The Tier-1 financial regulator of Australia, ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission), is an independent government body, intervening under the commissioner’s direction, appointed by the Governor-General.

The ASIC was established under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act), with the main roles of perpetuate, supervise and enhance the financial system’s performance and the companies operating in the financial markets in, or from, Australia.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • ASIC imposes a minimum of $1 million of operating capital to all supervised forex brokers.
  • Client funds must be kept separate, in segregated accounts, with top-tier Australian banks, ensuring that those funds cannot be used by the broker.
  • NBP (Negative Balance Protection) by regulated brokers is mandatory, to protect traders from losses bigger than their original investments.
  • Effective from March 29, 2021, the maximum leverage for retail investors is capped at 30:1. Traders classified as professionals can apply for higher leverage ratios.


This financial regulator has the powers to make information about financial companies available to the public, to administer the law effectively, to take action against companies not complying with the financial laws of Australia, and if necessary, to prosecute offenders.

According to ASIC reports, during a volatile five-week period between March and April 2020, retail clients of 13 CFD issuers regulated by the ASIC, made a net loss of over $774 million. The breakdown of this figure was:

over 1.1 million CFD positions were stopped-out under margin close-out policies,

over 15,000 retail trading accounts fell into negative balance, owing a total of $10.9 million.

Heavy losses sustained by retail clients trading in highly leveraged CFDs and ongoing market volatility during the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the need for stronger CFD protections in the product intervention order.

- ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour confirmed.

In 2021 the ASIC revised their regulations in place for supervised forex brokers, and two main changes were made. Effective from March 29, 2021, the maximum leverage for retail investors trading forex CFDs is restricted to 30:1. ASIC also made compulsory for brokers to deploy a Negative Balance Protection (NBP) mechanism, to prevent traders from losses bigger than their original investments.

Overview: Best ASIC Regulated Forex Brokers 2021

  • IC Markets -  ASIC broker
    IC MarketsLow trading costs and great customer support.
  • FXOpen AU -  ASIC broker
    FXOpen AUGreat range of cryptocurrencies available for trading.
  • ThinkMarkets -  ASIC broker
    ThinkMarketsExcellent proprietary trading platform, fast order execution via Equinix.
  • FP Markets -  ASIC broker
    FP MarketsMore than 10,000 stocks available for trading, fast and free withdrawals.
  • Pepperstone -  ASIC broker
    PepperstoneCompetitive trading costs, fast deposits and withdrawals.
  • XM -  ASIC broker
    XMMini and nano lots accounts, no deposit trading bonus.
  • Global Prime -  ASIC broker
    Global PrimeDirect ECN market access, transparent trading with trade receipts.
  • AvaTrade -  ASIC broker
    AvaTradeMultiple trading platforms, 0 fees on deposits & withdrawals.

To learn more about each broker, and which features distinguish them, we have prepared a great introduction about each one, highlighting their main attributes. You can also check how other traders, with a verified trading account, rate each broker, by clicking the “read the full review” link.


IC Markets broker

IC Markets
Low trading costs and great customer support

PROS

  • Low spreads, commissions and trading costs
  • Fast trade execution
  • High customer ratings
  • Great range of educational materials
  • Non-expiring demo account

CONS

  • Mini-lots (0.01) trading not allowed on Indices
  • Slippage is very common
Read the IC Markets full review

Established and incorporated in Sydney in 2007 by a team of professionals in the financial services industry, IC Markets is currently Australia's largest CFDs and Forex brokerage service provider. As an ASIC regulated entity, IC Markets is required to meet strict financial standards, including capital adequacy and audit requirements.

IC Markets is dedicated to offering unbeatable trading conditions to retail traders, with an unbeatable combo of low spreads, low commissions and overall trading costs with their Raw Spread accounts. On top of that, fast execution speeds and top customer service, make this broker a reputable choice for traders looking for a highly regulated broker (also in the EU), and, above all, for those looking to trade and save on trading costs.



