IIAwards - Review of FXCM
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7 October
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As part of the recently announced IIAwards, in which we celebrate innovations in the fintech and crypto industry, today we will analyze FXCM taking into account different aspects.

General information

Forex Capital Markets limited ("FXCM LTD") is a UK-based spread betting, CFD and forex trading broker, offering the ability to trade on forex, forex baskets, indices, commodities and cryptocurrencies. FXCM was founded in 1999 and is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority under the name Forex Capital Markets Limited.

Commissions & fees - (3/5)

When compared to similar brokers, FXCM has low trading fees and average non-trading fees. There are no account, deposit or withdrawal fees. However, the client is required to pay a 50 USD fee after one year of inactivity. 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.

Markets & products - (1/5)

The list of forex, CFD, and spread betting instruments is below industry average, with just 63 total securities that include only two cryptocurrencies—Bitcoin and Ether. There's no share coverage and the list of exotic currency pairs is unusually small. The UK 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 UK brokers. Index CFDs feature a subset of major world instruments, but clients can trade just nine major commodity CFDs. FXCM offers a social trading service via the third-party service Zulutrade. The access is provided through Zulutrade's own trading platform, where all you have to do is register with your FXCM account number. You can find further information on FXCM's website. However, one of the key drawbacks is that it’s not possible to change the default leverage levels for the securities.

Advanced trading platform - (4/5)

FXCM allows you to trade on four platforms: Trading Station, Metatrader4, Ninjatrader and Zulutrade. The web trading platform is available in English, Chinese, German, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Japanese, Spanish and French, and is one of the most customizable trading solutions available. However, 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.

The feature-rich Trading station allows its users to engage in automated trading, one-click trading and chart trading, as well as advanced backtesting. The desktop download provides users the ability to execute multiple order types and view real-time pricing and trade directly from the chart using FXCM’s exclusive real volume indicator. On the other hand, the FXCM Trading Station's web platform allows for browser-based trading using HTML5 features. This provides users the ability to access live FXCM News, store users settings on FXCM Cloud, access customized trading analytics and view charts across multiple screens.

Innovative account opening - (2/5)

The account opening process at FXCM is hassle-free. The minimum deposit is 360 USD in Europe while it is equal to 50 USD in non-EU countries (for Standard account).

Active Trader accounts require a 25,000 USD minimum deposit and ensure better spreads and customer support compared to the standard accounts. The broker accepts users from the majority of countries except residents of the USA, Japan, Brazil, Turkey, Hong Kong, Iran, Cuba, Russia, New Zealand, Syria and South Korea.

FXCM offers four account types: Individual - Standard, Individual - Active Trader, Joint and Corporate. The account opening is fully digital and straightforward. You have to go through the following steps:

  1. Choose which platform, account type and base currency you wish to use.
  2. Add personal information and do a KYC questionnaire. KYC means "Know Your Customer," which is a standard and regulated process for identifying clients.
  3. Upload documents to verify your identity and residency. You can upload a copy of your ID/passport for verifying your identity, and a bank statement/utility bill for verifying your residency.

Customer service - (4/5)

While the broker offers only 24/5 support, there are numerous ways to reach the support team and it does not require significant time. It is possible to reach the service via Live Chat, e-mail and telephone. The broker also offers an SMS service and direct access to the trading desk for live account holders during market trading hours. Upon accessing the Live Chat function, the users are prompted to enter personal information such as name and e-mail address. This is an extra measure of security. In this manner, customer service agents can verify the identity should the enquiry involve account-specific data.

When the required data is entered, a response by a service agent is received almost instantaneously. In the ‘Help’ section of the website, users can find information on key topics and answers to the Frequently Asked Questions. The information is categorized on topic and catalogued per question.

Education - (5/5)

FXCM provides a wide range of trader education resources. Users can benefit from comprehensive articles on key topics, ranging from economic themes to specific trading strategies and information about the use of trading indicators. FXCM underwrites the importance of economic education and provides a wealth of resources to that end. 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. Furthermore, the broker’s YouTube page includes a wealth of tutorials and practical video guides and it has a demo account option.

Mobile trading / Apps - (3/5)

FXCM offers users the ability to trade on their own mobile trading app for Android and iOS users, providing the ability to trade multiple asset classes directly from their phones, view real-time prices of markets, view multiple different timeframes and access advanced order type functionality. 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. First, it provides no second layer of authentication, continuing an omission found in MetaTrader platforms. Second, push notifications for Android are not enabled and don't support real-­time alerts, a core feature on other mobile platforms.

UI / UX - (3/5)

FXCM provides a simple, transparent trading offering suitable for both beginner and advanced traders. The broker also offers a wide range of trading platforms such as its own advanced, feature-rich, proprietary trading platform called Trading Station for Desktop, Web and Mobile. Users can also trade on MetaTrader 4 and NinjaTrader as well as on a variety of specialized platforms. Both beginner and advanced traders will enjoy access to the trading features provided in FXCM Plus and FXCM Apps, as well as the extensive educational resources and trader research articles, videos and webinars.

Digital security - (2/5)

FXCM is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority of South Africa. The platform does not offer two-step, secure authentication and biometric authentication isn't available either.

Novelties

In 2019, FXCM launched several tradable baskets (e.g., JPYBasket, EMBasket, USEquities and CryptoMajors) that have been a welcome addition to the available investment offer.

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