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CMC Markets

April 20, 2021
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CMC Markets is widely recognised as a pioneer in CFD trading. The company was founded in London in 1989 and it launched the world’s first online Forex trading platform in 1996. It opened an office in Sydney in 2002 and CMC Markets Asia Pacific has been licenced by ASIC (AFSL: 238054) since 2004. The parent company (CMC Markets plc) has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2016, adding a further level of regulatory oversight.

CMC Markets meets and exceeds ASIC requirements for segregated client bank accounts; all client funds are distributed across a range of major banks which are regularly assessed against CMC Markets’ risk criteria.

In the last two years, CMC Markets has won over 50 awards, recognising its quality of service and innovative technology. In 2018 alone CMC Markets won the awards for Highest Overall Client Satisfaction, Best Platform Features, Best Customer Service, Best Educational materials/programs and Best Value for Money (all from Investment Trends Australia). Additionally, CMC Markets have won the award for Australia’s Best Value Broker for nine years in a row (Canstar).

Trading Conditions

CMC Markets is a market maker with an automated dealing desk, therefore negating the conflict of interest inherent in the market maker model.

CMC Markets boasts over 300 currency pairs and spreads are competitive for a market maker. But a lack of account options and hidden fees mean trading conditions are poor in comparison to its competitors.

Account Types

CMC Markets offers a demo account and a single live account with no minimum deposit.

The only account choice at CMC is which platform you use. MT4 only allows for Forex, commodity and index trading, so if you are interested in trading CMC Markets other asset classes you will have to use CMC’s Next Generation platform.

It’s important to note that most of CMC Markets’ serious competitors have a number of account types with tighter spreads linked to higher deposit requirements.

Spreads and Commission

The spreads at CMC Markets are variable with AUD/USD spreads often below 1 pip.  All spreads are variable and will be higher in times of low liquidity and for non-major currencies.

More worryingly, CMC Markets says that spreads will be wider on large trades. This is due to the cost of having to manually price a trade rather than it being relayed through the automated dealing desk. While this is understandable given CMC Markets’ business model, it is not something a high-volume trader would expect from a broker or want to deal with.

Leverage up to 1:500 is available and no commission is charged on any trades.

Deposits and Withdrawals

Accepted deposit and withdrawal methods include:

  • Bank transfer
  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • POLi
  • BPAY
  • PayPal

Deposits and withdrawals are generally commission-free, though 1% is charged on credit cards and 0.6% charged on debit cards. For large deposits, this fee could end up being a substantial sum.  

Inactivity Fee

CMC Markets charge an inactivity fee of 15 AUD per month after 12 consecutive months of inactivity.

CMC Markets for Beginners

As you would expect from an industry giant like CMC Markets, they are well set up for beginner traders with an extensive education section and frequent and insightful analysis of the markets.

Educational Material

It’s important to note at the outset that all of CMC Markets’ educational material is free for all visitors to the website.

Because CMC Markets is a multi-asset broker, much of the educational material is grouped together under the umbrella term CFD Trading- especially the Video Trading Guides.

That said, there is a standalone Forex section, titled Learn Forex Trading. Here you will find:

  • Forex Trading Explained: A collection of articles for complete beginners covering the basic concepts and terminology of Forex trading.
  • Forex Trading Strategies: A collection of articles covering the basics of technical and fundamental trading.
  • Trading Smart eBooks: A small library of eBooks covering subjects such as economic data, day trading, identifying trends, risk management, pattern recognition and trendlines.
  • Video Trading Guides: A collection of videos covering strategies and concepts in CFD trading. Though these aren’t specific to Forex trading, all of the subjects covered are applicable.

In addition, there is a dedicated platform and software instruction section – important for beginner traders who need to want to get trading as quickly as possible.

CMC also offers regular webinars in conjunction with Trade With Precision, a third party training company. Webinars cover subjects such as: How to use technical analysis, Finding opportunities and Possible trade entry and exit points – an upcoming Webinar series titled Ultimate Trading Bootcamp looks promising for beginner traders. All of the webinars are free with registration.

The only downside to the educational section at CMC is the poor organisation, it can be difficult to find exactly what you want – especially in the video section – and much of the Forex material is grouped together with CFDs in general.

