FOREX.com (Gain Capital) Review 2018

By John A. Jagerson  | January 8, 2018

Doing business since 2001 and owned by publicly traded GAIN Capital (NYSE: GCAP) FOREX.com provides access to the forex and CFD markets.

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Overall Rating

4.2/
5.0
Products & Fees
3.9
Trust
3.3
Special Features
4.0
Desktop Experience
4.5
Mobile Experience
5.0
Customer Support
3.8
Research & Insights
5.0
Education
4.0

FOREX.com (Gain Capital) Fast Facts

Owned by the publicly traded, GAIN Capital (NYSE: GCAP), FOREX.com provides forex, index, commodities, shares, and bitcoin markets to traders around the world. FOREX.com offers more than one excellent trading platform, including the industry standard MetaTrader 4, and plenty of research tools. While FOREX.com's education wasn't comprehensive, it was good enough to get new investors familiar with the market quickly. For traders with a large account balance, trades can be executed on an ECN with greater market transparency. The company is regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

pros

  • Trading Markets
    FOREX.com offers access to forex, shares, bonds, indices, and commodity CFDs
  • Choice of Trading Platforms
    Custom web and client trading platforms as well as MT4
  • Webinars and Education
    Good support for understanding the market and trading platforms

cons

  • Guaranteed Stops are Limited
    Guaranteed stops may be available for a fee on some markets
  • Average Forex and Shares Trading Costs
    The spread for the most popular forex pairs and shares were merely average compared to others in the industry
  • Difficult to Navigate Education
    Despite a large quantity, navigating the educational articles, videos, and webinars will be tricky
180+
Forex Pairs
65
Shares Offered
17
Stock Indices
11
Commodity CFDs

Products & Fees

3.9

Forex.com has average spreads for some of the largest Forex pairs, and shares, but below average costs for index, and commodity CFDs. We were pleased to see an offering for bitcoin, but additional cryptocurrencies are not yet traded at the broker. Account fees were limited and below average, but there is a nominal minimum account balance required to open an account.

  • EUR/USD
    1.1 pips
  • GBP/USD
    1.4 pips
  • USD/JPY
    1.2 pips
  • S&P 500 CFD
    $0.40
  • Japan 225
    $10.00
  • Oil CFD
    $0.04
  • BTC/USD
    $90
  • EU Stocks 50
    $2

Trust

3.3

While Forex.com's trust scores suffered in our ratings because of the lack of account protection above and beyond what's required by UK regulators, this was not unusual among our various reviews. They also suffered a bit due to their internet encryption technology, which is just average. While it's nice that Forex.com offers guaranteed stop losses (for a fee) there is no negative balance protection. It was also difficult for us to determine which markets had guaranteed stop losses available and at what cost. (We do know that they are not always available on every market, which limits the usefulness of that order type.) The broker is regulated in the U.K. by the FCA which provides some protection in the event Forex.com or the bank becomes insolvent. The broker also accepts clients from the U.S.

Up to GBP 50,000
In the event of FOREX.com's default
(Possible compensation from FCA's Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCF) for investment losses)
Up to GBP 85,000
In the event of the bank's default
(For UK accounts)

What you need to know

Account funds are held by Forex.com in the UK which is subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The amount of protection for each account in the event of default is limited. Account holders cannot use a separate custodial account to increase their protection.

Special Features

4.0
Special Features

Forex.com provides most of the special features we find elsewhere in the industry by offering the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform. However, we liked that the broker's client and web apps are also extremely robust with excellent research and technical tools. Backtesting, and autotrading are available through both the broker's custom application as well as MT4. Besides the platform tools, Forex.com has a good selection of fundamental and technical research resources as well.

Live Trading Sessions
Webinars with market analysis, live trading ideas and Q&A
TradingView/MultiCharts
Robust advanced charting with trade from the charts functionality
Expert Advisors
Client application and MT4 support autotrading and backtesting of EAs

What you need to know

Unlike many brokers, Forex.com's "Advantage Trader" application was very good and had some features that were better than MT4. The advanced charting from TradingView/MultiCharts in the web trading application are very robust and included trade from the chart functionality. The calendar and other economic analysis resources were fine but a little average in functionality and detail. The webinar programming was interesting and included actionable ideas which is somewhat unusual in the industry.

Desktop Experience

4.5
Desktop Experience

Clients can use the custom "Advantage Trader" platform from Forex.com, a web application featuring TradingView Charts. Or, they can use the popular MT4 client and mobile apps to access the markets. Advantage Trader also has a mobile app that we found comparable to MT4's. All the applications included advanced charting, studies, watchlists and trade automation through "expert advisor" plugins, or other autotrading functionality that many traders appreciate. The platforms had standard menus and easy to access advanced features. The look and feel of the web application was very modern and functional while the other client apps were a little dated. We found some of the client app chart functions to be a bit clunky.

Pros

There is plenty of flexibility offered when choosing a trading application. Clients are sure to find one that fits their unique needs. Investors more familiar with MT4 will feel right at home. Although the Advantage Trader custom app had a very similar look and feel. The web application had the best charts, in our opinion; but hedging, guaranteed stop losses, and if-then OCO orders were only available on the custom Advantage Trader platform.

Cons

Not all markets were available in each of the platforms. For example, shares trading was not available in the MT4 platform which means some traders may have to shift from one application to the next in order to execute their strategies. The minimum trade size in all platforms was limited to 1,000 units. But position sizing was very flexible as long as it was over 1,000 units.

