Forex Capital Markets, abbreviated as FXCM is a brokerage firm in the forex market. The firm allows you to predict and earn from price movements in the forex market as well as trade contracts for differences in indices and many other commodities.
Its main offices are located in Sydney and London. It is licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (217689) and ASIC Australia. FXCM is prohibited from operating in the United States, due to fraudulent misrepresentation offense. FXCM was formerly owned by Global Brokerage Inc. until late 2017 when it filed for bankruptcy.
Currently, Jefferies Financial Group – previously known as Leucadia National Corporation – owns FXCM Group.
Although its tradeable market options are limited, FXCM still has much to offer ranging from comprehensive trading tools to top-notch market research. FXCM operates in different countries where it has been licensed. In Australia, the company is regulated and licensed (309763) by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, ASIC.
In this review, we take a closer look at each aspect of FXCM as we gauge how good a broker it is. Read on.
Trading Platforms & Features
Among the key things that determine the reliability of any broker is the trading platform. To that end, FXCM has different trading platforms to ensure it accommodates its entire customer base.
It also supports a wide range of trading tools as well. Apart from MetaTrader 4(MT4), FXCM makes use of other platforms such as ZuluTrade, NinjaTrader and its Trading Station platform. The platforms can be accessed through your phone or desktop. Alternatively, you can also use the web to access these platforms.
FXCM also packs four free APIs which support sophisticated algo as well as automated strategies.
As of the moment, FXCM has its App Store with apps such as a 24 Hour Trend Locator. This and other apps in the Store will make your trading experience with FXCM easier. Some of the regularly free apps in the store include Forex News.
FXCM’s trading platform can be accessed through the web or desktop. The web version has been found to run smoothly. The desktop version and packs a charting tool, Marketscope 2.0. The tool can is essentially a charting package and can run simultaneously to the main platform window.
The web version, too, packs a number of useful features such as news feeds, research, and market data signals.
This third-party platform also comes with a number of trading tools such as the automated trading ability. You can create your trading strategies either from scratch or use already developed Ninjascripts.
In addition, NinjaTrader comes with a market replay analyzing tool.
For algorithmic trading, FXCM supports the Seer Trading Platform as well as ZuluTrade. Note that the FXCM’s App Store provides you with technical indicators and an automated trading robot.
Web trading platform
The web platform is user-definable and easy to navigate through. It has a lot to offer for any forex trader or investor. The website is based on HTML 5 and only catches up to web platforms by other brokers.
The login process is one-step which is really a drawback. It has a simple search bar that can be found on the ‘subscription list’. Products are systematically and well-arranged for easy access.
When it comes to orders, FXCM’s web platform has many order types for you such as Market, Limit, Stop, Stop trailing, and One-cancel-other (OCO). Although there is an option to set price alerts to your email or text message to your phone number, the whole process is tedious.
You can download your portfolio and fee reports on the ‘Reports’ tab.
Mobile trading platform
In comparison to the web platform, the FXCM mobile platform has a long way to catch up. It lacks user-friendliness.
When using the app, you can feel it’s a little bit outdated. The login process is one-step which is still a drawback considering we are moving towards a better and secure log in methodologies.
The search function is under the Settings menu which is just but average. Unlike the web-based platform, you can’t set alerts on the mobile platform. You can still download your free report via the app.
There is a wide variety of order types just like with the web-based platform.
Desktop trading platform
Just like the mobile platform, the web desktop platform is not easy to use. It, however, is user-definable. A one-step login is used for the login process which isn’t very secure.
There is also a search function and many order types than those on the web platform. Note that some order types such as OTO (One-Triggers-the other), OTOCO (One-Triggers-One-Cancels-the-Other), If-Then, and If-Then OCO (One-Cancel-the-Other) are ca only be accessed through the desktop platform.
You can download your reports too although you will be redirected to the website where you will be needed to log in again.
Commissions & Fees
Every Australian trader and investors know that the fees charged determine whether the broker is ideal for you or not. This is why it is recommended to compare the fees charged before settling with a broker.
When it comes to commissions and fees, FXCM’s Active Trader account provides competitive pricing for high volume traders. The broker offers low rates when it comes to commission and has average spreads.
The trading fees –built into spreads- and non-trading fees are low. Besides, there is no fee charged on withdrawing for debit/credit cards and the fee structure is clearly outlined. However, the inactivity fee may be a turn off to some.
The various fees charged may be confusing. Below we explain the fee and charges lingo.
- Trading fees: this fee is charged when you trade and can either be committed or spreads
- Financing rates: they are incurred when you hold your leveraged positions longer than 24 hours. They are also referred to as overnight rates.
- Non-trading fees: these are the charges that don’t directly pertain trading and include withdrawal and inactivity fees.