Analysis Material

CMC Markets is really top of the class when it comes to analysis and research – there is a lot to take in here so let’s go through it all:

  • Economic Calander: Fully interactive with impressive depth – it also features a powerful country comparison function for a wide range of economic indicators and has fully customisable date fields.
  • Daily (sometimes hourly) research and analysis from in-­house analysts and third parties (such as Trade With Precision or Morningstar). Articles can be filtered by region and asset class.
  • The Week Ahead: A weekly video featuring the top stories to keep an eye on for the week ahead, this is also available on YouTube. Speaking of YouTube…
  • CMC Markets APAC YouTube Channel: A repository of all of the video content output from CMC Markets in Australia, as well as from the wider Asia Pacific region.
  • Five Minutes a Day Trading: I particularly enjoyed this video and article series, which follows a senior CMC analyst as they trade for five minutes a day on a popular Forex asset over a month. An excellent way to relay analytical content while educating the audience.
  • In-Built News: If you are using CMC’s Next Generation trading platform, the Economic Calendar and news/analysis are built-in to the software so you can keep up to date while trading.

All of the in-house analysts are active on twitter and frequently post updates featuring their own personal take on events and price action in the markets.

Customer Support

CMC Markets offers 24/5 customer support via email and phone from local offices in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Trading Platform

CMC Markets supports both its award-winning, proprietary trading platform (Next Generation) and the industry-standard, MetaTrader 4 (MT4). 

Next Generation is available via browser and mobile app and is built to cater to traders of all experience levels. It comes with 115 technical indicators, 70 chart patterns and 12 chart types and allows trading directly from chart. An economic calendar and Reuters newsfeed are both built-in and are also available in the mobile app. 

MT4 Trading Platform

The only real downside to the Next Generation platform is the lack of custom indicators.

The MT4 trading platform is the most widely used Forex trading platform and at CMC Markets you can also use it to trade commodities and indices.

While you won’t receive many of the features available with Next Generation (or most modern platforms), you will be able to use your customised expert advisers.

Trading Tools

There are several interesting trading tools available with the Next Generation platform.

Client sentiment

The client sentiment feature shows the percentage of CMC Markets clients who have bought versus the percentage who have sold for a particular asset, so you can gauge other clients’ expectations. You can also see the monetary value of these positions as a percentage.

Pattern recognition scanner

The Pattern recognition scanner scans over 120 assets every 15 minutes for emerging and completed chart patterns. When patterns complete, a price projection box is generated to highlight potential price action movement.

Module linking

This feature allows you to group different modules together so that when you change the product shown in one module, all the other grouped modules automatically update to show the new product. Grouped modules can be linked to Reuters’ market news, client sentiment, charts and order tickets for fast analysis.

Mobile App

Available on iOS and Android, the Next Generation mobile application has full order ticket functionality and mobile-optimised charting with over 40 technical indicators and drawing tools. It also features a customisable dashboard, a range of notification types, a live market calendar and in-app support.

MetaTrader 4 is also available as a mobile download.

Cryptocurrency CFD Trading

Cryptocurrency trading is one of CMC Markets most popular asset classes and though cross-cryptocurrency trading is not available, a large number of pairs are available with competitive spreads.

USD crypto pairs offered are Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Neo, Ripple, Dash, Monero, EOS, Stellar, Cardano and Tron.

As is normal, the spreads are much wider than traditional currency pairs due to the high risk of an extremely volatile market.

Evaluation Method

We value transparency and openness in the way we review the partners. To bring transparency to the forefront, we have published our review process that includes a detailed breakdown of the CMC Markets offer. Central to that process is the evaluation of reliability, the platform offering and the trading conditions offered to clients, which are summarised in this review. Each one of these is graded, and an overall score is calculated and assigned.

CMC Markets Risk Statement

Investing in CMC Markets derivative products carries significant risks and is not suitable for all investors. You could lose more than your deposits. You do not own, or have any interest in, the underlying assets. We recommend that you seek independent advice and ensure you fully understand the risks involved before trading. Spreads may widen dependent on liquidity and market volatility.


If you are a new trader and want a large, respectable broker with an intuitive platform and a large education section, you will do much worse than CMC Markets. The analysis section is truly excellent and there is a wide range of asset classes to trade if you are interested in something other than Forex. More experienced traders may want to look elsewhere though, the trading conditions are not competitive with ECN brokers and MT4 support can often feel like an afterthought.

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