AuthorBy Jeffrey Cammack
Updated: March 22, 2021

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) is the financial regulator of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Central to CySEC’s regulatory policies are segregated bank accounts for client funds, insurance coverage against broker negligence, a compensation scheme of up to €20,000 per account, and a strict capital adequacy ratio requirement to prevent brokers from defaulting because of client’s trades. 

To test these brokers, we verified our live account and reviewed their CySEC regulatory status and complaints history. Beyond confirming the platform choice, minimum deposit, and trading desk type, our test focused on trading conditions, the overall trading cost for clients, withdrawal fees and other fee structures, so traders understand all costs associated with using any specific broker. These are the best CySEC regulated brokers for 2021 according to our testing and our research.

  • XM - Most Trusted Broker
  • FXTM - Best Trading Conditions
  • BDSwiss - Best Trading Platforms
  • HotForex - Most Assets Available
  • Plus500 - Best Education
English

The best CySEC regulated Forex brokers for 2021

Last updated on 22 Mar 2021
Updated 22 Mar 2021
by Editorial Director Jeffrey Cammackby Jeffrey Cammack
Jeffrey Cammack
All Brokers Regulated
All Brokers Regulated
by Trusted Authoritiesby Trusted Authorities
Trusted
1
XM
Min. Deposit
USD 5
4.384.38
CySEC Licence
120/10
Min. Spread
0.60 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
11110.54.38/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.60 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. XM Group regulated by CySEC, ASIC, and the IFSC.
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XM is a reliable multi-regulated CFD broker offering trading in Forex, stocks, commodities, indices, metals, and energies. XM leads the Forex industry in terms of education and market analysis, but with customer service closed on the weekend, beginner traders with technical issues could face difficultly.

With support for MT4 and MT5, trading costs below the industry average on both introductory and professional accounts, and a low minimum deposit of 5 USD (70 ZAR), XM Group stands out from a crowded field of market maker brokers.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Excellent education
  • Wide range of assets
  • Fast and free withdrawals
Cons
  • Dealing desk
Read More About XM
2
FXTM
Min. Deposit
USD 10
4.174.17
CySEC Licence
185/12
Min. Spread
0.10 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
11110.54.17/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.90 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage Flexible. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. Leverage offered can vary depending on country of residence, and your trading knowledge and experience. FXTM is regulated by CySEC, FCA, FSCA, and the FSC.
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FXTM is a multi-regulated FSCA registered CFD broker offering clients trading on Forex, cryptocurrencies, indices, metals and stocks. With a complete education and market analysis section, and the unique FXTM Invest copy trading platform, FXTM is plagued by unfavourable trading conditions and platform choice limits on their entry-level accounts and charging withdrawal fees.

Beginners at FXTM will find a good overview of how Forex trading works and the basics of a beginners course in their guides and tutorials, webinars, ebooks, trading glossary and videos that cover beginner and intermediate topics. Daily market analysis will help beginners understand the real-world implications of news events on the Forex market and where the opportunities lie. However, Serious beginners should consider the ECN Account (minimum deposit 500 USD) or the ECN Zero Account (minimum deposit 200 USD) as trading conditions dramatically improve to fall in line with industry averages.

Pros
  • Good for beginners
  • Excellent education
  • Well regulated
  • Low minimum deposit
Cons
  • Expensive withdrawals
Read More About FXTM
3
BDSwiss
Min. Deposit
USD 100
4.324.32
CySEC Licence
199/13
Min. Spread
1 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
11110.54.32/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.60 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. BDSwiss is regulated by CySEC, FSC, and the FSA-Seychelles.
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BDSwiss is a European CFD broker regulated by CySEC, the FSC (Mauritius) and the FSA (Seychelles). BDSwiss offers trading on Forex, commodities, shares, indices, and cryptocurrencies. While trading costs on the entry-level Classic account are slightly above the industry average, the trading platform choice and the industry-leading education and market analysis material make up for it. A professional 5000 USD Raw account is also available with industry-competitive trading costs of 8 USD per EURUSD lot traded.

