Risk Warning: Your Capital is at Risk.
FXCM was one of the first brokerage firms to offer online forex trading to retail traders.
The two kinds of trading available at FXCM are contracts-for-difference (CFDs) and spreadbetting*. Products include forex, shares, indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and baskets.
The broker offers a variety of platforms to trade on, including MetaTrader 4, NinjaTrader, ZuluTrade, and the mobile Trading Station App for iOS and Android users. Customer support is provided via live chat, phone, and e-mail, with free international dials.
This FXCM review gives an overview of the broker as a company, the FXCM platform, and the trading products offered.
*spreadbetting only available to UK and Ireland residents.
|What's Good About FXCM?||What Could FXCM Do Better?|
|Custom baskets of stocks, indices, and cryptocurrencies||Dated website with cluttered arrangement of information|
|No deposit or withdrawal fees||Unable to browse shares on the demo account|
|Extensive knowledgebase and trading tools||Parts of the trading platform are stiff and clunky|
|24/5 customer support via phone, email, and live chat|
Key FXCM Takeaways
|Overview||One of the first online forex and CFD brokers|
|Markets||CFDs, Spreadbetting (see all products))|
|Products||Forex, Shares, Indices, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, Baskets|
|Countries Served||UK, Australia, France, India, Israel and many others|
|Minimum Deposit & Fees||$50 for retail and non-EU traders - (see all funding limits and fees)|
|Regulator(s)||UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) - (see all regulatory information here)|
|Customer Support||24-hour support via phone, SMS, live chat, & email|
|Demo Account||Yes, with £50,000 demo credits for UK and EU traders|
Where Does FXCM Operate?
FXCM accepts traders from the UK, Australia, France, India, Israel and many other countries.
The FXCM website is available in 14 languages.
- Bahasa (Indonesia)
- Tieng Viet (Vietnamese)
Subsidiary Branches and Offices of FXCM
FXCM provides brokerage services to customers through its partners and affiliates. The firm operates in the following three major international financial centers:
- London, UK: Forex Capital Markets Limited (“FXCM LTD”)
- Sydney, Australia: FXCM Australia PTY Limited (“FXCM Australia”)
- Paris, France: Forex Capital Markets Limited (“FXCM France”)
In addition, FXCM provides brokerage services to other established and developing economic regions. The firm requires the following local partners in these regions to adhere to all local regulations:
- India: FXCM Markets
- South Africa: FXCM South Africa (PTY) LTD
Can I Trust FXCM?
As an international broker, FXCM is regulated by agencies in several jurisdictions. The firm’s registration with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) allows it to do business in other EU member states including France, Germany, Greece, and Italy.
Here is the full list of regulatory bodies overseeing FXCM operations:
- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – Registration No. 217689
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) – Registration No. 309763
- South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) – Registration No. 46534
All of FXCM’s subsidiaries are regulated by local authorities in the regions where the firm operates. For instance, the ASIC regulates the firm’s Australian operations, while the FSCA oversees the firm in South Africa.
Here is a brief overview of FXCM‘s background and timeline:
- 1999 – Founded in New York and pioneered online FX trading for retail customers
- 2003 – FXCM expanded overseas, opened an office in London, and became regulated by the FCA
- 2007 – FXCM created a No Dealing Desk model. The firm executed its customer orders with independent market makers
- 2015 – Leucadia Investments becomes a majority owner of FXCM
- 2017 – FXCM decommissioned by the NFA and the CFTC
- 2018 – Re-launch of FXCM Pro website
- 2020 – FXCM launches commission-free equity trading
Previous Regulatory Issues with the NFA and CTFC
On February 6, 2017, the National Futures Association (NFA), a US regulatory agency, banned FXCM from membership citing “numerous deceptive and abusive execution activities that were designed to benefit FXCM, to the detriment of its customers.”
In summary, the NFA accused FXCM of sending its customers’ orders to an FXCM-owned subsidiary called Effex for execution. Effex, in turn, sent rebates for this order flow back to FXCM, and FXCM allegedly concealed these payments from NFA. In addition, NFA alleges that Effex defrauded customers by executing their orders in a way that benefited FXCM egregiously at their expense.
On February 6, 2017, FXCM agreed to pay a $7 million penalty to settle a suit by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), another US regulatory agency. FXCM subsequently withdrew its registration with the CFTC as part of this agreement, which left it unable to operate in the US.
