When selecting a forex broker, both new and experienced traders, generally look for several key features, such as regulation, pricing, popularity and user ratings.

In the US there aren’t many CFTC, or NFA regulated, forex brokers to choose from. Forex brokers currently operating in the US market are all subject to the strict rules, and code of conduct, set out by the NFA, the official body created to safeguard the integrity of the derivatives markets and to protect investors.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The NFA offers an affordable and efficient arbitration program to help customers and Members resolve forex related disputes.
  • Non-US brokers, or brokers who are not registered with the NFA, are not allowed to accept US citizens as clients.
  • The maximum leverage CFTC forex brokers can offer is 50:1 on major currencies and 20:1 on minor currencies.


The NFA sets the regulatory guidelines, with the principal difference being that brokers who are not registered with the NFA, are not allowed to accept US citizens as clients. That doesn’t happen with other regulators. For example, a broker that is not regulated by the UK FCA, or Cyprus CySEC, can accept European clients.

Thus, there aren’t any regulatory differentials to consider when choosing an NFA forex broker, as all brokers abide to the same regulations. Also, due to NFA regulations, forex brokers accepting US clients, cannot offer trading of CFDs (Contract for Difference), so, the brokers are forex brokers exclusively.

To help you choose the best broker, and using our own review methodology, we have determined the current 3 best CFTC forex brokers in 2021, in no particular order, highlighting their key features:

  • IG US broker
    IG USExcellent proprietary trading platforms. Great customer support.
  • Oanda broker
    OandaGreat range of educational materials. Zero minimum deposit.
  • Forex.com broker
    Forex.comOriginal Active Trader Rewards program, robust trading platforms.

Best CFTC Forex Brokers 2021


IG US broker

IG US
Great proprietary trading platform.

Main Features
  • 80 forex pairs available for trading
  • Average spread on EUR/USD pair is 0.8 pip
  • Not available to Ohio residents

Arrived in mid-2019 in the US, the IG US LLC is a regulated forex broker, registered with the CFTC as an RFED (Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer), and also holding a US NFA License. These two government and industry regulating bodies, respectively, help to protect investors by ensuring a fair user-experience when trading on IG’s platforms, and, overall, the IG US LLC is a reputable broker to handle your forex trading account(s).

IG US Overview

  • Segregated Client Money: Yes
  • Precious Metals Trading: No
  • Futures Contracts Trading: No
  • Maximum Leverage: 50:1
  • Minimum Deposit: US$ 250
  • Trading Platforms: Proprietary Web-based, Proprietary Mobile & Tablet, MetaTrader 4
  • Trading Tools: IG Academy, IG TV

Established in 1974, the IG Group is a UK-based company, providing brokerage services to retail traders in several financial markets, such as forex, and, since 2014, also stock brokerage. Arrived in the US in 2019, and according to recent market studies in March 2020, IG US LLC has increased its market share, after attracting $20.4 million in customer deposits in January 2020. This figure translates to a 3% market share by the IG US LLC.

With IG US trading can be executed through a variety of platforms; a cutting-edge proprietary, web-based, platform with advanced charts, and natively-designed mobile and tablet apps, available for iOS and Android, and of course, the traditional MT4.

The IG US also offers excellent forex education materials, with access to the IG Academy, where traders can find several online trading courses, designed for all levels of experience, practical exercises and quizzes. Traders can also join several live trading webinars to enhance their trading skills and market knowledge, and access to IG TV, a great source of information about the financial markets.



For a closer look at our professional opinion about the IG broker, please read the full IG review.



Oanda broker

Oanda
Minimum account deposit is zero.

Main Features
  • 70 forex pairs available for trading
  • Average spread on EUR/USD pair is 1.3 pip
  • Great forex resources available

Headquartered in New York, the Oanda Corporation holds a US NFA License and offers online trading services on a wide range of forex pairs, including Major crosses and Minors. Oanda has been in the currency business since 1996, and claims to be a well-capitalized forex market maker, and also the authoritative source for currency and exchange data for several global companies, tax authorities, accounting firms, and financial institutions.

