The Best DFSA Regulated Brokers

12 Min/03 August 2021

When choosing a broker, one of the most important factors to consider is whether it is regulated. If you open an account with a broker that operates under license from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), you’re heading in the right direction for safer trading. A harsh reality experienced by all too many traders is that the sector, unfortunately, attracts scams and scammers. One of the most common risks is wiring funds to a broker that promises incredible returns but doesn’t even return your funds.

Making a paper profit and not being able to claw back your funds is a painful experience, which is where regulators such as the DFSA step in. The DFSA is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Its mandate covers asset management, securities, collective investment funds, banking, trust and custody services, Islamic finance, commodities futures trading, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. Founded in 2004, it has built a reputation as being an internationally-recognised regulator, overseeing the financial markets to ensure business is carried out in a strong and fair manner.

9 Best DFSA Regulated Brokers

  1. Pepperstone
  2. AvaTrade
  3. HYCM
  4. HotForex
  5. Swissquote
  6. IG
  7. FxPro
  8. Amana Capital
  9. Axi

#1 Pepperstone

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • Offers access to the global markets.
  • Forex specialist that also supports markets in crypto, indices and commodities.
  • Great demo account, which is free to use and doesn’t expire.
  • No hidden costs, no deposit fee, no withdrawal fee, no inactivity fee.
  • Well-designed trading architecture ensures low-cost and super-fast trade execution.
  • A range of online learning materials presented in webinars and video format.
  • Ideal for beginners and intermediate and advanced traders.
  • Islamic accounts.
  • Award-winning customer service.

Pepperstone Financial Services (DIFC) Limited is authorised and regulated by DFSA.
DFSA Reference Number: F004356.

Address: Unit PL-CT-00-15-OF-2A, Level 15, Currency Tower 2, DIFC, PO 482087, Dubai, UAE

#2 AvaTrade

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • A global broker with a reputation for integrity and fairness.
  • Good for novices but powerful enough for intermediate-level and professional traders.
  • Operating since 2006, but still has an appetite to continue innovating to improve client services.
  • Islamic account, which is Shariah-compliant.
  • High-quality multi-lingual customer service available 24/5.
  • Free demo account.
  • MetaTrader MT4 and MT5, but also offers the proprietary platforms, AvaTradeGo, AvaSocial and, AvaOptions.
  • Competitive spreads and leverage.
  • More than 1,250 markets. You can trade indices, commodities, shares, forex, cryptocurrency, bonds, vanilla options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
  • A 4.8 / 5.0 rating on Trustpilot.
  • Great mobile app — ideal for those trading on the go.
  • Winner of the Best Forex Trading App award at the 2020 Global Forex Awards.

AvaTrade is one of the best-regulated brokers in the market and operates globally under license from Tier-1 authorities, including FRSA (Abu Dhabi), FSCA (South Africa), the FSA in Japan and the Central Bank of Ireland.

The firm gained full regulatory approval and Financial Services Permission Number 190018 on 6th February 2020. This means it is authorised to arrange deals in investments and for dealing in investments as principal.

Its headquarters are at 2424, 24th Floor, Al Sila Tower, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

#3 HYCM

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • Ideal for beginners.
  • A trusted broker that has been operating since 1977.
  • 24/5 customer support and a dedicated account manager.
  • Islamic Accounts that are Shariah-compliant.
  • Great variety of accounts to choose from. Fixed or variable spreads — you decide.
  • Competitive pricing and no trading commissions on the Fixed and Classic accounts.
  • Trade orientated research materials such as the ‘Week Ahead’ webinar.
  • Market-leading trading platforms with up to 51 trade indicators.
  • Trade forex, stocks, indices and commodities.

HYCM is the trading name of Henyep Capital Markets (UK) Limited, HYCM (Europe) Ltd, HYCM Limited and Henyep Capital Markets (DIFC) Limited. The Henyep Capital Markets group is the holding company and its assets are a controlling equity interest in them.

Henyep Capital Markets (DIFC) Limited is regulated and authorised by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. Licence number 000048.

#4 HotForex

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • A first-class trading experience ideal for beginners and experienced traders.
  • Transparent reporting — winner of the Most Transparent Broker Award 2020 at The European Global Banking & Finance Review.
  • Tight spreads
  • Scalping and hedging trading strategies are allowed.
  • Islamic accounts, which are Shariah-compliant.
  • Multiple account types and a minimum opening balance requirement of $100.
  • Client funds are segregated and held at major banks.
  • A great place to learn — educational materials delivered as live webinars and video tutorials.
  • Customer support team is made up of industry professionals, available around the clock 24/5. 
  • In 2020, the Customer Services team won the Best Client Services — Global prize at the Capital Finance International Magazine awards.

HF Markets (DIFC) Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) under licence number F004885.

#5 Swissquote

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • Offers access to the international financial markets.
  • Accounts supported in up to 22 different currencies.
  • Supports trading and investing in the same account.
  • 5,000 ETF markets and Mutual funds included in the offering.
  • Smart Portfolios are an automated low-cost investing solution.
  • Islamic accounts.
  • No entry or exit fees.
  • No minimum investment on stocks and ETFs.
  • Low fund administration fees.
  • Simple, transparent T&Cs.
  • Multi-lingual customer support.
  • Free high-quality independent research to help you find trading opportunities.

Swissquote MEA Ltd. is regulated by DFSA with DFSA Reference Number: F001438.

Address: Office No 3, Level 9, Currency House Building, Tower 2, DIFC, PO Box 121364, Dubai, UAE

#6 IG

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • Multi-asset broker offering more than 13,000 markets. Forex, crypto, shares, indices, commodities bonds, options and ETFs.
  • Market-leading proprietary trading platform and option to use MT4 if you prefer.
  • Research and analysis materials hard to beat in terms of quality and quantity.
  • Islamic accounts.
  • Great charting tools.
  • Great mobile app with Reuters news flow included.
  • Free demo account.
  • Multi-lingual Customer support is available 24/7.