On November 10, 2017, Global Brokerage Inc., a publicly traded company on the US NASDAQ exchange, announced a reorganization bankruptcy plan under Chapter 11. Global Brokerage Inc., through a subsidiary, owns a majority stake in FXCM. Both Global Brokerage Inc. and FXCM assert that FXCM customers and their assets will not be affected by the reorganization.
Outcome: FXCM settled the case without admitting nor denying allegations. The company now serves traders from over 170 countries worldwide.
Trading with FXCM: Markets, Products, and Leverages
FXCM offers traders CFDs and spreadbetting. There are five main products to trade as contracts for difference (“CFDs”). With CFDs, the traders buy and sell assets without actually holding or owning the instrument.
Here is an up-to-date list of leverages by FXCM:
- 30:1 for major currency pairs
- 10:1 for commodities (except gold and non-major equity indices)
- 20:1 for non-major currency pairs, gold and major indices
- 2:1 for cryptocurrencies
The FXCM platform offers trading in 39 different currency pairs.
FXCM also allows traders in the UK and Ireland tax-free, leveraged spread bets on the currency pairs.
Indices are indicators to how markets are performing by following the performance of a particular group of companies. With FXCM, traders can choose from 13 popular indices CFDs to trade:
|SYMBOL||INDEX||Currency||AVERAGE SPREAD (2020)|
|AUS200||ASX SPI 200 Future||AU$||2.02|
|CHN50||SGX FTSE China A50 Future||US$||10.9|
|ESP35||IBEX35 Index Future||€||7.66|
|EUSTX50||Euro Stoxx 50 Future||€||1.14|
|FRA40||CAC40 Index Future||€||1.31|
|GER301||DAX Index Future||€||2.68|
|HKG33||Hang Seng Future||HK$||11.58|
|JPN225||Nikkei 225 Dollar Future||¥||9.32|
|NAS100||E-Mini Nasdaq 100 Future||US$||1.38|
|SPX500||E-Mini S&P 500 Future||US$||0.6|
|UK100||FTSE 100 Index Future||£||1.05|
|US2000||E-Mini Russell 2000 Future||US$||0.38|
|US30||E-Mini Dow Future||US$||3.09|
Important: Spreads are variable and are subject to delay. Any spread figures shown are for informational purposes only.
FXCM offers 11 commodity futures CFDs that traders can speculate on. These are:
- Natural Gas Future
- Brent Crude Future
- Brent Crude Future SPOT
- WTI Light Sweet Crude Oil Future
- WTI Light Sweet Crude Oil Future SPOT
- Copper Future
- Spot Silver
- Spot Gold
- Corn Future
- Soy Future
- Wheat Future
The major cryptocurrency markets are covered by FXCM, namely, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. Here is the full list of eight cryptocurrency CFD products:
- CryptoMajor (a basket of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash — like an index)
FXCM baskets are like indices — a basket indicates the performance of a group of products on the market on which traders can bet on.
Alongside the CryptoMajor basket, there are two other types of baskets that allow traders to speculate on collective products’ performance in the market.
Forex baskets track the performance of a chosen major currency against a grouping of other world currencies, thus creating an index to speculate on.
- USDOLLAR (The Dow Jones FXCM Dollar Index Basket)
- Value of the USD against AUD, JPY, EUR, and GBP
- JPYBasket (Yen Index)
- Value of JPY against AUD, GBP, USD, EUR, and CAD
- EMBasket (Emerging Markets Index)
- Value of UD against minor world currencies
Shares baskets are not very different from indices, except they are smaller groupings of companies’ stocks. As opposed to a FTSE 100 index, FXCM offers shares baskets of only five or six companies.
FXCM offers the following stocks baskets:
- FAANG — Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, Netflix Inc, Alphabet Inc. Class C (Google)
- BIOTECH — AbbVie Inc, Amgen Inc, Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
- CANNABIS — Tilray Inc, GW Pharmaceuticals PLC, Canopy Growth Corp, Aurora Cannabis Inc, Cronos Group Inc, Innovative Industrial Properties Inc
- ESPORTS — Adv Micro Devices, Nvidia, Electronic Arts, Activision, Sony
- CHINA TECH — Baidu, NetEase, Weibo, iQIYI, Bilibili
- CHINA E-COMMERCE — Alibaba, Trip.com, JD.com Inc, Pinduoduo Inc, Tencent Music Entertainment Group
What About Spreads?
FXCM doesn’t offer fixed spreads, so traders need to visit FXCM.com to get up-to-date information on the current average spreads.
FXCM Account Types & Verification
The retail account is standard, to which this review is primarily suited. The main differences in the active trader and professional account are outlined below.
