London has always been known as the centre of the foreign exchange market. For that very reason, the world’s top forex brokers have established a UK presence for their operations near or within the London financial district. One of the world’s strictest regulators, the Financial Control Authority (FCA), also provides regulatory oversight to protect consumers and to hold a tight rein over the brokerage community’s activities, both foreign and domestic.
There are several considerations when choosing a broker. Safety and security rank highly, but management transparency, asset choices, fees and spreads, support, and trading platform options are also key factors. With regard to the latter, a user-friendly interface is a must with quick order execution and the ability to close positions quickly without delay. Quick order execution relates to reliability, which is often the foremost concern of many veteran traders.
What other factors are of a critical nature when selecting a trading platform? Depending upon your level of ability, you may want a host of features that broaden the functionality of the platform while also appealing to your trading style. These can include scalping, using automated trading tools, or simply having charts, indicators, and information in clear view with single-touch execution. If the broker enhances these features with the ability to copy experts, then so much the better.
For small- to medium-sized brokers, your only platform choice may be a popular brand name like MetaTrader4 or TradeStation. But for the larger, well-resourced broker with veteran traders on staff, it will more than likely have a proprietary platform system to supplement those developed by independent industry specialists. While proprietary platforms tend to confuse many clients, there is a cadre of traders that appreciate customisation, especially if it gives them an edge.
The best way to make a trial run before your final choice is to gain access to a broker’s free demo system. Execution speeds may be quicker than real market conditions since actual transactions are not being made with liquidity providers, but the ability to check out order types, charting tools, the selection of indicators and ease-of-use of the entire feature set is at your fingertips. Take your time. Your effort on the front end will pay dividends down the road.
There is an abundance of excellent brokers and trading platforms in the UK, each with excellent platform options to offer – both commercial and proprietary. We have assembled a list of the eight best trading platforms for your consideration. You cannot go wrong with any of these brokers or with their program offerings. Your trading platform will be your trusted arsenal when confronting the vagaries of hostile market conditions. Perform your due diligence, and choose wisely.
Tickmill – 4.8 Stars
- Competitively low spreads and fees
- Proprietary Autochartist tool enhances opportunity recognition and trade execution
- MetaTrader family of trading platform products
- Excellent research and educational materials
Tickmill is a mid-sized broker, has several global offices, and was initially founded in 2014. Its primary regulators are the FCA in the UK and CySEC in Europe. There is also oversight in the Seychelles, South Africa, and Malaysia. Its headquarters are located in London, and it has licenses to operate in the above jurisdictions. The firm currently boasts 350,000+ registered accounts.
Tickmill is primarily a CFD, Non-Dealing Desk (NDD) operating shop. Execution speeds are top-of-the-line, and asset offerings include forex, stock indices and oil, precious metals, bonds, and cryptocurrencies. There are a variety of account offerings to suit all levels of trader, including an Islamic and a free demo account. EAs, scalping, and hedging are permitted, and client funds are segregated in Top Tier bank accounts.
When it comes to Tickmill trading platforms, the broker keeps it simple by only supporting the highly popular MetaTrader family of platform products. MT4 and MT5 provide versions include web, downloadable, and mobile applications, as well as special software for Mac users.
Capital.com – 4.7 Stars
- Fully transparent management team and broad regulatory compliance
- Extremely tight fees and spreads for 4,000+ asset choices
- Multiple platform options from TradingView and a proprietary system
- Proprietary platform uses cutting edge AI algorithms to enhance user outcomes
Capital.com has risen in short order to the top ranks of global forex brokers after its recent founding in 2016. It has over 2 million registered accounts and counting. Headquartered in London, it is regulated by the FCA in the UK, CySEC in Europe, ASIC in Australia, and the NBRB in Belarus.
Capital.com offers CFD trading, along with spread betting support where legally allowed. Tradable instruments exceed 4,000, including forex pairs, commodities, indices and shares.
Capital.com sets itself apart from its competitors by assuring customers several platform options, including its award-winning AI-based web-trading platform. The firm recently inked a deal with TradingView, which can be used to access TradeStation, but the firm’s proprietary platform is the big draw. Named Emotional Quotient or eQ for short, the AI-driven software can determine if a trader is falling victim to over 25 biases and then counsel the trader with helpful feedback to improve their user experience.
VantageFX – 4.6 Stars
- Experienced global broker with oversight from ASIC and the FCA in the UK
- Broad variety of trading platform options, including MT4 and MT5
- Extremely tight spreads at higher account offerings
- Extensive footprint in copy-trade offerings
VantageFX is a prominent forex broker headquartered in Sydney, Australia. Since it opened its doors in 2009, the firm has grown to a staff level of over 1,000 professionals spread over more than 30 global offices. Regulatory oversight is strong, including ASIC in Australia and the FCA in the UK, and the firm also complies with authorities in the Cayman Islands.
The firm offers forex trading in over 40 currency pairs and CFD trading in shares, indices, precious metals and commodities. Spreads can be tight in upper account ranges where deposits exceed $10,000.
The firm makes its mark in its platform portfolio offerings. MetaTrader 4 and 5 are supported, and the company has consistently won awards by adding customised tools and apps to these popular trading platforms.
