5 Best UK Forex Brokers in 2021

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Affiliate Disclosure DailyForex.com adheres to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the reviews and content we feature on this site are supported by affiliate partnerships from which this website may receive money. This may impact how, where and which companies / services we review and write about. Our team of experts work to continually re-evaluate the reviews and information we provide on all the top Forex / CFD brokerages featured here. Our research focuses heavily on the broker’s custody of client deposits and the breadth of its client offering. Safety is evaluated by quality and length of the broker's track record, plus the scope of regulatory standing. Major factors in determining the quality of a broker’s offer include the cost of trading, the range of instruments available to trade, and general ease of use regarding execution and market information.

The Forex industry in the UK is highly competitive, and not all Forex brokers in the UK are suitable for all types of traders. Before considering a UK-based Forex broker, each trader needs to determine his/ her needs and trading style. 

Top UK Forex Brokers

1
FP Markets
The ratings shown on DailyForex.com are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
ECN-style trading
Daily market research and Autochartist access
2
AvaTrade
The ratings shown on DailyForex.com are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
High level regulation in multiple jurisdictions
Impressive range of tradeable assets including vanilla options and gold options
3
Pepperstone
The ratings shown on DailyForex.com are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
Best ECN execution on the MT4 platform
Excellent implementation of cTrader and Smart Trader Tools
4
Markets.com
The ratings shown on DailyForex.com are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
Marketsi strategy builder helps traders trade smarter
Competitive trade execution with low slippage
5
Fineco Bank
The ratings shown on DailyForex.com are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
50 trades free

FP Markets, ECN trading with leverage up to 1:500.
AvaTrade, Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads.
Pepperstone, Great ECN execution on MT4 platform.
Markets.com, Excellent educational offerings.
Fineco Bank, 50 trades free.

FP Markets

5.0/5 in this category
In Summary
ECN trading with leverage up to 1:500

fpmarkets is an Australian brokerage which launched in 2005. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia’s financial capitol, they have carved out a solid niche for themselves as the best Forex / CFD broker enjoying ASIC regulation. Australian regulators are much more relaxed about leverage than their counterparts in the U.S.A., U.K., and the E.U. and so fpmarkets can offer a maximum leverage as high as 500 to 1.

For most traders, the standout unique selling point of this broker lies in the incredibly wide range of tradable assets offered, providing an opportunity to trade over ten thousand individual stocks and shares. These go beyond the typical U.S.A. and U.K. companies and include a good selection of publicly traded shares on the Hong Kong and Sydney exchanges, as you might expect from an Australasian-facing broker like fpmarkets. Also, over 60 Forex pairs and crosses, 11 equity indices, the major commodities, and 5 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin are also on the menu here.

Unique Features

Headquarters

Australia

Regulation

CySEC, ASIC

Year Founded

2005

Type of Broker

No Dealing Desk

Minimum Deposit

$100

Maximum Leverage

1:500

Type of Platform

MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, Web-based, IRESS

They offer an unusual hybrid ECN/STP execution model which means that their clients can choose between ECN style of execution giving a very high level of speed, and a “straight through processing” execution style which allows for more “natural” spreads.

Traders can scalp and hedge at this broker, whose fast ECN execution speed makes it a natural home for scalpers. Clients may choose between the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms, and shares can be traded through the IRESS trading platform which includes access to level 2 exchange data.

FP Markets Pros & Cons

Advantages

  • Choice of trading platforms and auxiliary trading tools

  • Very competitive cost structure and excellent asset selection

  • Low minimum deposit requirement and leverage of up to 1:500

  • Well-regulated and trustworthy

Disadvantages

  • Availability of Iress geographically restricted

FP Markets is an Australian multi-asset broker with more than $1 billion in daily trading volume, serving clients from 80+ countries. Founded in 2005 in Australia, FP Markets grew into a trusted brand over the past 15+ years with more than 100 employees. The upgraded MT4/MT5 trading platforms, via the Trader Tools consisting of twelve plug-ins, present clients with a competitive edge. We have conducted an in-depth review of this CFD broker to provide traders with a complete overview of the trading environment at FP Markets.

AvaTrade

4.5/5 in this category
In Summary
Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads

AvaTrade was founded in 2006 in Dublin, Ireland. They are one of the largest and most famous Forex / CFD brokers in the world and became well-known for offering their clients a choice of fixed or floating spread cost of trading models. They enjoy an extremely high and strong level of regulation, making them a favorite for traders who are extremely nervous about the security of their deposit, which in Ireland can be protected by a strong investor deposit protection provision. AvaTrade is directly regulated in Ireland (and by extension, the European Union), Australia, Japan, South Africa, and the British Virgin Islands. Outside the European Union, Ava’s maximum leverage offered runs as high as 400 to 1.

