CMC Markets Review: See the smart money with client sentiment

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CMC Markets Customer Reviews

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69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

CMC Markets Expert Review

I’ve used CMC Markets on and off now for 20 years now and it’s typically been my go-to broker for trading forex and equity sectors. I recently gave them another full test with real money and live trades, interviewed their founder, and sat down in the studio with their head of product. In this review, I give my opinion on what CMC Markets is good at, where they let themselves down, and what sort of traders they are appropriate for.

CMC Markets Review
CMC Markets

Name: CMC Markets

Description: CMC Markets is one of the original spread betting and CFD brokers based in the UK. They have been providing forex trading services since 1989 and are now listed on the London Stock Exchange. The broker has over 300,000 active clients trading online and is operated from 13 global offices, with headquarters in The City of London.
69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Is CMC Markets legit?

Yes, CMC Markets has always offered, and still does one of the best trading platforms for high-frequency and active traders. It’s a good choice for those who want to trade on tight spreads, with a platform built on exceptional tech.


  • Excellent trading platform
  • Good liquidity
  • Unique sentiment tools


  • Trading only, no investing account
  • Limited smaller cap stocks
  • Pricing
  • Market Access
  • Online Platform
  • