FXCM is an online broker that was first established in the United States around the 90s, primarily focusing on CFDs for stocks and currencies. They would later move out of the U.S. market to start a rebranding campaign in 2018 under the Leucadia Company under the ownership of the Jefferies Financial Group.
With almost 20 years in service, FXCM has become the world’s second-largest Forex broker outside of Japan. In addition, FXCM has garnered international praise and has won several awards for its outstanding services and achievements in the financial industry.
However, despite all this, the online broker’s history has been dotted with many controversies, mainly with its business malpractices becoming the subject of much debate. This would lead many to consider the FXCM broker as a scam of sorts.
In this FXCM review, we will assess the structure of the broker’s services as well as the overall performance of its trading platform. Later on, we will look into the controversy that surrounds FXCM, and if it holds up to its reputation to this day.
FXCM: Services and Offerings
• Trading Instruments
FXCM offers its clients a wide range of trading selections with over 39 currency pairs as well as CFDs for 13 indices, 9 commodities, and 1 bond. It is important to note that FXCM’s offerings change depending on the region the branch is located. While its offerings can be considered limited compared to that of other brokers, FXCM’s trading selection is still enough for traders of any experience to organically build a portfolio.
A major advantage when trading with FXCM is its execution model that allows traders to get the best deal for their trades.
• Account Types and Bonuses
FXCM offers 2 main account types to its clients: the Standard Account and the Active Trader Account. The brokerage used to have a 3rd account type named the Mini Account but was recently removed in 2018. FXCM also has specialized accounts that clients can gain access to after a certain requirement has been met.
Setting up an account is one of the fastest with its streamlined approach to its application interface. The FXCM minimum deposit level can go as low as $50.
While the Standard Account offers adequate services, high-volume traders can benefit greatly with opening an Active Trader Account.
While its commissions and fees are considered standard in the industry, FXCM’s most competitive pricing can be found on its Active Trader Account. The Active Trader Account offers low spreads with a $30 commission for every $1 million traded.
Traders can also opt for an FXCM Demo Account in order to test its trading platform in a simulated trading environment free of risk. The Demo Account is free and can be accessed through the FXCM login page.
At the time of this review, FXCM does not offer any form of bonuses.
• Trading Platform
The FXCM broker offers 4 types of trading platforms, which mostly utilizes the MetaTrader software. MetaTrader is part of a series of software developed by the MetaQuotes Software Corporation.
FXCM has its own platform called the FXCM Trading Station, which can be modified to the client’s needs with third-party plugins. Though standing alone, the FXCM Trading Station, with its lightning-quick response times and many built-in features, is considered by many as one of the best in the industry.
The FXCM broker also has numerous other MT4 platforms for sale that allow its traders to trade either on an app for smartphone users or a web-based platform for desktop. A unique aspect of FXCM’s trading platforms is that it allows its clients to purchase and install third-party plugins on all its platforms, providing flexibility in its platform experience.
• Payment Options
With FXCM, withdrawal and deposit can be made via bank wire transfers and credit/debit cards. Transactions can also be done through services such as Skrill, Neteller, Klarna, and Rapid Transfer.
FXCM: Is it safe?
While FXCM currently holds a reputable name in the financial industry, it would be difficult to ignore the accusations from its past. Over the course of its history, FXCM had been caught and penalized by major regulatory authorities in the U.S. and the U.K. for its scams and malpractices. All these had global coverage by the media. As such, many had been led to doubt the broker’s legitimacy.
However, after its acquisition by the Jefferies Financial Group in 2018, FXCM had undergone drastic changes for the better.
In a bid to gain back its clients’ trust, FXCM had its services primarily regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the license number, 217689. This would mean that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme protects its clients.
Furthermore, its offices in other regions now hold licenses under its respective financial authority. In France, FXCM regulation is under the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), while its Australian license is held by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). In addition, it’s South African offices hold licenses under the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).
With this leading to an increased transparency to its clients, the accusation of an FXCM scam by its clients has declined over the years. Its regulation by major financial authorities coupled with the overwhelmingly positive reviews proved that FXCM had redeemed itself from its past shortcomings.
Despite its troubled past, the FXCM brokerage firm succeeds far from its competitors with its excellent-quality services and competitive offerings.While some traders might not choose FXCM due to its overall selection of trading assets, others may find the high trading fees a deal-breaker. However, we find that the overall quality and flexibility of the broker’s trading platform, as well as top-tier education materials, can surely make the pricing worth it.