FCA (United Kingdom) Regulated Forex Brokers

Written by Zornitsa Stefanova
Zornitsa Stefanova is experienced forex and crypto analyst. She also covers various financial topics such as stocks trading and retirement investments.
, | Updated: May 14, 2024

Finding a reliable and adequately regulated broker is essential if you are looking to trade forex and other financial instruments in the UK. To help you make the right pick, we present you with a list of the best brokers catering to British traders. All brokers recommended below are authorized by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and adhere to the strict regulatory standards laid down by the watchdog. Our top picks prioritize security, fairness, and transparency to deliver a superior trading experience tailored specifically to the needs of British customers.

1Admirals
Rating: 4.1 ⭐
73% of retail investor accounts lose money
2Swissquote
Rating: 3.6 ⭐
61% of retail investor accounts lose money
3Tickmill
Rating: 3.4 ⭐
70% of retail investor accounts lose money
4Vantage FX
Rating: 3.4 ⭐
5Pepperstone
Rating: 4.5 ⭐
75.5% of retail investor accounts lose money
6CMC Markets
Rating: 4.2 ⭐
71% of retail investor accounts lose money
7Saxo Bank
Rating: 3.7 ⭐
65% of retail investor accounts lose money
8XTB
Rating: 3.7 ⭐
80% of retail investor accounts lose money
9eToro
Rating: 4.2 ⭐
51% of retail investor accounts lose money
10Iron FX
Rating: N/A ⭐
67.62% of retail investor accounts lose money

Best Brokers Regulated by FCA

  1. Admirals (formerly Admiral Markets) secured the first spot on our list thanks to its spotless regulatory track record, accurate pricing, and commitment to client security. The company acquired regulatory approval in 2013 and operates in the UK under registration number 595450. The FCA-licensed entity has registered offices in London’s Aldgate Tower on Leman Street.

    British customers of Admirals can trade in over 8,000 financial instruments, including forex, commodities, stocks, indices, exchange-traded funds, and bonds. Retail traders will benefit from negative balance protection and have their funds stored in segregated accounts in accordance with FCA requirements. The broker participates in the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme, offering compensation of up to £85,000 per customer in the unlikely event of insolvency.

    CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 73% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
  2. Our second pick, Swissquote, has plenty to offer to British customers who value security, fair pricing, and regulatory compliance. The broker serves clients from the country with an FCA license numbered 562170 and has set up local offices on New Broad Street in the heart of London’s financial district. Previously licensed by the now-defunct Financial Services Authority, Swissquote acquired an FCA license in 2013, shortly after the creation of the new regulatory body.

    Swissquote inspires confidence by offering a secure trading ecosystem and negative balance protection. A subsidiary of the well-known Swissquote Bank, the broker provides deep liquidity and superior order execution on hundreds of forex pairs, stocks, cryptocurrencies, and mutual funds. The company trades publicly on Switzerland’s principal stock exchange, further consolidating its excellent reputation.

    CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 61% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
  3. Tickmill is a Seychelles-based online broker catering to over 130,000 customers from more than 90 countries. The company expanded its global footprint in 2016 when it gained authorization from the FCA. It currently operates in the UK under registration number 717270 and has registered offices in the City of London on the historic Old Jewry Street.

    The broker adheres to the rigorous standards of the British financial regulator with full client fund segregation, capital adequacy, negative balance protection, and transparent pricing. It boasts an average trading volume exceeding $142 billion per month. Tickmill customers are entitled to a maximum compensation of £85,000 per person as the broker partakes in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

    CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 70% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with Tickmill Europe Ltd. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
  4. Established in 2009, Vantage is a trusted multi-asset online broker that specializes in offering contracts for difference on currency pairs, stocks, indices, and commodities. The company’s UK entity serves British customers with an FCA license (number 590299) and has head offices located on Old Broad Street, the former home of the London Stock Exchange. The broker boasts a clean track record and has not committed any regulatory violations at the time of publication.

    Vantage is committed to providing a secure trading ecosystem, allowing customers to trade with confidence in over 1,000 financial instruments. The company partners with the prestigious Lloyd’s of London and offers a guaranteed fund compensation of up to £1 million. The broker provides negative balance protection and superior customer support available around the clock.

