- 1 IC Markets pros & cons
- 2 Overall summary
- 3 Is IC Markets safe?
- 4 Offering of investments
- 5 Commissions and fees
- 6 Mobile trading apps
- 7 Other trading platforms
- 8 Market research
- 9 Education
- 10 Final thoughts
- 11 Is IC Markets a good broker?
- 12 Is my money safe with IC Markets?
- 13 What is the minimum deposit for IC Markets?
- 14 About IC Markets
- 15 2022 Review Methodology
- 16 About the Author
IC Markets pros & cons
Is IC Markets safe?
IC Markets is considered low-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 86 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: Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC). Learn more about Trust Score.
Offering of investments
IC Markets offers a total of 3,583 tradeable instruments across its Australian, Cyprus, and Seychelles-based entities. The table below summarizes the different investment products available to IC Markets clients.
Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency trading is available at IC Markets through CFDs, but not available through trading the underlying asset (e.g. buying Bitcoin). Note: Crypto CFDs are not available to retail traders from any broker’s U.K. entity, nor to U.K. residents.
Commissions and fees
Considering the small effective spreads and the low deposit requirement for its commission-based accounts, IC Markets’ trading costs rival the best low-cost forex brokers, such as IG and CMC Markets.
Global entity: Spreads at IC Markets vary depending on the trading platform you use, your account type, and your chosen IC Markets entity. IC Markets has three regulatory entities available: European (based in Cyprus), Australian, or its offshore entity based in Seychelles.
Account types: IC Markets offers three account options: the commission-free Standard account (spread only), and the commission-based Raw Spread and cTrader Raw Spread accounts.
cTrader versus MetaTrader accounts: The cTrader Raw Spread and the IC Markets (MT4 or MT5) Raw Spread accounts have a near-identical commission structure. The difference in pricing between the two comes down to platform choice. The cTrader-linked account commission is lower by about a tenth of a pip, at $3.0 per side for every 100,000 units, or $6.00 per RT. The Raw Spread account, which uses MT4 or MT5, charges $3.5 per side for every 100,000 units (1 standard lot) or $7.00 per round turn (RT).
Effective spreads: IC Markets lists its average spread on the EUR/USD at 0.02 pips (August 2021). After adding the commission equivalent of 0.6 pips for the cTrader account, the all-in cost comes to 0.62 pips (or 0.72 on MetaTrader in the Raw Spread account) – which is competitive. Alternatively, the Standard account lists an average spread of 0.62 pips and is commission-free, making it an attractive option.
Active traders: IC Markets offers discounts to traders that trade over 100 standard lots per month.
Agency and dealer execution: IC Markets provides execution on an agency basis, which means orders may be subject to positive or negative slippage – there are no requotes and no instant execution. That said, IC Markets is still considered a dealer and counterparty to your trade. Though it routes orders to nearly two dozen liquidity providers, it does not hedge all trades and thus does manage some risk as a counterparty (dealing desk).
Mobile trading apps
IC Markets provides mobile apps for the three platforms it offers – MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), and cTrader – all of which come standard for iOS and Android. The lineup is good; however, it should be noted that the leaders in mobile (e.g., Saxo Bank, CMC Markets, TD Ameritrade) all offer proprietary trading apps.
Tools comparison: The MetaTrader and cTrader suite have similar mobile functionality and charting. The platform you choose will likely depend on whether you trade manually or use desktop platforms for automated trading systems.
Algorithmic trading: Automated trading is not possible with the mobile versions of the cTrader and MetaTrader platforms. That means they are primarily useful for managing existing positions or manually opening new trades. Copy trading is available on mobile with supported third-party platforms such as ZuluTrade and Myfxbook.
Other trading platforms
IC Markets has strengthened its position as an excellent choice for algorithmic traders thanks to the availability of both the MetaTrader and cTrader platforms, as well as its execution methods (i.e., no requotes) and the ability to place orders within the spread.
Overall, IC Markets is once again our pick for best MetaTrader broker in 2022.