FXOpen broker

FXOpen
40 cryptocurrencies pairs available for trading

PROS

  • Fast deposits and withdrawals processing times
  • Offers its own PAMM technology
  • Great range of cryptocurrencies available for trading
  • Supports deposits and withdrawals with Bitcoin
  • Non-expiring demo account

CONS

  • Trading is only available via MetaTrader 4
  • Expensive swap rates
  • Inactivity fee charged
Read the FXOpen full review

FXOpen was founded as an educational centre offering courses in the field of technical analysis and financial markets. The company launched its brokerage services in 2005 in order to satisfy the need for fair and transparent trading conditions with an excellent customer support.

FXOpen clients can choose from a variety of trading accounts (STP, Micro, ECN and free unlimited demo accounts) and enhance their trading via Zulutrade automated trading systems. FXOpen also offers its own PAMM technology allowing clients to benefit from the strategies of experienced traders with a proven track record of successful trading, guaranteeing automatic distribution of profit and loss between the strategy provider and the strategy followers.



ThinkMarkets broker

ThinkMarkets
Excellent proprietary trading platform

PROS

  • Great offering of worldwide stocks for trading
  • Fast and reliable order execution via Equinix
  • Accepts Bitpay: fund your account with BTC & ETH
  • Zero minimum deposit for the standard account
  • Non-expiring demo account

CONS

  • Rollover rates (swap) can be slightly above average
  • Spreads on cryptos can be higher
  • Scarce offering of forex education materials
Read the ThinkMarkets full review

Established in 2010, ThinkMarkets (formerly ThinkForex) is a premium multi-asset online brokerage with headquarters in London and Melbourne and hubs in the Asia-Pacific, MENA region, Europe and South America.

ThinkMarkets provides quick and easy access to a wide range of markets, including CFDs on forex, equities, cryptos, commodities, indices, futures and more. Trading with ThinkMarkets is available through some of the most recognized trading solutions – the industry-standard MT4, the next-generation MT5 (ideal for stocks trading) and their excellent proprietary platform ThinkTrader, highly recommended by the forex community.



FP Markets broker

FP Markets
10,000+ stocks available for trading

PROS

  • Excellent offering of asset classes
  • MAM/PAMM accounts for money managers
  • Competitive pricing
  • Low minimum withdrawals with 0 fees
  • Non-expiring demo account

CONS

  • Slippage can occur on several pairs
  • User portal runs a little slowly
Read the FP Markets full review

First Prudential Markets Pty Ltd (FP Markets) is an Australian-regulated broker offering clients access to a full suite of CFDs across forex, equities, indices, metals, commodities and cryptocurrencies. Traders have more than 10,000 markets available for trading, through a selection of industry-leading platforms including the classic MT4, MT5, and IRESS, a trading platform with advanced functionalities, including Direct Market Access (DMA).

Founded in 2005 and regulated by the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission), FP Markets has grown to become one of the largest and most reputable players in the industry. FP Markets is part of a group of companies with over 36 industry awards in the field of client servicing and execution technologies.



Pepperstone broker

Pepperstone
Competitive trading costs, fast withdrawals

PROS

  • Competitive trading costs, tight spreads
  • Excellent range of social trading platforms
  • Fast deposits and withdrawals
  • Accepts Japanese clients
  • Non-expiring demo account

CONS

  • High slippage can occur at times of volatility
  • Bank withdrawals can be very slow
Read the Pepperstone full review

With headquarters in Melbourne, Australia, the Pepperstone Group is an execution-only broker that provides trading solutions sophisticated enough for veteran traders, yet, simple enough for the novice traders. Pepperstone's goal is to make forex trading fairer, more professional and convenient for traders.

Pepperstone was founded in 2010 by a veteran management team with years of experience in the forex and technology industries. With an excellent range of social trading platforms, including Mirror Trader and Duplitrade, the company holds an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL), and offers direct access to multiple liquidity providers in the forex market, without the usual burdens of a deal desk.