  5. Founded in 2010, Pepperstone is trusted by more than 300,000 clients from over 160 countries. The company obtained regulatory approval from the FCA in 2016 (license number 684312) after purchasing the retail forex broker 123FX from British entrepreneur Mohammed Tayeb. Pepperstone enjoys an excellent reputation as a well-capitalized and compliant firm with registered offices in London (Gracechurch Street), Melbourne, Dusseldorf, and Limassol.

    British customers who register with Pepperstone will benefit from seamless order processing, competitive pricing, and top-of-the-book liquidity. Clients have access to over 1,200 tradable instruments, ranging from forex and commodities to indices and shares. Traders at Pepperstone can have their peace of mind as the broker segregates their funds with top-tier banks.

    CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75.5% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
  6. CMC Markets is an industry-leading online broker fully regulated in the UK under registration number 173730. The company has additionally received authorization from the FCA to provide spread betting services to British customers, which it does with a separate license (170627). The headquarters of the UK-facing entity of CMC Markets are located in the City of London on Houndsditch Street.

    As a fully compliant broker, CMC Markets stores client funds in segregated accounts at major British banks like Barclays, NatWest, and Lloyds. The broker is an official member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), offering guaranteed protection of up to £85,000 per eligible retail client. Its parent company, the CMC Group, is listed on the London Stock Exchange where it trades publicly as part of the FTSE 250 index.

    Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
  7. Saxo Bank is a reputable online brokerage that has been doing business with customers for over three decades. It appears in the FCA licensee register under registration number 551422 and has offices in London’s Canary Wharf. The company’s UK-licensed outfit handles over £70 billion in client assets and facilitates trading in over 70,000 financial instruments, including forex options, futures, and contracts for difference.

    As an FCA-authorized broking firm, Saxo participates in the FSCS investor compensation scheme and adheres to the strict client fund segregation requirements of the British financial regulator. The brokerage enables retail customers to leverage their positions at maximum rates of 30:1. It safeguards client accounts from slipping into the red zone with negative balance protection.

    CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs, FX or any of our other products work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
  8. 8. XTB

    XTB is an FCA-licensed and regulated online broker that provides low-cost trading and investment services under registration number 522157. The broker receives heaps of praise from British traders as it offers ultra-tight spreads for over 5,700 financial instruments, including currency pairs, exchange-traded funds, indices, shares, and commodities.

    The broking firm demonstrates continued commitment to clients’ safety, offering negative balance protection, automatic stop-outs on losing leveraged positions, and investor compensation of up to £85,000 per person. Prioritizing transparency, XTB publishes information about its cash reserves and profits for each quarter of operation. The broker keeps client funds in segregated accounts at first-tier banks in line with FCA requirements.

    CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 80% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
  9. Launched in 2007, eToro is a standout option for Brits looking to engage in copy trading. The broker carries out online trading services in the UK under registration number 583263. British customers registered with the eToro platform can trade over 5,000 financial instruments, including stocks, forex pairs, crypto assets, and commodities.

    As a fully compliant broker, eToro stores customer funds in segregated accounts and upholds high cyber security standards as required by the FCA. Clients will additionally benefit from investment insurance and negative balance protection, with the option of using maximum leverage of up to 1:30. The broker takes all necessary steps to ensure the best possible results for British customers, including offering accurate and up-to-date price quotes and delivering lightning-fast order execution.

    CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 51% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
  10. IronFX is a trusted multi-asset broker catering to over one million customers from more than 180 countries, including the UK. The company serves Brits under the stern regulatory gaze of the FCA (585561). Brits who register with IronFX gain access to over 200 markets tradable at razor-sharp spreads from zero pips. IronFX has adopted the latest technologies to deliver real-time order execution, security, and transparent pricing.

    The award-winning broking firm provides a laudable customer-oriented support service via live chat and email. British customers can conveniently fund their live trading accounts via credit/debit cards, bank wire transfers, and popular e-wallets like Skrill and Neteller. While IronFX is unlikely to fail to meet its financial obligations, clients can feel safe knowing they are eligible for investor compensation of up to £85,000 per eligible customer.