Mobile Experience

5.0
Mobile Experiencee

The mobile trading platforms offer similar functionality to the desktop applications. Traders can access trading instruments, complex order types, watchlists and account analytics all from their mobile device. The mobile platform also includes charts with price overlays, indicators, and flexible display styles.

Pros

The mobile apps were easy to log in to and had good charting functionality. The choice of technical indicators was limited but those that were available were customizable and easy to apply. Market lists and watchlists were also easy to find and edit, even on a small screen.

Cons

News feeds and market analysis was launched outside the mobile app in the web-browser. We found it annoying to move back and forth between the charts and the news in two different apps. Although it was possible to enter advanced order types the process of typing in the prices was cumbersome on a small screen. The MT4 mobile app was a little better in these respects than the custom mobile app.

Customer Support

3.8

Customer service was easy to reach and available during almost all market hours. We had trouble getting fast answers via chat, but overall the experience was good. Traders can access chat support through the custom client application, which is convenient. There are no local branches to visit in person and no accessibility services (such as TDD/TTY) are offered.

What you need to know

Phone support during market hours will be the most helpful support tool for most traders. Chat was slow, but a convenient option if you aren't in a rush. The customer service reps were courteous and easy to understand.

Research & Insights

5.0

Forex.com offers economic analysis, real-time news feeds, calendars, and advanced data analytics through all of their trading platforms. The research and tools varied quite a bit from one trading platform to the next which could make for a fragmented trading experience if investors wanted to take advantage of all the tools available. The online webinars discussing the live market were also good.

Advanced Charting
Charts include advanced studies, display types, and customizable timeframes
Live Trading Webinars
Analysts hosted live trading webinars with commentary and actionable ideas
Real-time News
News feeds accessible in or from all the desktop and mobile applications
Economic Analysis
Announcement reporting, analysis, and calendars available through trading applications and on Forex.com
Research Reports
High quality research reports available on technical and fundamental factors
Global Research team
The research team at FOREX.com are credentialed professionals with global exposure

Pros

None of the platform offerings we evaluated from Forex.com were very unique in the market, but the combination of all of them at the same broker was unusual. That means investors have a lot of choices and flexibility, which is valuable. The broad spectrum of trading markets available are also attractive and having access to all of them through Forex.com's custom "Advantage Trader" is also convenient.

Cons

We would have liked to see the TradingView/MultiCharts included in the custom "Advanced Trader" platform rather than only in the mobile application. Alternatively, we would have liked to have seen all the available trading markets and advanced order types available in the web trading app. This is useful for traders looking for more advanced charting. Although there was a lot of functionality in the custom platform some features, like chat support and research, were pulled in from the website, which is not as convenient.

Education

4.0

The Forex.com website has education on Forex, trading platforms, and technical and fundamental analysis. The education section on the site is well organized and easy to find but there is no tracking of completed sections and it will be easy for investors to lose track of where they are in the process of learning. While the education was good, we found most of it to be very basic. Introductory-level education is great for new traders getting started in the market but experienced users won't find much they don't already know. Webinars were good and the fact that they are held during market hours, where live trading is discussed, is a plus.

Learn about Market Forces and Currency
Fundamentals of the Forex Markets
(Education targeted at new Forex traders)
Analyze Markets; Find Opportunities
Platform and Tools Education
(Focused help for navigating the trading platforms and analytical tools)
Think like a Professional
Technical Analysis and Strategy Education
(Provides background level education on technical analysis and demonstrations in the live market)

What you need to know

The articles and videos on Forex markets and on technical and fundamental analysis are good, but the advanced section was a little light. The webinars help fill the potential gap for some traders with more advanced questions. Almost all the education was focused on the Forex markets, so shares and CFD trading education would have to be found elsewhere which could be difficult for some investors.

Bottom Line

Forex.com offered a comprehensive package of available markets and trading technology. Costs were average or a little better than the industry depending on the market. The custom research available from Forex.com was above average and could help traders trying to understand how the markets are changing and where the real opportunities are. The "Advantage Trader" platform was good and had the most robust order entry and available markets, but we found the charts in the web trading app to be much better. Some investors may need to use more than one platform for their analysis and trading, which is inconvenient. But this was one of the only real issues we had with the broker. Customer service was good even if chat was a little slow.

John A. Jagerson
Reviewed by John A. Jagerson

  • • 15+ years experience in stocks, options, Forex, bonds and portfolio analysis
  • • Co-founder of Learning Markets, LLC, a leading creator of financial content, analysis, education and tools
  • • Author of four books on investing and portfolio strategies published by McGraw Hill

Experience

John has worked in the capital markets and private equity for most of his career—including investing, writing, education and money management. John has a B.S. in Business Administration from Utah Valley University and completed the PLD at Harvard Business School. John is the coauthor of three books published by McGraw Hill on investing and portfolio management. As a co-founder of Learning Markets, LLC, John has developed financial education used by thousands of brokerage clients to become better investors. His firm also develops professional-grade stock screening and analytical tools for individual investors.

Education

John earned his bachelor's degree in accounting and business management at Utah Valley University.

Professional Designations

John is a Charted Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Chartered Market Technician (CMT).

Quote from John

"Individual investors have goals and objectives beyond wealth accumulation. Investing is only one tool they use to achieve truly great things in their life. I am passionate about helping investors because their success means more than just a larger account balance."

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