Who exactly is behind the world’s 2nd largest CFD (Contract For Difference) provider, how long have they been in the game, and why does their growing user-base overwhelmingly trust the service ? Throughout this Markets.com review I’ll take a deep-dive into the companies business practices and show you a light that not every user has yet come to understand.
Did you know that Markets.com is in-fact operated by Safecap Investments Limited, which itself is a Playtech PLC subsidiary? That’s right – Playtech PLC is a platform for trading forex, commodity markets, CFDs, and cryptocurrency (just recently). I was pleasantly surprised to see they’re also constituents of the FTSE 250 Index (ie. traded on the Main Market of London Stock Exchange).
Back in 2006, the company started as “GFC Markets” which they promptly rebranded to “Markets.com” in 2010 after the merger of Safecap Investments Limited and TradeFX (a nifty software solutions developer for Forex and CFD operators). In 2014, Arsenal FC partnered with Markets.com as the football club’s official CFD and Forex trading partner. Such partnership was an awesome strategic move for Markets.com to have access to the club’s extensive digital channels & middle-class supporter base.
I remember getting excited about their promo “Matchday Experiences” for competition prize winners. The advertisement was created and broadcasted online in 2015 to promote the partnership with the UK largest sporting club. My two favorite football superstars, Mesut Özil and Olivier Giroud starred in the ad. Things must have gone very well – because that same year, Playtech LLC fully acquired TradeFX and Markets.com for the sum of 450 million euros.
Advantages of using Markets.com
- The simplest of all CFD brokers. A web trading platform that is easy to use and has great search functionality. Account creation only takes 1 day. Etoro is its only rival in this domain.
- Low minimum withdrawal amounts. For credit/debit card withdrawals, minimum is 10 USD/EUR/GBP; for Neteller/Skill, 5 USD/EUR/GBP and 100 USD/EUR/GBP for Wire Transfer. I love that there are no inactivity fees.
- Low trading and non-trading fees. Trading fees for Stock CFDs are low (high for Forex). There are no commissions per se. However do remember that the pricing structure is included in the spread (the difference between the ask and bid prices)..
- Negative Balance Protection. I absolutely love how they’re actively making sure traders can’t lose more thant their deposited money.
- Fast account opening. Opening an account with Markets.com is fast, fully digital (no post or paper docs) and user friendly. The process for opening a trading account can be done within the day.
- Nearly 100 indicators for technical analysis. over 100 oscillators and indicators, Stochastic Indicators, Moving Average Convergence Divergence, Relative Strength Indicators, Bollinger Bands and Simple Moving Averages for seamless trading assessment and experience.
- Free demo account for life. Any traders can practice on the demo accoun. In my opinion, this is the best way to learn & see if CFD trading is for you. Helps traders in strengthening their trading strategies for them to be able to apply it to the real market effectively.
- 24/5 customer support via email or live chat. Their customer service is available via phone, chat and email – in multiple languages (English, German, Spanish and Italian). Compared to eToro, markets.com offers a considerable advantage in terms of helpdesk experience.
- Large range of tradeable instruments. From forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies, bonds, shares, ETFs and blends.
Disadvantages of Trading with Markets.com
- Financing rate calculation and fee structure are not transparent. Traders are advised to keep an eye on trading fees, financing rate and non-trading fees. I have noticed these changing without warning
- No safe login (2-FA) login. 2-FA login has become an industry standard, and indispensable for protecting customer accounts.
- Limited order types. Not a great place to make a killing on those spreads, or do volatility / volume based trading.
- No order confirmation. There should be a way to set up notifications. Customers like order confirmation.
- No fundamental data available for Research. No real fundamental data like financial ratios or historic financial reports are available. However, menu for fundamental data is available.
- Customer service offline on weekends. Later in this markets.com inspection I will further examine their customer support.
- Complex ownership hierarchy. Markets.com is a corporate unit, owned by an umbrella company, who in turn has another parent entity listed on the stock market.
- No social trading announced. Come-on guys – it’s 2019 and most CFD brokers are moving to make trading fun & “gamified”. eToro set the standard many years ago.
Currently, Markets.com is structured within a towering ownership hierarchy, frightening away even the bravest of customers doing due dilligence. The broker is part of Retail FX company, which itself is a brand of CySEC licensed Safecap Investments Ltd., owned in-turn by Playtech PLCM.
