Full HBC Broker Review 2020

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HBC Broker

HBC Broker

Reason to avoid: Offshore license

Listed Date: October 9, 2020

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  • Our Review
  • HBC Broker User Reviews
  • HBC Broker News

Beware HBC Broker is a Non-Regulated broker. It is NOT SAFE to trade.

  • Company name: MPG INVEST Limited
  • Registration/license: Vanuatu
  • Registration/license requirement: USD 2,000

HBC Broker is a brokerage firm that offers forex and CFDs on commodities, indices and stocks. The website of the company states that it is owned and operated by several companies (Trading Point Holdings Ltd, Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd, Trading Point NZ Ltd) and regulated by FCA in the United Kingdom, ASIC in Australia and CySEC in Cyprus. This information is identical to the one provided by XM broker, reputable and well-regulated entity. There are no records of the HBC Broker’s licenses with any of the mentioned regulators, which means that the company is just a fraud that tries to use the credentials of the regulated broker.
Also, after checking terms and conditions on the website, it turned out the HBC Broker is actually a brand name of the MPG INVEST Limited, located in Armenia, but registered in Vanuatu – a popular offshore destination for the unregulated forex brokers. It’s now obvious that the company uses a well-known scheme for the unregulated offshore brokers.
And last but not least, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning against HBC Broker:

“MPG Partners (trading as HBC Broker) is not authorized by us and is targeting people in the UK. Based upon the information we hold, we believe it is carrying on regulated activities which require authorization.”

We don’t recommend to trade with HBC Broker or any other unregulated financial entity as they are not bound by any financial or ethical rules. It is better to choose among the brokers who are regulated by the reputable regulators such as FCA in the United Kingdom or CySEC in Cyprus. Check the CySEC-regulated brokers here.

FOREX.com Review

FOREX.com delivers an excellent trading experience for forex and CFDs traders across the globe. With competitive pricing, full-feature trading platforms, comprehensive market research, and a robust mobile app, FOREX.com caters to traders of all experience levels.

Top Takeaways for 2020

After spending five months testing 30 of the best forex brokers for our 4th Annual Review, here are our top findings on FOREX.com:

  • FOREX.com is publicly-traded and regulated in four tier-1 jurisdictions, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for forex and CFDs trading.
  • FOREX.com earned Best in Class (top 7) awards for numerous categories in 2020, including Offering of Investments, Commissions & Fees, Education, Professional Trading, Crypto Trading, Ease of Use, and Overall. All in all, our testing found FOREX.com to be a great option for all trader types.
  • Pricing at FOREX.com is easy to understand, and competitive, thanks to a tiered discounts approach based on your total monthly trading volume. FOREX.com also offers tight spreads on cryptocurrency CFDs.

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Overall Summary

Feature FOREX.com
Overall 4.5 Stars
Trust Score 93
Offering of Investments 5 Stars
Commissions & Fees 4 Stars
Platform & Tools 4 Stars
Research 4.5 Stars
Mobile Trading 4 Stars
Customer Service 4 Stars
Education 4 Stars

Is FOREX.com Safe?

FOREX.com is considered low-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 93 out of 99. FOREX.com is publicly traded, does not operate a bank, and is authorised by four tier-1 regulators (high trust), zero tier-2 regulators (average trust), and one tier-3 regulators (low trust). City Index is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators: Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Learn more about Trust Score.

Feature FOREX.com
Year Founded 1999
Publicly Traded (Listed) Yes
Bank No
Tier-1 Licenses 4
Tier-2 Licenses 0
Tier-3 Licenses 1
Trust Score 93

Offering of Investments

FOREX.com offers over 4,500 CFD instruments on its flagship platforms, including Web Trading and Advantage Trader web and desktop, alongside over 500 symbols on MetaTrader5 (MT5).

Feature FOREX.com
Forex: Spot Trading Yes
Currency Pairs (Total Forex pairs) 91
CFDs – Total Offered 4500
Social Trading / Copy-Trading No
Cryptocurrency traded as actual No
Cryptocurrency traded as CFD Yes

Commissions & Fees

Overall, FOREX.com’s pricing structure is competitive and easy to understand, helping the broker rank highly in our assessment.

Spreads comparison: Typical spreads for MetaTrader platform users were 1.3 pips on the EUR/USD using October 2020 data from FOREX.com. The table below shows an average spread of 1 pip measured during Q3 2020 for the EUR/USD, applicable to the broker’s non-MT4 platforms. Average spreads at FOREX.com vary only slightly when comparing the broker’s US offering with its pricing available outside the US to the rest of the world.