Oanda US Overview

  • Segregated Client Money: Yes
  • Precious Metals Trading: No
  • Futures Contracts Trading: No
  • Maximum Leverage: 50:1
  • Minimum Deposit: US$ 0
  • Trading Platforms: Proprietary Web-based, Proprietary Desktop, Proprietary Mobile & Tablet, MetaTrader 4
  • Trading Tools: TradingView Advanced Charts. Oanda's MarketPulse

Established in 1995, the Oanda Corp has an estimated revenue of nearly $85 million (2019 data), and total funding of $117 million. Oanda and its Group subsidiaries, Oanda Australia, Oanda Canada, Oanda India, and Oanda Asia Pacific, have captured over the years the preference of many traders, becoming one of the most recognized and respected brands in the forex world.

With Oanda US trading can be executed through a variety of platforms. Oanda offers trading via its proprietary web-based platform, also available for desktop, mobile and tablet, and trought the robust MT4.

The Oanda US also offers excellent forex education materials, accessible from the “Learn” tab on their website. Traders can find information on how to use their proprietary tools, learn some trading strategies and how to manage funds in the capital management section. Oanda has also their own financial news website, the Market Pulse, packed with videos, daily market news and daily market fundamental and technical analysis.



For a closer look at this broker's offerings, and for our professional opinion about the Oanda broker, please read the full Oanda review.



Forex.com broker

Forex.com
Great Active Trader Rewards program

Main Features
  • 80 forex pairs available for trading
  • Average spread on EUR/USD pair is 1.5 pip
  • Bitcoin futures contracts available for trading

Forex.com is a subsidiary of GAIN Capital, a company headquartered in Bedminster, New Jersey. GAIN Capital holds a US NFA License and has a global presence in the forex market, with its FX brand Forex.com. GAIN Capital's mission is to provide all traders accessibility to the forex markets. The company claims to have expanded their product offering and global reach, and currently provide over 140,000 retail and institutional investors with access to the OTC and exchange-traded markets.

Forex.com US Overview

  • Segregated Client Money: Yes
  • Precious Metals Trading: Gold, Silver
  • Futures Contracts Trading: Bitcoin
  • Maximum Leverage: 50:1
  • Minimum Deposit: US$ 100
  • Trading Platforms: Proprietary Web-based, Proprietary Mobile & Tablet, MetaTrader 4
  • Trading Tools: TradingView Advanced Charts, Market Analysis

Founded in 1999, the GAIN Capital Group filed a trading revenue of $177 million (2019 data), and with 55% of the total revenues from loyal clients with a tenure of more than 3 years, GAIN Capital is provided with a sustainable, long term revenue stream. This can translate into, according to CFTC data, around 37% market share in the US forex retail trading market.

With Forex.com US trading can be executed several platforms, from the excellent proprietary web-based platform, also available as mobile and tablet apps, and like its peers, through the time-tested MetaTrader 4.

The Forex.com US also offers an extensive range of forex education materials, available on their website, via the "Market Analysis" tab. Content is curated by Forex.com in-house global research team, and traders can find the latest market research, market insights, trade ideas, trading strategies, webinars, and much more.



For a complete outlook, and for our professional opinion about the Forex.com broker, please read the full Forex.com review.



The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was founded in 1974 as an independent government agency with the purpose of regulating the commodities and options markets. But above all, to protect the public and market participants from fraud, manipulation, abusive practices and systemic risk related to derivatives - both on futures contracts and swaps.

The CFTC was established by a government mandate to enforce the rules set out in the Commodity Exchange Act. It is headed by five commissioners who are appointed by the President for staggered five-year terms.

The President, with the approval of the Senate, selects one commissioner as chairman, and no more than three commissioners, from the same political party, may serve on the commission at any one time. The CFTC is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has offices in cities that have forward exchanges; Kansas City, New York and Chicago.

