IC Markets

4.4 rating

IC Markets full review for trading in 2020. As one of Australia’s premier brokers, is IC Markets the right broker for you? Broker Presentation IC Markets was created “with traders in mind” by a team of professionals from the financial services industry. According to the Q4 2019 Intelligence Report by Finance Magnates, IC Markets is […]

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IC Markets

IC Markets full review for trading in 2020. As one of Australia’s premier brokers, is IC Markets the right broker for you?

Broker Presentation

IC Markets was created “with traders in mind” by a team of professionals from the financial services industry. According to the Q4 2019 Intelligence Report by Finance Magnates, IC Markets is one of the largest Forex CFD brokers across the globe in terms of Forex volume. Their offer includes a selection of 232 instruments, including Forex and CFDs on commodities, stocks, indices, bonds, futures and cryptocurrencies.

Traders with IC Markets typically appreciate their high end orders’ execution technology, superior liquidity, low spreads, educational library and daily market analysis. As such, IC Markets ranks high in the preferences of algorithmic and automated traders. 

Founded in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, IC Markets is actually the brand name of a larger company International Capital Markets PTY. It now has headquarters in the Seychelles and in Australia. Designed as a solution to narrow the gap between retail trading and institutional trading, IC Markets fights to offer their clients trading services that were previously accessible only to large financial institutions and rich individuals.

Given they serve more than 100,000 clients worldwide and execute more than 500,000 trades a day, (with 60% of this volume being algorithmic) IC Markets is without a doubt a solid and well-established broker. For example, in April 2019 alone they processed a trading volume of over $646 billion.

IC Markets is a MetaTrader and cTrader broker and holds licenses from ASIC, CySEC and FSA.

As one of the trading industry leaders, IC Markets has received various awards in recent years, including “Best Forex Broker Award” awarded by Daytrading.com in 2020 and “Best ECN Broker 2019” from the ADVFN International Financial Awards. 

Safety and Regulations

Score: 4.5 out of 5

A primary concern for all traders is the security of their funds. Thus, intelligent traders will always check on the safety features and licenses a broker has. 

IC Markets is regulated by respected authorities like:

IC Markets is also a member of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) and Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). These two subscriptions offer a supplementary layer of protection.

The broker offers transparency related to their banking, auditing and insurance partnerships. All clients’ funds are kept in segregated accounts with prominent financial institutions like Westpac Banking Corporation and National Australia Bank (NAB). Segregated accounts mean that clients’ funds are not used for the company’s operations and in case of financial struggles, they are not affected. 

IC Markets works with external auditors to confirm their compliance with the regulatory requirements. 

For the moment, IC Markets does not offer a compensation scheme. 

IC Markets ASIC
Figure 1: IC Markets is regulated by ASIC. Source: ASIC 

Offer of Financial Instruments

Score: 3.2 out of 5

In comparison with other prominent Forex brokers, IC Markets offers a relatively small collection of tradable instruments. However, it does include all the most popular and in total has over 232 trading assets. 

The financial instruments included in IC Markets’ offer are:

  • Forex –  60 currency pairs (majors, minors and crosses) with leverage of up to 1:500
  • Indices – 17 stock indices traded as CFDs, with leverage of up to 1:200
  • Commodities – 19 CFDs having as support commodities – metals, energies and agricultural products, with a leverage of up to 1:500. Also offerslexible lot sizes starting with 10c per point. 
  • Stocks – 120+ instruments having as underlying assets stocks traded on NYSE, Nasdaq and ASX 
  • Bonds –  6 Bonds issued in Europe, USA, UK and Japan with a leverage of up to 1:200
  • Cryptocurrencies – CFDs on 10 most popular cryptocurrencies, with a leverage of up to 1:5 
  • Futures – 4 CFDs with underlying futures assets, like CBOE VIX Index and ICE Dollar Index, all with a leverage of up to 1:200.

The above indicated levels of leverage are valid for international clients, except for European clients who may only use a maximum leverage of up to 1:30.

