By John A. Jagerson | January 30, 2018
LCG, or London Capital Group, is a multi-asset global online trading platform that focuses on foreign exchange (FX) trading, but also gives its users access to commodities, cryptocurrencies, bonds, global shares, and derivatives.
London Capital Group (LCG) was founded in 1996 and is based in the United Kingdom. The firm is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). We found them to be a competitive trading firm, providing multiple trading platforms and the choice between standard or Electronic Communications Network (ECN) accounts, enabling clients to trade directly with market makers. LCG provides access to a broad selection of financial instruments across nine different asset classes including Forex, cryptocurrencies, indices, commodities, bonds and individual shares. They offer competitively low spreads and no commissions. LCG also provides account holders with the benefit of negative balance protection (so traders will never lose more than the amount they have on deposit).
London Capital Group (LCG) provides access to a broad selection of financial instruments across nine different asset classes including Forex, cryptocurrencies, indices, commodities, bonds, and individual shares. They offer competitively low spreads. LCG unfortunately does not offer trading discounts for traders with larger account balances or for those who transact larger volumes during the month. LCG does not charge commissions on its trades. Instead, all costs are contained in the spread. There are no charges for standard withdrawals or terminating an account but LCG leaves open the option to charge an inactivity fee. So long as traders have enough in their account to meet their margin requirements, there is no minimum deposit amount to open an account.
London Capital Group (LCG) provides clients with a guarantee they will never lose more than they have in their accounts via its negative balance protection. LCG also takes steps to ensure client funds are not co-mingled with corporate funds, in accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) client money rules. This ensures that client assets are protected in the unlikely event that LCG becomes insolvent by holding those funds in segregated accounts at regulated banks. Clients also have additional asset protection through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, up to GBP 50,000. LCG does not provide the additional protection of two-factor authentication for client accounts.
LCG is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), member number 182110, and holds client deposits in accordance with the FCA's client money rules. We would have liked to see additional account protections and more flexible account security settings in our review.
LCG special features were mostly made available through a proprietary trading platform and MT4. The custom platform (LCG Trader) provides an updated look and feel, one-click trading and full integration across desktop and mobile platforms which should serve newer traders well. However, many advanced traders are likely to use LCG's MetaTrader 4 platform which provides more flexible trading technology through "Expert Advisors". This arrangement works well for investors familiar with the MetaTrader platform or for those who are looking for a platform with less flexibility but better charts and indicators. We should note that Trading Central's technical reports are also available through LCG, which is a nice addition for traders looking for new technical ideas and strategies.
Most of LCG's special features are integrated into the firm's trading platforms. Therefore, LCG clients are going to have to decide which platform they prefer, LCG Trader or MetaTrader 4. LCG Trader is a great entry-level platform with better charts by default, however, MT4 is more flexible. The special features we usually look for like backtesting, and automated trading are available, but there weren't many other supplemental tools for traders seeking something unique. Trading Central's technical reports and a good economic calendar are also available features.
LCG earned high marks in the Desktop Experience category. LCG Trader is a streamlined trading platform that is stable and easy to access from any browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer). LCG Trader has a simple, easy to use interface where traders can set up watch lists, analyze charts and place and monitor trades. The technical analysis charts can be expanded to full screen and come with more than 70 technical indicators that you can apply over many different timeframes, from tick charts to weekly charts. LCG also offers a MetaTrader 4 option for traders looking for a familiar platform.
LCG Trader is simple and easy to use. Traders can choose from thousands of financial instruments, analyze their selection on nicely rendered charts and place trades in just a few clicks -- all within the same window. Traders can also set price-based alerts on instruments they are following and LCG Trader will notify them via email or SMS text once the price objective has been reached.
LCG Trader is a closed system. Advanced traders who prefer to incorporate other analytical and automation tools in their trading process will be disappointed to see they cannot integrate those tools directly with LCG Trader.
The LCG Trader mobile app was one of the best applications we have reviewed. The connection between the app and the web-version on the desktop was instantaneous. Alerts were easy to setup and very flexible, which is a critical feature for working with a mobile app away from your desk. The charts were good, and it was easy to modify or add indicators. Navigation between order entry, account management, and research tools were very simple and straight-forward.
As with the web version of LCG Trader, the mobile app was very fast, easy to use and had a standard menu and charting layout. Any changes or trades made on the mobile app were instantaneously translated to the web version. The charts could be used in full-screen mode and then revert back to a smaller version very quickly. We see no reason why a trader wouldn't be able to manage their account through the mobile app nearly as easily as you can from the web version.
Security wasn't customizable which is a concern considering that the mobile app can provide access to your entire account. There was no fingerprint scanning either. We would have loved to have seen some of LCG's research and videos in the application, but analysis was limited to the streaming news feed. We would also note that the streaming news feed didn't seem to contain anything besides technical reports, which may disqualify it from really being considered "news".
Telephone, chat, and email support are available from Sunday's market open to Friday's market close (24/5). We found hold times via chat and phone to be much shorter than average. The representatives we talked to were quick to respond and very courteous. Live chat could also be launched from within the LCG Trader platform, which was very convenient.
Overall, LCG's customer support was responsive and knowledgeable. Having access to chat in the custom trading platform is very convenient. When using LCG's website (while logged in as a demo account) the chat box was frequently popping up, unsolicited, to "check in" and make sure we didn't have any questions. While that was a bit annoying this won't happen with live accounts. There are no branch offices to visit and it was unclear whether their headquarters in London is set up to provide service in person, if you happen to be in the area.
LCG's analysis and insights are higher quality than average in the industry. Daily videos are a great way to connect traders to the market and supplement educational resources that were relatively weak on their own. The analysis "team" consists of two individuals, but we felt the content was high quality and actionable. The charts and trading platform were regular features in LCG's commentary, which is a significant improvement over the greenscreen/teleprompter style we see so frequently in the industry. Trading Central's written technical reports are well-known and are also available from LCG along with the typical economic calendar and market-wrap articles.
The standard economic calendars and news feeds are available from LCG along with better-than-average custom analysis and market commentary. We believe traders will appreciate the high-quality market update videos and webinars that include actionable analysis of the price charts. The daily market update articles were good, but a little brief. The addition of Trading Central's technical reports will be interesting to traders looking for new opportunities each day.
While we liked the "screenshot"-style videos and webinars, some of the daily news updates were more formal and driven by a teleprompter. We would rather see more commentary and in-depth analysis than a recitation of the major headlines of the day. We also wished there had been some fundamental charting of the economic data in the calendar.
Unfortunately, LCG's educational offerings were typical of the basic-level videos and articles offered elsewhere in the industry. New investors will find some helpful background information but relying on LCG's education to become proficient in the markets is unlikely. The production quality of the education videos was high, but the material was presented in a greenscreen/teleprompter format without a lot of actual application in the markets. This educational format is good for creating a conceptual understanding of investing topics, but applying that knowledge in the market will be tough. On the positive side we thought the how-to videos for using the LCG Trader platform were very good and comprehensive.
LCG didn't deviate from the industry norm of providing basic level education on the Forex and CFD markets. Unfortunately, there wasn't much content for more advanced traders looking to improve their skills. The educational videos were nicely produced but the format didn't take advantage of using live charts and trading examples very much. The education on the trading platform was much better than average and included instruction on the mobile app as well, which we believe to be a real benefit.