FP Markets vs CMC Markets vs IG Markets
Our recommendations help traders navigate and adapt to the ever-changing online brokerage landscape.
This time, we unbolt the door and look at 3 leading online brokers in the FX/CFD industry: FP Markets, CMC Markets and IG Markets.
While covering each aspect is beyond the scope of this comparison, we ensure key points are covered.
|Brokers under review|
|Account Application Time||1 Business Day||1 Business Day||1 Business Day|
|Minimum Account Balance||100 AUD (Lowest)||50 USD||250 EUR|
|Trading Platforms||MT4, MT5, Iress||MT4, MT5||MT4
|Account Types||Standard, Raw and Iress ViewPoint, Iress Investor and Iress Trader||CFD Account and Corporate Account||Standard Accounts
|Range of Markets||10,000+ (Additional Share CFDs via their Iress Platform)||10000+ (Additional Futures Products)||12000+ Share CFDs|
|Trading Spreads/Fees||Low Spreads - Commission per side is 3.0 USD per one standard lot||Low Spreads - Commission per side is 3.5 USD per one standard lot||Low Spreads - Commission per side is 3.76 USD per one standard lot
|Execution Speed||36 Milliseconds||40 Milliseconds||30 Milliseconds
|Regulation – Tier 1 Licences||ASIC; CySEC||ASIC; FCA||ASIC; FCA; CYSEC
|Market Research and Education||9||7||6|
Founded in 2005, FP Markets is an Australian-based Forex/CFD provider. Recently celebrating its 15th anniversary, the company boasts a healthy position in the retail foreign exchange industry and has more than 75,000 active traders. With headquarters located in Sydney and offices in Europe, FP Markets has grown into a globally-recognised organisation, offering traders access to a broad range of CFD markets.
The company also claims more than 40 international industry awards. Most recently, FP Markets were voted Best FX Broker Australia for 2020, Best Global Value Forex Broker for 2020 & 2019 and Best for Quality of Trade Execution 2019.
Available in several languages, the company’s user-friendly website demonstrates FP Markets listen to users, offering vibrant page structure, easy navigation as well as mobile compatibility.
FP Markets, according to the ForexPeaceArmy website, has great reviews: https://www.forexpeacearmy.com/forex-reviews/10476/www.fpmarkets.com.au?sort=rating&page=4&per-page=10.
FP Markets is your one-stop destination to trade CFDs across Forex, Shares, Indices and Commodities. Our range of trading accounts offer you consistently tighter spreads, starting from as low as 0.0 pips. We’ve partnered with leading banking and non-banking financial institutions to provide a deep liquidity pool, offering the best available market prices.
Listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE—ticker symbol CMCX), CMC Markets is a UK-based Spread Betting and Forex/CFD provider, with roots as far back as 1989. Serving approximately 80,000 active traders, with an extensive product catalogue, the company, for many, has become a household name in retail foreign exchange.
Headquartered in London, with hubs also in Sydney, Singapore and across Europe, CMC have amassed a number of impressive awards, including No.1 Web-Based Platform and No.1 Most Currency Pairs by ForexBrokers.com.
Similar to FP Markets, CMC Markets cater to the needs of their clients, providing a sleek website design and easy-to-use features.
Reviews on the ForexPeaceArmy website, however, are not so great: https://www.forexpeacearmy.com/forex-reviews/41/cmcmarkets-forex-brokers.
Our goal is to provide you with the ultimate trading experience. We’re passionate about online trading, constantly innovating and looking to improve the way our clients invest in financial markets.
IG Markets is a UK-based Spread Betting and FX/CFD provider, with a long and colourful history. Established in 1974, IG works with approximately 170,000 active trading clients worldwide. Shares of IG’s parent company, IG Group plc, are publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange (LSE—ticker symbol IGG).
With headquarters in London and operations in another 16 countries, including Australia and Europe, IG command a strong presence in retail foreign exchange. IG have also accumulated several awards since its inception, including Best for Forex Trading by Online Brokers Awards 2019 (Investopedia), and Best CFD Provider 2020 by Online Personal Wealth Awards.
In terms of its website’s organisation, IG adopts a professional approach, offering personalised user experience, ample content and a responsive design
Yet, reviews, according to the ForexPeaceArmy website, are not favourable: https://www.forexpeacearmy.com/forex-reviews/109/www.ig.com?sort=created_at&per-page=25.
We exist to give traders like you – who see opportunities where others don’t – access to thousands of financial markets.
Markets and Instruments
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Trading Fees and Spreads
FP Markets do not charge a commission on their Standard account, though a mark-up on the spread by 1 pip is applied.
For their Raw account, specifically Forex or metals, an additional commission is incurred. Commission per side is 3.0 USD per 1 standard lot, plus a variable spread cost.