Differentiation Elements and Unique Features

Score: 4.5 out of 5

  • Trading Servers
  • MT4 Advanced Trading Tools
  • cTrader
  • Virtual Private Server
  • Social trading
  • MAM / PAMM

Trading Servers

A reputation as one of the preferred Forex brokers for algorithmic traders automatically implies a high-end and very reliable infrastructure and servers network, which IC Markets has. 

Since IC Markets aims to provide a competitive ECN trading environment with low spreads, powerful trading servers are compulsory. 

In order to ensure the best execution possible for trades, IC Markets’ trading infrastructure is located within Equinix NY4 Data Centre in New York. Equinix’s data centers are renowned for their minimal latency times and ultra speed execution. Plus, IC Markets’ liquidity partners – more than 50 banks and dark pool liquidity suppliers – are situated in the same area, which guarantees a low price. 

MT4 Advanced Trading Tools

IC Markets makes efforts to give their clients a competitive edge. Thus, they put together a set of 20 advanced trading tools as add-ons to the provided platforms.

Some of the advanced features meant to improve clients’ trading experience are:

  • Alarm Manager an app that sends notifications concerning markets events, executing automated actions when certain criteria are met and automatically sending updates to your social media followers
  • Correlation Matrixprovides correlations among the most popular instruments on various timeframes to help manage your risk
  • Correlation Traderallows the comparison between two symbols over a certain interval and help with trading decisions on the identified differences 
  • Trade Terminalis an expert advisor offering improved execution facilities and superior market analysis. Its main components are the market watch, order list and account summary
  • Mini Terminala version of Trade Terminal specific to one trading asset 
  • Market Managerallows you to personalize and control the “watch list” of assets that you are interested in, and collates the entire order activity for all instruments in one window 
  • Sentiment Traderprovides insights based on the current positions opened for a certain instrument – buy or sell –  on the real accounts of fxblue.com
  • Session Mapdisplays market overviews of trading sessions personalized with your local time, like the New York trading session hours adapted to your local hour. It also shows scheduled events 
  • Stealth Ordersis used to replace the pending orders and does not display to the market the entry and exit levels. Orders are only executed when the price reaches the indicated level
  • Tick Chart Traderoffers more styles for tick charts and shortcuts to speed up order placing.
Figure 2: Advanced MT4 features

cTrader

cTrader is a platform dedicated to discretionary Forex traders, which was created to maximize execution speed. cTrader mixes advanced features and an intuitive interface with the broker’s deep liquidity to deliver premium trading services. You can trade 64 Forex pairs and 16 stock indices via cTrader.

While trading with cTrader you can profit on IC Markets’ lowest spreads and some of the best in the industry. For example, spreads for EURUSD are often 0.0 pips during American and European sessions. For context, a typical spread for the EURUSD is 0.1 pips.

cTrader is known for its fast execution, very low spreads, level II pricing and smart stop out. Simply put, cTrader allows you to trade without restrictions no matter your style.

cTrader may be used in combination with cAlgo, which offers the ability to create your own algorithmic trading strategies and your own technical indicators based on C# programming language and the source code editor. 

IC Markets offers API Trading via FIX API dedicated to high volume and institutional traders who require the best access to liquidity sources. 

Figure 3: cTrader

Virtual Private Server

IC Markets pays special attention to automated trading, and as a consequence employs a Virtual Private Server (VPS), which is an absolute must for trades with expert advisors (EAs). 

VPS facilitates the smooth functioning of automated trading strategies 24/7. It means you don’t have to worry about connectivity issues, power drop ups or even if your device is open. To take maximum advantage of IC Markets trading environment, they recommend choosing a VPS provider situated inside an Equinix data centre, as it connects faster.

Under certain conditions relating to the traded volume, IC Markets occasionally sponsors your expenses with the VPS service.  

IC Markets integrates with the following VPS service providers:

  • New York City Servers
  • Beeks FX VPS
  • Forex VPS

Social Trading

With IC Markets you can copy copy the trades of more successful traders via social trading apps like ZuluTrade and Myfxbook.

Myfxbook is a high level mirror trading service that IC Markets offers their clients. You can set up the copy trade facility on your MetaTrader 4 account. The most important benefits of Myfxbook are: full control over your orders; choose only among real accounts and curated trading systems; all fees are transparent and you have access to accurate statistics.

ZuluTrade is the most prominent social trading platform with more than 100,000 successful traders using it. ZuluTrade allows you to replicate the success of successful traders and trade with their signals and strategies. 

To support traders ZuluTrade has developed a series of helpful tools: ZuluRank – an algorithm that ranks the signal providers based on multiple criteria; ZuluGuard – a protection layer that monitors your trading performance and Simulation – simulator to backtest trading systems before using them.

IC Markets ZuluTrade
Figure 4: ZuluTrade

MAM / PAMM

Account managers working with IC Markets have a dedicated Multi Account Manager (MAM) to help carry out their tasks. They are able to use flexible funds allocation methods and count on live reports relating to their performance and fees. With the MAM/PAMM the only concern of account managers is the trading activity and the software does the rest. 

This solution’s great advantage is the ability to trade at the same time on multiple accounts, from one interface, with one click.

International Presence – Covered Countries

Score: 4.5 out of 5

IC Markets provides services across the globe, with the exception of jurisdictions where this style of trading activity is forbidden by law. IC Markets’ services are available in 18 languages.

Restricted regions from where IC Markets does not accept clients are: the United States, Belgium, Israel, Canada, Latvia, Iran, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Côte D’Ivoire, Iraq, Niger, Ghana, Liberia and Togo.

IC Markets covered countries
Figure 5: covered countries

Account Types

Score: 4 out of 5

IC Markets has three types of accounts which aim to cater for every clients’ needs:

  • Standard Account
  • Raw Spread Account 
  • cTrader Raw Spread Account
IC Markets accounts
Figure 6: IC Markets account types

Standard Account

As the name indicates, this is IC Markets’ basic account which targets all types of traders. Its main features are: 

  • Works on the MetaTrader platform
  • Spreads start at 1 pip with no commissions per lot 
  • Minimum deposit of $200
  • Choose the account currency from: EUR, USD, GBP, AUD, NZD, CAD, CHF, JPY, SGD, HKD.
  • 64 Forex pairs, stock indices and commodities  
  • Leverage of up to 1:500 (1:30 for European clients)
  • Servers located in New York
  • All trading styles accepted
  • Stop out level of 50%
  • CNS VPS Cross Connect

Raw Spread Account

The Raw Spread Account is the most popular type of account that IC Markets currently has. It is dedicated to algorithmic traders and scalpers and offers features including: 

  • Works on the MetaTrader platform
  • ECN spreads start at 0 pips with a commission of $7 per lot round turn
  • Minimum deposit of $200
  • Choose the account currency among: EUR, USD, GBP, AUD, NZD, CAD, CHF, JPY, SGD, HKD.
  • Offers all the usual assets 
  • Leverage of up to 1:500 (1:30 for European clients)
  • Servers located in New York
  • All trading styles accepted
  • Stop-out level of 50%
  • CNS VPS Cross Connect
  • MQL4 programming language for personalized indicators or EAs

cTrader Raw Account

cTrader Raw Account was created to provide a high performance trading environment combined with a top execution speed. It is mainly catered towards scalpers and day traders. Some of its remarkable characteristics are: 

  • Works on the cTrader platform
  • ECN spreads start at 0 pips with a commission of $6 per lot round turn
  • Minimum deposit of $200
  • Choose the account currency among: EUR, USD, GBP, AUD, NZD, CAD, CHF, JPY, SGD, HKD.
  • Assets including 64 Forex pairs and indices
  • Leverage of up to 1:500 (1:30 for European clients)
  • Servers located in London
  • All trading styles accepted
  • Stop-out level of 50%
  • C# programming language

Traders checking on IC Markets Forex reviews will notice that their RAW accounts offer some of the most competitive spreads and commissions within the industry, and quite often they end up being the lowest.

IC Markets also offers Islamic accounts for traders who are Islamic. This account does not work with swaps for orders kept overnight, but does sometimes impose financing charges.

IC Markets accounts
Figure 7; Account breakdown

Account Opening

Opening accounts with IC Markets is – as with all forex brokers – exceptionally easy. Click on the ‘Start Trading’ option that you see at the top of each page. You will end up on a registration page where you have to complete 5 steps: your personal details, financial information and trading experience, configure the trading account, declaration and funding.