BDSwiss offers MT4, MT5 and a bespoke BDSwiss Web Trader application – the star attraction for new traders – with an intuitive and modern interface, an extended set of technical analysis tools, and advanced charting. The BDSwiss trading academy and market analysis are some of the best in the industry, with structured courses for all levels, frequent strategy webinars, and insightful market analysis headlined by a detailed daily market preview.

Pros
  • Tight spreads
  • Good for beginners
  • Wide range of assets
Cons
  • Expensive withdrawals
  • Limited market analysis
Read More About BDSwiss
4
HotForex
Min. Deposit
USD 5
4.494.49
CySEC Licence
183/12
Min. Spread
0 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
11110.54.49/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. HF Markets Group regulated by the FSCA, FCA, FSC, CySEC and the DFSA.
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HotForex is a global CFD broker with FSCA regulation offering a variety of trading products including Forex, commodities, indices, shares and crypto. Trading conditions are unusually good on the 5 USD (5 USD) introductory account, with fast market execution and competitive spreads. Experienced traders will be interested in HotForex’s professional account with EUR/USD spreads starting at 0 pips pips and a 6 USD commission.

HotForex supports both the MT4 and MT5 platforms and provides 18 trading tools to further assist traders. Unfortunately, access to better trading tools like Autochartist, which other brokers offer as a free service, requires an account balance of 6500 ZAR – well above the required minimum deposit.

HotForex offers a structured beginner course and webinars to help newcomers get started, but customer support is closed on the weekend, leaving novices stranded when they may need help the most.

Pros
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Tight spreads
  • Well regulated
  • Good range of accounts
Cons
  • Limited base currencies
Read More About HotForex
5
Plus500
Min. Deposit
USD 100
3.693.69
CySEC Licence
250/14
Min. Spread
0 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
1110.503.69/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Plus500 does not publish their spreads, and thus a cost of trading can not be established. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. Only Plus500 proprietary trading platform supported. Plus500 is regulated by FCA, CySEC, ASIC, and MAS.All information presented is verified as of the date of the review.Most retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.
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Plus500 is a leading CFD provider with CFDs on Forex, equities, indices, cryptocurrencies, commodities and options. Clients of Plus500 have access to an easy to use trading platform with a ZAR account, but membership lacks trading courses for beginners and market analysis. Plus500 is supervised by some of the best global regulators but is not currently licenced by the FSCA.

The Plus500 trading platform offers South African traders a single account option, however, a lack of platform support for copy trading, hedging and scalping, could limit traders looking for new ways to trade. Plus500 falls behind in market analysis, advanced trading tools, and an absence of trading courses, making it less suitable for beginners or inexperienced traders.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Wide range of assets
Cons
  • Limited education
  • Limited account options
Read More About Plus500
6
Exness
Min. Deposit
USD 1
4.324.32
CySEC Licence
178/12
Min. Spread
0.10 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
11110.54.32/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.70 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 2000:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. Exness is regulated by CySEC, FCA, and the FSC.
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Exness is an FSCA and internationally regulated CFD broker offering trading in Forex, cryptocurrencies and metals. Exness has some of the tightest spreads in the industry and a relatively low minimum deposit, but its selection of financial instruments is limited compared to similar brokers.

Exness has market and instant execution accounts and full support for MT4 and MT5 on both standard accounts. An optional ZAR account is available to South African traders, deposits and withdrawals are free of charge, and customer service is 24/7.

While Exness’ trading costs are well below the industry average, its education and market analysis are poor compared to other major brokers.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Wide range of assets
  • 24/7 customer service
Cons
  • Limited education
  • Limited market analysis
  • Unavailable in Europe
Read More About Exness
7
IronFX
Min. Deposit
USD 50
4.194.19
CySEC Licence
25/10
Min. Spread
0 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
11110.54.19/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.2 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 1000:1. Islamic account available. Only MT4 platform supported. IronFX is regulated by CySEC, FCA, ASIC, and the FSCA - FSP:45276.
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IronFX, a brand of Notesco, was founded in 2010 with the goal of creating a trading company bringing together customized trading functionality, the widest suite of trading products, the best pricing, execution and liquidity.