XM broker

XM
Mini and nano lots accounts available

PROS

  • Great range of trading eductional materials
  • No deposit trading bonus available (conditions apply)
  • Mini and Nano lots accounts available
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Non-expiring demo account

CONS

  • Social trading accounts, or alternatives, are not available
  • Market maker trading environment
  • Spreads for the entry-level accounts (Micro and Standard) are high
Read the XM full review

The XM Group is a group of regulated online brokers with headquarters in Cyprus. In 2015 the group established the Trading Point of Financial Instruments Pty Ltd, regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Offering a great range of trading eductional materials, including the XM TV, podcasts and educational videos. XM client’s benefit from access to over 1,000 financial instruments including forex, and a complete range of CFDs; stocks, precious metals, energies, commodities and indices. XM aims at providing retail clients with a trading environment that offers all the necessary tools to enhance trading performance, including product innovation and personalized customer service.



Global Prime broker

Global Prime
Direct ECN market access, transparent trading

PROS

  • Zero fees for deposits and withdrawals
  • Direct ECN market access
  • Transparent trading with trade receipts
  • Competitive rollover rates
  • Non-expiring demo account

CONS

  • Islamic accounts (swap-free), are not available
  • Limited selection of 70 assets available for trading
  • Customer support available in only a few languages
Read the Global Prime full review

Founded in 2010, Global Prime is a 100% Australian owned FX and CFDs provider, specialising in low latency connectivity to Tier-1 bank liquidity and ECNs for an unrivalled trading experience.

Global Primes provides direct ECN access and all orders are placed directly into the market with the client receiving completely transparent service. Each trade can be confirmed by a trade receipt showing the liquidity provider who took the client's trade.

With offices in Sydney, Global Prime offers trading across 48 currencies pairs and metals through Tier 1 liquidity providers. Global Prime Pty Ltd, holds an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL no.385620).



AvaTrade broker

AvaTrade
Zero fees on deposits & withdrawals

PROS

  • Great range of worldwide stocks available for trading
  • Quality proprietary trading platform (AvaTradeGO)
  • No fees on deposits & withdrawals
  • Social trading available via Duplitrade & AvaSocial
  • Non-expiring demo account

CONS

  • Very high rollover rates, when compared with other top brokers
  • Does not accept US or Japanese clients
  • Spreads are higher (AvaTrade does not charge trading commissions)
Read the AvaTrade full review

Founded in 2006 as a multi-national company, AvaTrade has regional offices in Paris, Milan, Tokyo and Sydney with the administrative headquarters in Dublin. The company was created as a combined effort of financial professionals and experts in web-commerce with the goal of offering a better online experience for retail traders. AvaTrade is dedicated to building the perfect online trading environment, catering both for retail and institutional traders.

Their advanced proprietary forex trading platform (AvaTradeGO) provides access to the most recent and deep analysis of the market, current news, technical analysis tools, up-to-date economic calendar, online trading charts and many other useful trading tools. AvaTrade's full spectrum of trading instruments include CFDs in forex, stocks, commodities, ETFs, indices, bonds and cryptocurrencies.



Conclusion

The new regulations imposed by the ASIC to supervised entities were welcomed by most brokers. These restrictions were deemed to be necessary to protect the novice traders, that normally operate on over-leveraged trading accounts, without adequate funding.

Whilst most brokers are supporting the new regulations, some are already seeing a decrease in the trading volumes, similar to what happened in Europe when the new ESMA regulations became effective in 2018, and most argue that the 30:1 leverage limit for retail investors might become a global standard.

On the other hand, because of client awareness, reputable brokers are keen on staying solely with Tier-1 regulators, such as the ASIC, instead of setting up offshore entities in order to keep offering high leverage ratios, which in turn has improved the market’s transparency.

All the brokers presented on our ASIC Regulated Forex Brokers list are hand-picked for their excellent reputation amongst the trading community, and above all, for their compliance with the most strict regulations regarding the protection of retail investors and their trading capital.