Review of FXCM Spread Betting

If you’ve been trading for any period of time, you’ve probably heard of FXCM. It is a large independent Forex broker headquartered in New York. It was founded more than 10 years ago, and is regulated by both the Financial Services Authority in the UK and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the States.

In 2009 it started acquisition of ODL Group Limited, which operated in the UK and Europe, and this is has given FXCM a much larger base, with over 200,000 live trading accounts. Incidentally, it gave ODL’s clients access to no dealing desk Forex markets, as FXCM fill orders directly with banks, rather than being a market maker as many Forex brokers are. But the gain for FXCM was in diversifying into other trading instruments, such as commodities, equities, and options, to add to their recently opened CFDs and spread betting operations.

One proud boast of FXCM at the time of opening its spread betting division was that every spread bet would be filled without re-quoting, and this comes from the no dealing desk philosophy. FXCM in particular claim that unlike other providers who may trade directly against their clients, they operate using a no dealing desk model meaning that they are never on the other side of client trades and do not profit from client losses. The company also boasts spreads as tight as one point, which makes it very competitive in the industry. It offers a free practice account where you can see the actual spreads and try out the easy to use trading platform.

From the history of this company, you can see that it is able to offer an extensive range of financial securities to trade, and its spread betting portfolio includes Forex, oil, gold, and stock indices. Because spread betting is limited to the UK, it has chosen to only offer sterling when you sign up. Perhaps the biggest difference from other brokers is that you do not have access to spread bet UK or foreign shares, which is somewhat strange considering the truly international nature of the brokerage.

The spread betting practice account provides unlimited quotes and charts, so you can really test your strategies using real data. Interestingly, FXCM also offers Marketscope, a charting application with more than 30 technical indicators than can automatically be set to send you an alert e-mail when a particular condition is met. The platform even allows you to place your trade direct from the charts. The demo account is held open for 30 days, which is plenty of time to see whether you would like FXCM as a broker. The fact that it has support staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year is a tremendous plus for those who have heavy daily work schedules and can only find time at night for their trading.

FXCM is one of the largest groups offering spread betting, even though a great deal of its business is centred on the Forex markets. The spreads are good, and the trading platform is easy to use and available for spread betting only, or for trading the other financial instruments that it offers as well. It even offers the software in ZIP form, and split into sections for traders on a dial-up connection — which situation is not generally recommended for a daily trader, but could work for a swing trader. We rate FXCM good value for spread betting and definitely worth a test drive of the free practice account.

Social: TopTradr is a companion app to FXCM trading activity -the algorithm analyzes  trades from a risk reward perspective with members being ranked according to their score, combining performance, risk reward and consistency – identifying the good traders versus the lucky ones. TopTradr is also a social community, with trade alert, following and sharing features that foster communication. New traders can follow the best traders to improve their performance, while experienced traders compete for prizes at the top of the leaderboard. Toptradr aims to build a community of profitable, risk responsible traders that will learn from each other in a transparent and open environment.

Mobile Trading: Yes. FXCM has developed FXCM Trading Station for trading on the go which is available for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone Touch and Windows Mobile. This application allows users to check live streaming prices and spreads for more than 56 currency pairs whilst on the move. The app also comes with 45 chart indicators, realtime newsfeeds, and live charts which support pinch and zoom functionality. Spread traders can also keep track of their profit/loss in real-time, as well as balance, equity and margin levels – all on one screen.