Platforms overview: IC Markets offers the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) trading platforms developed by MetaQuotes Software Corp., alongside the cTrader platform developed by Spotware Systems. Additional add-ons available for MetaTrader clients include the Advanced Trading Tools package for the desktop version, along with plugins from AutoChartist and Trading Central. While these third-party plugins must be installed separately, their ability to enhance the MetaTrader experience makes them worth the extra effort.
Charting: Charts on MetaTrader and cTrader are excellent, with a good variety of default indicators pre-installed and an even larger array available from third-party providers. The IC Markets cTrader platform offering includes both the web-based and desktop versions.
MetaTrader Tools: IC Markets provides access to the Advanced Trading Tools package, which is a suite of platform add-ons developed by FX Blue LLP. IC Markets also provides installable third-party plugins from Trading Central and AutoChartist.
Algorithmic trading: The desktop version of MetaTrader supports algorithmic trading, and the cTrader suite includes trading applications such as cAlgo for automated trading, and cTrader Copy for social copy trading. IC Markets is popular with serious algorithmic traders due to its low cost and execution methods, and its support for Virtual Private Servers (VPS).
VPS services: For traders that complete at least 15 standard lots, IC Markets offers several free third-party Virtual Private Servers (VPS) services for hosting client algorithms.
Social copy trading: In addition to cTrader Copy and the native Signals market from MetaTrader, IC Markets offers the Myfxbook (AutoTrade) and ZuluTrade platforms for copy trading across its global brands.
Though IC Markets has shown improvement with daily articles and its Web TV section, research remains a weak point in its overall offering compared to the best brokers in this category, such as IG and Saxo Bank.
Research overview: IC Markets posts several articles each day on its blog, including a technical and fundamental forecast. I found the quality of the research content to be pretty standard, though not quite as rich as what you see from industry leaders such as IG and Saxo Bank.
Market news and analysis: IC Markets delivers in-house technical and fundamental analysis content by way of its blog, and provides daily updates in its market analysis section. There are videos from Trading Central and short clips that recap market events under the Web TV section, as well as live trading sessions posted to the IC Markets YouTube channel.
IC Markets has a good range of content for beginner as well as advanced traders, with over 100 written articles and dozens of videos. However, content is not organized by experience level, and there is no progress tracking or quizzes, which are both features I’ve come to expect from the best forex brokers in this category.
Learning center: The educational content at IC Markets is organized into six series, such as Forex Trading 101 and Trading Plan 101. The quality of the articles are a touch above the industry average. IC Markets has also created a podcast series known as “IC Your Trade”, and has a YouTube channel that hosts a catalog of archived webinars.
Room for improvement: IC Markets could enhance its educational offering by developing courses that feature progress tracking and quizzes, and by adding the ability to filter content by experience level.
IC Markets appeals primarily to algorithmic traders that use the MT4, MT5, or cTrader platforms, and who need agency execution coupled with competitive spreads and low commissions.
Catering to high-frequency traders helps IC Markets achieve significantly higher trading volumes relative to its peers, as automated trading strategies can typically do higher turnover than manual traders.
Access to third-party social trading services like Myfxbook and ZuluTrade helps to round out IC Markets’ overall offering and make it appealing to retail forex and CFD traders, but I generally do not recommend IC Markets unless you are an algorithmic trader or if your manual trading strategy is spread-sensitive.
Is IC Markets a good broker?
Is my money safe with IC Markets?
What is the minimum deposit for IC Markets?
About IC Markets
With servers in New York (Equinix NY4) and London (Equinix LD5), IC Markets has positioned itself as an agency broker that caters to scalpers and high-frequency algorithmic traders who require low-latency and fast execution. Founded in 2007, IC Markets’ monthly trading volume surpassed $1 trillion in March 2021. IC Markets has 260 employees, per its Wikipedia page.
2022 Review Methodology
For our 2022 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 39 international forex brokers over a three-month time period resulting in over 50,000 words of published research.
Each broker was graded on 113 different variables, including our proprietary Trust Score algorithm. This innovative scoring system ranks the level of trustworthiness for each broker based on factors such as licenses, regulation and corporate structure. Read about Trust Score here.
As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy.
Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .1% each year, providing site visitors with quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.