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Is Forex Trading Legal in South Africa?

By Jeffrey Cammack Created: Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 Updated: Thursday, May 9th, 2019

Is Forex Trading Legal in South Africa?

It is legal to trade Forex in South Africa as long as you abide by financial laws that prevent money laundering and you declare your income tax.  While using a regulated broker is not a legal requirement, there are brokers that are regulated by our own FSCA and others that are regulated by other recognized organizations around the world.

Legally Funding Forex Accounts

Funding an account is fairly straightforward in South Africa if you are using a credit card connected with a major bank.  That said, South African financial regulations can sometimes get in the way when we try and fund international accounts from South African bank accounts or local lesser-known credit cards.  This is happening less and less, but we are still hearing that this problem persists.

As of 2010, it became easier for South Africans to legally move more money to offshore bank accounts, making funding a Forex account easier. While there is still a limit on the amount each South African citizen can transfer overseas, an allowance of 4 million Rand or about $286,500 USD, is now possible.

Discretionary Foreign Currency Allowance

Another way to get funds offshore is to apply individually for a discretionary foreign currency allowance, available up to 1 Million Rand.  On October 27, 2011, the annual R1 Million discretionary allowance law changed to include foreign investments.

This, along with the initial R4 Million, must be cleared by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). To start this process, complete the MP 1423 form for the 1 million travel allowance.

Transferring over 10 Million ZAR per year

In order to get permission for the transfer of up to 10 Million ZAR per year, your bank will need to submit an application to the Financial Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank for approval – contact them from here. A Tax Clearance Certificate is needed in order for this application to be complete.

If you are planning to transfer larger amounts to a brokerage, it may well be worth setting up an offshore bank account first and then funding your Forex and offshore investment accounts from there. It does mean that if you want to open additional accounts with other brokers you will not be required to repatriate the funds and then go through the process of getting clearance and transferring the funds again.

KYC – Anti-Money-Laundering

Banks and financial institutions globally have signed up to a program called KYC.  It is a law set in place to stop money laundering by anonymous actors.  When you sign up for a Forex trading account, and before you will be allowed to make a deposit, you will need to complete you KYC documentation.  It is very easy.  It requires you to submit:

  • A color copy of a valid ID – this can be a passport, drivers license or ID Card.
  • A recent utility bill (e.g. electricity, gas, water, phone, oil, Internet and/or cable TV connection, bank account statement) issued in the past three months and confirms your home address.

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.