Being a licensed and regulated broker, IC Markets needs their clients to pass the anti-money laundering exigences, meaning they have to submit proof of their identity (passport, ID card or driving license) and a proof of residence (utility bill or bank statement).

Demo Account

IC Markets offers potential clients the ability to test their services via a demo account. On top of each page of the site is the tab “Try a Free Demo”. Click on it and in under a minute you will have a demo account opened.

The demo account is important as it allows experienced traders to test the broker’s services, test new tools and strategies and make a judicious decision about whether to join or not.

Beginners and newcomers to the trading world should start with a demo account to learn the basics, hone their skills and get a feel of what trading activity implies in reality. It’s your chance to learn for free without losing money because of lack of know-how. Move on to a real account when you are ready, and only use money you can afford to lose for trading that won’t affect your lifestyle.

Spreads, Fees and Commissions

Score: 4.8 out of 5

IC Markets prides itself on the low level of trading costs they offer. Their spreads are variable and the trading costs depend on the type of account, trading platform, instrument traded and time of the day. 

Most often when comparing IC Markets spreads and commissions with those of their competitors, IC Markets wins at this chapter. The key factors that support their offering and its competitiveness are:  

  • Institutional grade liquidity – a large selection of over 50 liquidity sources – dark pool providers and banks
  • Cutting edge trading infrastructure and servers 
  • No Dealing Desk execution 
  • Huge trading volumes

This brokerage provides the “best value” in terms of costs on their Raw Spread Account. 

For example, the spreads for EURUSD are on average 0.1 pips and minimum 0.0 pips on the Raw Spread Account. On the Standard Account they average 1.1 pips and minimum 1.0 pips.

You can find this information for all instruments in the “Spreads” section of the site.

Forex Spreads

IC Markets Forex Spreads
Figure 8: IC Markets forex spreads

Commodities Spreads

IC Markets commodities spreads
Figure 9: IC Markets commodities spreads

Indices Spreads

IC Markets indices spreads
Figure 10: IC Markets indices spreads

You can find detailed information about the commissions available for the Raw Spread and cTrader Raw accounts for each base currency.

IC Markets charges swaps for orders that remain open overnight. You will find exact info about their level inside the trading platform for each instrument.

IC Markets does not charge inactivity fees. 

The trading costs offered by IC Markets are very competitive and often sit among the lowest in the industry. 

Deposits and Withdrawals 

Score: 4.8 out of 5

As an IC Markets’ client, you will have at your disposal a selection of 15 funding options in 10 currencies. These can all be found in the “Secure Client Area”, where you will be able to fund your trading account.

IC Markets does not charge deposit or withdrawal fees. However, for international payments, fees imposed by tier payment processors may appear. 

As a regulated broker, IC Markets does not allow third party payments, meaning you have to deposit/withdraw funds from an account that is in your name. 

The deposit/withdrawal options are:

  • Credit/debit cards
  • Wire Transfer  
  • PayPal 
  • Thai Internet Banking
  • Vietnamese Internet Banking
  • Skrill 
  • Neteller and Neteller VIP
  • Broker to Broker
  • POLI
  • Union Pay 
  • FasaPay
  • Bpay 
  • Klarna 
  • Rapidpay
  • Bitcoin Wallet 

Deposits with most of the above options are instant, with the exception of the wire transfer and broker to broker transfers that may take up to 5 business days.

Withdrawal processing times depend on the option chosen. Some are instant, some need a 2-5 days processing time. The international wire transfer may take up to 14 days and also adds a 20 AUD fee.

IC Markets funding options
Figure 11: IC Markets funding options

Minimum Deposit

Score: 4.7 out of 5

The minimum deposit for all accounts is $200, which is a reasonable amount and allows virtually anyone to access the trading facilities provided by IC Markets.

Desktop Trading Platforms

Score: 4.7 out of 5

IC Markets offers two suites of MetaTrader platforms from MetaQuotes Software Corporation and cTrader from SpotWare. Both platform families are very reliable and recognized worldwide. Besides these platforms, a series of tools are provided to improve their capabilities and enhance trading success.