Unique Features

Headquarters

Ireland

Year Founded

2006

Type of Broker

ECN/STP

Minimum Deposit

$100

Maximum Leverage

1:400

Type of Platform

MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, Proprietary platform, Web-based

In addition to their longevity and safe reputation, clients know that through AvaTrade they have access to a broad range of asset classes through which diversification can be achieved successfully: AvaTrade offers trading in over 55 different Forex currency pairs, 17 commodities, 20 equity indices, 14 cryptocurrencies, plus 66 individual stocks and shares. Even better, and unusually, 2 bonds and 6 ETFs are also on the menu. The diversity offered here stands out.

Whether you are located within the European Union or not, all branches of AvaTrade will offer you negative balance protection, above and beyond what is mandated by the law. This means that under no circumstances will any client of AvaTrade ever be held liable by the firm for an amount larger than their deposit.

 

AvaTrade Pros & Cons

Advantages

  • Well-regulated globally, with the Bank of Ireland, the primary regulator

  • Low minimum deposit and in-depth educational tools

  • Wide asset choice across seven sectors

  • Superior mobile trading platform

Disadvantages

  • Low leverage for retail traders

  • High quarterly inactivity fee

  • Unacceptable cost for AvaProtect

Pepperstone

4.5/5 in this category
In Summary
Great ECN execution on MT4 platform


Pepperstone, founded in 2010 and headquartered and regulated in Australia, the U.K., and Dubai, is possibly the most well-known ECN Forex broker in the world. ASIC’s deft regulatory touch combined with local expertise made Australia a haven for broker startups heavy on technology and offering extra-speedy frictionless execution and extremely high maximum leverage. Pepperstone offer geographically eligible clients a maximum leverage as high as 500 to 1, which is enough for anybody’s trading needs.

Unique Features

Headquarters

Australia

Regulation

CySEC, FCA, BaFin, ASIC, CMA, DFSA

Year Founded

2010

Type of Broker

35,139

Minimum Deposit

$200

Maximum Leverage

1:400

Type of Platform

MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, cTrader

As an ECN broker, Pepperstone offer raw spreads and low commissions. Taken together, Pepperstone’s “Razor” account gives one of the lowest and most competitive cost of trading in Forex that you will find anywhere.

In addition to their global headquarters in Australia, Pepperstone also have presences in London, England, where they enjoy full regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and in Dubai, where they are regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

Pepperstone is renowned for its advanced technology tools such as Smart Trader Tools and cTrader Automate. cTrader is one of the more popular trading platforms out there but is not offered by a majority of brokers, so Pepperstone can be a good choice if you want to trade with an ECN brokerage through the cTrader trading platform.

Pepperstone Pros & Cons

Advantages

  • Low minimum deposit and high leverage

  • Choice of trading platforms and social trading alternatives

  • Comprehensive MT4/MT5 upgrade package and VPS hosting

  • Active trader program and competitive cost structure

Disadvantages

  • Limited asset selection

Markets.com

4.5/5 in this category
In Summary
Excellent educational offerings

Markets.com, part of UK-publicly listed and FTSE 250 constituent Playtech PLC, offers traders one of the most trusted, secure, and competitive brokers. It operates four subsidiaries regulated in the UK, Cyprus, Australia, and the British Virgin Islands. Markets.com serves traders via Marketsx and investors through Marketsi. Besides its proprietary trading platform, Markets.com deploys the MT4 and MT5 trading platforms. Traders also have access to fourteen quality trading tools, consisting of sentiment, technical, and fundamental indicators. They provide clients of Markets.com with a notable competitive advantage.

Unique Features

Headquarters

Cyprus

Year Founded

2008

Type of Broker

Market Maker

Minimum Deposit

$100

Maximum Leverage

1:300

Another benefit at Markets.com remains its asset selection. Forex traders have a choice of 67 currency pairs and 25 cryptocurrency pairs. Equity traders get access to over 2,000 equity CFDs, 60 ETFs, and 40 index CFDs. Completing the selection are 28 commodities, 13 in-house created blends (in-house thematic portfolios), and four bonds. Markets.com also provides Forex traders with one of the best commission-free cost structures starting from 0.6 pips on the EUR/USD currency pair. It translates into $6.00 per lot or $12 per round lot. Equity traders pay a fixed commission of $10 or a currency equivalent per side for a total cost of $20 per trade. Other noteworthy advantages include the personalized financial live-stream service XRay, its Investment Strategy Builder, its outstanding order execution statistics, and its transparency.