Regulated incomparably better than most brokerages including the ASIC, the FCA, CySEC and the FSCA, and offices in over 50 countries around the world and 30 languages spoken by customer service, IronFX has taken their product offering to a global audience.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Wide range of assets
Cons
  • Expensive withdrawals
Read More About IronFX
8
FP Markets
Min. Deposit
USD 100
4.174.17
CySEC Licence
371/18
Min. Spread
0 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
11110.54.17/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.1 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4, MT5 & IRESS platforms supported. FP Markets is regulated by CySEC and ASIC.
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FP Markets is an ASIC-regulated, STP broker with simple account options and an exciting set of tools for traders with higher minimum deposits. Spreads are tight, even on the Standard Account, and the lack of dealing desk intervention for all accounts removes any concern over conflict of interest.

Trader education and market analysis are slightly weaker than other brokers, but the material presented is well-structured and useful. Overall, FP Markets is an excellent choice for beginner and more experienced traders alike.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Good range of accounts
  • Great customer support
Cons
  • Expensive withdrawals
Read More About FP Markets
9
FxPro
Min. Deposit
USD 100
4.214.21
CySEC Licence
078/07
Min. Spread
0.60 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
11110.54.21/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.50 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4, MT5, cTrader and FxPro proprietary trading platform supported. FxPro Group is regulated by FCA, CySEC, FSCA, and the DFSA
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FxPro is one of the most respected Forex brokers in the industry. Regulated by the FCA and CySEC and with over 870,000 client accounts in 173 countries, FxPro is a truly global powerhouse.

FxPro offers a no dealing desk execution model on MT4, MT5, cTrader and a browser-based platform. A reasonable 100 USD opening deposit and outstanding customer service are combined with competitive spreads – often as low as 0.6 pips – to match profitability with security.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Great platform choice
  • Tight spreads
Cons
  • Limited education
Read More About FxPro
10
easyMarkets
Min. Deposit
USD 25
3.983.98
CySEC Licence
079/07
Min. Spread
0.90 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
1110.503.98/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.80 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & the proprietary easyMarkets platform are supported. easyMarkets is regulated by CySEC, ASIC, and the FSA in Seychelles.
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Founded in 2001, easyMarkets (then easyForex) was one of the first online brokers. Regulated by ASIC since 2003, CySEC since 2007 and the FSA since 2020, easyMarkets states their values as simple, honest and transparent which are reflected in their industry recognition – recently being awarded the Best Trading Platform and Most Transparent Broker awards in 2017 from FX Empire and Forex-Awards, respectively.

easyMarkets has always innovated, introducing tools like negative balance protection and guaranteed stop loss back in 2001 – these tools are now industry standards. Their innovation has continued with the unique Freeze Rate and dealCancellation tools, both intended to support new traders and keep trading transparent and simple. In 2018, easyMarkets won the Most Innovative Broker 2018 at the World Finance Markets Awards, a further sign that they are respected as innovators among their peers.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Wide range of assets
  • Innovative trading tools
Cons
  • Limited platform choice
  • Limited account options
Read More About easyMarkets
11
XTB
Min. Deposit
USD 5
4.144.14
CySEC Licence
169/12
Min. Spread
0.80 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
11110.54.14/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.50 pips on the trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & xStation platforms supported. XTB Group is regulated by CySEC, FCA and the IFSC
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Founded in 2002, XTB is a Polish market-maker with tight spreads on a single account and a focus on providing top-class education and market analysis for its clients. Regulated by the FCA, CySEC and the Belize IFSC, XTB offers negative balance protection for all clients and high-speed trading on over 1500 instruments.

XTB recently dropped support for MT4 to focus on its award-winning proprietary platform, xStation 5, which features more modern elements and a more intuitive design than the MetaTrader platforms.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Good for beginners
Cons
  • Limited platform choice
Read More About XTB
12
Fibo Group
Min. Deposit
USD 5
4.004.00
CySEC Licence
118/10
Min. Spread
0.20 pips
Platforms
Overall Rating
11110.54.00/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.30 pips with 6 USD commission round turn on the trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 1000:1. Islamic account available. MT4, MT5 & cTrader platforms supported. FIBO Group is regulated by CySEC and BVI FSC.
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Founded in 1998, FIBO Group is a CySEC-regulated, NDD broker with 6 different account types and full support for MT4, MT5 and cTrader. Beginners will like the MT4 Cent Account with its tight spreads and tiny minimum deposit while professional traders will be tempted by the MT5 and cTrader accounts, which feature some of the best trading conditions available. Commissions are competitive with other NDD brokers and the minimum deposit on most accounts is only 50 USD.

