How to tell if/how a forex broker is regulated

20 August 2015
Juan Colon

This is a classic for our customer service, so here’s a little guide to figure out if your broker is regulated, who’s behind it, and what permissions it holds.

FYI: this is a guide for European traders – we’ll use Darwinex as an example – but if you’re seeking guidance on US regulation, this won’t be much help 🙁

Visit the regulator!

Under European MiFID regulation,  institutions with permission to carry out regulated activities must list their Firm Registration Number (FRN) in the footer of their website.

In most cases, it’ll look more or less like this:

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BTW – Darwinex was called Tradeslide for a long time, so both our parent company and its regulated subsidiary are named Tradeslide too. By the time the evolutionary theme dawned on us, Tradeslide was the legal name for all our companies, and we retained it in fond memory of our early days 🙂

Important: if you’re a European user and your “broker” does not have a similar footer, this is a BIG red flag – to offer brokerage services to a European, you must be regulated under MiFID, and under MiFID, ALL entities regulated under European MiFID legislation must list enough information for customers to check their regulatory status on the page footer.

Visit the FCA Register

Armed with the 586 466 “Firm Registration Number”, you now know for a fact that Tradeslide Trading Tech LTD is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

To figure out how it’s regulated, visit the FCA register. One way is to google “Search FCA register”. Else, visit this link directly, but both take you here.

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In this 3rd party URL –  the FCA lists all information on file for all financial services firms operating in the UK (either via a direct UK authorisation as is the case with Darwinex, or a so called “MiFID Passport” whereby another European regulator informed the FCA of permission issued elsewhere and passported into the UK).

Once there, follow the red “search the Financial Services Register” link to land here:

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Note, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) used to be called the Financial Services Authority (FSA), so some URLs still sport the old www.fsa.gov.uk URL and logo, as is the case here at the time of writing. Once there, the Top menu for “Financial Services Firm Search”asks you for search criteria.

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Provided you have the FRN (e.g. 586466, for Darwinex), “Submit” is all you need.

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The red items are hyperlink URLs – and digging into them pays off!

For example: ever wondered if your “broker” is really a broker-dealer (also known as a dealing desk or a market maker)? The red “Permission” link, and this this post are all you need to answer!

Beyond this, if there’s any items you’d like us to expand on, feel free to suggest and we’ll do our best to write follow-up posts!