City Of London Markets Review Is It Safe For Trading

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City Index Review

Beyond its extensive range of products, multi-asset traders confidently choose City Index for competitive spreads, great platform options, premium research tools, and reliable customer service, all under the backing of GAIN Capital, which is one of the largest retail brokers globally.

Top Takeaways for 2020

After spending five months testing 30 of the best forex brokers for our 4th Annual Review, here are our top findings on City Index:

  • Owned by publicly-traded GAIN Capital, City Index is regulated in three tier-1 jurisdictions, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for forex and CFDs trading.
  • When using its proprietary platforms, City Index is an excellent choice for low-cost trading.
  • Whether trading with one of City Index’s proprietary platforms or using MetaTrader, City Index provides great tools, market research, and a diverse offering of tradeable products. That said, City Index’s copy trading experience is good but doesn’t quite stack up with the best copy trading brokers.

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Overall Summary

Feature City Index
Overall 4.5 Stars
Trust Score 93
Offering of Investments 5 Stars
Commissions & Fees 4 Stars
Platform & Tools 4 Stars
Research 4.5 Stars
Mobile Trading 4 Stars
Customer Service 4 Stars
Education 4 Stars

Is City Index Safe?

City Index is considered low-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 93 out of 99. City Index is publicly traded, does not operate a bank, and is authorised by three tier-1 regulators (high trust), zero tier-2 regulators (average trust), and one tier-3 regulators (low trust). City Index is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators: Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Learn more about Trust Score.

Regulations Comparison

Feature City Index
Year Founded 1983
Publicly Traded (Listed) Yes
Bank No
Tier-1 Licenses 3
Tier-2 Licenses 0
Tier-3 Licenses 1
Trust Score 93

Offering of Investments

The following table summarizes the different investment products available to City Index clients.

Other offerings: Like other brokers in the UK, City Index also offers the option to trade many of its CFD products as a spread bet. Since spread-betting carries certain tax efficiencies for UK residents, it can be a beneficial alternative to CFDs if you reside in the UK.

Offering Comparison

Feature City Index
Forex: Spot Trading Yes
Currency Pairs (Total Forex pairs) 84
CFDs – Total Offered 4500
Social Trading / Copy-Trading Yes
Cryptocurrency traded as actual No
Cryptocurrency traded as CFD Yes

Commissions & Fees

City Index offers competitive spreads on Forex, CFDs, and spread-betting products. While average spreads are higher on MT4 than its proprietary platforms, in our testing, City Index finished Best in Class (top 7) overall for cost. Both fixed and variable (floating) spreads pricing options are available.

Advanced Trader: With average typical spreads on the EUR/USD of 0.8 pips (as of October 2020), the all-in cost for all traders is comparable to the default pricing at pricing leaders such as CMC Markets.

MetaTrader: Spreads on City Index’s MT4 platforms are considerably higher, with average spreads of 1.7 pips on the EUR/USD over the same period. Also, price tolerance settings are not available on MT4, whereas they are available with City Index’s proprietary trading platforms.

Feature City Index
Minimum Initial Deposit £50.00
Average Spread EUR/USD – Standard 0.8 (Oct 19)
All-in Cost EUR/USD – Active 0.8 (Oct 19)
Active Trader or VIP Discounts Yes

Platforms & Tools

City Index offers MetaTrader 4 (MT4) alongside two proprietary platform suites: AT Pro (desktop-based) and Web Trader (web-based). All in all, City Index delivers a quality forex and CFDs trading experience.

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AT Pro: As its name implies, AT Pro is not for beginners but is better suited to professionals or experienced traders because it is complex and has several advanced functions. AT Pro offers robust charting (139 indicators, 25 drawing tools) and a Development Studio with automated trading functions, including the ability to backtest potential strategies using historical data. Over 100 strategies come pre-loaded.

Web Trader: Web Trader is built entirely on HTML5, making it flexible, fast, and easy to use. While Web Trader contains almost half as many indicators as the AT Pro desktop software, it has a definite place in the City Index platform lineup for casual traders.

Research

Overall, City Index delivers high-quality market research that scores well above the industry standard. Highlights include Trading Central, news headlines from Thomson Reuters, an economic calendar powered by FXStreet, and AutoChartist for MetaTrader.

Mobile Trading

The City Index mobile app is not industry-leading but is competitive with most other multi-asset brokers such as IG, CMC Markets, and Saxo Bank. The app is cleanly designed and bug-free, making for a smooth experience whether you are adding alerts, depositing money into your account, reading news, or placing trades.

Mobile tools: Charts are powered by Trading View charts and comes loaded with 74 indicators available for charting, and you can carry out fundamental technical analysis with trend lines. Trading Central is also well-integrated into the City Index mobile app, with several modules available, including the Technical Insights, Featured Ideas, and Analyst Views sections.

Customer Service

To score Customer Service, ForexBrokers.com partnered with customer experience research group Customerwise to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the UK. For our 2020 Review, 330 customer service tests were conducted over six weeks.

Results

  • Average Connection Time: 1 – 2 minutes
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 7.6 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 7.9 / 10
  • Overall Score: 8.0 / 10
  • Ranking: 10 th (22 brokers)

Final Thoughts

Through its offerings in Europe and Asia, City Index provides multiple options for traders to access global markets, including 65 spot forex pairs, 15 forwards, and over 10,000 CFDs on several trading platforms. The broker caters well to all traders regardless of experience level. City Index finished Best in Class across six categories in 2020, including Overall, Offering of Investments, Commissions & Fees, Research, Education, and Beginners.

About City Index

Founded in 1983 in the United Kingdom, City Index has grown to become one of the leading multi-asset brokers in London, and in 2020 was acquired by GAIN Capital Holdings (NYSE: GCAP), the operator of FOREX.com. It’s worth noting that staff at FOREX.com’s UK office cater to clients from both businesses (which share the same offices).