Active Trader Account
Active trader account holders benefit from:
- Better spreads and so cheaper trading
- A dedicated support team for active traders
- Eligibility to apply for eFXplus, an FXCM research tool
- ‘Market depth’ feature unlocked on the web trading platform
- 2% of deposited funds to spend in the FXCM app store
- Free access to APIs
The benefits of the professional trader account are not clarified on the FXCM website, although traders can expect better spreads and a less cluttered platform without warnings and support toggles.
Professional account holders do not have negative balance protection, leverage limits, and risk warnings.
In order to qualify for a professional account, traders must have:
- A portfolio exceeding €500,000 (or equivalent)
- Sufficient trading experience and activity in the past year
- At least one year experience as a professional in the financial sector
FXCM also offers an API product under ‘FXCM Pro’ aimed at institutional clients wanting to exercise wholesale trading execution.
For UK and EU traders only, FXCM demo account functions like the live trading platform, except that traders are given £50,000 practice credits to test out the functionalities of the platform.
No verification is necessary to try out the demo platform. Traders can upgrade to a live version directly from the demo platform’s dashboard.
The FXCM margin requirements for each type of account vary as market conditions, volatility, and currency rates fluctuate. Margin amounts are calculated as a percentage of the notional value of a currency pair and get adjusted as the price fluctuates.
Traders who use excessive leverage may be at risk of a margin call and having their positions closed prematurely by FXCM.
FXCM provides real-time information on usable margin and used margin so customers can track their FXCM margin requirements and adjust their trading accordingly.
Deposits, Withdrawals, Fees, and Spreads
Traders can deposit and withdraw funds for no fee charged by FXCM. The only fees traders may incur are those by the payment providers.
Deposits and Withdrawals
The available deposit and withdrawal methods are:
- Credit/Debit card
- Wire Transfer
- Union Pay
Processing times vary based on which method traders use. E-wallets and credit card transactions may take up to 24 hours, while wire transfers can take 3 to 5 working days.
FXCM only accepts funds from payment cards under the account holders name.
FXCM.com has a very clear step-by-step breakdown of each deposit method with screenshots to which traders can refer to when making their first deposits.
Spreads and Fees
FXCM has different fee structures depending on the account type. Retail account holders don’t pay commissions on trades, while active trader accounts and professional accounts do.
FXCM primarily makes money through spreads. Since spreads are not fixed, they can be calculated for each instrument and trade using the following formula:
Spread x Pip Cost x Number of Contracts = Total Transaction Cost
Other than the variable spreads, FXCM may charge traders for instances of inactivity. See the table below for general fee details.
|Inactivity Fee||$50/year (after one year of inactivity)|
|Spreads Formula||Spread x Pip Cost x Number of Contracts = Total Transaction Cost|
FXCM Platform Review
The FXCM Trading Station platform is designed to appeal to both novice and experienced traders. Traders can access the platform via desktop, web, and mobile.
Following a simple sign-up using their personal details and a handful of questions, traders have full access to the platform.
Top Bar and Menu
Once logged in, the statistics bar at the top of the page shows the trading account number, account balance, account equity, profit/loss standing, gross profit/loss standing (excluding trading fees), and the used/remaining usable margins (also shown as a percentage.)
More, the top bar shows which trading server traders are connected to, as well as a customizable layout setting.
The main menu is located on the left of the screen as a side bar where traders can access the:
- Main trading window actions
- Subscription list
- Platform settings
- Trading reports
- Language settings (choice of 10 languages)
- Research and educational resources
- Market data
Some of these options open in a new tab and are not built-in functionalities.
Browsing trading products is relatively simple. A tab named ‘Subscription List’ can be left open on the main trading screen, where product categories are split into:
- Forex Baskets
- Index CFDs
- Commodity CFDs
- Stock Baskets
Considering that the cryptocurrencies are also CFDs, this grouping can seem confusing, though overall, it’s simple enough to navigate.
The trading window requires all traders to select and confirm as to which account to trade with (multiple accounts can belong to one trader), the asset being traded, the amount, and the order type (at market rate, or within market range).
Even though products can be added to the trading dashboard to execute quick trades, it doesn’t matter which ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ button traders click, since all products and choices lead to the same market order window.
This aesthetic complication with no apparent function is disappointing, but it does the job.
The charting feature is familiar, as the same charting design and functionality is used by many brokers.