This supervisory body regulates the trading activity on futures exchanges. The enforcement of such regulations gives investors peace of mind that the prices of options and commodity futures are fair. Because commodity futures prices are based on predictions of potential commodity prices in the future, they have a great influence on asset prices, both in the future and in the present.

CFTC regulations are essential to create fair markets and prices for commodities. Without commodity futures price regulation, sellers of futures contracts could, basically, have complete control over the current price of commodities, thus creating a completely inequitable commodity market.

This would result in commodities prices being determined by arbitrary futures prices instead of overall market supply and demand. Countless hours of research, and numerous studies, are conducted by the CFTC to provide investors, and consumers, with competitive commodity prices throughout the several markets.

The National Futures Association (NFA)

In 1974, Congress established the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The same legislation that established the CFTC also authorized the creation of registered futures associations, giving the industry the opportunity to create a self-regulatory organization. NFA's formal designation as a "registered futures association" was granted by the CFTC on September 22, 1981. NFA began its regulatory operations in 1982.

The National Futures Association (NFA) is a self-regulatory, non-profit organisation, funded exclusively through membership and assessment fees, to supervise the US derivatives markets.

The NFA oversees the activities of these markets, which includes exchange-traded futures, over-the-counter foreign exchange (or forex), and OTC derivatives (swaps). The NFA's mission is to safeguard market integrity and protect investors, by providing innovative and effective regulatory programs.

Designated by the CFTC as a registered futures association, the NFA strives every day to safeguard the integrity of the derivatives markets, protect investors and ensure Members meet their regulatory responsibilities.

The NFA's activities are overseen by the CFTC and all forex brokers in the United States (including introducing brokers) are required to register with the NFA.

The NFA works closely with the CFTC in all of its activities, and as such all of NFA's most significant actions, including rule changes, enforcement actions and registration actions, are subject to review and approval of the CFTC.

The cornerstone of NFA's regulatory structure merges effective industrywide self-regulation rules with a mandatory membership. Thus, forex brokers operating in the US must be registered with the NFA and ensure the safety of their clients' assets via:

      Forex brokers operating in the US must have an operational capital no less than $20,000,000.

      Brokers must report account balances to the NFA, on a weekly basis.

      NFA regulated forex brokers must be fully audited annually.

Main NFA/CFTC Rules for US Forex Brokers

  • Non-US brokers, or brokers who are not registered with the NFA, are not allowed to accept US citizens as clients. (They may, however, have non-U.S. citizens residing in the United States as clients.)
  • As of October 18, 2010, the maximum leverage a US broker can offer must be 50:1 on major currencies and 20:1 on minor currencies.
  • US forex brokers are only allowed to offer precious metals trades (including gold and silver) to retail clients with a 1:1 leverage ratio. The CFTC has enforced these rules in July 2011.

NFA Enforcement & Registration Actions

The Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) requires certain firms, and individuals, conducting business in the derivatives industry to register with the CFTC. The CFTC regulations also require, with few exceptions, that CFTC registered firms must apply for an NFA Membership. The CFTC has delegated the registration responsibility to the NFA.

The essence of self-regulation involves identifying industry best practices in certain areas and then mandating those practices for the entire industry.

NFA has the authority to take disciplinary actions against any Member, or Associate, found violating its rules. If an NFA Member, or Associate, engages in conduct that puts customers, the futures markets, or other Members at risk, immediate action will be taken accordingly. To enforce its rules, NFA takes disciplinary actions against Members when appropriate.

To check if a forex broker operating in the US is regulated accordingly, the NFA has a register accessible to the public, the Background Affiliation Status Information Center (BASIC). Users can check licenses and the status of any supervised financial services company regulated by the NFA. Users can also check if such entity is, or was, subject to any disciplinary actions by the NFA.

And this concludes our CFTC/NFA Forex Brokers guide. Our focus is to give traders the right tools to make informed decisions, and we're here to help with our reviews, rankings and ratings. As a trader you can also help the trading community with your opinion. Simply go to FXverify - forex brokers reviews, find your broker from the list and share your views and tips. Or, if you prefer, you're welcome to use the comments box below - we do love to hear from our readers.