Read detailed FXOpen review with general information, analysis and conclusion. The popular broker, FXOpen, was established as an offshore broker, but has recently received licenses in Australia and the United Kingdom. We have some issues with FXOpen’s ordinary accounts and part of its marketing practices, but the broker’s ECN offering seems solid.
|Review Posted:||5th of October 2013|
|Alternative Names:||FXOpen NZ Limited, FXOpen Investments Inc., FXOpen AU Pty Ltd|
|Headquarters:||Level 3, 187 Queen Street, Cbd, Auckland, 1010
|Regulator:||FXOpen NZ (none), FXOpen AU (ASIC)|
|Instruments:||49 currency pairs, gold and silver.|
|Website Languages:||English, Hebrew, Malaysian, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, German, Farsi, Korean, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, Polish, Italian, Indonesian, Thai, French, Spanish, French, Spanish, Georgian|
|Account Currencies:||USD, AUD, CHF, EUR, GBP, JPY, RUB, SGD|
|Deposit and Withdrawal Methods:||Wire Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, Many electronic payment systems|
|Accepting US Customers:||No|
|Telephone:||+64 9 801 0123|
|Micro Account:||Platform: MetaTrader 4. Minimum Deposit: $1. Minimum Trade Size: 0.1 Micro lot. Maximum Leverage: 1:500. Spreads (EURUSD): Fixed 2 pips spread. Commissions: No.|
|Standard Account:||Platform: MetaTrader 4. Minimum Deposit: $25. Minimum Trade Size: 0.1 lot. Maximum Leverage: 1:500. Spreads (EURUSD): Fixed 2 pips spread. Commissions: No.|
|STP Account:||Platform: MetaTrader 4. Minimum Deposit: $100. Minimum Trade Size: 0.1 lot. Maximum Leverage: 1:500. Spreads (EURUSD): Floating. Commissions: No.|
|Standard Account:||Platform: MetaTrader 4. Minimum Deposit: $1,000. Minimum Trade Size: 0.1 lot. Maximum Leverage: 1:500. Spreads (EURUSD): Floating from 0. Commissions: $2.5 per lot.|
According to several broker profiles on Forex websites, FXOpen was founded in Cairo in 2003 as a Forex education center. FXOpen’s website does not say anything explicitly about Egypt, only that “long before the brokerage was even contemplated, we founded FXOpen as an educational center of technical analysis [...].” Link to About FXOpen. FXOpen claims to have started its brokerage operations in 2005 and we see the first user reviews appearing on different forums in late 2007.
Even though there is a connection with Egypt, FXOpen seems to have Russian roots (most of senior management many employees are Russian). The broker was originally registred on the offshore island of Mauritius, but lost its license in 2010 (together with a few other Forex firms). We have not been able to find the reason for the license being revoked and the FSC of Mauritius gave following reason for the action: “The Financial Services Commission (the “Commission”) having reasonable grounds to believe that the revocation of the Global Business Licences issued to the undermentioned companies is necessary to protect the good repute of Mauritius as a centre for financial services and to protect investors, has in accordance with Section 74 of the Financial Services Act decided to initiate proceedings with a view to revoking the said licences” Link to FSC Mauritius. FXOpen has not given out any details about this, only that the broker does not know why the license was revoked (stated on several forums). The company website does not mention the case at all. It could be because of some kind of wrongdoing from the broker’s side or because of Mauritius now wanting to have Forex brokers in its jurisdictions. We have not been able to find out. After this FXOpen registered in New Zealand as “FXOpen NZ” where it still is.
In January 2011 FXOpen was, together with a number of other Forex brokers, sued by the CFTC in the US for “illegally soliciting members of the public to engage in foreign currency (forex) transactions and that they are operating without being registered with the CFTC.” Link to Press Release from CFTC. The broker later settled with the CFTC and paid a fine of $140,000.
Like many other Forex brokers have done lately, FXOpen opened an Australian company (FXOpen AU) and received a license with the Australian regulator ASIC in 2011. In March 2013 FXOpen was granted a license by the FSA (now FCA) in the United Kingdom, but the UK branch did not start accepting clients yet.
FXOpen was the first broker to introduce ECN trading via the MetaTrader 4 platform (which is originally only for market making). The broker developed its own bridge technology to enable this and started out by using liquidity from Dukascopy. Later it has started working with different other ECNs and Liquidity Providers. A comprehensive overview of FXOpen’s ECN setup can be found here: FXOpen ECN. Today most brokers do not develop their own technology for bridging MetaTrader 4 to external ECNs and liquidity providers, but use 3rd part software providers. It must be noted that a broker claiming to have ECN accounts on its MetaTrader 4 is by no means a guarantee of real ECN execution. MetaTrader 4 can be set up to make it seem like orders are executed externally, but in fact never leave the broker. And the broker can still manipulate prices via his MetaTrader 4. Please note that we are not saying this should be the case with FXOpen.