Latest data acquired from their server shows EUR/USD spread to be 0.0 pips on average 35.89% of the time from 01-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 (available from their Raw Spread trading account only).
According to the FP Market’s spread table (variable spreads), their Raw account offers incredibly tight average spreads with EUR/USD and AUD/USD as low as 0.1 pips, and USD/CHF and USD/CAD at 0.3 pips.
The above is associated costs with MetaTrader currencies, not Iress or share CFDs (which incur additional fees/adjustments). Visit https://www.fpmarkets.com/fees-charges/ for more information .
As for withdrawals, there are no fees for credit or debit card options, though international bank wires incur a 10 AUD bank fee. For more information on the different withdrawal options, see: https://www.fpmarkets.com/funding/withdraw-funds.
FP Markets do not apply internal fees for deposits or withdrawals. International transaction deposit fees are covered up to 50 USD by FP Markets. For more information on the selection of funding options available, see: https://www.fpmarkets.com/funding/.
Credit and Debit card funding currencies are: AUD, CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, USD.
FP Markets does not charge inactivity or account fees, except for Iress Trader (though this depends on monthly trade volume).
For more information, consider visiting https://www.fpmarkets.com/mt4-5-fees-charges/.
According to their website, their CFD trading account states spreads for Forex pairs begin at 0.7 pips for EUR/USD and GBP/USD, while USD/JPY comes with an average at 0.9 pip spread. Their spread betting account have similar spreads on Forex pairs. See here for more details: https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/spread-betting-spreads.
There is no commission on their Spread Betting account; for their CFD and Corporate accounts there are commissions from 10 USD on shares only.
CMC Markets do not charge internal fees for withdrawals and deposits—bank charges may apply on international transactions.
Funding currencies: for their Spread Betting account you can deposit either GBP or EUR. For their CFD and Corporate accounts, GBP, EUR, USD, AUS, CAD, NOK, NZD, PLN, SEK, SGD are available funding options.
CMC Markets have an inactivity fee if the account is dormant for 1 year. This is charged at 10 GBP per month, if money is available in the account.
For more information, consider visiting: https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/markets/trading-costs.
According to our research, IG’s average spread cost for their CFD and Spread Betting accounts is 1 pip for EUR/USD and 1.12 pips for USD/JPY. Minimum spread for the former, according to their spread table, is 0.6 pips, with USD/JPY coming in at 0.7 pips. EUR/JPY is particularly high with an average spread of more than 2 pips, along with USD/CHF coming in around the same. See here for more details: https://www.ig.com/uk/forex.
IG state the following:
In most cases we charge our own spread on top of the market spread, as our fee for the trade. Spread charges apply to CFD trades for all markets except shares. For every shares CFD trade, you’ll pay a commission instead of a spread.
They also state the following in regard to their share dealing service:
Trading Platforms – Account Types
FP Markets provides its traders with MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), as well as the Iress platform, a comprehensive active trader platform (Iress ViewPoint, Iress Investor and Iress Trader—the Iress platform delivers Direct Market Access [DMA]). All platforms are third-party solutions. For more information, visit: https://www.fpmarkets.com/iress/.
MT4 and MT5 online WebTrader platforms are also available, enabling traders to trade from their browser of choice with no OS preference (Windows or Mac).
All aforementioned platforms offer mobile trading, both for iOS and Android. Check out their new FP Market’s Trading App: https://www.fpmarkets.com/mobile-trading-app/.
FP Markets have 2 account types for MT4 and MT5: Standard and Raw. For Iress, the broker provides Standard, Platinum and Premier accounts. Islamic Trading accounts are also available, known as swap-free accounts. Do note, FP Markets do not offer swap-free accounts on Iress—only MT4/MT5.
A relatively new addition to FP Markets is their FP Market’s Pro Account. This is in place to ready traders for the new Aussie law changes that come into effect at the end of March 2021. To check your eligibility, visit: https://www.fpmarkets.com/professional-account-2/. It is important to note that with this broker, retail clients benefit from negative balance protection, though is unavailable for professional clients. Higher leverage, nevertheless, is available on products through an FP Market’s Pro Account—see: https://www.fpmarkets.com/professional-account/.
AutoTrade is a trading system provided through Myfxbook.com. It provides you the opportunity to copy a wide selection of systems directly into your FP Markets MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading account. Installation is easy, it’s as simple as connecting your live account on FP Markets trading platform to analytical tool Myfxbook and then finding the system you want to copy.
FP Markets offer demo accounts on all platforms, but if left inactive for 30 days the accounts are archived.