Withdrawals using the debit and credit cards are free of charge. Bank transfers, on the other hand, are charged and the withdrawal fees depend on the currency, transfer type, and account origin.
The currency conversion fee hinges on the amount you intend to transfer. Below is a breakdown of the conversion fee against the amount being transferred.
|$0 – $9,999||1.5%|
|$10,000 – $49,999||1%|
|$50,000 – $99,999||0.5%|
The process of opening an FXCM account is simple and pretty much straightforward. To make things better, there is no minimum balance upon opening an account. You can begin trading with as small as $50.
The process can be done online although it can some days. FXCM has no restrictions on customers opening an account. Nonetheless, customers from countries such as the USA and Japan cannot open an FXCM account.
FXCM provides you with different account types such as:
- Individual, Standard
- Individual, Active Trader
The Active Trader account has better spreads compared to the Standard one hence suitable if you trade at high volumes.
Deposit and withdrawal
FXCM allows for a number of methods for both deposit and withdrawal. There is no deposit fee charged. Credit and debit cards are all supported.
However, the withdrawal process might take longer. For some banks, the withdrawal fee can be high too.
There are several options both for deposit and withdrawal. Also, the deposit is free of charge. On the negative side, withdrawal can be slow.
FXCM offers you an option to add other accounts with different base currencies even though you had opened your account in a major currency say the USD.
Tip: If you open your FXCM account and fund it with the same currency as that of your bank account, you won’t be charged the conversion fee. You can alternatively open a multi-currency bank account which you will use on FXCM to save on conversion fees.
Deposit options at FXCM include
- Bank transfer
- Credit/Debit card
Depending on your bank, transfers into your FXCM account can take anywhere between 1 to 5 business days. Deposits through credit and debit cards are almost instant.
Withdrawals through credit and debit cards are free of charge but for bank transfers, a fee is charged. e-Wallets are not supported when it comes to withdrawals.
Note that you can only withdraw money into the credit/debit card that you used for depositing. In case a problem occurs when withdrawing, FXCM warns that it can take as long as 3o days to be sorted.
Markets and products
FXCM offers various trading options such as the Forex market, gold and index CFDs. Micro-CFDs have no commission. As of the moment, no single-stock CFDs are available at FXCM.
There is only a limited choice of forex and CFDs that you can trade at FXCM. The product portfolio is limited and compared to other brokers, FXCM is a step behind.
FXCM has always excellent analysis tools such as market screener and good charting. In addition, the broker offers new feeds and an economic calendar.
On the downside, some of the trading tools are not free. There is, also, no fundamental data.
FXCM provides great technical analysis tools, e.g. good charting and market screener. You will also find news, newsletters and an economic calendar. FXCM mostly focuses on FX hence no fundamental data. Note that some of the tools are not free.
If you want to have a good experience when using these tools, try the web platform. The web-platform is also packed with plenty of research tools.
You can also find recommendations based on analysis via the Trading Signal and Trading Analyzer pages.
FXCM has an excellent charting system with more than 50 technical indicators. Editing the charts is simple.
The Market Scanner feature tells you when its ideal to buy or sell based on the technical indicators. Its use is limited to a few products.
Newsfeeds are available via the ‘Global Market News’ page. Searches are categorized for easy navigation. Before the Bell is a daily newsletter and includes about 5 trading ideas.
Although it lacks a filter option, the overall design of the economic calendar is great.
Customer support at FXCM is generally good. There are various ways to get in touch with customer services. You can reach FXCM’s customer support through the live chat option, phone or email.
Here you can find relevant answers to your inquiries quickly. On weekends, customer support is not available. Otherwise, customer service operates for 24 hours each day on the weekdays
In some countries, FXCM provides toll-free phone support. There are also local language representatives for each location FXCM operates in.
A variety of educational tools are available at FXCM. These include a demo account ($5,000 virtual money), tutorial videos, booklets, educational videos, and webinars. The educational tools cover many topics ranging from basics to trading tips.
Note that the demo account option is limited to specific locations. The videos provided are of high quality and concise.
They are easy to follow and understand.
In the UK, FXCM is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority – registration number 217689). In Australia, ASIC ensures that FXCM abides by the trading policies and regulations. There is also a negative balance option for responsible trading.
FXCM has been around for over 2 decades and to say the least, it is safe and legitimate.
Despite the fact that FXCM has a limited portfolio and outdates mobile platform, we can’t simply overlook its low trading fee and excellent research tools.
By and large, FXCM is a good brokerage choice for an average active trader. The competitive spreads and algorithmic trading features come in very handy. The takeover by Jefferies Financial Group which is a highly-regarded financial institution has helped FXCM recover from the damaged reputation. Even though, earning the full trust of their customers will take some time.
Note that Forex Capital Markets Limited (“FXCM LTD”) is a subsidiary within the FXCM Group.