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Active Trader program rebates: For high volume traders, FOREX.com offers an Active Trader program with five tiers of pricing. Level one starts with typical spreads of 1.2 pips on the EUR/USD for traders who have a balance of least $10,000. Spreads are further reduced with each subsequent level as traders surpass specific month-to-date (MTD) trading volume thresholds. For example, level five ($500 million in MTD volume) brings spreads down to as low as 0.84 pips on the EUR/USD pair. Spreads are effective spreads after clients are rebated.

Dealer execution: FOREX.com is a market maker, which means it provides dealer execution, and its ability to execute a trade will not rely on a third party the way an agency broker does. Therefore, trading with FOREX.com can result in potentially better dealer-execution in challenging market conditions, compared to an agency broker. Note: The broker also offers agency execution (see below).

Market execution (In the US only): FOREX.com offers a new Direct Market Access (DMA) account and execution method for its US offering, as well as its CIMA and UK services. As part of this DMA account type, the execution-style is agency-based, and the broker only charges a commission. This account type also provides greater discounts for the most active traders, compared to FOREX.com’s Active Trader program.

Feature FOREX.com
Minimum Initial Deposit $50.00
Average Spread EUR/USD – Standard 1 (as of Q3 19)
All-in Cost EUR/USD – Active 0.7 (as of Q3 18)
Active Trader or VIP Discounts Yes

Platforms & Tools

FOREX.com provides forex traders everything they need, and more, to trade effectively.

Advanced Trading: FOREX.com’s flagship platform, Advanced Trading, is best suited for seasoned traders and comes with a robust charting package loaded with a large selection of technical indicators (139 total) and drawing tools. Technical Analysis tools include automated technical analysis from Autochartist, which scans the markets for completed and emerging patterns and trade ideas. Also, more advanced traders can develop automated trading systems from the Automated Trading Center.

Web trading: Best suited for casual traders, FOREX.com’s Web Trading platform makes it easy to browse through markets, conduct research, analyze charts via Trading Central, and place trades. FOREX.com’s alternative web platform is a white-labeled version of TradingView, a popular charting web app for technical analysis, which comes with 67 indicators. While TradingView shines if you are focused solely on charting, the Web Trading platform would be my preferred choice between the two browser-based platforms at FOREX.com.

MetaTrader: While Forex.com’s platform suite is already robust and finished Best in Class (top 7) in our testing, the broker also offers the complete MetaTrader suite, including both MT4 and MT5.

Research

FOREX.com does a great job in centralizing its research within the Advanced Trading platform and keeping it well organized for traders to access easily. Multiple news channels, automated pattern-recognition modules from Trading Central, real-time trade signals and analysis tools from Autochartist and Recognia and blog updates from FOREX.com’s global research team are all available. Furthermore, FOREX.com offers a premium package with trading signals from Faraday research, which runs £720 per annum.

Mobile Trading

FOREX.com’s AdvantageFX mobile app ranks highly compared to the best mobile apps in the forex industry thanks to clean navigation and a host of trading features.

Mobile research: Several of the highlight features include an economic calendar, integrated research, and signals from Trading Central, alerts, market updates, and news, and an easy way to scroll between prices, charts, and open positions. Trading and managing positions within the mobile app are straightforward thanks to its fluid user interface and minimalist design.

Mobile charting: The app also automatically syncs watch lists and includes easy-to-use charts despite having only seven indicators and ten drawing tools. Nonetheless, I was glad to find that indicators and drawing tools added in landscape mode save upon exiting the app.

MetaTrader: For traders who prefer MetaTrader, the MT4 and MT5 apps are also available.

Customer Service

To score Customer Service, ForexBrokers.com partnered with customer experience research group Customerwise to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the UK. For our 2020 Review, 229 customer service tests were conducted over six weeks.

Results

  • Average Connection Time: 1 – 2 minutes
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 7.2 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 7.4 / 10
  • Overall Score: 7.60 / 10
  • Ranking: 14 th (22 brokers)

Final Thoughts

FOREX.com is a trusted forex broker that shines thanks to its excellent offering of platforms, tools, research, and competitive pricing. While customer service isn’t award-winning, FOREX.com delivers a great experience to forex traders of all experience levels. FOREX.com finished Best in Class across seven key categories, including Overall in 2020.

About FOREX.com

Founded in 1999, FOREX.com is part of GAIN Capital Holdings (NYSE: GCAP), which through its trading names and subsidiaries, including the City Index brand, today operates in multiple countries and with licenses in several major regulatory hubs, including the US, UK, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

Through its international offices, the GAIN Capital group employs over 800 staff and caters to over 200,000 retail and institutional clients. As an early pioneer in offering online forex trading in the US, today, FOREX.com is one of the largest retail FX brokers globally, with over $1.3 billion in assets as of Q2 2020, and over 71,000 active clients as of August 2020. Read more on Wikipedia about FOREX.com.