On the downside, education and market analysis are basic, FSC BVI and CySEC regulation are the bare minima of what is considered acceptable by way of oversight, and withdrawals are slow and expensive. 

Pros
  • Great platform choice
  • Low minimum deposit
Cons
  • Limited education
Read More About Fibo Group

Broker Regulation and Why it’s Important

Regulators are essential in all financial markets because they set the rules that guarantee a level playing field. They also enforce those rules by requiring members to submit regular reports and have independent audits, most good regulators will also have an investigations department and will conduct unannounced visits to regulated companies to ensure day-to-day operations are compliant. Regulators also have the power to impose penalties on members, including fines, sanctions and even revoking a company’s operating licence, thereby putting them out of business.

What is interesting about the Forex market is that there is no legal requirement for brokers to be regulated. CFD Forex trading is an Over the Counter (OTC) derivatives market – this means that there is no central exchange and no overall regulator with oversight for the market.

Having a wholly unregulated market is a bad idea and leads to massive consumer fraud, as happens on a smaller scale in regions with poorly regulated local Forex industries. Instead of having a single regulator, countries and regions regulate the brokers who reside in their territory. As each regulator has different abilities and priorities, Forex regulation is not uniform, and brokers must abide by different rules depending on which country/countries they are legally resident.

What is CySEC?

CySEC is the financial regulatory agency of Cyprus. It was founded in 2001 and when Cyprus joined the EU in 2004 CySEC became part of the pan-European MiFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive). MiFID is an EU law the harmonises regulation for financial services across the member states, allowing for financial firms registered in one state to essentially have a “passport” to operate in all the other EU states.

In terms of the Forex industry, this means that any Forex broker registered in Cyprus can market to, and accept business from, all EU citizens.

As the Cyprus financial regulator, CySEC has many crucial obligations in the financial sector – most of them outside the Forex industry – these are:

  • To review applications for and provide operating licenses to supervised financial companies – and revoke these if necessary.
  • To supervise and regulate the operation of and all transactions on the Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • To carry out all necessary investigations in view of the exercise of its duties under the law as well as on behalf of other foreign competent Authorities.
  • To impose administrative and disciplinary sanctions provided by the law.
  • To issue regulatory Directives and Decisions.
  • To cooperate and exchange data and information with foreign supervisory authorities.

How CySEC protects Forex traders

Most Forex brokers in Europe are based in Cyprus and are subject to CySEC’s regulations, so it follows that many millions of Forex traders are directly impacted not only by CySEC’s rules but also by how well they enforce them. The most important regulatory benefits for customers of a CySEC-regulated broker are as follow:

  • Segregated Funds: All trader funds are kept in a segregated trust account which the broker cannot access. This prevents the broker from using trader funds for operational purposes. It also ensures that in the case of broker bankruptcy, trader funds can be returned.
  • Capital Adequacy: CySEC requires all regulated brokers to hold enough capital to meet the capital adequacy ratio requirement. This decreases the likelihood of broker failure in the event of significant losses.
  • Reports and Auditing: Because brokers are required to submit regular financial compliance reports to CySEC, it is very difficult for brokers to hide any wrongdoing. Similarly, because these brokers are also subject to independent audits and visits from CySEC investigators, any malfeasance will be exposed.
  • Compensation Fund: All CySEC-regulated brokers are required to join the Investor Compensation Fund Scheme. Under this scheme, traders are liable for compensation up to 20,000 EUR in the case of broker bankruptcy.
  • Insurance Coverage: CySEC demands that all licenced brokers maintain insurance coverage of at least 1.5 million EUR for losses resulting from negligence.
  • Transparency: CySEC expects to have a complete overview of all products that a broker is planning to offer, and that these products are the same as the products offered to clients.

These protections are enshrined in regulatory law and brokers who are found to be in contravention are penalised and can even have their operating licence removed altogether.

A useful resource for traders, CySEC hosts an up-to-date list of brokers that are legally allowed to operate in their jurisdiction, if you are concerned that a broker may be operating illegally, check CySEC’s regulated entities list.

