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Best FSCA Regulated Brokers in South Africa

10 Min/23 February 2021
Best FSCA Regulated Brokers in South Africa

South Africans are showing an increasing interest in trading the financial markets. Trading does come with risks, but the opportunity to generate a profitable return has caught the eye of many. The uptick in trading activity is now being reflected in an increasing number of brokers gaining authorisation from the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA).

The FSCA, formerly known as the FSB, regulates financial market conduct in South Africa. It supervises financial institutions and grants licenses to those which meet stringent criteria. Their aim is to combine market efficiency with consumer protection. That means anyone signing up with an FSCA regulated broker is taking a step towards safer trading with a better broker. Read on for the names of some brokers we can recommend to a short-list.

    #1 Markets.com

    Trader Rating
    What We Liked
    • Over 120 forex pairs and 3,000 global share markets to choose from.
    • Choose from using a proprietary platform, Marketsx and MT4, MT5.
    • Some of the powerful trading tools on the proprietary platforms aren’t available elsewhere.
    • Tight spreads.
    • A publicly listed company.
    • Free demo account.
    • No inactivity fees.
    • No deposit or withdrawal fees on PayPal payments.
    • Negative Balance Protection — you cannot lose more than your deposit.
    • Client funds are segregated from broker funds — if your broker fails, your funds are held away from theirs.
    • Supports automated trading if you want a more hands-off approach.
    • Leverage up to 1:300.

    Markets.com is well known for offering an individually tailored service. The platform has all the tools and neat features that you’d expect from a top-grade broker. The broker just aims to go that little bit further by offering a VIP service.

    Broker Fees

    One of the neat features of Markets.com is that the fees and charges operate in a simple way. This makes the broker particularly suitable for beginners, and also helps run comparisons to other brokers to find out that Markets.com holds its own in terms of fees.

    Trading Limit

    Features

    Regulation

    Markets.com is operated by Finalto (South Africa) Pty Limited Regulated by Financial Sector Conduct Authority (‘FSCA’) under the licence no. 46860.

    Platform

    The choice of three different platforms, two of them unique to Markets.com, is a bonus. The proprietary platforms are especially worth checking out, particularly as they are unique to Markets.com. Those who want to try the MetaTrader platforms will benefit from access to a large range of trading tools including +30 technical indicators, the choice of 9 to 21 time-frames and +4 types of pending orders.

    Finding the best-fit dashboard for your personal trading requirements is the first step towards trading success. As the demo account is free to use and no-strings, there is some benefit to be gained from taking a couple of minutes to register for one and try out all four platforms.

    Customer Support

    Available via phone and live chat and in a variety of languages including, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, German and Bulgarian.

    #2 FXTM

    Trader Rating
    What We Liked
    • A global leader in online trading and investment.
    • Three different account types including the beginner-friendly Cent account, which allows newbies to trade in small size.
    • Over 2 million clients.
    • Fast, reliable trade execution and VPS hosting.
    • Winner of the World Finance, Best Trading Experience award, 2020.
    • Market-leading platform and award-winning mobile apps for those who trade on the go.
    • Extensive trade analysis tools including: FXTM Pivot Point Strategy and Trading Signals.
    • Multilingual customer services and friendly personal account managers.

    FXTM is FSCA regulated and has also been operating for more than 10 years, which adds extra security. The broker is something of a ‘new kid on the block’ and has an innovative approach. There is also a feeling that FXTM is on the same side as their clients.

    One way in which FXTM supports beginners is the Cent account. This allows traders to trade real money, but in small size. This bridges the gap between a demo account and live trading. Neat features like this can help traders develop their trading skills and become long-term profitable.

    Broker Fees

    Trading Limit

    In line with most forex brokers in South Africa, leverage terms extend up to 1:300

    Features

    Regulation

    ForexTime Limited is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission with CIF license number 185/12, and licensed by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) of South Africa, with FSP No. 46614.

    Platform

    There are two trading platforms on offer at FXTM. The MetaTrader MT4 platform is the most popular platform in the retail forex trading community. It is available in desktop format and comes packed full of professional-grade analytics tools and advanced charting tools, which are ideal to help traders develop integrated trading strategies.

    The free VPS hosting service is a big plus point and ensures clients can improve on their trade execution speed and reliability by having their programs hosted close to exchanges.