FOREX.com Trading Features

Feature FOREX.com
Virtual Trading (Demo) Yes
Proprietary Platform Yes
Desktop Platform (Windows) Yes
Web Platform Yes
Social Trading / Copy-Trading No
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) Yes
MetaTrader 5 (MT5) Yes
cTrader No
Charting – Indicators / Studies (Total) 139
Charting – Drawing Tools (Total) 25
Charting – Trade From Chart Yes
Watchlists – Total Fields 18
Order Type – Trailing Stop Yes

FOREX.com Research Features

Feature FOREX.com
Daily Market Commentary Yes
Forex News (Top-Tier Sources) Yes
Weekly Webinars Yes
AutoChartist Yes
Trading Central (Recognia) Yes
Delkos Research Yes
Social Sentiment – Currency Pairs Yes
Economic Calendar Yes

FOREX.com Mobile App Features

Feature FOREX.com
Android App Yes
Apple iOS App Yes
Trading – Forex Yes
Trading – CFDs Yes
Alerts – Basic Fields Yes
Watch List Yes
Watch List Syncing Yes
Charting – Indicators / Studies 7
Charting – Draw Trend Lines Yes
Charting – Trend Lines Moveable Yes
Charting – Multiple Time Frames Yes
Charting – Drawings Autosave Yes
Forex Calendar Yes

2020 Review Methodology

For our 2020 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 30 international forex brokers over a five month time period. Each broker was graded on 105 different variables and, in total, over 50,000 words of research were produced.

While encouraged, broker participation was optional. Each broker had the opportunity to complete an in-depth data profile and provide executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting.

All data submitted by brokers is hand-checked for accuracy. Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than 1% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

“There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses.” Learn more.

Best Online Brokers

Find and compare the best online trading platforms for every kind of investor

With so many different types of online stock brokers available to investors, it can be tough to choose one that works best for you. That’s why we put these U.S.-based online brokers through a comprehensive review process that included hands-on research to determine the best in the industry.

When we started our 2020 online broker reviews six months ago, no one knew how the world would change. We recognize that we all are living through a particularly volatile time as we deal with this global crisis, and financial markets have also seen unprecedented change, impacting all investors. Our analysis of the online brokerage industry is, “Commission Cuts, Consolidation, and a Coronavirus Crash.”

Our mission has always been to help people make the most informed decisions about how, when and where to invest. Given recent market volatility, and the changes in the online brokerage industry, we are more committed than ever to providing our readers with unbiased and expert reviews of the top investing platforms for investors of all levels, for every kind of market.

Best Online Brokers and Trading Platforms for April 2020:

  • Fidelity Investments: Best Online Broker
  • TD Ameritrade: Best Broker for Beginners
  • tastyworks: Best Broker for Options
  • Interactive Brokers: Best Broker for Advanced Traders
  • TD Ameritrade: Best Broker for Mobile
  • Interactive Brokers: Best Broker for International Trading
  • tastyworks: Best Broker for Low Costs
  • Charles Schwab: Best Broker for ETFs

Best Overall: Fidelity Investments

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $0 for stock/ETF trades, $0 plus $0.65/contract for options trade

Fidelity earned our top spot for the second year running by offering clients a well-rounded package of investing tools and excellent order executions. It has continued to quietly enhance key pieces of its mobile-responsive website while committing itself to lowering the cost of investing for its clients. Fidelity joined in the rush to cut equity and base options commissions to zero in October 2020 but remains devoted to offering top-quality research and education offerings to its clients. The firm also makes it easy for clients to earn interest by sweeping uninvested cash into a money market fund. Fidelity also shares the revenue it generates from its stock loan program, and allows clients to choose which stocks in their portfolios can be loaned out.

Fidelity provides excellent trade executions for investors. On average, over 96% of orders for Fidelity customers are executed at a price better than the national best bid or offer.

Fidelity offers a wealth of research and extensive pre-set and customizable asset screeners.

Your uninvested cash is automatically swept into a money market fund to help contribute to overall portfolio returns.

Some traders and sophisticated investors may have to use Fidelity’s web platform in addition to Active Trader Pro to access all the tools and research they require.

Non-U.S. citizens or residents cannot open an account.

Traders and investors must manually refresh the data when using the website.

Fidelity has a wide offering of securities, but no commodities or options on futures.