    Risk Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 67.62% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in Brief

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was created after the passage of the Financial Services Act 2012, effectively replacing the now-defunct Financial Services Authority (FSA). The regulatory body presently oversees the operations of over 50,000 businesses in the financial sector, such as broking firms, banks, credit unions, and mutual societies. The watchdog has multiple regulatory responsibilities, including granting authorization to approved brokerages and maintaining the stability of the local financial markets.

The FCA maintains some of the world’s highest standards in consumer protection, ensuring Brits can invest with confidence in a fair and secure environment. British traders can conveniently verify the regulatory status of their brokers in the FCA’s official register of authorized firms. The regulator also flags unauthorized brokers and clone firms on its website, effectively minimizing the risk of Brits falling victim to forex scams and fraud.

Requirements for Obtaining FCA Broker License

Online brokers must obtain authorization from the FCA to legally provide their services to British customers. Interested firms can apply for dealer (market maker), intermediary (STP), or limited broker licenses. Dealer licenses are granted to market-making brokers operating their own dealing desks to provide price quotes. Intermediary licenses are issued to firms relying on third-party liquidity providers to match their clients’ orders.

Limited broker licenses are issued to companies dealing with the sales and marketing of relevant products without holding client funds. Dealer and intermediary licenses enable approved broking firms to legally provide contracts for difference in currency pairs, stocks, indices, and commodities to retail and professional clients from the UK. UK-licensed brokers are prohibited from offering CFDs and spread betting on cryptocurrencies, however.

Companies applying for authorization must meet minimum capital requirements of £75,000 for limited licenses, £150,000 for intermediary licenses, and £750,000 for market-maker licenses. This ensures the approved companies have sufficient financial resources to safely do business with British customers. Another requirement stipulates that applicants must have a physical presence in the country, i.e. they must set up offices in the UK. The chief executive officers and directors of the firms must be UK residents as well.

Key management personnel must possess sufficient experience and expertise in the financial sector. Additionally, the companies should provide the regulator with comprehensive business plans outlining their risk management strategies and future revenue estimates. They must also outline their anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) policies in great detail.

Staff members should have clean criminal records for a company to gain approval from the FCA. Candidates must submit all relevant application documents in English. Documents in foreign languages should be translated by sword translators. The FCA normally requires between six and twelve months to assess the license applications. Delays usually occur when applications are incomplete and some of the required documents are missing.

Client Funds Protection at FCA-Regulated Brokers

The FCA has some of the most rigorous requirements for consumer protection in the world. All locally licensed brokerages must adhere to strict client funds segregation policies and store their customers’ money in separate accounts at tier-1 banks like Barclays and Lloyds. The measure prevents brokers from misusing the capital of their clients and ensures everyone gets their money back if a company is forced into liquidation.

All FCA-authorized brokers must participate in the country’s statutory Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The UK has one of the highest levels of investor compensation in the world. British retail traders can claim reimbursement of up to £85,000 per person if their brokers cannot fulfill their financial obligations for one reason or another.

Professional traders waive their right to investor compensation. Last but not least, British customers with margin accounts cannot lose more than their available balance as all FCA-compliant brokers offer negative balance protection.

FAQs about FCA-Regulated Brokers

  • What is the maximum leverage I can use at FCA-regulated brokers?

    FCA-authorized brokers offer maximum leverage of 1:30 for forex majors, 1:20 for other currency pairs, gold, and major indices, 1:10 for non-major indices and other commodities, and 1:5 for stocks.

  • What is the minimum account balance I must maintain to trade on margin?

    All brokers regulated by the FCA require retail customers to maintain a minimum margin of 50% on a per-account basis. If your balance drops below this threshold, your broker will automatically liquidate your losing CFD positions to prevent further losses.

  • Will I get in legal trouble if I trade with brokers lacking FCA authorization?

    British traders are not legally prosecuted for doing business with offshore brokers regulated in other jurisdictions. Nevertheless, we recommend you still opt for FCA-authorized broking firms as this will give you legal recourse in case something goes wrong.

  • What software do FCA-approved brokers use?

    Most FCA-compliant broking firms implement popular third-party platforms like MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), cTrading, and TradingView. With that said, some brokers develop proprietary trading platforms that may take some time getting used to.

  • Do FCA-regulated brokers offer competitive spreads?

    It all depends on where you trade – some brokers offer better conditions than others. Spreads at our recommended brokers commonly start from zero pips, with no commissions in place for forex trades.


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