CMC Markets is a margin trading business that offers CFD trading, Rolling Spot Forex, Spread Betting and online stockbroking. It addresses the retail, professional and institutional client spaces and has been expanding its operations through B2B joint ventures.
The business was originally set up by its current CEO, Peter Cruddas, in 1989 and moved into CFD broking in the year 2000. It started its overseas expansion in 2002 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2016.
The company, which is now a member of the FTSE 250 index, currently has around 57,000 active clients, the majority of whom trade CFDs with the firm, and in 2020 CMC Markets generated a net operating income of £252.0 million.
I remember way back in the Deal4Free days, sitting in CMC’s reception eager to pick up a CD-Rom of the Market Maker trading platform so I could trade PA when I was a stockbroker at Phillip Securities in the opposite building on Mansell Street.
I used to flit between IG and CMC Markets, back then IG had a few more markets, but the platform was a bit basic. But CMC Markets, had tighter pricing and because the platform had a dark background, more flashing lights you felt like a real pro. Despite the fact that CMC’s heritage is in the FX markets, I could never really get the hang of them so I’d trade indices, and FTSE 100 shares (but also because CMC only really did the main market stuff back then).
I could have waited for them to post me a disc, but for some reason I had a real itch to trade with them right then. Choosing a broker isn’t just about what they offer, it’s how they make you feel.
It is obviously a lot easier to start trading now, but my point is that back then it was an excellent trading platform, and it still is today…
Since then (and indeed 1989 when Peter Cruddas founded Currency Management Corporation) forex broker CMC has lead the way in online trading platform innovation.
CMC Markets Pros
- CMC offer a high-quality and responsive trading platform that’s packed with tools and features
- Data, news and price alerts are sent directly to your device or desktop allowing you to stay in touch with market movers.
- For technical traders, there is a dedicated charting forum where you can swap ideas with, and learn from your peers, and CMC’s in house experts.
- CMC offers a wide choice of preselected/thematic share baskets which you can quickly trade.
CMC Markets Cons
- CMC has a narrower list of trading instruments than either IG or Saxo Markets
- The mobile trading app can feel a bit crowded in the order entry screen when your display/device is on the largest resolution settings
- There is no charting information available for stocks in CMC’s demo accounts
CMC Markets Pricing, Charges & Fees
CMC Markets charges its clients a combination of spreads, that’s the difference between the bid and offer prices in an instrument and commissions, or if you prefer a fee per trade charged for brokerage services.
As a leading provider of CFDs and Spread Betting CMC markets charges are competitive their minimum spreads on leading equity indices start at 0.50 points, spreads on leading commodities such as Brent oil are at 2.50 points and 0.30 points in gold and natural gas.
Whilst commission charges on single stock CFDs are set at 2 cents per share in the US and 0.10% for UK and European equities.
CMC offers guaranteed stop-loss orders for which it charges users a premium, however, if that GSLO is not triggered then the premium you payid is refunded.
CMC Markets Client Sentiment
CMC offers users access to clients sentiment and positioning tools that show the aggregate positioning of its customers in various instruments. The data includes long-short percentages by clients and value as well as a breakdown of the current day’s order flow. Once again this is broken down by both client percentage and value. What’s more, you can filter the positioning sentiment by client type, segmenting the data into top clients and other clients.
The top clients view shows the positioning, in a particular instrument, of those clients who have made money on their trading account in the last three months, and who have an open position in the instrument under observation.
The ability to filter the sentiment and positioning by client type provides CMC clients with a potential advantage over those of their peers who don’t offer this additional insight.
Positioning and sentiment data can be used to trade though how you use will be determined by your outlook on the markets. Experienced traders take the view that as the majority of CFD and Spread Betting clients lose money it follows that positioning data is a reverse indicator especially when the clients seem to be opposing an established trend.
Though, in these days of social trading and large crowds that may not always be the case going forward. On balance it’s probably best to think of sentiment and positioning gauges as decision or trade support tools, rather than decision-makers in their own right.
CMC Markets Education & Analysis
CMC has plenty of education and analysis available for its clients, it’s divided into three separate sections current news and analysis which does exactly what it says on the tin, a learn to trade section that covers FX, CFDs, Spread Betting and equities trading.
As well as technical analysis, trading from home and trading strategies.
CMC also offers what it calls market intelligence through its specialist publication OPTO, a magazine full of insightful articles and podcasts and interviews with high profile guests from the markets.
The trading guides are aimed at beginners and less experienced traders whereas OPTO is for more experienced traders who are looking for fresh ideas and inspiration. News and analysis from CMC in-house analysis team sits comfortably between the two as we noted earlier there is also an online moderated charting community within the trading platform.
