For this reason, traders in this arena use intermediaries, i.e., Forex brokers, to carry out their trades and execute strategies. The role of the Forex broker, therefore, cannot be trivialized.
This is why when choosing a broker for your Forex trades, you have to weigh in a lot of factors.
Today, there are many Forex brokers on the internet – in the range of thousands- to choose from.
This is where the big questions come in. How can you be certain that the broker you chose is the real deal? How sure are you that the broker is legitimate?
Most of the beginners in the Australian Forex market find it difficult to know the best broker who will fit their trading needs. True, it is an uphill task to find a reliable and trustworthy broker. However, we are here to simplify that for you.
If you are looking for the best Forex broker, then you just came to the right place. To help you choose the best broker, below, we have sampled a list of top 5 brokers as well as factors to keep in mind when selecting a broker.
Top Australian Forex Brokers
With all the factors considered, you can now go ahead and select the broker you wish to trade with.
Below is a compilation of the top 5 Forex brokers in Australia. Most of these are also CFD providers.
Now lets see what each of these brokers has to offer.
1. Pepperstone (Forex and CFD)
Pepperstone was established in 2010 and has grown to be one of the leading Forex brokers ever since. In Australia, Pepperstone is regarded as one of the best brokers. In 2014, it was among the 15 biggest Forex brokerage companies in the world.
It is based in Melbourne, Australia. This award-winning brokerage company is registered and regulated by ASIC (414530) as the Pepperstone Group Limited.
The main trading platforms are MT4 (desktop, iPhone/iPad, Android), MT5 (desktop), cTrader, and cAlgo.
2. IC Markets
Founded in 20017, IC Markets is an ASIC licensed and regulated (license number 335692) broker. It is owned by the International Capital Markets PTY and headquartered in Sydney – Level 6 309 Kent Street. IC Markets also has offices in Cyprus.
It offers three main trading platforms: MT4, MT5, and cTrader. IC Markets additionally offers low spreads. Besides, it has a comprehensive education panel. The customer support is available 24/7. The leverage ratio in IC Markets is also high (1:500).
On the downside, IC Market doesn’t offer bonuses.
3. CMC Market
Next on our list is CMC Market. This brokerage firm has been around for a long time, having been established in 1989. Its top-notch brokerage services are backed up by the excellent reputation it has earned.
CMC Market is headquartered in London, although it has a presence in Australia through its offices. In Australia, it is licensed under ASIC as CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty Ltd (238054) as well as CMC Markets Stockbroking Limited (246381).
The company uses the CMC Platform as well as the MT4 trading platform.
4. Go Markets
Go Markets Pty Limited has been in operation since establishment in 2006. In Australia, Go Markets is licensed and regulated by ASIC. It has its head offices in Melbourne, Australia – Level 22, 600 Bourke Street.
Go Markets is undoubtedly one of the best brokerage companies having an experience of over a decade. The company has a massive client base in the countries it is regulated to operate in.
It offers Forex services through the MT4 and MT5 trading platforms. The company has a fast trade execution system, thanks to advanced servers.
It also offers analysis and trading tools such as Trading Central. It also has a demo account that expires after 30 days. Therefore, you need to be a quick learner.
Alternatively if you are looking to trade stocks, check out eToro.
Factors to keep in mind when selecting Forex brokers
Before selecting a Forex broker, the first thing you should consider is whether the broker is regulated and licensed to operate in Australia by the relevant commission (ASIC) or any other competent international agency.
Licensing and regulation provide assurance that you are not being scammed. Besides, it guarantees you that the broker meets the standards set by the responsible regulatory agency.
You will be at ease going with a licensed broker since your funds will be protected even in the case of insolvency.
In Australia, the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) strictly ensures that licensed brokers meet the operation standards and all other set policies regarding investments.
Trading Platform & Software
The trading platform provides a channel that enables you to access the market. As such, you have to ensure that your broker has a reliable trading platform(s). Some brokers have their own proprietary trading platforms, while others rely on third parties to develop platforms for them.
Of the two, proprietary is the best since the broker’s client base builds them. It is recommended to go with a broker that can offer a wide range of platforms that can be accessed by multiple devices. This is because sometimes you may be forced to trade from a desktop computer or smartphone.
Most Forex brokers use the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading platform or a combination of MT4 and any other platform.
Other additional features
You have probably heard the saying, ‘It is the smallest things that count.’
While they initially may not seem useful, the additional features that your broker offers go a long way in ensuring your trading experiences are not only successful but also productive.
These features include:
- Risk management tools
- One-click trading
- Resources offered by the broker such as educational material
Sure, these are all trivial, but they cannot be overlooked. It is these features that distinguish between a good broker and the best broker. For instance, a broker that doesn’t provide a demo account is not ideal for a beginner.
Commissions & Spreads
The Forex market typically operates on spreads, unlike other markets that operate on commissions. This explains why a majority of the brokers have no commission on their services.
New traders rarely consider customer support services, yet it is an integral part. The importance of customer support is not realized until you are stuck or need to make an urgent inquiry.
This doesn’t mean that if you are a professional, you should overlook this factor. On the contrary, regardless of your level of experience, at one point, you will need the help of the customer service.
This is why you should ensure your broker choice has excellent customer support. While at it, check whether the customer support is also reachable in multiple ways.
Any Forex trader will tell you that the Forex market is very competitive. The same applies to brokers. Some brokers may offer services such as resources for analysis, news feeds, and trading signals to get the edge over other brokers.
While some of these brokers offer this for free, others may put a restriction on these services. Before selecting a broker, confirm that they don’t charge extra fees or some sort of subscription so as you can access these features.
Broker’s Business Model
In the process of selecting a broker, you may come across abbreviations such as STP, ECN, NDD, and many others. To clear the confusion around these terms and abbreviations, it is crucial to understand the business model of the broker.
In the Forex market, there are primarily two types of brokers:
- Dealing Desk
- Non-Dealing Desk
Dealing desk brokers will execute your trade and as a result, be exposed to that trade. In other words, they bring you the other side of the trade.
On the other hand, non-dealing desk brokers, also known as (NDD brokers) involve a third party through which they pass your trade. There are two categories of NDD brokers: ECN and STP.
With ECN, your trade is executed by having it processed on the broker’s computer trading system. It is then sent to the Electronic Communication Network.
Since it involves no dealing desk, it is referred to as a Non-dealing desk.
With STP, your trades are sent to a third party. The market maker’s dealing desk then executes them. The broker in such a case is referred to as a Straight Through Processing broker hence the name STP.
Both STP and ECN act as channels for transferring your trades and don’t execute the trades.
The importance of understanding your broker’s business model
Understanding the broker’s business model is essential as it determines the type of spreads you are provided with. Spreads could be fixed or variable (floating).
How Australian Forex Brokers Make Money
If you are wondering how brokers make money, we have the answer for you. Brokers earn through spread they charge traders. Spreads are the difference between the buying and selling price.
The Forex broker may charge you different fees, such as a fixed or floating spread or commission fee.
The difference between a fixed and floating spread is that the latter is always varying depending on the volatility in the market while the former remains constant. As to which is better hinges on your trading needs.
Commission fees, on the other hand, is obtained as a percentage of the broker’s spread.
Understanding your Forex Brokers needs and the ideal broker
Your ideal broker depends on you as a trader and the kind of trading that interests you.
If you are an amateur in forex trading, your ideal broker should provide:
- Educational resources such as guides and videos on trading
- A demo account
- An easy to use interface and friendly trading platform
Unlike beginners, professional traders are inclined towards brokers that can offer:
- All-inclusive trading tools
- High leverage to multiply their capital
- Low spreads
For Day Traders
Day traders have the upper hand over regular traders since many brokers can meet their needs on the internet. On the downside, these traders usually trade for particular short periods.
Therefore, an ideal broker should be able to offer:
- A wide range of day trading instruments to help them get trading opportunities
- Low spreads
Scalpers are known to hold market positions for a very short while. Nonetheless, during this period, they make a lot of trades. Scalpers usually aim to make small profits on the many trades.
If you are a scalper, you have to confirm that your broker allows for scalping.
Other questions to ask the Broker
- The deposit and withdrawal fees
- Regulatory and licensing status
- The policies that ensure the safety of your funds
- Customer support operation hours
The proliferation of Forex brokers has made it increasingly difficult for a beginner to find and make the right choices when it comes it brokers. We hope that our guide helps you make the right choice on the broker you will be dealing with.