VantageFX also offers ProTrader, a platform powered by TradingView. Copy-trading tools are also a priority with Vantage. It partners with three providers – Zulu Trade, DupliTrade, and Myfxbook Auto Trade.
Admiral Markets – 4.4 Stars
- Experienced broker with 20 years of excellent service
- Regulatory compliance with ASIC, the FCA, CySEC, Jordan, and Estonia
- Excellent research and training support
- Leader in MT4 and MT5 arena with enhanced add-ons
Admiral Markets was established in 2001. With over 20 years of experience, the firm has decided to re-brand as ‘Admirals’. It has expanded globally and is in compliance at a top-tier level with ASIC, the FCA, and CySEC.
Known for its excellent research and educational support materials, Admirals has always been a first choice for beginners, but the firm has much to offer to all levels of trader competence. It keeps it simple with a single account offering, but your choice of trading platform will impact the feature sets available. Over 40 forex pairs are offered for trading and a range of CFDs apply to assets comprising commodities, indices, stocks, ETFs and bonds where local law allows.
Although it has recently introduced its own in-house trading app, Admirals has chosen to primarily focus on the MetaTrader suite of product offerings and has won awards for augmenting these platform offerings with advanced analytical and research tools.
FP Markets – 4.3 Stars
- Experienced global forex and CFD provider headquartered in Australia
- ASIC provides regulatory oversight
- 10,000+ tradable markets with highly competitive spreads and fees
- MetaTrader and iRESS suite of platforms – Best in Class in 2021 for MetaTrader
FP Markets is another forex and CFD trading broker emanating from down under in Australia. Founded in 2005, its home page touts 40+ industry awards as evidence of its superior track record. Over the last decade and a half, it has grown globally by offering a broad portfolio of investment options and highly competitive fees and spreads. ASIC is the firm’s regulator with licensing from CySEC, as well.
FP Markets claims over 10,000 tradable assets in its arsenal, but your platform selection may limit your access to all of these instruments. Low fees and commissions are a hallmark of this firm, but account deposit balances do make a difference. There are, however, no restrictions on trading strategies. EAs and scalping are allowed.
This broker also offers a broad selection of trading platform options. It has consistently won awards for its customised version of MetaTrader offerings and its iRESS suite of products provides a slimmed-down set of protocols for the professional, heavy volume trader.
BDSwiss – 4.2 Stars
- European based forex and CFD broker since 2012 with CySEC regulatory oversight
- Over 1.5 million registered accounts and 1 million clients
- Over 1,000 tradable assets available
- MT4, MT5, and proprietary platforms supported
BDSwiss was established in 2012 and licensed by the Republic of Mauritius. It complies with CySEC, BaFin in Germany, the FSC in Mauritius, and the FSA in the Seychelles. It is a global broker with over 1.5 million registered accounts and over 10 global offices. The FCA in the UK, however, recently blocked BDSwiss from marketing its CFDs to UK clients.
It offers over 1,000 instruments for investment in forex pairs and CFDs in equities, indices, energies, precious metals, and ETFs. Depending on your jurisdiction, and taking into account the recent update to CFDs for UK clients, access to various offerings may be restricted. The firm touts $84bn in monthly trading turnover and services clients in over 186 countries.
Platform offerings are a combination of the highly popular MetaTrader family of products, along with its custom BDSwiss WebTrader and BDSwiss mobile app. AutoChartist tools and auto alerts also are standard. The broker has also won several industry awards for its technology, research, and service components.
Exness – 4.1 Stars
- Founded in 2008 and complies with a range of regulatory agencies, including FCA and CySEC
- Over 230,000 active traders with nearly $1tn in monthly volume
- Focused on most popular forex pairs, shares, cryptos, and commodities
- Platforms supported are MT4 and MT5 product lines with mobile apps
Exness is an industry-leading broker that has been in business since 2008. The broker lists five regulatory agencies with which it complies across the globe, including the top-tiered group of the FCA in the UK and CySEC for the Eurozone area. Its primary offices are located in Cyprus, the UK, and the Seychelles.
In September 2021, Exness reported over 230,000 active clients and $947bn in trading volumes. Its product offerings are straightforward – currency pairs, stocks and indices, metals and energies.
Excess also keeps it simple by only offering MT4 and MT5, along with mobile applications. Its platforms are feature-rich with advanced add-ons and support zero commission trading. Spreads can start as low as 0.3 pips.
TMGM – 4.0 Stars
- Innovative broker from Australia with ASIC and FMA regulatory oversight
- Expansive asset portfolio in excess of 12,000 items
- Basic MT4 operating shop with iRESS suite of platform offerings
- Impressive educational tools and support
TMGM, formerly known as Trademax, is an innovative provider of CFD trading, operating out of primary offices in Australia and secondary locations in New Zealand and Taiwan. Founded in 2013, it has grown quickly under the regulatory compliance of ASIC and the FMA in New Zealand.
Forex pairs, indices, commodities and cryptos are standard, but its reach in shares and ETFs is beyond 12,000 items. Your platform selection may only access a subset of these instruments, but the most popular assets are present.
MT4 is its primary platform offering, supplemented by the iRESS suite of products, as well as MT5. The firm recently inked a deal with Trade View to offer its clients access to that firm’s algorithmic set of trading tools, thereby allowing traders to test strategies before risking capital.