By Chris Cammack Author Information Updated: June 25, 2020

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) is the financial regulator of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.  Cyprus has been a hub for the Forex industry for almost two decades and most European brokers base themselves here to take advantage of CySEC’s experience, the well-managed regulatory environment, and a large international population of account managers and customers support staff.

CySEC is also well-regarded amongst traders for the stringent standards they apply to brokers and the secure trading environment that CySEC-regulated brokers offer as a result. 

These are the best CySEC regulated brokers compared by reputation, platform support and trading conditions.

  • XM - Best CySEC Broker
  • FXTM - Most Internationally Regulated CySEC Broker
  • Plus500 - Most Assets Available
  • HotForex - Best Trading Conditions
  • IronFX - Most Trusted Broker
  • FP Markets - Best Education
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  • Broker
    XM

    XM  - Best CySEC Broker

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    ASIC ASIC
    IFSC IFSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 5
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    XM Group has achieved substantial growth since 2009, earning 1.5 million clients living in 196 countries. Regulated by three major regulators and the recipient of many industry awards, XM Group stands out from a crowded field of market maker brokers for their customer service and educational support.

    XM Group has extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the global financial markets. XM’s operational philosophy is aimed at client satisfaction and low client turnover; they earn client loyalty through award-winning 24/5 personal customer service, varied account types and competitive trading conditions.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Excellent education
    • Wide range of assets
    • Fast and free withdrawals

    Cons

    • Dealing desk
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Micro 1.0 pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Standard 1.0 pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details
    XM Ultra Low 0.6 pips None Instant USD 50 Account Details
    XM Zero 0.6 pips $7.00 Instant USD 100 Account Details
  • Broker
    FXTM

    FXTM  - Most Internationally Regulated CySEC Broker

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    FSCA FSCA
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    1110.50
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 10
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    FXTM is regulated by the FCA, CySEC and the FSCA in South Africa and the educational material offered is first-class. By keeping the focus on beginners looking for reasonable trading conditions, the FXTM team of educators and analysts have succeeded in creating a welcoming environment for new traders. Additionally, FXTM are one of the few brokers with 24/7 support, allowing new traders to get set up on weekends or holidays.

    For the absolute beginner, FXTM has a great deal of training material to help new traders get started. Materials include articles, videos, webinars and a searchable glossary of new vocabulary. This is an excellent resource and many hours can be spent covering the basics of Forex Trading. There is an additional set of videos that cover analysis topics, and more detail on chart reading techniques.

    FXTM has an open “Daily Market Analysis” section on their website where research analysts post bulletins that connect daily news items with analysis and actionable trading ideas. This can be combined with other sources to achieve a more comprehensive view of global events and the trading opportunities they represent.

    The Standard Account has a minimum deposit of 100 USD and spreads start at 1.3 pips. FXTM also offers a Cent Account where the minimum deposit if only 10 USD but the spreads will be wider. If you can afford it, I would recommend starting with the Standard Account.

    Pros

    • Good for beginners
    • Excellent education
    • Well regulated
    • Low minimum deposit

    Cons

    • Expensive withdrawals
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Cent Account 1.5 pips None Instant USD 10 Account Details
    Standard Account 1.3 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
    ECN Zero Account 1.5 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details
    ECN Account 0.1 pips $2.00 Market USD 500 Account Details
    FXTM Pro Account 0.0 pips None Market USD 25000 Account Details
  • Broker
    Plus500

    Plus500  - Most Assets Available

    REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    CySEC CySEC
    ASIC ASIC
    MAS MAS
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11100
    Minimum Deposit
    ZAR 1500
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms
    • Plus500

    Founded in 2008, and with over 300,000 active customers, Plus500 is a leading CFD provider in the CFD trading industry mainly due to the simplicity of their trading platform, and the appealing trading conditions. Educational and analytical material are limited, the Plus500 trading platform very easy to use and reliability and security are absolute priorities.  Note that the Plus500 is not a suitable choice for beginners/inexperienced traders. 

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Wide range of assets

    Cons

    • Limited education
    • Limited account options
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Standard Variable pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
  • Broker
    HotForex

    HotForex  - Best Trading Conditions

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    FSCA FSCA
    DFSA DFSA
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    ZAR 70
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Listed as on the Top 100 Companies by World Finance Magazine and the award for Business Excellence 2015 (World Confederation Of Businesses) HotForex is not just recognized for their integrity by their industry peers, but also in the financial industry as a whole.

    As an STP broker regulated by multiple major international organizations including the FCA, CySEC and the FSCA, HotForex has built a reputation among traders for achieving a stable, fair, secure and transparent trading environment for both the beginning and expert level trader.