CMC Markets deliver 2 trading platforms: a proprietary solution called Next Generation and MT4, their third-party alternative. Both platforms are free to use. According to their Trading Platforms website, CMC clearly favour the Next Generation software over MT4. It certainly provides far more functionality than MT4 and is, overall, an impressive feature (the Next Generation platform does not facilitate automated trading). Overall, reviews of the Next Generation web platform are positive. If you would like to know more, visit: https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/platform.
CMC Markets noted the following about their Next Generation platform:
We designed our trading platform to be feature-rich but still familiar and easy to use. That’s why our platform has won Investment Trend’s Best Platform Features and Best Mobile/Tablet App awards every year from 2013 to 2019.
With reference to mobile solutions, the CMC Markets’ mobile app—available on iOS and Android—provides an efficiently designed platform and features multiple research tools. You can find more information here: https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/platform/mobile-trading.
3 different trading accounts are presented with CMC Markets: A Spread Betting account, a CFD account and a Corporate account (Spread betting is only available in the UK and Republic of Ireland).
This broker also provides a CMC Pro option. Similar to FP Market’s Pro Account, retail clients benefit from negative balance protection, yet professional clients do not receive this assistance though maintain access to higher leverage. You can find more information about this account offering here: https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/account-specifications.
CMC Markets do not offer an Islamic account option.
According to their website, their CFD account is most popular, though the Spread betting account is more popular in the UK
In terms of social trading and copy trading, their Next Generation platform allows traders to directly copy trades and technical analysis onto their own charts. For more information, visit https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/trading-guides/what-is-copy-trading. The Chart Forum feature in their platform also allows traders to chat with fellow analysts and traders.
CMC Markets offer demo accounts for all platforms, but according to their support service, you’re unable to trade share CFDs on demo for longer than a month. Furthermore, there is no demo facility available for their Corporate account.
IG Markets have a broad selection of trading platforms.
They also provide a ProRealTime platform and an L2 Dealer platform. The former, according to IG, fully integrates with the web trader platform and enables professional traders to automate trading strategies. The latter handles direct market access (DMA) trading. Check out this link for more information: https://www.ig.com/uk/prime/solutions/l2-dealer. Overall, their trading platforms are impressive.
With respect to their mobile applications, IG offers solutions for iOS and Android devices. More information is available here: https://www.ig.com/uk/trading-platforms/trading-apps.
IG also offer guaranteed stops for a premium.
The 2 primary trading accounts available at IG Markets are their CFD account and Spread Betting account.
UK-based clients have the option of a tax-free spread betting account, similar to CMC Markets.
A clear difference between IG, FP Markets and CMC Markets is IG offer non-leveraged products, such as share dealing, IG Smart Portfolios, ISAs, and SIPPs. This is a benefit for those interested in traditional investing.
Most accounts are available as swap-free Islamic accounts.
IG offers both live and demo trading settings.
Negative balance protection does not apply to professional traders—only retail traders. From what we understand, IG does not offer negative balance protection for US clients.
Leverage is an aspect of trading that must be understood before a trader contemplates committing funds to a live trading account.
In short, leverage allows traders to gain additional exposure above their account equity. Leverage also governs margin requirements.
The majority of brokers offer leverage up to 1:500.
Through FP Markets, clients can access leverage up to 1:500 on Forex pairs and precious metals.
This broker provides a reasonably detailed webpage https://www.fpmarkets.com/uk/leverage/ showing leverage rates for specific products, how leverage works and the maximum equity balance.
It should be noted that for the majority of traders, a leverage ratio of 1:30 is available. Still, clients from AU and EU can access 1:500 leverage if you’re a professional trader and pass the required tests. More information can be found here: https://www.fpmarkets.com/professional-account/.
According to their product information page found here: https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/account-specifications, professional accounts can access up to 1:500 leverage, while retail accounts can only access 1:30.
They do a good job of explaining the dynamics behind leverage: https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/trading-guides/what-is-leverage-trading.
1:200 is available for professional traders with IG, listed as the maximum. Leverage for most retail traders will be limited to 1:30.
You can find a number of articles on IG’s website regarding leverage—this was particularly impressive: https://www.ig.com/uk/risk-management/what-is-leverage.
The average order execution time between the trade being received, processed and confirmed is 36 milliseconds. However, for December 2020 latency was 38 milliseconds.
No details from their support service—they openly admitted they do not know their execution speed. Their website, nonetheless, states a 99.9% fill-rate.
Over 99 percent of IG trades are completed within 10 milliseconds.
Regulations and Licences
FP Markets is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC). They’re also registered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Both ASIC and CySEC are respected tier-1 regulatory bodies.
As a regulated financial institution, FP Markets must observe strict capital requirements to meet client pay-out obligations and employ sound internal procedures for risk management. They also undergo regular external audits.
We also liked that retail client funds are kept separate from the firm’s capital, held by leading banks.