We know that Mor Weizer has served as CEO of Playtech since 2007. Prior to that, he was the CEO of TechPlay Marketing Ltd. Which is one of the group’s subsidiaries. Andrew Smith has been sitting as the CFO and Executive Director since 2017. Prior to joining Playtech Investor Relations in 2015, he worked for ABN AMRO and Deutsche Bank as an investment banker. As of 2018 Mr Joe Rundle has been appointed as CEO of Markets.com.
In early 2016, Markets Ltd restructured its operations. A large numbers of its workforce were laid off, including a majority of their sales and retention staff. This was part of their strategy to shift to automated sales. In that same year, Markets Ltd decided to sell off their TopOption brand.
They have an office in Europe and an Australian office. Despite of their locations, the digital trading platform is offered in these languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, German, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Polish, Czech, Danish, Finish, and Swedish.
Though having an impressive reputation from professional traders, their website has 806 000 average monthly visits, of which 14.08% came from Italy, 9.92% from Spain, 9.82% were from UK, 9.30% from Germany and Netherlands at 6.85%.
Trustworthiness of Markets.com
In my opinion, Markets.com is slightly above the standards of CFD broker eToro when it comes to being a safe trading platform. It is compliant with all the regulatory requirements and using the latest encryption technology like rigorous firewalls, SSL (secure socket layer) technology to keep traders’ personal information safe and also ensure that the transmission of information is safe.
A trading firm operated by parent Safecap Investments Limited which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, it is regulated by CySEC or the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission under the license no. 092/08 and the South African FSB or Financial Services Board as a Financial Services Provider under license no. 43906, they submit reports to these institutions regularly in order to that they comply with various regulatory rules and the status of their finances. This is a good sign since their financial information are being published and are available for traders to check.
|Regulator||Countries Covered||Protection Offered|
|Cyprus Securities Exchange (CySEC)||EU & others||20 000 euro|
|Financial Services Board (FSB)||South Africa||No bankruptcy protection|
Markets.com has no banking license, which puts it at a disadvantage compared to other legacy brokers. Remember that a banking license usually shows that a broker has a stable footing and access to large liquidity pools in times of big market moves. However both rivals – eToro and Stockpile currently have no banking license also. Furthermore they are both not listed on any exchange.
Currently the CFD broker does not offer the possibility for customers to meet with company representatives. In my opinion I feel slightly nervous giving such large sums of money, to be then told that i cannot get in-person reassurance from any staff. Especially considering that fellow competitor eToro offers their users the option to meet with an account manager in both London and Cyprus.
Trading Products Available
A quick reminder that this is a CFD-only brokerage service.
- Stocks – Plenty of choice if you like averaging down on UK companies: 200 UK stock CFDs are available, but only one Japanese Stock. Also CFDs from smaller markets like in Hungarian Stocks.
- Forex – 55 currency pairs.
- Cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin CFD trading. Also: Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin and Dash. They also encourage traders to take advantage of the risk management tools such as stop loss and take profits and to lessen their risk-exposure.
- Indices – 27 different indices are traded as CFDs by the brokerage firm. Most of the largest stock markets and indices in the world such as VIX are included.
- ETFs – only 39 ETFs, which falls a bit short when compared to several brokers. Still, some good spreads.
- Commodities – Gold, oil, copper and silver are few of the commodity trading options offered. There are plenty more.
- Bonds – major government bonds offerd so you can ejoy those quick rallies when policy dictates new base rates.
Compared to brokers Plus500 and eToro, Markets.com is doing fairly well with more currency pairs than eToro. Though they fall behind Plus500, which has more Stock Index CFDs. ETFs are lacking also – Plus500 has 80, and eToro 83. Same goes to Cryptocurrencies with only 5 offered, while Plus500 has 9 and eToro is offering 14. For Commodities, they are significantly behind Plus500 and just on par with eToro.
|Currency pairs (#)||55||59||47|
|Stock index CFDs (#)||27||23||13|
|Stock CFDs (#)||2,000||1,800||1,300|
|ETF CFDs (#)||39||80||83|
|Commodity CFDs (#)||8||17||6|
|Bond CFDs (#)||–||–||–|
On Brokercritic homepage you’ll notice that my Markets.com assessment examines commissions, spreads, and account fees. However I did not mention that they charging no fees on Forex trades. How do they make money ? Their profits come from spreads and daily swap charges. As of August 2019, the spread for EUR/USD was as low as 2.2 pips with leverage of 1:292 for all major currency pairs.
