Below you will find a list of Forex Brokers accepting US clients. Due to the strict and complicated regulatory environment, it became quite a challenge for FX brokers to operate in the United States. To make it worse, due to the Dodd-Frank Act and the Memorandum of Understanding, many intertational forex brokers all over the world stopped accepting traders from the USA. Still, there are some distant offshore countries where local authorities haven't yet imposed the restrictions. Unfortunately, most easy-going offshore brokers are not overseen or regulated, although that's exactly the reason why there's this opportunity to open a trading account with them. Notable benefits of going offshore are: no hedging prohibition, no FIFO rule application, and really high trading leverage.
Over the last decades, the forex market in the US has emerged as one of the most regulated markets anywhere in the world. Rules that were introduced and backed up by Federal laws have made it very difficult for brokers and traders alike to operate in the US forex market. For many years, only three brokers operated in the US forex market: Oanda, GAIN Capital LLC (Forex.com) and TD Ameritrade. Others were either put out of business or were forced to close down as a result of the strangulating environment created by the regulators, backed up by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
After the global financial crisis of 2008 which had its origins in the US subprime mortgage market, there were general calls for better regulation of the various markets operating in the United States. The Dodd-Frank Act was a direct consequence of this agitation. This law strengthened the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission, enabling it to oversee not just the conventional financial markets, but also the swaps market which was valued in trillions of dollars.
Changes to the way business was conducted in the US financial markets were sweeping and aggressive. Some of the changes which were directly targeted at the retail segment of the market were as follows:
According to the CFTC, these rules were meant to protect the retail clients from overexposing their money to the market and from taking excessive risk. But to what extent these rules have actually protected the retail consumers of forex products in the US is anyone's wildest guess.
What the regulators of the US financial markets will not readily reveal, is that many traders in the US simply exited the US market and migrated their accounts to brokerage platforms in other countries. Forex brokers located in the US have had whatever market share they had badly eroded, and brokers without the kind of purposeful structure that the former US brokers suddenly emerged as less desirable but ready alternatives to traders who were unwilling to trade under the new conditions in the US.
In other words, the Dodd-Frank Act actually stifled the forex brokerage business in America and the statistics do not lie. During the good times, more than 40 retail FX brokers were serving both US and international clients. Ever since Dodd-Frank became law, that number dwindled to the three brokers mentioned above, and the international clientele base simply moved away from the US and on to brokerages in the UK, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean. A lot of the damage in the US forex brokerage business environment came as a result of the $20million bond which was imposed as a requirement for starting a forex brokerage business in the US. Tax reporting requirements have also scared off many brokerages from accepting US clients. Clearly, no foreign forex company wants to get the same kind of attention that Huawei got from the US government in 2019, or what TikTok got in 2020.
In 2019, some brokers made moves to re-enter the US market. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the process dramatically. Still, some new brokers managed to enter the US forex market in recent years, so traders now have more choice than before.
So what is the current state of the US market as it concerns US Forex traders?
Regulators in the US have made a series of changes designed to improve trading outcomes for US forex traders. For instance, the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has made its weekly CFTC Positioning Report (also known as the Commitment of Traders Report, or COT) more readily available. This report shows what the major players in the commodities and currency markets are doing. Using this information, summaries of which are found on some MT4 platforms of US forex brokers, traders can consider their positions against the backdrop of the institutional speculators are trading. This provides for more informed trade decisions.
Additionally, the CFTC is now more reachable as a number of channels are now open so the public can make complaints or submit inquiries and observations.
Everyone working in the industry must be registered with the CFTC and NFA. The NFA has taken it a step further by requiring biometric registration of those who provide services to traders, be it brokerage services or fund management. This biometric information can be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and this has been a strong deterrence against wrongdoing by brokers. When last did you hear of US forex brokers swindling customers of their funds?
The CFTC database of providers is very vast. All floor traders/brokers, introducing brokers, swap dealers, retail forex dealers, commodities pool operators (CPOs) and commodities trading advisors (CTAs) who are licensed to provide services to US forex traders are all on this database.
If you are approached by anyone claiming to be any of these, you can easily contact the CFTC for near-instant verification. Even those who are not listed on the CFTC database by reason of exemption must appear on the NFA database, and the reason for the CFTC exemption provided.
There used to be a time when more than 70 brokers operated in the US forex market. The Dodd-Frank Act thinned them out to just 3, and it remained this way for a nearly a decade. At the present day, there are now 8 regulated forex brokers in the US. Oanda, Forex.com (GAIN Capital) and TD Ameritrade retained their positions, and are now joined by ATC Brokers, IG US, Interactive Brokers, Ally Invest and ThinkorSwim (now owned by TD Ameritrade).
The 2018 ESMA Rules in Europe forced all local brokers to set a 1:30 leverage limit for all major FX currency pairs. In the US, this cap remains at the 1:50 level introduced in 2010. US forex traders will continue to enjoy what now seems to be the most liberal leverage caps in the Tier 1 regulatory jurisdictions.
Bank drafts and direct debits from a bank-linked ATM card are now the recognized means of account funding for US forex traders. The use of credit cards is now prohibited.