 

Markets Pros & Cons

Advantages

  • Very Competitive Forex Fees

  • Very Wide Choice of Assets

  • Choice of Trading Platforms

  • Excellent Customer Support

Disadvantages

  • Commodities and Indices Fees Higher than Forex Fees

How to Choose a Forex Broker as a UK trader 

One of the most important aspects of any broker is trustworthiness. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is one of the prime global authorities. Every UK-based Forex broker must hold a license with the FCA, and in doing so, these brokers operate under a high level of security. It should be noted that regulation is not everything, as there are cases of well-regulated brokers defrauding clients, but the FCA grants a trustworthy environment. It should also be noted that UK-based traders can opt to trade with brokers that have other, non-FCA regulations, such as FP Markets. Traders also need to consider cost structure and asset selection, as they will have a direct impact on the profitability of any executed trading strategy.

Almost all Forex brokers in the UK offer reputable trading platforms, with MT4 the industry standard, often marketed as a cutting-edge and industry-leading gateway to financial markets. While the MT4 infrastructure possesses those capabilities, the out-of-the-box version, as offered by most brokers, falls short of this. Competitive brokers offer the necessary third-party plugins or create an alternative in-house. This may be one of the most overlooked aspects of the overall product and service portfolio of UK-based Forex brokers. Auxiliary trading services, like research, VPS hosting, account management services via MAM/PAMM, should also be considered, as they set apart brokers focused on the minimum to operate and those with a genuine desire to grant traders a competitive edge.

UK Regulation

FCA regulation

The UK, with the FCA as the regulator in charge of the industry, became the primary financial sector destination after 2002, when the passage of unfavorable legislation forced an exodus out of the U.S.A.

Until the recent UK exit from the European Union, commonly referred to as Brexit, UK brokers had to comply with uncompetitive regulations mandated by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). The transition period of Brexit will end in December 2020, and the UK brokerage industry may resume its previous competitive framework with sole oversight by the FCA. Despite Brexit, the UK is highly likely maintain favorable trade relationships with core markets. It will possibly strengthen them, adding to the competitiveness of the financial sector as a whole.

The online trading conditions under which Forex brokers in the UK operate under FCA oversight remain the most competitive ones globally. Adding to its leadership position are trading instruments that are legally available, like contracts for difference (CFDs) and other derivatives not available in the US. Most top Forex brokers in the UK have relatively low minimum deposit requirements, often less than $100 or a currency equivalent. Security of funds, which must remain fully segregated from corporate capital, is superior in the UK to any other jurisdiction.

Role of the FCA to the UK Forex Broker

The FCA provides a set of requirements which must be met before a Forex broker can receive an operating license. It also maintains a set of rules to ensure transparency and a stable capital structure. Violating them will result in investigations, fines, and possible suspension of a license, ensuring only trustworthy brokers operate legitimately out of the UK.

Below is a list of some requirements all UK Forex Brokers must comply with:

  • Maintain minimum capital requirements of £125,000 for straight-through processing (STP) models and £730,000 for market makers.
  • Client deposits must remain segregated from corporate funds.
  • Daily submission of the capital balance, and monthly as well as quarterly financial documents.
  • Ensuring the business model operates in line with best practices.
  • Brokers must disclose the risk involved with each trading instrument to its clients and always act in their best interest.

Client deposit protection of up to £85,000, per the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), is the highest in the world. By comparison, brokers regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) deploy the Investor Compensation Fund (CIF), capped at €20,000. The FCA also maintains a list of scam brokers, as many fraudulent brokers attempt to copy an FCA regulated one. This allows traders to swiftly identify genuine brokers from scam “clone brokers”, as the FCA designated them.

How to Verify FCA Authorization

Traders should locate the FCA register number, usually located at the bottom of the broker’s homepage. Comparing it with the official FCA database will then verify FCA authorization. It will also reveal all known clone firms for the registered broker.

How a regulated market benefits you

Trading with a regulated Forex broker ensures a safe and trustworthy trading environment, access to best business practices, the security of deposits and financial stability of the broker, and ease of mind that a regulator will ensure brokers act in the best interest of their clients.

