FXCM Review (2020) – Are they a Scam or a Good All-round Broker?

FXCM Review

With their history laid to rest, FXCM now offers great prices and a quality education suitable for most traders.

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FXCM - Reviews & Ratings

FXCM offers users multiple trading platforms, like ZuluTrade, meant for social/copy trading, and NinjaTrader, a platform best suited for automated trading. The prices and fees are low in general, but the range of offerings is very limited. Beginner and intermediate traders will greatly benefit from the wide range of top-quality educational resources.

FAST FACTS:
• Demo Account: Yes
• Account Minimum: $50
• Regulation: FCA (UK), IIROC (Canada), ASIC (Australia), etc.
• Best For: Traders looking for a great education and low fees
• Asset Coverage: Forex and CFDs

Investor Warning: Trading Forex/CFDs on margin carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. Leverage can work against you. The products are intended for retail, professional and eligible counterparty clients. Retail clients who maintain account(s) with Forex Capital Markets Limited (“FXCM LTD”) could sustain a total loss of deposited funds but are not subject to subsequent payment obligations beyond the deposited funds but professional clients and eligible counterparty clients could sustain losses in excess of deposits. Clients who maintain account(s) with FXCM Australia Pty. Limited (“FXCM AU”), FXCM South Africa (PTY) Ltd (“FXCM ZA”) or FXCM Markets Limited (“FXCM Markets”) could sustain losses in excess of deposits.

FXCM (Forex Capital Markets) is a forex broker founded in 1999 in New York, currently based in London, UK. The company was banned in the US because of fraud charges. Global Brokerage, Inc. the previous parent company of FXCM filed for bankruptcy in late 2017.

FXCM is currently owned by the reputable Jefferies Group, formerly known as Leucadia National Corporation. The brokerage is regulated by multiple regulatory bodies like Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC), etc.

Overview and Summary

  1. FXCM was involved in a scandal that resulted in them getting banned in the U.S. but they are successfully rebuilding their reputation.
  2. There are multiple platforms, some of which offer social/copy trading and algorithmic trading capabilities.
  3. The prices and fees are well below average and there are discounts for high-volume trading.
  4. Users can have access to a plentitude of good research tools.
  5. The education is outstanding and users can also get a demo account with £50,000 of virtual money.
  6. The selection of investment products is quite poor when compared to the competition.

Is FXCM a Scam?

FXCM has a history of fraudulent business practices that lasted from 2009 to 2014. Namely, the company offered its users a no dealing desk platform and gave them misleading information that damaged their trades.

This happened because FXCM had a relationship with an important market maker at the time. This concealed relationship led to a conflict of interest between FXCM and its users, which resulted in users losing money.

This was found out and was followed by a list of fraud charges and a $7 million penalty. The company was banned in the US afterward.

Restoring Their Reputation

Since this difficult period, FXCM has made effective moves to repair its damaged reputation. The new owner of FXCM is Jefferies Group, a well-known and trusted investment bank and financial services company based in New York.

The company is regulated by the aforementioned tier-1 regulators and is considered a low-risk broker. Things are looking good for the future reputation of FXCM, but it will be a while before it is completely healed.

Trading Platforms

FXCM Mobile Platform

FXCM offers multiple desktop and mobile platforms. Users can choose FXCM’s own Trading Station or some of the other well-known trading platforms like MetaTrader 4, ZuluTrade, and NinjaTrader.

Trading Station

Trading Station desktop (not to be confused with TradeStation) is FXCM’s main platform. It provides a good trading experience for all kinds of investors, be it beginners or advanced traders.

A noteworthy feature of Trading Station desktop is the Marketscope 2.0, a great charting tool that can run simultaneously with  Trading Station. It includes a bundle of powerful tools and allows for some level of customization.

Trading Station Web

The web platform is very similar to the desktop version, as it gives users access to videos, news, market data signals, etc. It also has almost as many charting and drawing tools as the desktop version, and a clean, intuitive interface. Trading Station web is very stable and mostly runs without a hitch.

MetaTrader 4

MT 4 is a widely used platform in the forex industry. It is a good trading software overall  and has a scripting language that allows users to develop their own indicators and scripts. MetaTrader 4 is much more accessible than Trading Station when it comes to the scripting language, but Trade Station seems to be the superior platform overall.

Ninja Trader

Ninja Trader has a few interesting features aside from the plentitude of trading and analysis tools. Tech-savvy traders can use NinjaScripts to develop their custom indicators and trading strategies easily, and the platform also has automated trading capabilities.

ZuluTrade

ZuluTrade Page Screenshot

FXCM also provides ZuluTrade, a social and copy trading platform. The platform allows users to copy the trades of professional traders immediately as they occur. Users can also leave comments and communicate through the platform.

