Contributor, Benzinga
December 21, 2023

Are you trying to decide between IG and CMC Markets? In terms of their review rankings among forex brokers, IG is the clear favorite. But they match very closely in some categories. This head-to-head comparison between IG and CMC Markets should help you determine which of these London-based brokers is better for you. 

Who is IG for?

IG (LON: IGG) is a great broker for traders of all levels who are looking for maximum trustability, superior research tools, competitive pricing, top-notch education and innovative trading platforms. Its headquarters is in London, England. But, it has a U.S. division for U.S. traders.

Forex trading is a volatile activity. Traders cherish a broker they can trust. Longevity in this industry is a bankable asset. Being a bank can be a dealmaker. IG is a leader in these trust factors because: 

  • It’s been in the forex trading sector for more than four decades.
  • It is a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated broker, one of the most demanding regulators in the world.
  • It is a bank.
  • It has over 195,000 active traders worldwide.
  • It has offices in 17 countries on five continents.

IG has won awards for its market trading platforms. Its designers concentrate on proprietary trading platforms and strive to make the mobile and tablet app very user-friendly. The platforms feature a wide variety of charts and graphs to interpret its large displays of data. 

There is a major drawback to IG's platform system: It doesn’t feature automated trading on its main platform. If you prefer robotic trading, you have to qualify as a professional trader and sign up for IG's L2 Platform and ProRealTime charts. This setup comes with high monthly trading fees. It requires coding skills and industry knowledge. Professional traders may shy away from the L2 platform in favor of cheaper alternatives on other forex broker sites. If you only want to use ProRealTime charts, you can do so for free with a minimum of four trades per calendar period. 

IG’s mobile app has plenty of features that appeal to both novice and seasoned traders. It showcases an economic calendar, Twitter feeds, alerts, market buzz, watchlists and status readings. Plus, MetaTrader is available on IG’s MT4 app. 

IG has a wide selection of 93 currency pairs and 9,451 stocks and options. It is the world leader in the number of contracts of difference (CFD) it offers. In total, this broker offers over 17,000 tradable assets.

Pros

  • Easy-to-navigate platform is easy for beginners to master
  • Mobile and tablet platforms offer full functionality of the desktop version
  • Margin rates are easy to understand and affordable
  • Access to over 80 currency pairs
  • CFD trading
  • Copy trading
  • Demo account available
  • Supports MetaTrader 4 (MT4) & MetaTrader 5 (MT5)

Cons

  • U.S. traders can currently only trade forex
  • Customer service options are lacking
  • No two-factor authentication on mobile
  • Inactivity fee

Who is CMC Markets for?

CMC Markets (LON:CMCX) is a London-based forex broker. It doesn’t cater to U.S. residents. Otherwise, it provides a comfortable and affordable environment for the beginner and advanced trader. CMC Markets is a low-cost leader. It caters to multi-asset traders who benefit from a wide selection of forex pairs and CFDs. Also, it attracts traders who like investing in stocks. Plus, testing proves that CMC has exceptional customer service with 5/24 phone support and short wait times on chat platforms.

In terms of trustworthiness, this broker ranks are very high. It has earned this level of trust for the following reasons: 

  • It’s been in the forex business for over 30 years.
  • It operates under the strict regulation of the FCA.
  • It is a bank.
  • It has 80,000 active clients.

CMC Markets Next Generation platform supports traders of all levels with speed, stability, fresh features and tools. It won ForexBroker’s 2020 award as the Best Web-Based Platform. Its charts have 79 technical indicators and 74 attachable chart patterns. Also, the platform includes an adjustable pattern-recognition tool that helps traders form strategies based on price action. If you want to use automated trading, you must choose the MT4 platform. 

This broker is a world leader in offering currency pairs. It presents 348 currency pairs and 12,000 stocks, futures and options. Both totals beat out IG for the same tradable shares. CMC Markets has hubs in 11 countries worldwide. 

Pros

  • Wide range of tradable assets
  • Copy trading software
  • Supports MetaTrader 4 (MT4) & Metatrader 5 (MT5)
  • Excellent education and research resources
  • Trading app available

Cons

  • High inactivity fee
  • Does not accept U.S. clients
  • Only CFD trading
  • No social trading
  • Spread betting only for UK residents

IG’s Fees and Commissions

At this point in the comparison, nothing seems to noticeably separate these brokers. Your decision would mainly be personal preferences. A comparison of the brokers’ fees and commissions for currency pair spreads may help you pinpoint your choice. Currency spreads work a lot like options. The broker’s compensation comes from the spread. To learn more about forex terms, read how to trade on forex

The following table is IG’s rate list for currency spreads. Forex brokers use a point per percentage (PIP) as the unit of measure for currency spreads. For U.S.-based pairs, a PIP equates to 1/100th of 1 cent.  With the PIP standard, the industry tries to protect traders from big losses. 