City Index has over 30 years’ experience providing traders with Contracts for Difference (CFDs) and spread-betting derivatives, and further expanded its forex offering with the acquisition of IFX Markets, Finspreads, and FX Solutions years before GAIN Capital acquired the company. Read more on Wikipedia about City Index.

City Index Trading Features

Feature City Index
Virtual Trading (Demo) Yes
Proprietary Platform Yes
Desktop Platform (Windows) Yes
Web Platform Yes
Social Trading / Copy-Trading Yes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) Yes
MetaTrader 5 (MT5) No
cTrader No
Charting – Indicators / Studies (Total) 139
Charting – Drawing Tools (Total) 25
Charting – Trade From Chart Yes
Watchlists – Total Fields 18
Order Type – Trailing Stop Yes

City Index Research Features

Feature City Index
Daily Market Commentary Yes
Forex News (Top-Tier Sources) Yes
Weekly Webinars No
AutoChartist Yes
Trading Central (Recognia) Yes
Delkos Research No
Social Sentiment – Currency Pairs Yes
Economic Calendar Yes

City Index Mobile App Features

Feature City Index
Android App Yes
Apple iOS App Yes
Trading – Forex Yes
Trading – CFDs Yes
Alerts – Basic Fields Yes
Watch List Yes
Watch List Syncing Yes
Charting – Indicators / Studies 74
Charting – Draw Trend Lines Yes
Charting – Trend Lines Moveable No
Charting – Multiple Time Frames Yes
Charting – Drawings Autosave No
Forex Calendar Yes

2020 Review Methodology

For our 2020 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 30 international forex brokers over a five month time period. Each broker was graded on 105 different variables and, in total, over 50,000 words of research were produced.

While encouraged, broker participation was optional. Each broker had the opportunity to complete an in-depth data profile and provide executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting.

All data submitted by brokers is hand-checked for accuracy. Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than 1% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

“There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses.” Learn more.

IC Markets Review: Complete Broker Overview

IC Markets is a global CFD broker that was established in 2007 and has been growing steadily since then.

They offer their clients the opportunity to trade an extensive range of assets with true ECN capability. This means that traders are able to get some of the lowest spreads on the market with near instant execution.

However, is IC Markets safe and can you trust them?

In this IC Markets review, we will give you everything that we found out about this broker. We will also give you some essential hints and tips that help your trading experience.

Overview

IC Markets is registered International Capital Markets Pty. Ltd and they are based in Australia. Their company registration number is ACN 123289109 and their offices are located at Level 6 309 Kent Street, Sydney.

They have expanded rapidly since their inception and have over 60,000 traders with them. They also process some of the highest volume in the industry and turn over $646bn in volume per month! You can see their trading stats right on their website.

IC Markets is an Electronic Crossing Network (ECN) broker. This means that they connect their traders directly to a pool of liquidity providers. This allows the traders to get tight raw market spreads on a number of assets.

They have a global presence and take traders from numerous regions. In order to cater to such a large array of clients, they have translated their website into over 14 different languages.

Despite this though, there are some regions that they do not provide their services to. These include the Unites States, Canada, Israel and Iran.

Is IC Markets Safe?

This is probably one of the biggest concerns for any Forex trader.

There are number of things that we look for when determining broker safety. The most important of these are the regulatory oversight and the internal protocols at the broker.

You will be pleased to know that IC Markets is fully regulated by Australia’s Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). They have an AFSL number of 335692.

IC Markets Licence at ASIC. Image via ASIC Connect

The Australian regulators are some of the most reputable in the world and there are a number of benefits that come with their oversight. These relate to the rules that they place on brokers and how they conduct their business. Here are some of the most important of them:

  • Segregated Accounts: ASIC requires that brokers keep their client’s funds in separate bank accounts from the main broker operations.
  • Capital Reserves: The regulator stipulates that the broker must store A$1m in reserves in their bank accounts.
  • Regular Reporting: Brokers are required to maintain these levels and regularly report back to ASIC.
  • Extensive Due Diligence: Before a broker can get an ASIC licence, they will have to complete a series of background checks on a company and individual level.

Apart from these client protections, you also have the comfort of knowing that there is always some authority that you can turn to in the case of a dispute.

There are a host of other protections that you have at IC Markets.

For example, they bank with top tier banking institutions in Australia. They use National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac). This means that your segregated funds are in a safe place.

They also have liability insurance from Llyods of London. This means that the broker is protected from any legal liability that could be thrown its way.

IC Markets is also externally audited by an independent firm. This is great to know as it means that accurate liquidity and reporting numbers are being presented to the regulators.

Finally, as is standard with most financial websites, they have full SSL protection. You can feel comfortable sending them your documents and using your credit card as it is all encrypted.

Asset Coverage & Leverage

This was something that really impressed us about IC Markets. They have an extensive range of assets across numerous asset classes.

IC Markets Asset Classes

Exactly what assets you will be able to trade depends on the account that you open up and the platform that you use. We cover the platforms below but here is a sneak peak of the assets that they provide:

  • Forex: 60 Pairs covering all Majors and most Minors
  • Indices: You can trade over 7 indices from a number of global markets
  • Commodities: You have 14 commodity CFDs including hard, soft and most metals
  • Stocks: They offer 120 single stock CFDs from the ASX, NYSE and Nasdaq
  • Crypto: You have 10 crypto assets including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum etc.
  • Bonds: 6 different government bond indices.
  • Futures: Futures on Oil, VIX, ICE.

This is one of the first CFD brokers that we have seen offering government bonds! Now you can trade the credit worthiness of the US and UK governments for example.

You also have quite an extensive range of cryptocurrency CFDs that you can trade. This is more than other brokers that we have seen.

Given that IC Markets is a CFD broker, it means that you are trading on the margin with borrowed money. This means that your positions are leveraged by a certain factor and your gains / losses are maximized.