    The FXTM mobile trading app is free to use and allows those who like to trade on the move keep in touch with the markets.

    Customer Support

    FXTM was awarded Best Forex Trading Experience and Best Forex Trading Support in Africa awards at the Global Forex Awards — Retail 2020.

    #3 FXCM

    Trader Rating
    What We Liked
    • A global broker, which has been established for over 20 years.
    • Access to the highly-regarded Trading Station platform, combined with tight trading spreads
    • High-quality add-on services include: NinjaTrader, TradingView and Capitalise AI.
    • Free SMS trade alerts and online live classrooms to develop trading proficiency.
    • Transparent reporting, which is jargon-free. The firm willingly shares data on topics such as slippage to share how effectively the firm’s operations are running.
    • Free demo account.
    • Relationships with big banks like UBS, Barclays, Citi, Morgan Stanley helps FXCM locate the best liquidity in the market. This results in better trading terms for clients.
    • Winner of the Investors Chronicle — Top Rated 2020 Forex Trading Platform award.

    FXCM offers a comprehensive trading service. The platform is as good as they get, the additional services are hard to beat and the firm has been operating for more than two decades. The cherry on the top of the cake is that the broker is also FSCA regulated. If you want to know quite how good a trading dashboard can be then head to FXCM’s demo account and give Trading Station a test-drive.

    Broker Fees

    Trading is about more than just spreads and FXCM demonstrates it is on its client’s side in two ways. The first is that if price moves in your favour after you instruct to trade, FXCM will pass that benefit on to you. The second is that the broker monitors and shares information relating to slippage.

    FXCM 2020 Highlights — slippage:

    These figures translate to +87% of trades receiving no slippage or positive slippage.

    Trading Limit

    At FXCM, it’s possible to tap into the global markets of a wide range of asset groups including forex, shares, indices, commodities and crypto.

    Features

    Regulation

    FXCM has been trading for more than 20 years, so has an impressive track record. It does back that up by being regulated by the FSCA.

    FXCM South Africa (PTY) LTD is an operating subsidiary within the FXCM group of companies (collectively, the “FXCM Group”). FXCM South Africa (PTY) LTD is an authorised Financial Services Provider and is regulated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority under FSP No 46534. (Source: FXCM)

    The firm’s registered address is 114 West Street, 6th Floor, Katherine & West Building, Sandton, 2196, Johannesburg, South Africa.

    Platform

    Trading Station is available for Mac, Android and iOS. It’s a proprietary product and a real selling point for the broker. It offers powerful analytical tools for chart traders, advanced functionality and much, much, more.

    Trading Station has a fresh modern look and the graphics have a very attractive aesthetic. Another additional feature is the option to store and share your trading ideas online using the FXCM cloud.

    Customer Support

    Customer service can be contacted by live chat, email or phone.

    Email: [email protected]

    Account opening: +27 10 500 1906

    Why Choose an FSCA Regulated Broker

    Any broker that applies for FSCA regulation has to jump through a lot of hoops to get that license. They will have to demonstrate they have a viable long-term business model, staff with appropriate skills and experience and enough cash to launch.

    The regulator will also check the profiles of key staff to ensure they aren’t known scammers.

    This process takes time and requires considerable investment. It’s a step that a lot of brokers take to gain a rubber-stamp of approval. The conditions of being FSCA regulated are easy to access at the organisation’s site and include a range of client protection measures.

    If your short-list of brokers includes firms that are FSCA regulated, you can take comfort from them having a long-term plan and enough substance to have gained approval.

    Conclusion

    While recommended, brokers are not required to become authorised by the FSCA to accept residents of South Africa as customers. Being the national regulator of South Africa, the FSCA is on the ground and therefore able to spot any issues that might relate to SA clients.

    If you are new to trading, there are enough things to learn without giving up head-space to concerns about your broker. Choosing a regulated broker that has the right tools and markets for you is a great first step into the markets.

    One of the best ways to get to learn more is to set up a demo account. The above brokers all offer free, no-strings demo accounts, which can be set up within minutes. Once onboarded, you can trade the markets and simulate building a portfolio using virtual cash. It’s a great way to develop trading skills and get to know more about the different brokers.

    Shopping around and trying different demo accounts is a good idea. Just be sure to use an FSCA regulated broker as if you find you like them and want to go on to live trading, you’ll be able to take comfort from that firm’s regulatory status.