CySEC also publishes warnings on unregulated brokers operating illegally, many illegal brokers will often disguise themselves as regulated brokers so it is important to check here if you are concerned.

CySEC and ESMA: Restrictions on Trading Conditions

In March 2018, the European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA – a EU taskforce which examines EU-wide financial risk) announced new regulations on all CFD trading in the EU; these regulations were a directive at the supranational level – meaning that all EU members were required to abide by the regulations and enshrine them in domestic law.

Cyprus, as an EU member state, must also abide by this new set of regulations and all CySEC-regulated brokers will have the following restrictions as a result:

  • Leverage Restriction: Maximum leverage of 30:1 on major currency pairs, 20:1 on all other pairs, 5:1 on equities, 2:1 on cryptocurrencies
  • Negative Balance Protection: All brokers must guarantee negative balance protection for all traders
  • No Bonus: All bonuses, promotions or any other type of trading incentive are banned
  • Margin Call: Brokers will be required to close a client’s open positions when the account equity reaches 50% of the required minimum margin by all open positions.
  • Risk Warning: All brokers will be required to display a standard risk warning showing what percentage of clients lose money with them.

While traders and brokers were unhappy with the restriction on leverage, industry experts agree that the new ESMA regulations protect traders from making huge losses without critically damaging broker profits.

CySEC vs FCA

The Financial Conduct Authority is the United Kingdom’s financial regulator and is generally upheld as the best and strictest national regulatory authority in the world. Most good brokers will be regulated either by CySEC, the FCA or sometimes both.

On paper, there is little difference between CySEC or FCA regulation – though the licencing fee for CySEC brokers is only 7,000 EUR, compared to 25,000 GBP for the FCA. Aside from that, both regulators require segregated accounts, membership of a compensation fund and have high capital adequacy standards. All brokers regulated by both authorities will have the same leverage restrictions and other constraints required by the ESMA regulation – though whether this continues to remain the case once the United Kingdom leaves the EU remains to be seen.

The differences between the two regulators are mainly anecdotal, while the FCA is seen as unimpeachable when it comes to protecting consumers and being tough on brokers, many traders complain that CySEC is too broker-friendly and that it gives away operating licences too easily. CySEC also has a history of being easy on badly behaved brokers, with industry commentators noting that fines being levied by CySEC tended to be smaller than those handed out by other EU regulatory organizations.

But since 2016, CySEC has made sweeping changes to both the registration and regulation processes of all registered entities. Changes include more transparency regarding existing listed entities, tougher fines and regular unannounced onsite visits from CySEC investigators to check compliance. This has led to a surge in broker suspensions and license revoking and CySEC is gradually losing its image as a light-touch regulator.

Conclusion

As the regulator with the most EU registered brokers, CySEC has a critical role in the Forex industry and millions of traders rely on their ability to ensure a fair trading environment.

While in the past, this ability has been questioned, currently CySEC is seen as a leader in the Forex regulatory world and brokers with CySEC regulation should be considered safe and secure places for trading.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors as it carries a high degree of risk to your capital: 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. 

Forex and CFD transactions involve high risk due to the following factors: Over-leveraging, unpredictable market volatility, slippage arising from a lack of liquidity, inadequate trading knowledge or experience, and a lack of regulatory protection for clients.

Traders should not deposit any money that is not disposable. Regardless of how much research you have done, or how confident you are in your trade, there is always a substantial risk of loss. (Learn more from the FCA or from ASIC)

Our Methodology

Our State of the Market Report and Broker Directory are the result of extensive research on over 100 Forex brokers. The explicit goal of these resources is to help traders find the best Forex brokers – and steer them away from the worst ones – with the benefit of accurate and up-to-date information.

With over 150 data points on each broker and over 3000 hours of research and review writing, we believe we have succeeded in our goal. 

In a world where trading conditions and customer support can vary based on where you live, our broker reviews focus on the local trader and give you information about these brokers from your perspective.

All research has been conducted by our in-house team of researchers and writers, gathering information from various company representatives, websites and by sifting through the fine print. Learn more about how we rank brokers

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Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors and comes with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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