Leverage at IC Markets will vary depending on the asset that you are trading and the size of the position. However, here is a helpful breakdown of the max leverage you can achieve on each asset class:

These are reasonable leverage levels. The minimum leverage that you can trade with is 1:1 so there is no need for you to trade with the max when you first start.

While the crypto leverage factor is better than most other CFD brokers, you can trade with higher leverage in other locations. For example, you could trade CFDs at IQ Option or Futures at Prime XBT.

You can take a look at the margin call levels in all of their documents. You should also take note of the stop out positions where you will have your position closed.

IC Markets Spreads

The size of the broker spreads directly impacts on trading profitability and is hence a really important criterion for us.

Given that IC Markets operates an ECN model, the spreads that you are charged are really thin. For example, if you have a True ECN account, you are able to get close to 0 spreads on some of the major Forex pairs.

Of course, the exact spread that will be applied depends on the type of asset you are trading and the account you have. Below is an indication of some of the spreads on a small subset of assets on the Standard / True ECN (in pips).

These are pretty thin spreads and are lower than some of those that we have seen at other brokers such as Plus500.

Take note though that although the True ECN has a lower spread, you will have to pay a commission on the lots that you trade. This is $3.5 per lot and $0.035 if you are trading the Micro Lots. If you are on cTrader, you are charged $3 per 100k lot.

Lot pricing on IC Markets Accounts

As is standard with Forex brokers, you will also be charged a standard swap rate. This can be considered an “overnight” fee that is charged to finance your positions. You can see this swap rate in the platforms before you enter the trades.

Deposit / Withdrawal Fees

Thankfully, there are no fees charged by IC Markets to deposit funds. There may be a third-party fee that is applied by your bank or intermediary banks if you are doing an international wire transfer.

Withdrawals are also free for nearly all of the same payment methods. However, if you are taking a wire withdrawal to an international bank then IC Markets will have to charge you A$25 in order to make up for the cost of them initiating the wire at their bank.

IC Markets Account Types

As mentioned above, their are quite a few account types that you can open at IC Markets. These will differ in the types of spreads you will be charged, the platform that you will use and the subsequent assets that you can trade.

All of the accounts below make use of ECNs which connect directly to the liquidity providers. This means that IC Markets operates a “no dealing desk” model and is not the market maker to any of the trades that you are putting on.

Below is a breakdown of the different account types:

True ECN (cTrader) True ECN Standard
Trading Platform cTrader MetaTrader MetaTrader
Commission (per lot) $3.0 $3.5 $0.0
Spreads from (pips) 0.0 0.0 1.0
Server Location London New York New York
CNS VPS Cross
Connect
No Yes Yes
Programming Language C# MQL4 MQL4
Suitable For Day Traders & Scalpers MetaTrader MetaTrader
Trading Platform cTrader EAs & Scalpers Discretionary Traders

All of the accounts above have Microlots which facilitate flexible lot sizing. These Micro-lots start at just 0.01 lots . The minimum deposit amount on all accounts it $200 .

You are also allowed to trade on all accounts with any trading style that you fancy. This includes scalping, hedging, or running an Expert Advisor (EA) on the account.

All of these accounts have a 50% stop out level, offer one click trading as well as Index CFDs as standard.

For those of you who are of the Islamic faith, then you can request a fully Sharia compliant Islamic account. This is available on all of the accounts above and effectively makes the accounts “swap free”.

Instead of the overnight swap rate, you are charged a flat commission on the lot size. You can see the exact commissions here. If you want to open an Islamic account then you first need to create a normal account and ask them to convert it for you.

IC Markets Demo Account

Why risk funds initially if you can test them out first?

IC Markets Demo Account Benefits

IC Markets offers no obligation demo accounts on all of the above. These are a great way for you to test the platform and broker in a non-threatening way with demo funds. Demo accounts are supposed to replicate live trading conditions.

All that you will need in order to open this account is an email address and phone number. Once you have signed up they will send you the login details for the accounts that you have requested.

Trading Platforms

There are three trading platforms that you can make use of with this broker. These are all third party trading platforms.

Firstly, they offer both of the MetaTrader platforms. These are trading platforms that are developed by the MetaQuotes software company. They also offer the cTrader software suite that is developed by Spotware.

Let’s take a closer look into each of these now.

This is probably the most well-known trading platform in the world and has been around for a number of years. It has been downloaded by millions of traders and is used by most online Forex brokers.

The MT4 platform is relatively well laid-out and has a plethora of trading tools that you can use. These include advanced charting and technical analysis studies. You can also model numerous different Forex pairs at the same time.

MT4 Trading Platform User Interface

The MT4 platform also has its own proprietary coding language. MQL4 can be used to develop your own Expert Advisors or “EAs”. These are algorithms that will trade on the MT4 automatically 24/5.

The MT4 platform is available on PC, Mac and Linux. You can also trade it through your web-browser but we would rather suggest the Desktop based versions.

As you can probably tell, this is the upgraded version of the MT4 platform. IC Markets also gives their Standard and True ECN traders the choice of the MT5 platform. The MT5 allows you to trade the single stock equities as well as the crypto assets.

This has an updated user interface and has some new features. For example, you can view the order book depth charts. You also have an economic calendar right there on your trading platform.

Updated User Interface of MT5. Image via MetaTrader

The coding language has also been updated to MQL5. This has more customization options because it is an object orientated language. You can code your own indicators and save them for later use on the platform.

As is the case with the MT4, this is available on a Mac, PC, Linux and Web browser.

Well, the MT4 is a more “battle-tested” platform that is well known by millions of traders. There are more integrations for it and more trading communities know how to develop on it. We would suggest the MT4 unless you have to trade assets that are not available on it.

This platform is available on IC Market’s ECN cTrader account. It gives you Straight Through Processing (STP) functionality using multi-bank liquidity. You can also trade 10 major equity indices here as well as 64 Forex pairs.