Best for Beginners: TD Ameritrade

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Free stock, ETF, and per-leg options trading commissions in the U.S., as of October 3rd, 2020. $0.65 per options contract.

Financial markets can be intimidating the first time you try to put your money to work, so it helps to have an online broker that understands that and puts in an effort to help. To determine the best broker for beginners, we focused on the features that help new investors learn as they are starting their investing journey. Brokers were selected based on top-notch educational resources, easy navigation, clear commission and pricing structures, and the overall quality of their portfolio construction tools. We also looked for low minimum account balances, as these can be a barrier for new investors with limited capital. Finally, we put an emphasis on the availability of demo accounts so new investors can practice using the platform and placing trades.

TD Ameritrade, one of the largest online brokers, has made significant efforts to market itself to beginner investors through social media. Work is still being done to further streamline its web and mobile experiences and make them more accessible to new users, but the resources new investors can already access are exceptional. Education is a key component of TD Ameritrade’s offerings. You’ll find expanded learning pathways, ranging from beginner to advanced, to help clients understand everything from basic investing concepts to extremely advanced derivatives strategies. You can open an account and poke around without making a deposit, and take advantage of all the learning opportunities until you’re comfortable. TD Ameritrade wants new investors to become more confident, and to trade additional asset classes as their skills grow.

The education offerings are designed to make novice investors more comfortable.

TD Ameritrade offers in-person education at more than 280 offices as well as multiple training pathways available on its website and mobile apps.

The TD Ameritrade Network offers nine hours of live programming in addition to on-demand content, viewable on mobile devices.

The well-designed mobile apps are intended to give customers a simple one-page experience.

Some investors may have to use multiple platforms to utilize preferred tools.

TD Ameritrade offers one of the widest selections of account types, so new investors may be unsure of which account type to choose when opening an account. More support is needed to ensure customers are starting out with the correct account type.

Investors are paid a tiny rate of interest on uninvested cash (0.01-0.05%) unless they take action to move cash into money market funds.

Best for Options: tastyworks

  • AccountMinimum: $0
  • Fees: $0.00 stock trades, $1.00 to open options trades $0.00 to close

Options trading has become extremely popular with retail investors since the turn of the 21st century. Our best options brokers have a wealth of tools that help you measure and manage risk as you determine which trades to place. They also include valuable education that helps you grow in sophistication as an options trader.

The commission structure for options trades tends to be more complicated than its equivalent for stock trades. Until the commission cuts that swept the industry in the fall of 2020, most brokers charged a fee for each leg of an options spread, plus a commission per contract being traded. The per-leg fees, which made 2- and 4-legged spreads expensive, have been eliminated for the most part. We are seeing some brokers place caps on commissions charged for certain trading scenarios.

Investors with fairly large portfolios can take advantage of portfolio margining at certain brokers, a practice that assesses the total risk inherent in a portfolio that contains stocks and derivatives, and can reduce the size of your margin loan.

Tastyworks officers say that more than 90% of the trades placed by their customers are derivatives, so there are a lot of tools for options and futures traders. Everything is designed to help the trader evaluate volatility and the probability of profit. It’s all about making decisions and taking action. Executions are fast and the costs are low, capping commissions for opening orders for options on equities and futures at $10 per leg. As you build a position from a chart or from a volatility screener, a trade ticket is populated for you. There’s a video viewer embedded so you can keep an eye on the tastytrade network. Though a newcomer to options trading might be initially uncomfortable, those who understand the basic concepts will appreciate the content and features.

All of the tools you’ll need for analyzing and trading derivatives are built into the tastyworks platform.

The charting capabilities are uniquely tuned for the options trader. If you have multiple positions on a particular underlying, you can analyze the risk profiles of the combined position.

There are hours of original video from tastytrade every weekday, offering up-to-the-minute trading ideas, plus a huge library of pre-recorded videos and shows.

Newcomers to trading and investing may be overwhelmed by the platform at first. There’s a learning curve to climb.

There is no fixed income trading (outside of ETFs that contain bonds) for those who want to allocate some of their assets to a more conservative asset class.

Besides profit and loss, any additional portfolio analysis requires setting up a login on a separate site, The Quiet Foundation, which is also part of the tastytrade empire.

Best for Advanced Traders: Interactive Brokers

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Maximum $0.005 per share for Pro platform or 1% of trade value, $0 for IBKR Lite

Advanced traders need fast, high quality executions, reliable data, sophisticated order types, and access to the asset classes they want to trade. We also looked for portfolio margining and top-notch portfolio analysis.

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) earns this award due to its wealth of tools for sophisticated investors and its wide pool of assets and markets. The firm makes a point of connecting to as many electronic exchanges as possible. You can trade equities, options, and futures around the world and around the clock. Interactive Brokers’ order execution engine stays on top of changes in market conditions to re-route all or parts of your order to achieve optimal execution, attain price improvement, and maximize any possible rebate. The order routing algorithms seek out a speedy execution and can access hidden institutional order flows (dark pools) to execute large block orders. The wide array of order types include a variety of algorithms as well as conditional orders such as one-cancels-another and one-triggers-another. You can also set up conditional orders based on price, volume, daily P&L, margin cushion, number of shortable shares available, rebate available from the trading venue, and other factors.

IBKR’s order execution engine has what could be the smartest order router in the business.

Interactive Brokers connects clients to 125 markets in 31 countries and enables clients to trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds from a single integrated account.

Algorithmic order types include VWAP (volume-weighted average price) and TWAP (time-weighted average price) as well as order types designed to minimize the trader’s impact on the price of a particular stock.

You can only have streaming data on one device at a time. This could be an issue for traders with a multi-device workflow.

The most advanced capabilities are restricted to IBKR Pro clients and trades on that plan are not commission free.

Best for Mobile: TD Ameritrade

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Free stock, ETF, and per-leg options trading commissions in the U.S., as of October 3rd, 2020. $0.65 per options contract.

Over the last few years, online brokers have increasingly adopted the mantra “mobile-first.” As more investors and traders use tablets or smartphones as their primary platform, online brokers have made efforts to improve their mobile apps.

Streaming data has made its way to mobile apps along with complex options analysis and trading, advanced charting, and educational offerings. With the availability of computers in our pockets, the way people interact with their trading and investment accounts have forced brokers to offer mobile apps along with their traditional desktop platforms.

TD Ameritrade focused its 2020 development efforts on its most active clients, who are mobile-first – and in many cases, mobile-only. TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim mobile platform has extensive features for active traders and investors alike. The workflow for options, stocks, and futures is intuitive and powerful. You’ll find lots of bells and whistles that make the mobile app a complete solution for most trading purposes, including streaming real-time data and the ability to trade from charts. The regular mobile platform is almost identical in features to the website, so it’s an easy transition. TD Ameritrade clients can trade all asset classes offered by the firm on the mobile apps.

TD Ameritrade optimized its traditional website for mobile browsers with a dashboard where clients can quickly access account details, balances, balance history, positions, news, and more.

The well-designed mobile apps are intended to give customers a simple one-page experience where they can quickly check in on the markets and their account.

The TD Ameritrade Network offers nine hours of live programming in addition to on-demand content, viewable on mobile devices.

Streaming real-time data on thinkorswim’s mobile app is unlimited.

Customers may have to use multiple platforms to utilize preferred tools. Options-specific tools abound on thinkorswim and its associated mobile app, but fundamental research for equities and fixed income tools are mostly available only on the website.

Over-the-counter (penny stock) trades are subject to a commission of $6.95 per trade.

Clients are paid a tiny rate of interest on uninvested cash (0.01-0.05%) unless they take action to move cash into money market funds.

Best for International Trading: Interactive Brokers

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Maximum $0.005 per share for Pro platform or 1% of trade value, $0 for IBKR Lite

For the international trading category, category weightings for the range of offerings were adjusted upwards to measure which broker offered the largest selection of assets across international markets. After that, overall platform functionality and variety of orders types were also measured as these are important to successful trading when undertaking position management in markets that span the globe. These adjustments revealed a clear winner for international trading in the 2020 review.

Interactive Brokers is the best broker for international trading by a significant margin. Interactive Brokers allows investors to access 125 exchanges in 31 countries across the globe. This reach is combined with a massive inventory of assets and 60 different order types to plan your entry and exit from a position. Investors can also fund their account in their domestic currency and IBKR will handle the conversion at market rates when you want to buy assets denominated in a non-domestic currency. And, if all that were not enough, the quality of trading tools available through Traders Workstation (TWS) make it easy to execute multi-layered trades across international borders. Interactive Brokers has won this category two years running, and there is no sign of that changing in the near future.

No broker can match Interactive Brokers in terms of asset inventory or international markets.

If an exchange enables a particular order type, IBKR offers it you. For example, very specific limit-on-close orders on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and pegged-to-primary orders on the London Stock Exchange.

You can trade non-U.S. dollar assets on margin without having to have the local currency in your account.

Most non-U.S. exchanges charge additional data fees that increase your trading costs.

All non-U.S. transactions incur trading commissions, some of which are not completely transparent.

Small or inactive accounts may be subject to maintenance fees or data charges, and interest is not paid on cash unless you have a substantial balance.

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