Top Takeaways for 2021
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Here are our top findings on IC Markets:
- The IC Markets brand maintains regulatory status in one tier-1 jurisdiction and one tier-2 jurisdiction, making it a safe broker (average-risk) for forex and CFDs trading.
- Third-party research and trading tool plugins are part of the IC Markets MetaTrader platforms offering, making it our number one MetaTrader broker in 2021. However, IC Markets trails the best forex brokers when it comes to its scope of market research spanning technical and fundamental analysis, including forex news.
- IC Markets excels for its low-costs and scalable execution that fits perfectly for traders running algorithmic strategies (Expert Advisors) on the MetaTrader and cTrader platform suite.
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|Offering of Investments||3.5 Stars|
|Commissions & Fees||4.5 Stars|
|Platforms & Tools||4 Stars|
|Mobile Trading||4 Stars|
Is IC Markets Safe?
IC Markets is considered average-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 85 out of 99. IC Markets is not publicly traded and does not operate a bank. IC Markets is authorised by one tier-1 regulator (high trust), one tier-2 regulator (average trust), and one tier-3 regulator (low trust). IC Markets is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators:
|Publicly Traded (Listed)||No|
Offering of Investments
IC Markets offers a total of 291 tradeable instruments across its Australian, Cyprus, and Seychelles-based entities. The following table summarizes the different investment products available to IC Markets clients.
Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency trading is available through CFDs, but not available through trading the underlying asset (e.g. buying Bitcoin). Note: Crypto CFDs are not available from any broker’s UK entity, nor to UK residents.
|Forex Pairs (Total)||61|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||Yes|
Commissions and Fees
Overall, given the low deposit requirement for both commission-based accounts, and the small effective spreads, IC Markets keeps up with the best forex brokers for low trading costs, including Saxo Bank, IG, and CMC Markets.
Account types: IC Markets offers three account types in which trading costs vary. There is the commission-free (spread only) Standard account and two commission-based pricing (spread + commission) on the Raw Spread and cTrader accounts.
cTrader versus Raw Spread account: The cTrader account has about a tenth of a pip lower commission than the Raw Spread account, making both accounts similar. The main difference is the platform that can be accessed. For example, the Raw Spread account, which uses MT4 or MT5, charges $3.5 per side for every 100k units (1 standard lot) or $7.00 per round turn (RT). In contrast, on cTrader, it is $3.0 per side or $6.00 per standard RT.
Effective spreads: IC Markets lists its average spread on the EUR/USD at 0.1 pips. After adding the commission equivalent of 0.6 pips on the cTrader account, the all-in costs would be 0.7 pips (or 0.8 on MetaTrader in the Raw Spread account), which is competitive.
Active traders: IC Markets also offers further discounts to traders that trade over 100 standard lots per month, akin to an active trader offering. Meanwhile, the commission-free standard account, with average spreads of 1.1 pips on the EUR/USD, is a less attractive option compared to the other two commission-based account types.
Agency execution: IC Markets provides execution on an agency basis, which means orders may be subject to positive or negative slippage as there are no requotes or instant execution.
|Minimum Initial Deposit||$100|
|Average Spread EUR/USD – Standard||0.8 (July 2020)|
|All-in Cost EUR/USD – Active||0.7 (July 2020)|
|Active Trader or VIP Discounts||Yes|
Platforms and Tools
IC Markets caters exceptionally-well to algorithmic traders thanks to its execution methods (i.e., no requotes) and by allowing orders to be placed within the spread. Both the MetaTrader and cTrader platform suites are available, and copy-trading platforms help round out its offering. Overall, IC Markets is a top contender in our best MetaTrader brokers category this year.
MetaTrader suite: IC Markets offers MT4 and MT5 for web and desktop. The desktop versions feature the Advanced Trading Tools package offered as an available add-on, along with plugins from AutoChartist and Trading Central. While these plugins must be installed separately, they are worth the effort to enhance the default MetaTrader experience.
cTrader suite: The IC Markets cTrader platform offering includes both the web-based and desktop versions. The cTrader suite includes several trading applications such as cAlgo – used for automated trading – and cTrader Copy for social copy trading. Note: cTrader is not available through the broker’s European brand, IC Markets EU.
MetaTrader Tools: IC Markets provides the Advanced Trading Tools add-on developed by FX Blue LLP, as well as installable plugins from Trading Central and AutoChartist.
VPS services: For traders that do at least 15 standard lots, the broker offers several third-party Virtual Private Servers (VPS) services to host client algorithms.
IC Markets has low forex fees. It also has an easy and fast account opening process, while depositing and withdrawals are free and user-friendly as well. On the negative side, IC Markets has a limited product portfolio, offering only CFDs and forex. We also received slow and irrelevant answers on live chat.