The cTrader interface is more functional than those of the MetaTrader platforms. You also have more charting capability as well as tools and indicators.

cTrader User Interface at IC Markets

For the developers, cTrader is built on C# and has a handy extension called “cAlgo”.

This allows you to build your own unique trading indicators in a universally known programming language. You can also leverage the cTrader developer network to help you code your own indicators and algorithms.

The cTrader is available in Mac, PC and online through your browser.

IC Markets Mobile App

While IC Markets does not develop their own proprietary mobile application, each of the trading platforms that were mentioned above have their own mobile apps.

The MT4 and MT5 mobile apps are perhaps some of the most popular trading application in existence today. For example, the former has been downloaded 10m+ times and the latter has been downloaded 1m+.

They are available in iOS and Android and have a range of features. You have one click trading, order management as well as relatively advanced charting. You can also easily toggle between the different markets.

MT4 Mobile Application in iTunes Store

You can also take a deeper look at the reviews for the MT4 and MT5 mobile apps in the iTunes store and the Google Play Store. They are all above 4.5 stars and most of the traders are quite complimentary.

cTrader also has a mobile app although it is way less popular than the MetaTrader versions. This is available in iOS and Android and has much of the same functionality as the MT4 / MT5 apps (Charting, order management, technical studies etc.)

There are no reviews for the cTrader app in in the iStore but there are quite a few in the Google Play. They are quite positive and the developers are responsive.

cTrader App & Play Store Ratings

So, should you use a mobile trading app?

We would always opt for a desktop version of the software. Mobile screens are not the most effective for conducting technical analysis. You also have order latency when using mobile networks.

Funding / Withdrawals

Once you have tested the Demo and are ready to fund a live account, there are a number of ways in which you can do this.

You can fund your account in the following currencies: AUD, USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, SGD, NZD, JPY, HKD, CHF. Funding can be done pretty easily directly from your IC Markets admin area.

Below are the funding methods that you have at IC Markets:

Available Funding options at IC Markets

From the above, it looks like the quickest way for you to fund your account is through the use of a Credit Card or a Web Wallet of some sort. These should clear instantaneously.

The method with longest lead times is through a wire transfer. This could take 2-3 days depending on the where your bank is located.

Withdrawals are just as simple as funding your account. You will have to complete the online withdraw form in your account administration panel.

You can use most of the same methods that you have used above in the funding. The fastest of these are probably through a web wallet if you used it. Wires could take 2-3 days assuming that you provided the correct information.

The cut-off times for your withdrawal to be completed is the 12:00 AEST. If you submit it before this time then it will be processed on the day.

If you had not initially completed identification and submitted KYC documents when funding then you will have to do this before they will authorise your withdrawal request. As is the case with funding, they will only send to an account that is in your name.

IC Markets Execution

One of the biggest benefits of IC Markets is their trading infrastructure.

Firstly, they use some of the best-known liquidity providers in the world including the likes of Citi, UBS, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. They also use dark pools for hidden sources of liquidity.

Liquidity Providers at IC Markets

IC Markets also uses the Equinix datacentres in New Jersey and London. These are the same datacentres that are used by High Frequency Trading (HFT) firms to execute their lightning fast strategies.

In the case of the New Jersey datacentre, this is used by numerous large institutions on Wall Street. Some of these are the same institutions that provide liquidity to IC Markets that I mentioned above.

This means rapidly reduced order latency…

When you place an order at IC Markets, it can be routed to the liquidity network with fibre optic cabling almost instantaneously. The faster that your order can be executed, the better your overall order fills.

IC Markets has also partnered with a number of hosting providers where you can rent a Forex VPS. This will allow you to connect directly with Equinix using VPS cross connect .

IC Markets Customer Support

Customer support is an important criterion for us at Coin Bureau. Nothing can kill a trading experience like terrible customer support!

So, how does IC Markets stack up?

They operate a number of support desks around the world and these are manned by English and Chinese native speakers. There are number of methods that you can get in touch with their agents.

For example, you could use their generic customer support email at [email protected] . They also have a Chinese specific customer support email at [email protected] .

You could also reach out to them with their live chat function. If you prefer to speak to someone on the phone then they have this option as well. They have an Australian toll free number on +1300 600 644 and a Chinese contact number on +86 400 609 6783 .

While this is good in theory, our experience in practice was quite disappointing…

When we reached out to them on their live chat, we had to wait for a total of 20 minutes to first be connected to their support agents. When we finally did get in contact with an agent, they were not that knowledgeable.

Long wait to be connected, ineffective support

For us, it seemed as if IC Markets has outsourced their customer support to an offshore support centre. Of course, we could have reached them at a bad time but we have had much more pleasant customer support experiences at brokers such as FP Markets.

Education

Brokers adding value through additional educational material always get extra points in our book.

IC Markets is no exception and they seem to have quite a range of educational guides and resources that could help traders of varying skill levels.

These are simple bullet pointed guides that give you a short overview of elementary disciplines. They cover topics such as the pros / cons of CFD trading and the basics of Forex markets. These are aimed at the beginner Forex traders.

They also have some video tutorials that take you through basics of the MT4 platform. This was slightly sparse and there are only 4 videos here. These are also over 6 years old so they definitely are in need of an update.

Of course, if you are just in need of a quick explanation of some term on the terminal then you can jump over to their pretty extensive Forex glossary.

Trading Central & Economic Calendar

IC Markets also streams in live video feeds straight from Trading Central. These are live trading news segments that cover the latest market movements and economic announcements.

Trading Central videos are professionally presented and the videos are relatively easy to understand. They are also streamed to a number of brokers around the world so you can be sure of their quality.

Live video Stream on Trading Central

IC Markets also provides a handy economic calendar on their website. This is helpful to keep track of upcoming economic announcements and data releases. Traders use it to either hedge risk around important releases or to trade price action on the actual release volatility.

