πελατών

4

The broker provides industry­-standard 24/5 phone and live chat coverage, with a broad selection of country-­based toll­-free phone numbers and a direct line to the trading desk. Clients can seek assistance through SMS messages and e­mail. The site's help section includes a well­-organized breakdown of available topics as well as a dedicated search function. Ωστόσο, a simple inquiry on how to close an account responds by telling the client to contact the broker while offering no direct answer.

What You Need to Know

It's tough to recommend this broker for retail clients because it's been less than two years since they were banned from U.S. operations, and trust takes time to restore, especially with a financial institution. Transparency issues on bottom line costs, subscription walls, and the lack of direct interbank system trading access adds to our apprehension. FXCM offers a better fit for professional and institutional clients, with robust third party specialty platforms and a broad variety of APIs supporting sophisticated algo and automated strategies.