These are some of the changes that US forex traders have faced in 2020. 2020 also marked the year of the COVID-19 global pandemic that has completely changed the face of the global economy. However, while many other economic sectors have been badly hit, forex trading and other forms of financial market activity have thrived. In fact, the massive job losses and furloughs across the world that left millions without a source of income, drove the same people to the financial markets. Many brokerages have witnessed a surge in new trading account registrations as well as inquiries about trading. COVID-19 has changed the face of financial trading and it is likely that a number of changes as to how forex is traded in the US are coming.
So what possible changes can US forex traders hope to see in 2023 or in the years to come?
US forex traders can expect to see the changes made to margin trading kicking into their platforms from 2023. This comes as the brokers adopt the changes first proposed in December 2020 by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC proposed the changes to margin trading rules for particular securities to reduce the risk from heightened market volatility.
The proposed changes followed the intense volatility that hit the forex and equity markets following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This period saw an unprecedented rush into the forex trading world by desperate individuals who were forced to look for alternative income when several industries went comatose at the height of the pandemic. Many of these people were first-time traders with very little or no experience in the market. The regulators felt that these changes were necessary to protect these new investors from the heightened market risks. These risks have not dissipated as central banks' reactions to inflation amid increased money supply from the pandemic stimulus packages show that the pandemic remains a macro trigger in the markets.
The proposed margin changes mean that broker-dealers would have to request their clients to maintain higher levels of account capital when trading volatile instruments such as leveraged securities, currencies and derivatives assets. By these changes, traders who were used to trading with a 50:1 leverage would now see this leverage provision further reduced in 2023 to 30:1. This would effectively reduce the amount of leverage available to traders, which could help to mitigate the risk of large price movements and market instability. The SEC is also considering requiring broker-dealers to maintain higher levels of capital to support margin trading activities, as well as increasing the frequency of margin calls to more quickly address any potential risks to the market.
2022 paved the way for the transition into the final phase of the Uncleared Margin Rules (UMR). These rules involve how buy-side participants in the forex market handle the initial margin and variation margin among all counterparties in the market. Compliance with the UMR 6 demands a consolidated margin threshold of 50 million units of either the EUR or the USD that must be adhered to, among other requirements.
The implementation of the uncleared margin rules has been in stages, with UMR 1 commencing in 2017. These rules were initially conceived in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis to enable firms to handle risk better. These new rules would make it harder for new players to enter the retail FX brokerage space in the US. It would also stretch the resources of existing brokerages in terms of compliance with these rules. Ultimately, the entry point for opening a forex trading account may climb dramatically, and 2023 is the year this happens.
As a result of the sanctions regime stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Apple (a US company) has delisted the MT4 and MT5 platforms (made by Russian company Metaquotes) from its App store. This move implies that from 2023, US forex traders will no longer have access to this popular trading software. US forex brokers have already been told by their programmers and white-label partners to shift to other platforms. Therefore, alternative platforms, such as the cTrader, are expected to become more visible in 2023. Spotware Systems, makers of the cTrader platform, have already begun to prepare for the potential of higher client uptake by adding a copy trading facility to its cTrader platform.
The use of artificial intelligence in creating forex trading algorithms is expected to increase exponentially in 2023. Indeed, artificial intelligence (AI) will start to feature more prominently in market trading software development. There will be massive demand for algo software, and many of these will utilize artificial intelligence protocols. The algorithmic trading industry is estimated to hit $18.8 billion in sales by the end of 2023, representing a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 11.1% in the period under consideration (2019-2023). A 2019 study by market research firm MarketsandMarkets estimated that most of the growth in this market would come from North America. By extension, most of the growth will be seen in the United States, as this is the largest market for trading forex in North America. US forex traders can see new products from some of the major players in this space, such as Virtu Financial, Thomson Reuters, Kuberre Systems, and Argo SE.
The collapse of the crypto exchange FTX has strengthened the hands of regulators and compliance officers. New US retail forex traders can expect to meet stricter rules regarding compliance and background checks.
There was a previous prediction that 2021 was when blockchain-based trading platforms might start to hit the US forex market. This has yet to happen. The market is steeply bearish, and the fallout from the collapse of FTX, Celsius, AAX, and several crypto companies may have set efforts at transiting to blockchain-based platforms backward. 2023 seems not to be the year when such a transition would occur.
2023 will see US forex traders contending with increased volatility in the price of the native currency and gold. After dominating the markets for the most of 2022, the US Dollar is starting to see a period of decline as the Federal Reserve slows down the pace of its rate increases. Even though the bank may continue raising rates well into 2023, it will do so in a less aggressive fashion than in 2022. The speculation around this will drive heightened volatility in gold prices and the US Dollar in 2023.
One of the best things that consumers of any product can enjoy is the power to choose, and to be able to make that choice from a wide range of service providers. This is what the Dodd-Frank law has taken away from US forex traders… but things have changed. Aside from a few forex brokerages operating in the US, there are a number of offshore forex brokers expressing willingness to take US traders on their platforms.
There are a number of advantages and also drawbacks to this arrangement. In terms of benefits, this is what US forex traders will enjoy when they use the offshore brokers presented in the list above.
The brokers featured in the list above have been carefully selected to offer you a forex brokerage service that rivals what you can get anywhere in the world, and under non-restrictive conditions. They are great for beginners who can make a transition from a demo account to a lightly funded live account, just to ensure they can understand what live trading is all about before they get more heavily committed. ECN style accounts are also available for those who prefer to trade directly with the FX interbank market. There is a lot of choice for you as you go through this list of brokers, one after the other.