This is the main blog section at IC Markets and it is pretty extensive. It is updated daily and covers numerous different categories and sections.

For example, you have how-to guides, Fundamental Analysis, Technical Analysis, Education and other trading tips. There are also regular market updates with the key levels and potential trade set-ups.

We found these relatively easy to read and well presented. The market guides are written in simple bullet point form with the key daily levels. The longer guides and analysis posts include helpful charts and other graphical aids.

Other Tools

A trader is only as good as the tools that his has in his trading toolbox…

IC Markets offers a number of different tools that can either enhance your trading experience or that of your account manager (if used).

As mentioned above, IC Markets has a strong relationship with a number of VPS providers with direct connections to their servers at Equinix.

Many traders understand the benefits of using a VPS as it allows them to trade with EAs automatically and continuously. It can also be co-located at a liquidity provider data-centre to execute trades with near zero latency.

Trading Server features with NYC Servers

There are three partner VPS providers that IC Markets works with and the are the following:

  • Forex VPS: This is one of the most well known in the industry and they can get your account set up in 5 minutes. It will come with an IC Markets VPS pre-installed
  • Beeks FX VPS: This is another well known provider with connections directly to the Equinix data centre. They use fibre optic cross connect and have a 0.5 millisecond latency
  • New York City Servers: They also come with the MT4 pre-installed and have some pretty reliable uptime statistics. The latency on the server connections is about 1 millisecond.

These servers start at about $20 per month which is about reasonable for a good quality VPS. However, if you trade more than 15 lots in that month then FC Markets will sponsor the cost of that VPS.

MT4 Advanced Trading Tools

If you have a live account at IC Markets, they will also throw in the MT4 advanced trading tools for free. These are similar tools than those that are used by institutional clients.

There are over 20 of these in total and this includes apps that assist in making trade decisions along with tools like sophisticated alarms, messaging broadcasting facilities etc. Below is the full list:

Collection of MT4 Trading Tools

These will all help to augment your trading and are only available on MT4. This is another reason why it could make sense to opt for the MT4 platform over the MT5 / cTrader.

Multi Account Managers (MAMs) and Percentage Allocation Management Module (PAMM) are account management methods whereby one manager can trade numerous accounts.

IC Markets provides a number of tools that could make it easier for these managers to administer the numerous trader accounts and appropriately apportion the returns across these. There are numerous benefits which we won’t go into now but you can read more about it their website.

IC Markets also lets you link your MT4 account up to third party trade copying services. This will allow you to follow the signals and trading strategies of other successful traders.

This is through the use of MyFXBook and Zulutrade integrations. If you have accounts at these services then you can link up your MT4 account and sync your trading strategy with those of the traders you are following.

ZuluTrade Rank and Simulation Tools

You can either place trades that replicate these traders completely or you can control the trades that you would like to make on a case by case basis. ZuluTrade is particularly interesting as it ranks traders and you can follow only the most profitable.

What We Didn’t Like

We could not do a complete IC Markets review without going into some of things that we think warrant improvement.

Firstly, we were not too impressed with the customer service. The time it took for us to get connected to an agent was not ideal. Moreover, the knowledge of said agent was really sub-par. We tried to connect several times and had similar wait times.

Secondly, given that this is an ECN account, you have significant market risk that you cannot mitigate. For example, IC Markets does not offer negative balance protection or any sort of guaranteed stops.

Lastly, while they do offer some educational material, they could have offered other more bespoke resources. For example, a number of Forex brokers provide free trader webinars which are a great way for traders to learn in an interactive and engaging way.

Regulated CFD Brokers ⚖️

Conclusion

Our IC Markets review found them to be a well regarded and regulated broker with low fees, instant execution and extensive asset coverage.

Moreover, they use some of the most advanced trading technology in the industry in the MetaTrader and cTrader platforms. They have also supplemented this with additional trading tools and resources.

Yes, there are things that we think they can improve, but these can easily be worked on. Hiring better customer service or starting a weekly webinar is not too hard to implement.

So, should you use IC Markets?

We would encourage you to do your own research, but based on this review we think that they can considered a highly recommended broker.

Beginner’s Guide to City Index: Complete Review

City Index is a global provider for CFD trading, spread betting, and forex trading. It has more than 30 years of experience and a reputation for delivering reliable and fast execution. This London-based provider was established in 1983 in the UK and is a world leader for spread betting, as well as CFD and forex trading. In addition to offering access to more than 12,000 markets, including Cryptocurrency, shares, forex, indices, and commodities.

City Index aims to provide traders with tools that are necessary to improve their trading skills. They have a commitment to delivering market-leading services with transparent, fair pricing, plus comprehensive customer support.

Please Note: 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.

City Index at a Glance

Broker City Index
Regulation FCA (UK), MAS (Singapore) & ASIC (Australia)
Minium Initial Deposit
£100
Demo Account
Yes
Asset Coverage CFD markets: Forex, Indices, Shares & Cryptocurrencies
Leverage Varies
Trading Platforms Web Trader, Desktop (Windows), MetaTrader 4

City Index’s Parent Company

The parent company of City Index is GAIN Capital Holdings Inc., which is on the New York Stock Exchange as GCAP. This is among the largest institutional and retail trading providers worldwide and was founded in 1999. Additionally, GAIN Capital has earned a strong track record for providing institutional and retail customers with trading services. The fact that GAIN Capital is a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange provides traders with extra confidence. This is enhanced by the fact that GAIN Capital is regulated in eight different jurisdictions around the world. GAIN Capital also consistently meets the highest standards for corporate governance, disclosure, and financial reporting.

To get a feel for the size and reliability of GAIN Capital, consider that the company has more than 150,000 retail traders around the world and $978 million in client assets. As of Q4 2020, GAIN Capital had $1.430 billion in total assets, a total customer equity of $945.5 million, and available cash and liquidity of $182.9 million, with a minimum regulatory capital requirement of $113 million. GAIN Capital’s headquarters are in Bedminster, New Jersey, and the company has a global presence with more than 800 staff members around the world.