Apart from its ECN accounts, FXOpen has “micro” and “standard” accounts where there broker is a market maker. This is stated clearly and these two account types have very strict restrictions on stops and limits, use of EAs, news trading and so on. FXOpen AU only has ECN accounts.
FXOpen claims to be “one of the world’s leading brokers” and looking at the amount of user reviews and forum posts, it is clear that the broker do have many customers (even though we believe “one of the leading” may be overstating it a bit). We have some indications that the broker may have used bad practices, like price manipulation, earlier. We do not believe blindly in user reviews and if they do not contain plausible details and some kind of evidence, we do not take them into consideration at all. One indication is in a post from Forex Peace Army (Antonio, Miami, 2009-02-17) where a trader posted following screenshot indicating price manipulation by FXOpen. (Please be aware that screenshots can be faked)
We have found a few more examples like this and examples of traders telling about FXOpen prohibiting some EAs and trading styles.
Also on Forex Peace Army there is a very unfortunate thread (Norbert Kovacs vs. FXOpen) about a trader who had $43.405 of profits removed from his FXOpen ECN account. The trader was allegedly trading on “erroneous prices” from FXOpen’s liquidity provider. From the information available, it do seem like the trader was using certain technical problems to profit and, according to FXOpen’s Terms and Conditions, the broker could remove profits in such cases. Like we have mentioned in other reviews, the terms of many brokers are extremely favorable for the broker and he does not have to prove anything in cases like this. Afterwards, the trader takes the case to the the New Zealand Financial Dispute Resolution Authority which states that all of FXOpen’s actions was in accordance with its Terms and Conditions.
FXOpen is very active on many Forex forums. Impressively, most of the – probably thousands – posts and replies are made by the same representative, Jafar Calley (who is now CEO of FX Open AU). Even though he is very active and most of the time informative, we do not find all of his information entirely correct like in below screenshot from Forex Factory:
FXOpen puts much emphasis on telling that the broker’s different companies are not really related even though they must have the same owners and share a very large part of their operations. Same in another thread on Forex Factory: “Just give FXOpen a go. Your funds are safe there with NZ registration you always have the NZ government financial dispute resolution scheme to fall back on should there be a dispute with the company. Also with ASIC watching their Australian arm closely, the NZ (offshore) side is careful not to be a bad partner. (FXOjafar, May 13, 2012)”. This comment is not close to be useful or based on facts.
We are not putting much emphasis on FXOpen’s regulatory problems in the conclusion for two reasons: We could not find out the actual reason for FXOpen losing its Mauritius license in 2010. We are not too worried about the CFTC case against FXOpen in so far as it does not show that the broker used any bad practices against traders, only that it was not allowed to have US clients.
Generally we do not find the company very transparent. The broker’s website does not really say anything about structure, history and its different branches (as an example of the lack of transparency, the website has a “Message from CEO” section signed by “Dr. Alex K. CEO”). It is the same for most of the information available from other sources.
Even though FXOpen may to some extent be right in the case where it removed profits from a trader’s account, where he profited from technical problems, we believe the broker’s representatives handled the case extremely badly, threatening the trader that “the actions of the client may cause damage to the company’s reputation (image), on the basis of § 1 the Company reserves the right to begin litigation on the deliberate act of “black PR”.” (“FXOpen NZ Representative”, 07-03-2012). Furthermore we would like our readers to have a look at our FXDD review where the broker removed profits from client accounts for much the same reasons as here. Only in the FXDD case the broker was forced to return the money by the US regulator. This case definitely shows why considering a broker’s regulatory status is paramount for Forex traders. Contrary to what many traders think, Forex in New Zealand is very lightly regulated (if a broker only has clients outside New Zealand).
We do believe that FXOpen’s claim to have “real” ECN via its MetaTrader 4 is true. The broker is well known and lists its partners on the website (it would have gotten into trouble for this without an actual cooperation). Furthermore, most negative user comments about FXOpen seem to be about the broker’s market maker offerings (especially earlier) and not about the ECN accounts. These have mostly positive comments from users.
We have them impression of a broker starting offshore, not always using the best practices, moving towards being regulated and offering more honest trading conditions. We could consider using FXOpen’s ECN accounts (not with the New Zealand based company), but we believe FXOpen AU (and the coming UK company) is a serious attempt to become a solid Forex broker.
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