    Pros

    • Low minimum deposit
    • Tight spreads
    • Well regulated
    • Good range of accounts

    Cons

    • Limited base currencies
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Micro 1.0 pips None Market USD 5 Account Details
    Islamic 1.0 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    Premium 1.0 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    Auto 1.0 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details
    Zero 0.0 pips $3.00 Market USD 200 Account Details
    HFCopy 1.0 pips None Market USD 300 Account Details
    Premium Pro 1.0 pips None Market USD 5000 Account Details
  • Broker
    IronFX

    IronFX  - Most Trusted Broker

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 100
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    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
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Live Fixed Spread 2.2 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
    Live Floating Spread 1.1 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
    Live Zero Spread 0.0 pips $18 Instant USD 500 Account Details
    STP/ECN No Commission 1.7 pips None ECN/STP USD 500 Account Details
    STP/ECN Zero Spread 0.0 pips $7.50 ECN/STP USD 500 Account Details
  • Broker
    FP Markets

    FP Markets  - Best Education

    REGULATED BY
    ASIC ASIC
    CySEC CySEC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 100
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    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
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Standard IRESS N/A pips $10 AUD min, then 0.1% STP USD 1,000 Account Details
    Platinum IRESS N/A pips $9 AUD min, then 0.09% STP USD 25,000 Account Details
    Premier IRESS N/A pips No min, then 0.08% STP USD 50,000 Account Details
    RAW 0.0 pips $3.50 STP USD 100 Account Details
    Standard 1.0 pips None STP USD 100 Account Details
  • Broker
    FxPro

    FxPro  - Best Trading Platforms

    REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    CySEC CySEC
    FSCA FSCA
    DFSA DFSA
    SCB SCB
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 100
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    With over 870,000 client accounts, FxPro is one of the biggest international brokers regulated in South Africa. Major awards shows and institutions are continually showering FxPro with honours including top accolades like Best Broker 2018 and Best Forex Trading Experience 2018, which is the pinnacle of success.

    The account options at FxPro are arranged by platform, which is not the case at most other brokers. Accounts are available with either MT4, MT5 and cTrader, where all accounts have a demo option, and the same minimum deposit of 100 USD and a spread as low as 0.6 pips.

    The education section is smaller than that of other leading brokers. Despite the lack of structure and depth, the material that is offered is updated and honest and hosted webinars are free to join a couple of times a week.

    FxPro is the broker choice for traders who need a reputable international broker while still being FSCA regulated, supporting a broad platform choice and a reasonable minimum deposit.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Great platform choice
    • Tight spreads

    Cons

    • Limited education
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    FxPro cTrader 0.45 pips $4.50 Market USD 100 Account Details
    FxPro MT4 1.2 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    FxPro MT5 1.52 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    Islamic 1.2 pips Variable Market USD 100 Account Details
  • Broker
    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11111
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 1
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Founded in 2008, Exness is a well-regulated broker with tight spreads and unlimited leverage on a specialist zero account.  With both market and instant execution methods and full support for both MT4 and MT5, there is little to find fault with here - including its well-publicised sponsorship of Real Madrid.

    Exceptionally, customer service is available 24/7 and most traders will find something to like from the wide range of account types.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads
    • Wide range of assets
    • 24/7 customer service

    Cons

    • Limited education
    • Limited market analysis
    • Unavailable in Europe
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Standard Cent MT4 0.3 pips None Market USD 1 Account Details
    Standard MT4 0.1 pips None Market USD 1 Account Details
    Standard MT5 0.2 pips None Market USD 1 Account Details
    Pro 0.1 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details
    Raw Spread 0.0 pips $3.50 Market USD 200 Account Details
    Zero pips $3.50 Market USD 200 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    ASIC ASIC
    FSA-Seychelles FSA-Seychelles
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 100
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    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
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Islamic 1.9 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
    Standard 1.9 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
    Premium 1.4 pips None Instant USD 2000 Account Details
    VIP 0.9 pips None Instant USD 10000 Account Details
    Super VIP 1.2 pips None Instant USD 50000 Account Details
  • Broker
    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    IFSC IFSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 5
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Well-regulated, safe and award-winning, XTB is a leader in the Forex trading space. Joining other leading Forex brokers with reasonable trading conditions, excellent educational and analysis material XTB has developed an award-winning proprietary trading platform that goes beyond MT4 to offer clients easy-to-use functionality along with fast execution speeds.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads
    • Low minimum deposit
    • Good for beginners

    Cons

    • Limited platform choice
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Islamic 0.28 pips $10.00 Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Pro 0.28 pips $7.00 Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Standard 0.35 pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details

All Forex Brokers in South Africa

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Our business model never influences our opinion of any partner, and the partner selection and review processes are separate. The compensation we receive from partners may affect how our lists are arranged, but the reviews are genuine, and the data is accurate. Our opinion can not be bought, and we always put our readers and their financial livelihoods first.

Open

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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