Accounts Types

City Index has offices in the UK, Australia, Singapore, and the Middle East, with accounts from each office being slightly different. The Australian and Singaporean offices only offer Trader and Premium Trader accounts, while the UK and Middle East offices also offer Professional Trader Accounts. All offices offer CFD trading, and the UK office is the only one to also offer spread betting.

UK and EU residents can open an account with the UK, Australia, or Middle East office. UK and Middle Eastern accounts have mandatory negative balance protection, while Australia and Singapore accounts only offer optional risk management features.

Regular Trader accounts have negative balance protection, a 50 percent margin closeout, and best execution.

Demo Accounts

There are demo accounts available on City Index for CFD, spread betting, spread bet and MT4, and joint CFD accounts. Demo accounts come with £10,000 in virtual money and unlimited access for 12 weeks. You cannot extend a demo account’s duration, but City Index does offer the choice of applying for another one if you need more practice trading.

Premium Trader Accounts

The premium trader account is by invitation only. It delivers priority service and a dedicated relationship manager for active retail clients. There is also risk management on each trade you place, competitive pricing, and the knowledge that you will never lose more money than your deposit.

Premium traders get access to exclusive content, webinars, seminars, and hospitality events. These clients also get access to powerful research, including Faraday Research, superior market intelligence, and Reuters news.

To become a premium trader, you must be an active trader who keeps an account balance of at least £10,000. Once you meet these requirements, you can either wait for an invitation or contact City Index to speed up the process.

Professional Trader Accounts

Experienced traders who qualify can have a professional trader account on City Index. This type of account delivers credit facility as well as broker-assisted dealing and a dedicated client relationship manager. These accounts also have margin rates as low as 0.25 percent, but you should keep in mind that professional clients can accumulate losses exceeding deposits.

Even with the recent industry-wide regulations, professional traders have exceptional margin rates, with a minimum of 0.25 percent for major indices and major forex, 0.5 percent for commodities, 3 percent for shares, and 5 percent for crypto. These minimum margin rates are up to 20 times better than those of retail clients.

Additionally, professional traders with City Index receive loyalty rewards, such as premier hospitality invitations and other rewards. There is extra financial flexibility thanks to the credit facility, and professional traders get priority service.

To become a professional trader, just fill out the quick application form and wait for approval. To qualify, you must meet two of the following three criteria: make an average of 10 transactions of a significant size each quarter during the past four quarters, have a financial instrument portfolio that is over €500,000 (including cash deposits), and have worked in the financial sector for at least a year in a position that required you to have knowledge for trading leveraged products.

Although there are not the same legal requirements for professional traders as typical retail clients, City Index continues to keep client money segregated from its own funds, employ the best execution methods, and make available the key information documents, and it does not change the detail of trade confirmations.

However, there are some waivers of FCA protections with professional trader accounts. This includes the fact that mandatory changes made to product features that are designed to protect retail clients are not mandatory for professional clients, such as margin closeout levels and negative balance protection. There may be more sophisticated language used with professional traders, and City Index will assume that professional traders have necessary experience levels and knowledge to understand the risks of trading leveraged products. As a professional trader, you maintain your FSCS protection.

It is also noteworthy that professional traders have access to some resources and platforms that traders and premium traders do not. In terms of platforms, there is support for the AT Pro and Meta Trader 4 platforms, and there are extra tools available from Dataminr.

What Markets Can You Trade with City Index?

With City Index, you have access to more than 12,000 spread bet and CFD markets, including indices, shares, forex, commodities, and cryptocurrencies. If you open an account with the Australia or Singapore offices, access is slightly reduced to more than 4,500 CFD markets of the same type. Those with accounts from the Middle East office have access to more than 100 CFD markets, including commodities, forex, and indices.

Minimum Leverage & Margin

The minimum leverage and margin for City Index depend somewhat on the office you have the account with, as well as the market. Retail clients with accounts from the UK have a 5 percent minimum margin and 20:1 leverage for major indices, 3.33 percent and 30:1 for major FX, 5 percent and 20:1 for commodities, 20 percent and 5:1 for shares, and 50 percent and 2:1 for cryptocurrencies.

For accounts from the Australia office, these figures are 0.5 percent and 200:1, 0.5 percent and 200:1, 0.5 percent and 200:1, 5 percent and 20:1, and 25 percent and 4:1, respectively. For Singapore, they are 5 percent and 20:1, 2 percent and 50:1, 20 percent and 5:1, 10 percent and 10:1, and 25 percent and 4:1.

The Middle East office does not support shares or cryptocurrencies. However, it has 5 percent and 20:1 for major indices, 3.33 percent and 30:1 for major FX, and 5 percent and 20:1 for commodities.

Trade Execution on City Index

City Index has a best execution policy, which means that it always provides you with the quickest execution on every trade. Additionally, if the price moves in a direction that is in your favor during processing, City Index will execute the order at the improved price. Trade execution with City Index includes the ability to simultaneously go short and long, price improvement technology, and access to a range of flexible order types.

City Index also makes it possible to use unrealized profits from your open positions in the form of margin for new positions, letting you maximize trading resources. There is also a futures roll-over discount, the ability to scale in or out of trades by doing so in increments (either a FIFO or non-FIFO basis), and a closeout level where City Index always tries to close out your trades when funds drop below 50 percent of the margin requirement. This will help protect against negative balances but should not replace a stop loss.

City Index Spreads

Spreads for major indices on City Index go from 0.4, although they go from 2 with the Middle East office. Spreads on major forex are from 0.6 in the UK and Australia, 0.5 in Singapore, and 3 in the Middle East. Regardless of location, commodities spreads are from 0.06, shares have spreads from 0.1, and cryptocurrencies have spreads from 0.8.

