Forex Brokers and Regulatory Info for Canadian Residents

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Brokers for Canadians

Canadians have two directions they can go when selecting a broker: Locally regulated brokers with Canadian offices, or foreign regulated brokers either with a Canadian office or entirely offshore.

Local brokers are overseen by IIROC, Canada's national regulator, and IIROC is responsible for regulating not just forex but most tradable securities in Canada. By choosing a Canadian regulated broker, you'll have a local regulatory body to work with should anything go wrong with your broker.

However, IIROC also sets leverage restrictions pretty aggressively, and on a pair by pair basis, which a lot of traders find difficult to work with. The max leverage currently set is 33:1 on CAD crosses, most majors are 30:1 or 20:1, and exotics can drop down to as little as 3:1. These rates adjust frequently as they are set based on recent volatility in the underlying markets, so even a major forex pair that's liquid could see leverage get cut back should volatility increase. The restrictive and minimal leverage is one of the larger drawbacks to an IIROC regulated broker.

Most locally regulated brokers will be part of the CIPF, which insures client deposits in the event of broker insolvency. The max coverage per person (across all accounts,) is one million CAD. This is one of the most expansive protection insurance programs in the world for investors.

"Onshore" Brokers

Brokers with offices physically in Canada and who are registered and licensed by Canadian regulatory authorities (IIROC.) These brokers will typically be part of the CIPF program and offer some insurance against the broker going bust. As well, it is more common for these brokers to offer free bank transfers for deposits and withdrawals with local Canadian banks.

On shore, IIROC regulated (variable leverage per pair maxing out ~33:1 on CAD crosses,) with CIPF deposit protection:

Oanda Canada

  • Fast, easy, and free bank transfers to local Canadian banks
  • Canadian company with local headquarters (Toronto)
  • IIROC set leverage (33:1 max on CAD crosses and 20:1 or less on all others.)
  • Platforms: Oanda Desktop (proprietary), MetaTrader 4 (MT4 Desktop, Web, and Mobile)
  • Note: While Oanda US still supports [tradingview.com] chart trading) as a platform option, Oanda Canada does not
  • Adheres to Alberta's accredited investor requirement to trade Forex, so Alberta residents need to have a significant net worth before they can open an account.

Gain Capital / forex . com

  • Canadian branch (Toronto) of US firm
  • IIROC set leverage (33:1 max on CAD crosses and 20:1 or less on all others.)
  • Platforms: Proprietary (desktop), Web, MetaTrader 4 (MT4 Desktop, Web, and Mobile)
  • Adheres to Alberta's accredited investor requirement to trade Forex, so Alberta residents need to have a significant net worth before they can open an account.

CMC Markets

  • Canadian branch (Toronto) of UK firm
  • IIROC set leverage (33:1 max on CAD crosses and 20:1 or less on all others.)
  • Platforms: Proprietary (desktop), MetaTrader 4 (MT4 Desktop, Web, and Mobile)
  • Heavy focus on CFDs outside of forex, which are often not very well priced (marked up spreads) vs their underlying commodity
  • Adheres to Alberta's accredited investor requirement to trade Forex, so Alberta residents need to have a significant net worth before they can open an account.

Interactive Brokers Canada​

  • Canadian branch (Montreal) of a larger US firm
  • IIROC set leverage (33:1 max on CAD crosses and 20:1 or less on all others.)
  • Minimum $2.5 USD commission per side of each trade, so not cost effective unless you're trading a minimum of $50k+ notional ticket size
  • Platforms: Traders Workstation (proprietary)
  • Adheres to Alberta's accredited investor requirement to trade Forex, so Alberta residents need to have a significant net worth before they can trade leveraged FX.

Offshore brokers

Brokers who can service Canadian residents, can be well regulated with access to much higher leverage and tighter spreads, but lack deposit insurance and will likely have limited fee based funding methods.

  • Brokers regulated by overseas entities like the FCA in the UK, or ASIC in Australia, still provide recourse should something go wrong. However, as Canadian residents, dealing with an overseas regulatory body may not be as easy as dealing with a local regulator should a complaint need to be made.
  • Offshore deposit protection insurance programs exist but are not guaranteed by a local body. Your own due diligence is required here.


BlackBull Markets

https://blackbullmarkets.com

Blackbull was founded in 2014 and is one of the faster growing fintech companies in New Zealand. They are not regulated by the ASIC, and are setup as a financial services company in New Zealand (registered with NZ local authorities.) This is an important note because technically they are just registered corporation and follow financial services laws, but aren't FMA regulated as a Forex broker (and many broker comparison sites get this info wrong.) While officially the team at Volatility.RED will always encourage the use of properly regulated brokers, BlackBull Markets does have their registrations in order and works with a 3rd party for dispute resolution. Given the Aussie and NZ financial industry relationship, this may still be acceptable for Aussie residents to find proper recourse should anything go wrong.

  • Registration: Regulated in New Zealand by the FMA, and registered as a financial service company with the Financial Services Provider Registry (FSPR)
  • Pricing: Decent spreads of ~0.1-0.3 on EUR/USD (plus commissions) and comparable spreads to most competitive Aussie brokers on their ECN Prime account, and spreads starting from 0.8 pips on their ECN Standard account without commissions
  • Leverage: - 500:1 for Aussie residents
  • Account Minimums: $200 USD or AUD for all account types
  • Products: Forex, CFDs on Equity Indicies, Oil, Nat Gas, Gold, and Silver
  • Platforms: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and MetaTrader's respective mobile and web apps
  • Notes:
    • Islamic account types (swap/interest free) available


Pacific Union Prime

  • Up to 500:1 leverage for Canadians on Forex, Metals, Crypto, Index, and Share CFDs
  • Accounts in CAD, USD, and other major denominations
  • No fee Visa Debit, MasterCard Debit, and Credit Card deposits / withdrawals
  • No fee Interac e-Transfer Deposits
  • Platforms: MetaTrader 4 Desktop, WebTrader, and MT4 Mobile (iPhone/Android)
  • [Much lower average spreads (0.0-0.2 average EUR/USD on Prime Account)] compared to Canadian "onshore" brokers
  • Accepts Alberta residents without accredit investor status requirement
  • NOTE: Good alternative for Canadian clients of VantageFX as VasntageFX will stop servicing the Canadian market on Nov 30th, 2020


Darwinex

  • FCA / ESMA set leverage of 30:1 for retail.
  • Platforms: MetaTrader 4 (MT4 Desktop, Web, and Mobile) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5 Desktop, Web, and Mobile)
  • Investors Exchange - letting you invest in other traders / strategies in a method that's far better than social or signal trading
  • Accepts Alberta residents without accredit investor status requirement

Note on other offshore brokers

While many other offshore brokers exist, and some also take Canadians, it's important to remember the importance of sticking with well regulated brokers.

A troubling trend seen lately in the forex industry is when a broker will hold themselves out as well regulated (usually FCA,) but funnel Canadian clients to a division operating in a much more relaxed regulatory jurisdiction (often Cyprus, or Seychelles.)

The brokers listed above are well regulated and are upfront about their regulatory status.