Is Forex legal in the UK?

Yes, Forex trading is 100% legal and regulated in the UK, which is the largest Forex trading market globally, with over 37% of all daily volume flowing through the UK financial sector and its hundreds of brokers servicing it.

Advantages of Choosing to Work with UK Forex Brokers

A reputable Forex broker will ensure clients manage their portfolios from a competitive trading environment, as the profitability of traders increasing revenues at non-market-maker brokers enables a stable income. Therefore, auxiliary trading services fulfill an essential role for any successful broker. On top of an excellent regulatory environment, top Forex brokers in the UK offer a distinct advantage in overall financial services.

Unlimited Access

The financial infrastructure in the UK remains superior in global terms. The vast network of brokers, banks, counterparties, accountants, lawyers, analysts, and research firms located in the UK offers unlimited access to financial products with an excellent support network. Whether the client is a new trader or a hedge fund, the UK financial services sector deploys the right tools for the entire spectrum, adding to an unparalleled list of advantages and allowing all types of traders to acquire the necessary edge in today’s financial markets.

Market Information

Being the global financial center of the world, the market information available within the extensive UK financial sector includes every economy around the world. Therefore, traders generally receive market-moving information promptly. This offers a wide range of mobile trading opportunities and allows traders insight into areas often ignored by brokers based in many other countries. Countless specialized and boutique outlets cater to all types of strategies and markets, with a network of brokers enabling access.

Professional Experts

Within the financial services sector, an essential component of the UK economy, the quality of professional experts is high throughout the industry. UK Forex brokers either hire in-house or seek third-party partnerships to ensure traders not only have access to a high quantity of research and market commentary but also a high quantity. UK Forex brokers attempt to offer highly skilled professional experts to assist traders to reach their goals.

Economic Turbulence and the Forex Market in the UK

Since the turn of the millennium, economic turbulence has increased and become more frequent. It resulted in changes to the Forex market in the UK. Several brokers filed for bankruptcy amid higher capital requirements imposed by the FCA to ensure financial stability, while others left the jurisdiction voluntarily. Regulations stipulated by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) also had an adverse negative impact together with MiFID II, but Brexit could rectify them as the UK will no longer be subject to the E.U.'s rules. The FCA will ensure that financial stability, transparency, and competitiveness remain an essential driver of the UK financial system, which besides an excellent infrastructure, enjoys a favorable time zone and tax-friendly environment which is also positioned to improve after the end of the Brexit transition period.

The aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis and the January 2015 unpegging of the Swiss franc from the euro by the Swiss National Bank caused ripple effects across the financial system and the end of unsustainable brokers. It has also given rise to a new breed, and competition remains healthier than ever. The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions brought FinTech companies into the mix, evident in 2019, when London took the crown as the world’s number one technology investment hub, dethroning Silicon Valley in the U.S.A. The Forex market in the UK will change further, become more competitive, and offer traders around the world more favorable options.

Forex Trading Taxation in the UK

With currency trading gaining popularity, two of the most commonly asked questions about taxation of Forex trading profits in the UK are “Do Forex traders pay tax in the UK?” and “How can I avoid paying taxes on Forex?”. While these remain somewhat complex topics which depend upon personalized circumstances, UK traders generally are required to pay a capital gains tax (CGT) on trading-related profit. There is a £12,000 allowance for individuals. Any profit above that is taxable. It is the responsibility of traders to declare profit from trading in their annual tax returns filed with Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC), the tax authority of the UK.

There is a difference in the tax treatment of CFD/spot market trading and spread betting. The former is taxable in two brackets. Those with a total income below £50,000 pay a 10% tax, the rest 20%, unless HMRC deems trading-related income to be taxable under personal or corporate tax rates. The £12,000 tax-free allowance (£24,000 for couples) still applies. UK retail clients trading in spread betting accounts are generally not required to pay taxes, which is why it has become the dominant form of currency trading in the UK, offered by all UK brokers.

How Can I Avoid Paying Taxes on Forex?

UK retail clients trading in spread betting accounts are broadly not required to pay taxes on any profits, which is why it has become the dominant form of trading in the UK and is offered by all UK-based brokers.

Avoiding Forex Scams in the UK

More and more UK traders and consumers are finding themselves the unwitting targets of UK fraudsters, who market Forex scams and fraudulent platforms on social media. The easiest way to avoid Forex scams in the UK is to trade with an FCA-regulated Forex broker that is legally allowed to accept clients resident within the UK. If you are choosing an FCA regulated broker, make sure to check the official FCA database to avoid cloned UK firms and scammers.

