The first and foremost characteristic that a good broker must have is a high level of security. After all, you’re not going to hand over thousands of dollars to a person who simply claims he’s legit, right?
Fortunately, checking the credibility of a broker isn’t very hard. There are regulatory agencies all over the world that separate the trustworthy from the fraudulent.
Below is a list of countries with their corresponding regulatory bodies:
United States: National Futures Association (NFA) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
United Kingdom: Financial Services Authority (FSA)
Australia: Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)
Switzerland: Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC)
Germany: Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFIN)
France: Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF)
Before even THINKING of putting your money in a broker, make sure that the broker is a member of the regulatory bodies mentioned above.
2. Transaction Cost
No matter what kind of trader you are, like it or not, you will always be subject to transaction costs.
Every single time you enter a trade, you will have to pay for either the spread or a commission so it is only natural to look for the most affordable and cheapest rates. Sometimes you may need to sacrifice low transaction for a more reliable broker.
Make sure you know if you need tight spreads for your type of trading, and then review your available options. It’s all about finding the correct balance between security and low transaction costs.
3. Deposit and Withdrawal
Good brokers will allow you to deposit funds and withdraw your earnings hassle-free. Brokers really have no reason to make it hard for you to withdraw your profits because the only reason they hold your funds is to facilitate trading.
Your broker only holds your money to make trading easier so there is no reason for you to have a hard time getting the profits you have earned. Your broker should make sure that the withdrawal process is speedy and smooth.
4. Trading Platform
In online forex trading, most trading activity happens through the brokers’ trading platform. This means that the trading platform of your broker must be user-friendly and stable.
When looking for a broker, always check what its trading platform has to offer.
Does it offer free news feed? How about easy-to-use technical and charting tools? Does it present you with all the information you will need to trade properly?
It is mandatory that your broker fill you in the best possible price for your orders.
Under normal market conditions (e.g. normal liquidity, no important news releases or surprise events), there really is no reason for your broker to not fill you at, or very close to, the market price you see when you click the “buy” or “sell” button.
For example, assuming you have a stable internet connection, if you click “buy” EUR/USD for 1.3000, you should get filled at that price or within micro-pips of it. The speed at which your orders get filled is very important, especially if you’re a scalper.
A few pips difference in price can make that much harder on you to win that trade.
6. Customer Service
Brokers aren’t perfect, and therefore you must pick a broker that you could easily contact when problems arise.
The competence of brokers when dealing with account or technical support issues is just as important as their performance on executing trades. Brokers may be kind and helpful during the account opening process, but have terrible “after sales” support.