IC Markets offers:

  • MetaTrader 4
  • MetaTrader 5
  • MT WebTrader
  • MT Mac
  • cTrader
  • cTrader web

You can download or access these platforms from their respective sections in the “Platforms” tab of the site or from your ‘Secure Client Area’.

MetaTrader 4

MetaTrader 4 is the most used trading platform by traders across the globe and needs no further explanation. MT4 comes standard and will show significant differences from one broker to another in terms of technical setup, trading costs, method of execution and supplementary tools and characteristics that make the traders’ life easier.

IC Markets’ MT4 differentiation elements are:

  • The MT4 Advanced Trading Tools add-on free for all clients
  • Raw pricing and institutional grade level liquidity
  • Ultra low latency and laser speed execution thanks to top technical infrastructure and Equinix NY4 data centre located in New York
  • No dealing desk, no re-quotes, no price manipulation
  • VPS service accessible
  • Algorithmic trading, EAs for scalping and volume traders

MetaTrader 5

MetaTrader 5 is the superior version of MT4 and is the all-in-one platform where you can trade all the financial instruments that IC Markets offers.

IC Markets’ MT5 differentiation features are:

  • MT4 Advanced Trading Tools add-on
  • Raw pricing and institutional grade level liquidity
  • Level II pricing – market depth – displays the full range of prices available from all providers
  • Sophisticated order management and advanced charting capabilities
  • Ultra low latency and laser speed execution thanks to top technical infrastructure and Equinix NY4 data centre located in New York
  • No re-quotes, no dealing desk, no price manipulation
  • Fast VPS providers located in the same area
  • Algorithmic trading, high-frequency trading, EAs for scalping, built in marketplace of trading robots

MT WebTrader

Webtrader is the web version of MetaTrader platforms. It allows you to trade from anywhere and any device without any installation. Plus, it conserves the most important features of MetaTrader for desktop. Just open it in a browser window and you are ready to trade. 

The web version’s most notable benefits are:

  • Profit on raw spreads
  • Level II pricing allowing access to maximum market depth
  • Laser speed execution coupled with very low latency 
  • No dealing desk trading

cTrader Platform

cTrader is a platform tailored to high speed execution and personalized for the ECN trading environment. It is ideal for high frequency traders and scalpers.

cTrader has a version just for Windows.

Here is a short video presentation of cTrader:

Figure 12: cTrader overview

The features that make cTrader an outstanding trading platform are:  

  • Real-time quotes for 64 Forex pairs and 16 prominent indices 
  • Raw pricing with best possible spreads and low commissions
  • Intuitive interface that can be personalized with detachable charts
  • Speedy execution thanks to high performing servers placed in London inside the LD5 IBX Equinix Data Center and to the entire technical setup
  • Multiple order options and micro lot trading facilities
  • Level II pricing and direct access to market depth for algorithmic trading
  • Trade with no restrictions on orders or trading style
  • Back testing capabilities 
  • More detailed symbol display
  • Real-time reporting concerning your account and trading performance
  • One-click trading

cTrader Web

This is the web equivalent of the cTrader trading platform. It is accessible from anywhere across the globe, using any of the major browsers. Thus, you can access all the features of the desktop app via a simple web browser. 

You can take advantage of the raw pricing and advanced technical trading infrastructure of IC Markets vis cTrader Web.

Mobile Trading Platforms

Score: 4.7 out of 5

IC Markets has a more versatile mobile offer than most brokers, because they provide access to two families of platforms and each one has its own mobile versions.

The mobile trading platforms offered by IC Markets are:

To download the mobile version for each platform you have several options:

  • The corresponding section of the site
  • ‘Secure Client Area’ in the “Downloads” section
  • Apple AppStore or Google Play Store

The mobile version of MetaTrader offers the ability to trade on the go or just on a mobile device, if you prefer. You have all the available features of the desktop version: 

  • Real-time raw quotes
  • Real-time charts – all types available with the whole set of timeframes
  • Deep liquidity
  • Access to all order types and fast execution 
  • 30+ most used technical indicators that you can personalize
  • Offline mode

The mobile versions of cTrader replicate all the essential features of the desktop application. On the cTrader mobile interface you also benefit from:

  • Fast order execution 
  • Raw quotes for all instruments, plus a list with your favorite ones
  • Charting facilities 
  • Account information
IC Markets mobile
Figure 13: IC Markets on mobile

Configure Trading Accounts

Setting up your station for trading and configuring your account is an easy job. Once your account is approved by the IC Markets compliance team, you will receive an email from the broker with your credentials for the trading platform. 

To install the platform, you download the .exe file from the “Secure Client Area” or from the respective site section and follow the instructions. In a few minutes you should be ready to start trading. If you need further help, feel free to check on the video tutorials related to downloading, installing and functioning of the platforms presented in the “Education” section. 

Training, Education and Resources

Score: 4.2 out of 5

IC Markets offers a solid educational and research base, without being comprehensive.

Their research and analytics resources for traders include:

  • The Market Analysis blog titled “Information Hub for Serious Traders” is updated daily and includes:
  • Daily fundamental analysis particularly catered to Asian markets
  • Daily technical analysis with daily and weekly technical outlook and reviews
  • Trading data – covers information regarding the swaps on both platforms, ex dividends for stocks and indices, earning reports, scheduled maintenance for servers, etc.
  • Company news 
  • Web TV  presents daily trading ideas and market comments in video format directly from the New York Stock Exchange’s floor via Trading Central

Currently, IC Markets does not offer advanced research tools like pattern recognition or news feed directly inside the trading platform. 

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IC Markets information hub
Figure 14: IC Markets information hub

In terms of educational resources, IC Markets has a reliable collection of materials. The resources for beginners are presented in the Education section:

For intermediate and more advanced users, they have a series of detailed written tutorials:

Customer Support

Score: 4.2 out of 5

Traders tend to be very aware that a responsive, professional customer support department is a key element for their activity. While trading, any technical or administrative issue may translate into lost opportunities. 

The support department of IC Markets is available 24/7 and offers services in multiple languages.

Clients can reach the customer support via:

Bonus and Promotions

Being a regulated broker within the European Union, IC Markets is not allowed to offer bonus schemes in this region. Currently they do not offer any promotions.

Trading Experience

Taking into consideration that IC Markets has a very competitive price model, a world class technical infrastructure, a good educational center, offers two suits of platforms and an advanced set of tools for experienced users, we consider that they offer a great trading experience for most traders.

Scalpers and algorithmic traders will particularly appreciate IC Markets’ high speed execution and their overall services’ quality. 

If you need access to a very diversified collection of financial instruments, IC Markets may not be the perfect fit for you. 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • International presence
  • Has licenses from several authorities like ASIC, CySEC, FSA 
  • World class ECN execution and next gen technical infrastructure and servers
  • Very competitive spreads and commissions
  • Two sets of trading platforms MetaTrader, with all its versions, and cTrader, with all its versions
  • Special characteristics: powerful trading servers, MT4 Advanced Trading Tools, MAM/PAMM, Web TV
  • Virtual Private Server services
  • Social trading facilities via ZuluTrade and Myfxbook
  • Multiple payment methods
  • Solid education library and daily updated blog
  • Daily market analysis
  • Professional customer service 

Cons:

  • A small collection of instruments
  • Does not provide services in US
  • No investor protection
  • No news feed in MetaTrader

Is This Broker a Good Option for Me?

This is a personal question and only you have the best answer. However, IC Markets has a solid offer and should be an option to consider, particularly if you prefer the scalping style, use robots to trade or you are a high volume trader. 

IC Markets is probably not a good option if your trading strategy needs a large selection of financial instruments. 

Conclusion

IC Markets is a regulated and reputable broker with a solid offer, particularly for advanced brokers. It differentiates itself via the raw price model, maximum possible speed execution, high end servers and connecting infrastructure, plus two families of trading platforms.

Safety and regulations4.5
Offer of financial instruments3.2
Differentiation elements and unique features4.5
International presence – covered countries4.5
Account types4
Spreads, fees and commissions4.8
Deposits and withdrawals 4.8
Minimum deposit4.7
Desktop and web trading platforms4.7
Mobile trading platforms4.7
Training, education, resources and research4.2
Customer support4.2
Total Score4.4

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