Algorithmic Trading

There are plenty of products to buy from the FXCM app store, like automated trading bots. The store has products for all the aforementioned platforms, as well as the Seer Trading Platform.

Seer is made for building, optimizing, back-testing, and deploying automated trading solutions. The addition of this platform is a great boon for tech-savvy traders with an interest in algorithmic trading.

Mobile Platforms

FXCM Mobile Platform

Trading Station mobile and MT 4 together provide a stable mobile trading experience, packed with features like the comprehensive trade ticket that allows for one cancels other orders. Trading Station mobile provides users with a bundle of drawing tools, indicators, and is great for charting in general.

Trading Station mobile offers a richer trading experience than MT 4 overall but has a couple of drawbacks.  There are no push notifications and real-time alerts on the Android version, which are available on most other mobile trading platforms. Also, there is no two-level authentication.

Where FXCM Shines

Research and News

The offer of market research and analysis tools is not exactly at the top of the food chain but is certainly above-average. The offer of educational content is extensive, providing great overall forex-related education to traders of all skill levels.

Research Tools

FXCM users have access to a basic pack of tools plus a great selection of technical analysis tools. The charting tools are outstanding and very customizable with more than 50 available indicators.

There’s a market scanner feature that uses technical indicators to show traders when it’s a good opportunity to buy/sell. Unfortunately, the market scanner only works for a limited number of products.

News Feed

The news feed is very good and users can also use an economic calendar. The news is separated into categories. That way, users can specify what they are interested in, and receive news accordingly. FXCM’s daily newsletter, Before the Bell, provides helpful info and daily trading ideas based on the market analysis of FXCM’s experts.

Education

FXCM offers users a near-flawless educational experience that includes training videos, webinars, written content, as well as a demo account with £50,000 of virtual money. The company offers a bundle of great basic forex training lessons, and a considerable video archive full of well-produced, high-quality video lessons.

A lot of webinars, articles, and videos are free. Users also get free educational content when they sign up for the demo account. Keep in mind that the demo account is only available in a limited number of countries.

The demo account and the lessons are great if you are a beginner. Also, If you want to get started with forex, you can check out our beginner’s guide to forex trading.

Pricing

FXCM has low trading costs overall and no withdrawal, account, or deposit fees. However, the other fees are average, and there is an inactivity fee for accounts that have been idle for a year or more. The minimum initial deposit is only $50.

Spread pricing data is available on the spreads cost page on their website. There are no side-by-side comparisons to help users determine the real cost of the trade, though. This lack of data is a potential deterrent for traders, but it is by no means a huge concern.

Active Trader Account

Clients that deposit $25,000 or more have access to the tier 1 Active Trader account. This account type gives users more research options, and the commission rate is lowered to $30 per million. The round turn price for EUR/USD pairs is only £4.

Tier 2 Active Trader account is reserved for users who trade in volumes exceeding $150 million per month. Here, the commission rate is $25 per million and there are also other smaller discounts for Active Trader account users.

Assets
EUR/USDAvg. spread cost is 1.3 pips.Spread cost is 0.7 pips
GBP/USDAvg. spread cost is 1.8 pipsSpread cost is 0.8 pips.
EUR/GBPAvg. spread cost is 2.3 pips.Spread cost is 0.6 pips.
S&P 500 CFDAvg. spread cost is 0.38 pips.0.38 pips

Customer Service

The customer service representatives are very professional and respond quickly. Users can contact customer support via email, live chat, and phone. The phone service is available in  42 countries.

The only downside is that Customer support is not available during the weekends. On working days, they are available 24 hours a day.

Where FXCM is Lacking

Range of Offerings

The list of investment products isn’t impressive compared to the other big names in the forex world. Users can only trade forex and CFDs. FXCM offers users five cryptocurrencies that are provided through CFDs. These are Bitcoin, Etherium, Litecoin, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash ABC.

There are only 39 currency pairs to choose from, as well as 14 Stock Index CFDs and 10 Commodity CFDs. There are no single-stock CFDs available.

All in all, FXCM doesn’t get a good rating when it comes to the range of investment types. There are many better alternatives among the best forex brokers.

Conclusion – What are FXCM’s Strengths and Weaknesses?

FXCM offers low prices, very good research tools, and multiple powerful platforms. Tech-savvy traders will find many great features for algorithmic trading, and opening an account is very quick and simple. Customer support representatives are praiseworthy and the educational content is superb.

However, users can only trade a limited selection of forex and CFDs, and the mobile and desktop platforms are lacking in usability when compared to the competition.

About Author

Tim Fries Tim Fries is the cofounder of The Tokenist. He has a B. Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Tim is also the co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital (protechcap.com).