Trading Platform & Software

Trading platforms come either as a desktop client, a web-trader, or a mobile app. Traders should make sure that they are user-friendly with quality charts and a broad range of technical indicators. Trade and risk management tools are equally important. MT4 is the industry standard, and FP Markets, Tradeo, FXTM, and AVA Trade offer it. Regrettably, only FXTM grants MT4 plugins, while FP Markets and AVA Trade also maintain the MT5 version. Fineco Bank deploys its proprietary PowerDesk platform, which is superior to any proprietary offering from the other four.

Spreads, Commissions & Leverage

Trading costs and leverage remain essential aspects every trader needs to consider. Spreads refer to the difference between the bid and ask price. There are two types of spreads: fixed and variable. The former does not change according to market conditions, while the latter accurately reflects them. Fineco Bank maintains the most competitive offer here, with a minimum cost of just 0.8 pips, followed by AVA Trade with 0.9 pips. The lowest spread usually applies to the EUR/USD, the most liquid currency pair.

Forex brokers deploying an STP/ECN execution model allow access to raw spreads as low as 0.0 pips for a commission per lot. It is ideal for high-frequency and short-term traders. From our Top  list, only FP Markets and FXTM offer commission-based accounts, charging $3.00 and $4.00 per 1.0 lot, respectively, but FXTM can be up to $20.00.

Many confuse high leverage with high risk and blame account losses on it, but to be honest, losses are usually the result of poor risk management, not high leverage. Still, to protect traders from making poor leverage decisions, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has limited the available leverage for all EU-based brokers. FXTM, Tradeo, and AVA Trade cap the maximum leverage at 1:30, Fineco Bank notes 1:50, while FP Markets, based in Australia, allows leverage up to 1:500. After the end of the Brexit transition period, the likely return of high leverage UK Forex brokers will further boost the competitive mobile trading environment in the UK.

Account Types

The most important distinction between account types is between commission-free accounts and commission-based accounts, as this distinction impacts the cost per trade. Some brokers offer mini accounts, where the new traders with smaller deposits can trade mini lots, equaling 10,000 currency units. By comparison, one standard lot totals 100,000 currency units. An outdated but still common approach is tiered accounts, where brokers offer better conditions for more substantial deposits. Fineco Bank caters to all traders from one commission-free account, while FP Markets has a commission-based version. Tradeo separates its account types into five ill-structured tiers, while AvaTrade maintains a spread betting account plus a distinct options trading alternative besides a standard account. FXTM offers three different types of standard account plus three ECN versions.

Methodology

We reviewed over 100 brokers based on eleven criteria. Over 100 brokers were reviewed in-depth and from a trader's perspective, ignoring the marketing tactics deployed by some to confuse retail traders. Therefore, we sourced the list of our Best UK Forex Brokers from more than 200,000 words of dedicated research compiled over 1,000 hours, ensuring the most comprehensive approach to identify the best UK Forex brokers.

FAQs

How to start trading Forex in the UK?

Education is the most critical step and will dictate the profitability of any portfolio. Beyond that, select the Forex broker most suitable to your needs, make a deposit, and you can embark on your Forex trading venture.

What time does the Forex market open in the UK?

The Forex market is open 24/5, but the UK open is generally considered to be between 8am to 9:30am UK time.

How can I become a Forex trader in the UK?

Education, patience, and adequate trading capital form the three pillars on which most successful Forex traders build their portfolios. Make sure you undertake each before you become a Forex trader just by opening a trading account and funding it with real money.

How much do Forex traders make in the UK?

The answer to this question is dependent on many individual circumstances, including time, capital, and trading strategies. Over 75% of retail traders lose money, and more than 20% earn only small returns.

Huzefa Hamid

I’m a trader and manage my own capital. I trade the major Forex pairs, some Futures contracts, and I rely entirely on Technical Analysis to place my trades. Today, I am also a Senior Analyst for DailyForex.com. I began trading the markets in the early 1990s, at the age of sixteen. I had a few hundred British pounds saved up (I grew up in England), with which I was able to open a small account with some help from my Dad. I started my trading journey by buying UK equities that I had read about in the business sections of newspapers. The 1990s were a bull market, so naturally, I made money. I was fortunate enough in my early twenties to have a friend that recommended a Technical Analysis course run by a British trader who emphasized raw chart analysis without indicators. Having this first-principles approach to charts influences how I trade to this day.