City Index Deposits & Withdrawals

City Index recommends a minimum deposit of at least £100 or enough to cover the margin of your first trade. You can fund your City Index account using Visa or Mastercard credit cards; debit cards from Mastercard, Visa, Maestro, or Electron; or a bank transfer. There is no charge for making a deposit to your City Index account, although credit card providers may charge a fee. Keep in mind that you can only deposit funds in the same base currency as your source account, but you can have up to three cards linked to your account.

When it comes time to withdraw funds, remember that they must go back to the same source as original funding. There is a minimum withdrawal amount of £50 or the full available account balance, whichever is less. With online withdrawals, you cannot withdraw more than £20,000 in one transaction, and this is also the maximum withdrawal amount online via credit cards in 24 hours. You can withdraw more than these limits by contacting client management. There are no fees for withdrawals.

City Index Fees

As with most similar brokers, City Index makes its profit via spreads instead of commissions. City Index is highly transparent about its charges across markets, and you can view specific information for each market. The list of spreads and margins are divided into spread betting and CFDs and then by asset type. For each, you will find information such as the minimum spread (fixed), the minimum spread hours, the margin from (%), the spread on each side (DFT), the average spread, overnight finance (%), spread pricing (fixed or around market spread), CFD spread, and/or CFD commission/minimum, depending on the market type and whether it is a CFD or spread betting.

You will notice that there are both fixed as well as variable spreads available. Margins for retail clients start at 3.33 percent. Financing charges follow the benchmark in the UK for financing, which is LIBOR +/-2.5 percent. To give some examples of rates, consider an example from each category for spread betting. In indices, the UK 100 has a fixed minimum spread of 1 point between 8:00 and 16:30 and a margin from 5 percent. In shares, Amazon has a 4-cent spread on each side and margin from 20 percent. In forex, EUR/USD has a minimum spread of 0.5, an average spread of 0.69, and a margin from 3.33 percent.

Bitcoin ($) has a spread from $40, margin rates from 50 percent, and overnight finance of 0.08 percent. For commodities, US Crude Oil has a spread of 0.4 points (around market), spread pricing around market spread, and margin from 10 percent. For metals, gold has a minimum spread of 0.3 points around market spread and margin from 5%. In bonds, UK Long Gift has a minimum fixed spread of 0.03 points and margin from 20 percent. For interest rates, Eurodollar has a minimum fixed spread of 0.02 points and margin from 20 percent. These figures are similar for CFD prices, although Amazon has a CFD commission of 0.15 percent with a minimum of $25 instead of the spread.

Got both forex and CFDs, City Index always applies commercially reasonable rates for currency conversions. The rates used are always clearly disclosed on statements and contract notes. These conversions do not matter for spread betting accounts since all trades occur in a single base currency. City Index offers a futures rollover discount of 50 percent on the spread when you automatically roll the futures contract upon expiry. For CFDs, this is done via the phone while spread bets can be done in the platform.

When you place a Guaranteed Stop Loss Order, there is no upfront charge. Instead, you only pay the premium if the GSLO gets triggered. The details of the charges for triggered Guaranteed Stop Loss Orders are on the market information sheets via the trading platform. For some examples, the current charge for UK 100 CFD is three times the quantity of CFDs charged in the base currency. For EUR/USD CFDs (per 0.0001), it is four times the number of CFDs charged in the base currency. For Barclays share CFD, it is 0.25 percent of the notional trade volume. Finally, for US Crude Oil CFD, it is four times the quantity of CFDs in the base currency.

If your City Index account is inactive for at least 12 months or more, City Index will charge a monthly inactivity fee equal to £12. If your cash balance is less than this, the inactivity fee will be equal to your cash balance.

Trading Platforms

All City Index clients can choose between the Advantage Web, applications for iOS and Android, MetaTrader 4, and AT Pro. Clients in the UK also have the option of Web Trader.

Web Trader includes intelligent tools, fast and reliable HTML5 technology, customizable workspaces, and advanced charts featuring custom indicators. It also has smarter trade tickets that include advanced risk management options. The platform’s customizability extends to the ability to personalize and configure multiple workspaces, switch between those workspaces in a single click, use precision drawing tools, trade via the charts, and overlay multiple markets. Other tools include a real-time margin calculator and the ability to define stops and limits by price, P&L, or points. There are also 360-degree market view pages, helping you find key trading opportunities, see market analysis from Reuters, and view the latest market details with pricing, news, and charts.

The mobile applications for City Index are available for both Android and iOS, offering secure 24-access to accounts, the live Reuters news feed, the live economic calendar, and live streaming prices, plus charts. The two mobile platforms have similar features, including one-tap dealing via the charts, real-time notifications and price alerts, and intelligent trade tickets. The applications also support live in-app chat and personalized watchlists. You can switch between your devices seamlessly while trading, including smartphones and tablets, for added versatility.

AT Pro is a desktop platform that will appeal to advanced users who want the most powerful trading tools. It includes enhanced efficiency and speed, an advanced charting package, and your choice of trading templates. Or you can create your own trading template with Visual Basic, .NET, or C#. Enjoy the charts with more than 100 indicators and use the extensive drawing tools. There is also a back-testing excel tool that lets you see how trading signals performed based on historical data. AT Pro uses 15 timeframes that you can easily switch or zoom across. It also incorporates the various trading tools right into the platform, such as the customizable economic calendar.

Or you can trade using MetaTrader 4, with its impressive array of features. MetaTrader 4 is available for Windows, iOS, and Android. It is among the most popular forex trading platforms thanks to its intuitive and feature-rich nature. It includes custom indicators, trading signals, professional charting, and support for Expert Advisors.

Orders Types

City Index strives to offer clients a range of order types to make it possible to preprogram the price that you want to use to enter and/or exit the market. Stop loss orders can automatically close trades and therefore limit losses when the market moves in a direction against you. Limit orders can automatically close trades at better prices than the one currently available, leading to a profit. Stop and limit entry orders can let you enter the market when it hits your chosen price level.