IG Limited is regulated by the DFSA with DFSA Reference Number: F001780.

Address: Units 2 & 3, Level 27, Al Fattan Currency House, Tower 2, DIFC, PO Box 506968, Dubai, UAE.

#7 FxPro

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • Founded in 2006, FxPro offers a range of global markets.
  • A global broker offering MetaTrader, cTrader and proprietary (FxPro Edge) platforms.
  • User-friendly website ideal for beginners.
  • Free demo account.
  • Ultra-fast execution with most orders filled <11ms.
  • Trade forex, commodities, futures, metals, energies, shares and indices.
  • Supports clients in more than 170 countries across the world.
  • Islamic account.
  • The winner of more than 80 industry awards.
  • Great tools for those who want to get into automated trading.

FxPro Global Markets MENA Limited is regulated by DFSA with DFSA Reference Number: F003333.

Address: Unit 1010, Level 10, Index Tower, DIFC, PO Box 507126, Dubai, UAE

#8 Amana Capital

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • CFD and crypto trading on MT4 and MT5 platforms.
  • Trading signals and training webinars to develop your skills.
  • Spreads as low as 0.1 pips.
  • 24/5 customer support.
  • Free demo account.
  • Founded 10 years ago.
  • More than 360 markets to choose from.
  • White label and affiliate schemes for those looking for non-trading income streams
  • Islamic accounts.

Amanah Capital LLP is regulated by the DFSA with DFSA Reference Number: F003269.

Address: Office 10, Level 5, Building 3, DIFC Precinct, DIFC, PO Box 15, Dubai, UAE.

#9 Axi

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • Minimum opening deposit of less than $10.
  • Multi-lingual customer service.
  • Islamic accounts.
  • Pro and Standard accounts to cater for newbies and the more experienced.
  • Free demo account.
  • ECN grade trade execution.
  • Multiple payment options available and super-easy withdrawal processes.
  • Educational courses available in 24 languages.
  • Video tutorials on demand.
  • Most Trusted Broker — UK Forex Awards 2018.
  • Best Forex Broker Middle East — Forex-awards.com 2019.
  • Best MT4 Forex Broker — atozmarkets.com, 2019.

AxiCorp Financial Services Pty Ltd is regulated by DFSA with DFSA Reference Number: F003742.

Address: Office 105, Level 1, Tower 2, Al Fattan Currency House, DIFC, PO Box 507299, Dubai, UAE.

Why Do Brokers Apply to be Regulated?

Well-run brokerage firms compete with each other in all sorts of ways. Some are super-aggressive on pricing, while others offer superior trade support. A newbie looking to find the best broker for them will consider a range of factors including the amount of free research, accessibility to customer services, markets on offer, the functionality of the trading platform and reliability of execution.

That competition among brokers is great news for the end-users who get great service and low costs as a result. Reputable firms with a unique selling position have a chance of being a long-term success. Regulation can help in two ways:

The DFSA’s role is to regulate companies and individuals operating in the financial services sector, and enforce laws to protect traders and investors.

If your chosen broker is licensed by the DFSA, you can take comfort from the following features associated with that regulator:

Leverage terms by asset type for DFSA regulated firms supporting retail CFD trading:

The above list of what the DFSA does to regulate the financial markets only scratches the surface. A visit to its site provides more detail, but it’s clear to see, the regulator is serious about ensuring the DIFC operates in an orderly and efficient manner.

There are several laws and religious customs relating to Shariah law that have to be followed. Brokers have to operate in a manner that is in line with Islamic beliefs.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), only DFSA brokers can carry out financial activities. It is illegal for any company to offer any services to UAE residents without obtaining the necessary licence.

What Does Being DFSA-Regulated Mean?

There are a lot of hoops to jump through for any firm that wants to gain and keep a DFSA licence. The application process itself takes months and involves a lot of form filling. The onus is on the broker to demonstrate that it has a compliant business model.

Applicant firms must ensure its staff are not on the DFSA blacklist and are have the skills and experience required to run the business.

After gaining the licence, there is more work and expense. Licensed firms are required to satisfy DFSA reporting obligations and keep up to date with new rule changes.

Any firm wanting to be DFSA-regulated needs to be prepared to invest heavily in the application process and ongoing reporting. If costs are to be recouped over the long-term, then the broker needs to have a good chance of success and that means they need to have many aspects that will attract clients.

It’s a win-win. The process means that brokers need to be both safer and better. All things considered, it appears surprising that some retail investors still lose money by using fraudulent brokers who are unregulated.

There is still one challenge left. Given that unregulated brokers are not an option, there is still the question of considering the pool of brokers who are DFSA regulated. This requires getting to know more about them and how they might fit your type of trading.

One way is to open an account with a DFSA-regulated broker. It is not only safe but will help you learn more about trading and what each broker offers. There are no-strings, so there’s no harm in shopping around until you find a best fit.

Final Thoughts

It’s worth noting how much effort DFSA-regulated firms put into ensuring they operate in full compliance with the rules. The main reason they do this is that it’s an obvious selling point to potential clients. Those who are new to trading, in particular, can take confidence from using a DFSA regulated broker.

The protection that applies is extensive and always changing. The good news for traders is that keeping up to date with new rules is down to the broker. Clients can instead look for the rubber-stamp of approval and focus on developing their trading skills.

The situation is constantly changing and new firms such as XTB have issued statements stating they are also in the process of applying for a license.