CurrencyIG PIP Rate Market Average PIP Rate
Euro/U.S. Dollar0.60.7
U.S. Dollar/Swiss Franc1.52.3
Australian Dollar/U.S. Dollar0.60.8
U.S. Dollar /Japanese Yen0.7 1.1
Great Britain Pound/U.S. Dollar0.91.1
Euro/Great Britain Pound0.92.4

With a low $250 minimum, traders have easy access to IG’s trading platform. It manages to offer such low rates by using the economy of scale. IG uses its massive asset size and $726 million annual revenue to buy mega orders of shares. In turn, it transfers the savings to its traders. 

CMC Markets Fees and Commissions

CMC Markets uses the same economy of scale that IG uses. Its size and annual revenue of $64. 5 million are far below IG’s assets. But it manages to match up well with its rival forex broker. This table shows how close the two brokers are in pricing.

CurrencyCMC Markets PIP Rate Market Average PIP Rate
Euro/U.S. Dollar0.70.7
U.S. Dollar/Swiss Franc1.52.3
Australian Dollar/U.S. Dollar0.90.8
U.S. Dollar /Japanese Yen0.7 1.1
Great Britain Pound/U.S. Dollar0.91.1
Euro/Great Britain Pound1.12.4

CMC Markets doesn’t have a minimum deposit amount. Otherwise, there’s very little differentiation in their pricing structure.  

IG’s Research Offerings

Keep in mind that CFDs and currency spreads are complicated and volatile tradable instruments. A reported 68% of IG’s investors lose money. That’s well below the industry average of 82%. Research is important to increase your odds of making money by forex trading. IG does a great job of providing you with the research tools you’ll need. 

Here are some of the available research aids:

  • Real-time charts: You can analyze price action with fast HTML5 charts.
  • Customized screener:  This allows you to isolate observations of forex, CFDs, global stocks and cryptocurrencies.
  • Autochartist and PIA First: This system uses automated pattern-recognition and technical analysis to help you view trading signals. 
  • Stream news: Reuters news feeds allow you to respond to market developments in-platform.
  • DailyFX blog: It’s a blog style website that provides news and educational material.

CMC Markets Research Offerings

CMC’s standard stockbroking platform grants you access to news feeds that keep you informed with up-to-the-minute financial news. The complete platform suite gives you reliable research material and tools to properly manage your portfolio.

These are five CMC Markets’ research features:

  • Dow Jones: CMC customizes the Dow Jones newswires to provide you with all pertinent, trade-specific news. 
  • Morningstar: You get a thorough fundamental analysis on a stock level. This includes major stockholder reports, analyst forecasts, value model and historical financial reports. 
  • theScreener: A top performer in equity analysis, it has a risk analysis of over 5,000 stocks. Also, it gives insight into the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed stocks. 
  • ASX announcements: The Next Generation platform instantly reveals company announcements through ASX.
  • Trading Central: Trading Central integrates technical signals, candlestick patterns and trade tips to assist you in fine-tuning your technical analysis for each stock.                                      

IG vs. CMC Markets Bottomline

IG and CMC Markets are sound, trustworthy and high-quality forex brokers. The pendulum of favor swings side to side. Both are equally trusted. IG’s main platform is a better choice than Next-Generation. Its market research package and trading tool are hard to beat. But, CMC Markets gets the nod for mobile apps. IG offers more CFDs; CMC Markets offers more currency pairs. Overall, IG has the most tradable instruments. There’s an almost dead heat in the commission and fees category. 

The results come down to a photo finish: IG emerges as a slight winner. But, there are intangibles involved in this process. The margin of difference between these two forex brokers is so narrow that your choice depends on personal preference. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What types of research does CMC Markets provide?

A

CMC markets give you access to Morningstar, Dow Jones, Trading Central and ASX announcements.

Q

What services do you receive from IG?

A

 IG gives you a customized screener, real-time charts and streaming news.

Q

Is CMC Markets good for beginners?

A
CMC Markets can be a good option for beginners as they offer a user-friendly platform with educational resources and market research tools to help new traders learn and navigate the market. They also provide a demo account for practicing trading strategies without risking real money. However, it is important for beginners to thoroughly research and understand the risks involved in trading before getting started with any investing platform.

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