For cryptocurrency CFDS, spreads range from 0.03 USD for Ripple to 140 USD for Bitcoin with leverage of up to 1:5, depending on the coin.
|Assets||Fee level||Fee terms|
|US stock fee||Low||The fees are built into spread. 0.35 spread is the spread cost|
|EUR/USD fee||High||The fees are built into spread, 2.4 pips is the spread cost|
|US tech fund fee||–||Not available|
|Inactivity fee||Low||No inactivity fee – great for occasional traders|
Yearly financing rate
|Apple financing rate||7.8%||13.8%||8.6%|
|Vodafone financing rate||6.1%||12.2%||8.6%|
|EURUSD financing rate||6.4%||4.4%||3.5%|
As for log-in security, I’m not impressed at all. Markets.com only has one-step username/password login. With the rise of cryptolockers and tojans, these financial trading giants really need to reconsider safety precautions. One way would be by enforcing true 2-factor authentication (ie using an app like Google Authenticator – not SMS).
Account opening is fast, easy and fully digital. One day is all it takes for the account to be approved. Markets.com is accepting customers from almost all countries, with exceptions from US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, Israel, Belgium and Turkey. The minimum account funding and/or deposit is 100 USD/EUR/GBP.
- Customer Support – Social media posts give top-notch reviews to Markets.com customer service team. Now that’s a good trust indicator as any. Users can contacted support on all channels – phone, chat and email – in multiple languages. Customer support is fast and reliable, but the downside is that they are only available on weekdays. A look a competitors: legacy broker Merrill Edge have 24/7 customer service, access to advisors and live chat. However CFD broker Stockpile only offers email customer support service.
- Research – Markets.com has partnered in-platform research. These are integrated into features like decision making tools. Traders have the ability to find trading community or analysts’ buy and sell recommendations. For handy reference, a signals breakout lists currently activated the buy and sell signals which is located below the Instrument List. Client positioning data is also included in the platform. However, I wish that there was a time news functionality. Also, why are research materials not available for access offline ? Such omissions make it harder for Metatrader users to stay informed, thus forcing them use the other platform. Educational tools include Trading Central beginners-to-advanced tutorials, and simple video guides.
- Web Trading Platform – In 2017 Markets.com redesgined their web trading platform. I find that it is highly user-friendly (tooltips everywhere), has a good search functionality (quick find CFDs). Tho what I like the most is the availablility in 15 languages (German, French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Arabic, Norwegian, Dutch, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Greek, Czech and Polish). However it would be nice if we could customize the platform – for example on SaxoBank users can rearrange favorites, night-mode, and trading windows.
- Mobile Application – Markets.com mobile platform operates on both iOS and Android. I like how the apps have a very similar to the web trading platform. This prevents confusion, notably with the older generation. The mobile platform also has a great search functionality as with the web trading platform. Thankfully the mobile trading platform has a two-factor log in. Unfortunately I was not able to set up app notifications (including SMS) for important executions on my portfolio. As for charting, it does swivel into landscape orientation, but visual analysis is limited and lacks indicators like volatility or yield. New orders are only limited to market hours and after-market hours new orders will not be available.
Markets.com has monthly visits of 806,000 of which most visitors are from Italy with 14.08% of the total visitors. Visitors from Spain follows with 9.92%, United Kingdom is not far behind with 9.82% of the total visits are from this country; Germany is tailing the United Kingdom with 9.30%, and 6.85% are from the Netherlands. In comparison to Markets.com, Pepperstone.com has 717,000 monthly visits. Merrill Edge has 1.57 million monthly visits, of which 96.80% are from the United States and 0.35% from the United Kingdom.
Comparison to Other Brokers
Merrill Edge (legacy broker) and Pepperstone (CFD & forex) are two good alternatives to Markets.com. This is because:
- Both are more trustworthy. Pepperstone is regulated by top-tier regulators such as the FCA of the United Kingdom and ASIC of Australia. Merrill Edge through its parent company Merrill Lynch is a member of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or FINRA which is a US organization dedicated to market integrity and investor protection. Remember that markets.com is not overseen by top-tiered regulators, nor it is regulated by any US institutions.
- Both Pepperstone and Merrill Edge have just as reliable Customer Support – open 24/7, while Markets.com’s customer service operates only on weekdays.
- Merrill Edge is backed by Bank of America while Markets.com has a mysterious corporate ownership. Pepperstone is lagging behind as it is not both listed and have no banking license.
- Merrill Edge allows their customers to own the underlying stock. Pepperstone traders own only their forex positions.
You can immediately rate Markets.com !
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