One cancels another (OCO) orders let you simultaneously set a limit and stop order, canceling one order when the other is fulfilled. Guaranteed stop loss orders will guarantee your specific execution level, no matter gapping in the market, but do cost a small premium. Finally, trailing stops trail current market prices by a specified number of points, letting you minimize losses without also limiting your potential gains.

City Index lets you personalize trade settings to better fit your trading style. You can activate one-click trading mode and easily toggle back and forth between this and two-click settings. You can also adjust the price tolerance for each instrument, decreasing or increasing your acceptable slippage when the execution price moves from the order level.

City Index Trading Tools

To help clients make informed trades and improve their chances of success, City Index offers a range of trading tools. These include a portal for technical and fundamental analysis, powered by Recognia. The technical analysis research portal works to scan the markets in search of chart patterns before presenting you with the best sell and buy opportunities, saving you time spent conducting your own research. The fundamental stock analyzer displays whether a stock is likely overvalued or undervalued at a glance.

To help you easily spot the best trading opportunities, the portal lists the best buy opportunities first. There are detailed company metrics, including earnings and revenue history, debt to equity ratios, and earnings per share. You will find global data and can filter opportunities. There are even “what if?” analysis tools.

City Index has a partnership with Faraday Research, which provides clients with a free 30-day trial of UK FX Daily Trading Signals or UK Equities, perfect for those who do not have the time to research the markets themselves. These signals are sent via email and SMS.

If you choose to use the AT Pro trading platform from City Index, you will get access to more than 100 trading signals to help you find opportunities. You can choose from options like the Heikin-Ashi candlesticks reversal system, a MACD fast line/signal line cross system, and moving averages cross system.

Additionally, the charts within the City Index trading platforms are incredibly powerful, featuring the tools you need to analyze markets and create a plan. There are more than 65 technical indicators and the ability to trade directly from a chart. Your limit orders, stops, and positions are displayed on the chart, with the choice to adjust them by dragging lines. The charts let you use a single chart to compare multiple markets to each other, including their relative performance and price action.

You can also take advantage of the extensive drawing tools to draw things like Fibonacci retracements and trend lines, letting you find key resistance and support levels. Save your chart customizations within your user profile, so you can seamlessly apply them to future charts. Unsurprisingly, there are also multiple chart types to choose from, such as Candlestick, Point & Figure, and Heikin-Ashi. Choose the chart you prefer to show key levels and trends. The chart will always display the basic information you select, such as bid, mid, and ask price.

City Index Market Intelligence Tools

City Index provides account holders with real-time financial data, news, and market reports from Reuters, incorporated right into the trading platforms. There is also a customizable City Index economic calendar, which is designed to help traders understand market-moving events, so they can plan their trading strategies better. The economic calendar has color-coded dots for high, medium, and low volumes, as well as categories for actual, consensus, and previous figures. Of course, it also displays the name of the event, the country, and the date and time.

You will also find expert market analysis from the City Index global research team, which identifies information driving the markets to help you predict price movements and take advantage of opportunities. The Market News & Analysis section includes sections for company earnings, the daily briefing video, the economic calendar, and Brexit. The main page for market analysis displays the most recent and top stories. Near the top of the stories, you will find categories to view, including news specific to indices, shares, FX, the UK, and the U.S., plus Brexit updates, webinars, and “our analysts.” You can also filter out the news stories by market, topics, author, or region, with the option to save your filters.

Clicking on the category for Company Earnings will show you the dates that major companies release or released their earnings reports, with the companies divided into the UK, the U.S., and the EU. Clicking on the Daily Briefing Video will take you to a page titled “The Day Ahead.” This takes you to a video outlining the day, including the biggest moves during the week in the markets. Below the video is a list of key topics/markets covered, as well as at what time in the video they are overviewed. This means you do not have to watch the whole video if you are only interested in a few of the markets.

City Index Customer Support

If you trade using the mobile applications, you can chat with customer support live inside the application for convenience. When on the City Index website, you can click on “Contact Us” at the top of the page. This will take you to a page with the City Index address and phone number, as well as a phone number and email address for account opening and support. Or you can scroll to the bottom of any page on the City Index website, where you will see a chat icon, the support email address, and a phone number.

City Index Regulations

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates and authorizes City Index. Thanks to this regulation, traders can count on City Index to follow the client money rules of FCA, including segregating client money. Additionally, clients can receive compensation of as much as £85,000 from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the unlikely event that liquidation occurs.

Accounts opened in Australia are regulated and authorized by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which does not include a deposit compensation scheme. Accounts opened in Singapore are authorized and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and do not offer a deposit compensation scheme, either. The complaints authority for all City Index accounts is the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), except for accounts opened in Singapore, in which case the complaints authority is the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (FIDReC).

Is City Index Safe?

Following the guidelines of the Financial Conduct Authority, City Index segregates the client money bank accounts. That means that the funds owned by retail clients are fully segregated from the company’s funds via separate accounts. This is true for every City Index account, regardless of where it was opened. City Index also makes it simple to stay on top of your funding and finances with safe and free deposits and withdrawals. It also offers a secure funding portal where you can view your funds and submit deposits and withdrawals.

Competitors

City Index is in competition with our similar brokers which have covered before, as follows:

Conclusion

City Index offers spread betting and CFD trading to traders around the world. The online provider is based in the UK. Established in 1983, it has earned a strong reputation since its inception.

With City Index, you can access more than 12,000 markets with competitive spreads and your choice of several different platforms.

The City Index website is very comprehensive with a wide range of trading tools and market intelligence information at your finger tips. The web trader interface is well designed and easy to use and you also have the option of using AT Pro or Meta Trader if you prefer.

The parent company GAIN Capital Group is a well established and respected entity in this field, regulated in the UK by the FCA, so you can be very confident when choosing this broker.

Please Note: 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.

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