Traders can use the following features while trading with FXCM:
- Fibonacci tools
- Shape tools
- Gann tools
- Arrow markers
- Pip ruler
- Switch between chart types (line, bar, table, candlestick)
- Price floater toggle
- Custom indicators
Other Notable Dashboard Features
- Dealing Rates Window: This window displays bid / ask levels for all currency pairs available for trading. When a trader clicks on one of the pairs in this window, a ticket opens for entering a trade.
- Accounts and Positions Window: This window shows the details of the account including equity, daily P&L, margin used and margin available for use. Another tab of the same window also allows traders to track open and closed positions and a summary of their daily activity.
- Trading Central: All relevant news articles and updates related to assets that are added to the users’ trading screen as pop-up windows are present here.
- Customizability: Traders can customize and choose as to how the main screen is laid out. The customizability is done block to block, so it isn’t completely free to layout like with some other brokers.
If traders want further customization, they can develop their own tools. FXCM allows users with programming experience to build their own custom features using the firm’s API.
FXCM has created an online marketplace of apps to support its Trading Station platform. FXCM account holders can download these apps and customize their trading experience.
Apps cover all types of trading strategies and styles. The marketplace offers apps for fundamental traders, trend traders, and range traders among other categories. Both demo account and real account holders can access these apps.
The apps include:
- Custom indicators
- Automated trading strategies
- Reporting tools
- Extensions for other FXCM-supported platforms (like MetaTrader 4)
Supported Trading Platforms
FXCM supports 3 other platforms, namely:
- MetaTrader 4: Advanced charting, pre-loaded trading strategies, automation, mobile-friendly, backtesting, and custom indicators
- NinjaTrader: Custom alerts, advanced charting, automation, pre-set strategies, and backtesting
- TradingView: The less feature-rich of the three, offering automated trading and pre-loaded strategies
FXCM offers a selection of learning resources to help beginners get started.
- FXCM University: This comprehensive Forex 101 online university course covers everything from explaining forex to chart reading to risk management. As with a university, the course is divided into freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years with increasingly more challenging content as the student progresses.
- Trading Guides: Free trading guides offering insights into trading.
- Video Library: This comprehensive library covers market educational topics through short and informative videos.
- Seminars: These sessions take place every Wednesday after 6 pm and alternate between beginner and advanced sessions. Every trader, including those with demo accounts, can participate, but attendance is limited to 10 per seminar.
- Live Classroom: Webinars that allow attendees to ask questions via chat to the moderators, who cover a variety of FX topics.
Mobile Trading With FXCM
FXCM’s mobile trading platform is far more impressive than the desktop version. The application is available both on iOS and Android.
While the interface seems dated, asset browsing is set as the default homepage and traders can execute contracts in just a few clicks.
Trade Execution and Management
Trades can be managed by switching between tabs presented at the bottom of the screen.
The mobile app also allows users to create entry orders, where traders have to define the amount, the rate, stop/loss limit, and trade type.
More, the mobile app offers a top bar statistics toggle which users can tap to switch on or off — this is the simplified equivalent of the top bar on the desktop platform.
The mobile chart is far more basic than the desktop version — traders are free to change the time frame to view assets in, but no actual charting features are available.
Frequently Asked Questions
FXCM’s platform and website may ignite a few questions, so here are some common ones asked by traders wanting to use the platform.
Can FXCM be trusted?
FXCM is an internationally regulated broker. You are encouraged to decide whether a broker is trustworthy or not based on the information available on the broker’s present regulatory status, history, and overall platform impression. Reliable customer support is also an essential part of broker good service.
What is the minimum deposit with FXCM?
FXCM’s minimum deposit for regular retail account holders and non-EU traders is $50, while regular EU account holders are required to make a minimum deposit of £300/€300. Both minimum deposits apply to other trading currencies in their equivalent sums.
How do I withdraw money from FXCM?
FXCM offers seven different payment methods which are also accepted as valid withdrawal methods. The full list of withdrawal options include Credit/Debit cards, wire transfer, e-wallets, BPay, Skrill, Union Pay, Neteller, and POLi.
How long does it take to withdraw money from FXCM?
The time it takes to withdraw your funds depends on the state of your account and the payment provider you use. Provided that your account is fully verified, withdrawals via wire transfer may take 3-5 days, while all other methods may take up to 24 hours.
Are there alternative CFD brokers to FXCM?
While FXCM is a regulated broker with plenty of products and a global presence, other brokers also offer hundreds of CFDs in different markets. Other popular CFD brokers that traders may consider include AvaTrade, Plus500, and Markets.com.
Credits: Original review written by Alison Quine. Major updates in June 2020 by Marko Csokasi with contributions from the Commodity.com editorial team.