If you’re interested in finding out more, consider visiting: https://www.fpmarkets.com/regulation/.
CMC Markets are regulated by a number of tier-1 organisations, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Canada Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
Trading with a regulated broker provides traders peace of mind that you’re working with a reliable and trustworthy organisation.
With CMC markets, retail client funds are also kept in separate banks, away from broker capital. Banking institutions include NatWest, Barclays and Lloyds.
You can find more information here: https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/regulations.
IG’s lead regulatory body is the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, the broker also works with several tier-1 regulatory bodies, including the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
With IG, retail client trading funds are separate from the broker’s capital. According to the broker, funds are held in segregated (nominee) client asset accounts.
More information is available here: https://www.ig.com/uk and here: https://www.ig.com/uk/client-funds.
Contact – Customer Service
For the purpose of this broker comparison, we contacted each broker over a number of weeks to test their average response time and product knowledge.
Market Research – Educational Content
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A dedicated Trader’s Hub is available with FP Markets. In-depth daily technical and fundamental analysis can be accessed for free via separate pages, covered by industry experts. This provider also offers an in-depth Weekly Technical Market Insight, including comprehensive analysis of the US dollar index.
What’s also particularly impressive is their Black and White Technical report which looks at detailed pattern structure in various markets—this is a weekly report. Also weekly, FP Markets provides Currency Point, a video- based review of the week, presented by industry expert Evan Lucas.
As for educational material, FP Markets provide in-depth eBooks, video tutorials, a trading glossary and a newsletter sign-up. They also have a Trading Knowledge section, which delivers a number of fresh informative articles each month, from things like how to use MT4 and how to use technical analysis tools.
FP Markets hold regular webinars on trending subjects.
RANGE OF MARKETS:
CMC operates a comprehensive news and analysis section, with rich in-house information, including dedicated insights posted daily, CMC TV, Opto market intelligence portal (featuring articles and podcasts) and a daily newsletter which has more than 40,000 subscribers. Content from Reuters and Morningstar is also available. While their offering is impressive, we were unable to find much on the website regarding technical analysis.
With respect to education, CMC have a substantial offering. A dedicated Learn to trade section is available. Through articles, this area explains how to trade with CFDs and Spread Betting. You also have platform guides available and a trading glossary.
Via their Opto market intelligence portal, you have access to free detailed eBooks.
CMC Markets also hold regular webinars.
RANGE OF MARKETS:
IG freely provide news and trade ideas, through daily posts on various markets, which includes technical and fundamental analysis. What was also cool about their research page was its structure: each market has its own section so it’s easy to navigate.
They also operate a trading subscriptions service free of charge, composed of a Morning Call—daily ideas and global events—trade of the week and week-ahead insights.
In as far as their educational department, we were impressed. They operate an IG Academy, which is free to access. Additionally, IG offer several free online trading courses from beginner to advanced.
If you want to communicate with fellow traders you can also access their online community forum, with nearly 60,000 active members.
IG and Daily FX (a subsidiary) hold regular webinars.
It can take up to 1 working day for your account to be approved.
FP Markets need proof of ID and residence. As ID they accept a passport, National ID card or driving license. As proof of residence, they accept a utility bill or a bank statement issued in the past 6 months.
For corporate accounts, FP Markets require proof of identity and proof of residence for all directors and beneficial owners. They also require the certificate of incorporation and memorandum of articles of association. If the beneficial owner is another entity, they will also require additional documentation. You can reach out to their onboarding team (email@example.com) for more information.
The minimum deposit for an MT4/5 account is 100 AUD, or currency equivalent. The minimum deposit for the Iress platform is 1,000 AUD, or currency equivalent.
Restricted countries, according to FP Markets, are the US, Japan and New Zealand, or residents from any other country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to those local laws or regulations.
Response from support stated it can take up to 3 working days, depending on how many applications they receive.
Based on their website, though, once you have submitted your documents, they will contact you within 1 working day.
Demo account access is available immediately.
Proof of residence:
All documents should be dated within the last 3 months.
For corporate accounts, their customer support informed us to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This broker accepts traders from the UK and much of Europe, including countries such as Poland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
1-3 working days dependent on whether they receive the correct paperwork.
Demo account access is available immediately.
IG requires proof of ID and residence.
According to their website, they accept the following as proof of ID:
For proof of residence:
All documents should be dated within the last 6 months.
For corporate accounts, you’re encouraged to visit: https://www.ig.com/uk/corporate-accounts.
There is no minimum balance required to open an account.
Though, if funding by debit card, you must deposit a minimum of 250 USD.
For a full list of countries accepted,
IG US accounts are not available to residents of Arizona or Ohio.
IG US accounts are not available to residents of Ohio.
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