All of this is available at no additional charge and much of it is available to the public as well as CMC clients. Many of the major providers have a general education program and support their traders with news and in house analysis. However, OPTO stands out from the crowd and to my mind, this elevates the CMC offering above the competition.
CMC Markets will shortly be offering an investment option with CMC Invest.
CMC Markets Institutional Prime Services
Recently rebranded to CMC Connect the institutional side of the business is where CMC expects to grow the business over the next five or ten years. The company has high profile joint ventures such as the stockbroking services it provides to the clients of ANZ Bank. Alongside these partnerships, it offers institutional liquidity, outsourced trading technology and connectivity, as well as pre and post-trade processing and trade reporting.
These services are aimed at institutional customers such as hedge funds, family offices and prop traders. HNWI and the most active professional clients might be able to utilise some of CMC Connect’s services but the division is really aimed at corporate customers and funds.
CMC Markets share price
CMC is a listed company and a FTSE 250 constituent whose share price can be found by searching using the ticker CMCX. CMC Markets doesn’t make CFD or Spread Betting prices on its own shares.
The share price can be seen as a reflection of investor confidence in the business and the promotion into the FTSE 250 was confirmation of that, and made CMC Markets stock investible for a whole new audience of institutional investors and unlocked a potential source of capital should the company ever wish to raise capital, to say, fund an acquisition.
At the time of writing, over the previous 12 months, CMC markets share price has outperformed those of IG and Plus 500 it largest UK listed rivals. CMC shares are up by +150%, whilst IG stock is up by +31.0% and Plus 500 shares by +27.0%.
CMC Markets Alternatives
CMC competes with all of the large scale margin trading brokerages in CFDs FX and Spread Betting arenas. It’s also making inroads into the institutional and B2B spaces through liquidity provision white labels and JVs. That push on the institutional side and the firms focus on in house trading technology and the use of currency and share baskets are the key differentiators from their competitors.
CMC Markets Versus Saxo Markets
CMC differs from Saxo Markets in several ways for example Saxo has a focus on bond and Fixed Income trading CMC does not, CMC offers Spread Betting while Saxo withdrew from that market some years ago. CMC has a flat fee structure while Saxo Markets uses a tiered fee structure based on client activity and account size.
Saxo has a larger list of markets to trade compared to CMC Markets. CMC Is aiming at active CFD and Spread Betting clients whereas Saxo is aiming at clients who have both an investment portfolio of physical bonds and stocks as well an interest in margin trading.
CMC Markets Versus IG
CMC is one of IG’s longest-standing and most direct competitors and they go head to head across the products range not only in London but also in overseas markets such as Australia where both businesses have a significant presence. In most peoples minds, IG and CMC Markets are number one and two respectively in margin trading.
IG will probably always “own” the Spread Betting space having invented the product but CMC is becoming an increasingly important competitor to IG in areas such as Equity Index CFDs. IG and CMC offer a similar flat-fee pricing structure IG has the bigger instrument list thanks largely to a wider range of equities and ETFs. Whilst CMC offers several currency indices and thematic equity baskets that are not available at IG.
IG is aimed at those that are new to trading as well as more experienced traders and while CMC will happily accept accounts from newbies and novices its products and services are really aimed at more experienced and more active CFD traders and Spread Bettors’
In our CMC Markets video review we explore the trading platform and highlight some of the key features that makes it stand out in the online trading industry.
Their online trading platform has MAJOR KNOWN ISSUES as admitted to me via email and experienced first hand.
It leads to day trades not automatically cancelling and releasing your money and your money being held until you complain and force them to fix it.
This has cost me a full night and half a days trading, not to mention hours of my time trying to have the trades cleared and funds returned for use.
Also, your stock holdings vanish from your account summary from time to time for no apparent reason.
Their customer service “team” are a complete joke. No-one can do anything except take a message. They have no after hours support of any kind even though they allow customers to trade 24/7 on world wide markets.
This is simply not good enough from a Stock Broker, and I will be ensuring the AFCA and ASX know about it.
Is amazingly awasome
With their low costs and wide variety of markets in all asset classes, they suit me the most. Especially for spread betting and trading forward contracts. I have compared spreads and I find those at CMC to be consistently the tightest. Excellent!
A better spread and a platform like tradingview or linked to tradingview or linked to it and that would be perfect but so far amazing customer service and no fees which helps.
Very good platform very good selection of markets. I’m looking forward to when they add options.
Facts & Fees
Visit CMC Markets
66% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider.
|CMC Markets Reviews|
CMC Markets Total Markets
CMC Markets Key Info
|Number Active Clients||308644|
|Inactivity Fee||£10 per month|
CMC Markets Account Types
|DMA (Direct Market Access)||❌|
CMC Markets Average Costs
|US Stocks||$0.02 per share|
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66% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider.