Are you based in the Philippines and want to trade forex? There’s a valid question about the legality of trading forex in the Philippines, but here’s a hint: Trade through international brokers based outside of the Philippines.
Here’s how to do it.
Quick Look: The Best Forex Brokers for the Philippines
- Best Overall: FOREX.com – Open an account
- Interactive Brokers – Open an account
- FMCM – Open an account
Overview: Forex Trading in the Philippines
The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an advisory in 2016 and again in 2018 that stated that foreign exchange trading is illegal in the Philippines. The advisory was issued after complaints of steep losses exceeded initial deposits on the forex market.
The SEC also intended to avoid investor losses due to people representing themselves as “experts” and acting as brokers or agents of brokers without Philippine regulatory licenses.
The advisory also cites a Philippine Supreme Court case that states that gains made from market fluctuations were “purely gambling and declared null and void by law.” The advisory concludes by encouraging people to report others “operating foreign exchange trading and those acting as agents of these operators” to the Commission.
Despite the ban, more experienced Philippine forex traders have no intention of closing their existing accounts. They claim that the SEC’s advisories were simply designed to discourage the general population from opening accounts with local unregulated “experts” and that they merely impose possible “administrative fees” to be levied if not in compliance.
Forex Basics for Philippine Natives
Forex trading is not like investing in stocks where you can only lose your initial investment. You may be liable for more than your deposit if the trade goes significantly against you and is not automatically closed out when your account hits a zero balance.
Forex trading also has a fundamental component due to its exposure to news of the countries issuing the currency. For example, a gross domestic product (GDP) release for Japan can have a significant effect on all currency pairs that include the Japanese yen.
For example, if the release beats market expectations, then it could positively affect the yen. On the other hand, if the GDP release fails to meet market expectations, then that could adversely affect the Japanese yen’s value relative to other currencies. This type of news, as well as geopolitical news and central bank decisions, can result in considerable volatility in currency pairs.
Trading in the forex market is not for everyone, so do some research and try trading in a virtual or demo account to see if forex trading is for you. Keep in mind that knowing how to trade forex is just as important as choosing the right broker.
You have your choice of a number of available methods when you learn how to trade forex. The first method includes online educational resources provided by many online brokers and educational companies. You can also educate yourself through many books and ebooks currently available online.
Another option for learning how to trade currencies consists of joining a social trading website like eToro, for example. You can study other traders’ forex trading strategies and help you formulate your own trading plan. You could also follow or mirror another trader’s transactions and execute them in your own account.
Like all businesses, knowing what you’re getting involved in after you’ve opened and funded your trading account can make a significant difference in whether you produce profits or losses.
It typically pays to know when to trade and which are the best currency pairs to trade in each of the different trading sessions because you’re in a massive market with a daily turnover of more than $5 trillion that stays open 24 hours a day, 6 days a week.
You could probably still open an account with a regulated and reputable online broker based outside of the Philippines. You should also have a U.S. dollar-denominated bank account and an account at PayPal, Skrill or other online payment company to fund your trading account.
Features of a Great Forex Broker
Regardless of where a forex broker is located, the best forex brokers generally share some of the following features:
- Strictly regulated in their jurisdiction
- Good reputation with existing clients
- Affordable minimum deposit requirement
- Account type that fits your needs
- Sufficient leverage ratio for your trading strategy
- Competitive dealing spreads
- Protection against negative balances
- Minimum order slippage
- Segregated client funds
- Reasonable deposit and withdrawal options
Another important element to consider is the broker’s trading platform. A demo account with a prospective broker will give you an idea of how its trading platform works.
Many brokers offer popular third-party platforms, in addition to their own proprietary platforms. These options typically include MetaTrader 4, NinjaTrader and cTrader.
Our Top Picks for the Best Brokers
Our list of the best brokers for Philippines-based traders includes 2 brokers based in the United States, one based in the U.K. and one with several offices in major financial centers. All of the brokers listed below are reputable and have competent regulatory oversight from at least one major forex regulator, and they may also be regulated in more than one jurisdiction.
These online brokers also have their website, trading platform and customer service available in English. FXCM Indonesia was the only broker reviewed with information in Tagalog (Filipino), so it offers some support in your native language.
Best Overall: FOREX.com
This U.S.-based forex broker has more than 430,000 customers worldwide and accepts clients from the Philippines.
FOREX.com offers several trading platforms, including the popular MetaTrader 4 and its own proprietary trading platform. Its United States base means that FOREX.com has oversight from the NFA and the CFTC and offers leverage of up to 50:1 on forex transactions.
FOREX.com asks for a minimum deposit of $50 by bank transfer, check or debit card, so online payment services are not supported.
This premium U.S.-based broker accepts clients from the Philippines and caters to more experienced traders. Interactive Brokers offers one of the best trading platforms in the business and highly competitive commissions and margin rates.
In addition, you can trade a wide range of tradable assets in over 120 world markets.
Interactive Brokers offers leverage on forex trades of up to 50:1 and is well regulated by the National Futures Association (NFA) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for forex trading. Interactive Brokers accepts bank transfers, checks and debit cards for deposits, which may preclude its use by Philippine traders who want to use online payment companies like PayPal.
FXCM accepts clients from the Philippines. It has regulatory oversight by the U.K.’s FCA, the Australian Securities Industry Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Board of South Africa (FSB).
You can also open an account with either the Australian FXCM, which offers high leverage of up to 400:1 or you can open an account with the U.K. FXCM with leverage of only 30:1. FXCM in Australia asks for a minimum deposit of $50, while FXCM in the U.K. asks for a minimum deposit of $300.
FXCM’s trading platforms include NinjaTrader and MetaTrader4, as well as its own Trading Station platform. Funding methods include bank transfer, debit/credit card, Skrill, Neteller, Union Pay and Bpay.
The U.K.’s IG has high marks among Philippines-based forex traders and is one of the leading international brokers that accepts clients from the Philippines.
IG offers excellent dealing spreads on currency pairs. You can also trade commodities, ETFs, stocks, indices and cryptocurrencies. IG has oversight from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is also overseen by a number of other international regulators. IG allows different leverage ratios depending on your country of origin.
The broker requires a minimum deposit of $250 USD and accepts credit cards, bank transfers and PayPal for initial deposits.
Start Trading Forex in the Philippines
Trading in the forex market carries risks not found in other tradable assets like stocks. You buy and sell an asset at a price and often remain unleveraged when you trade in the stock market. On the other hand, the forex market requires you to use leverage and position yourself long or short based on an exchange rate view in the forex market.
Your losses are generally limited to your investment when buying stocks but can be much greater when trading currencies on margin if you do not have negative balance protection in your forex trading account.
Also, know that many experienced traders based in the Philippines have disregarded the advisories issued by the SEC, but a crackdown on forex traders in the Philippines might occur in the future.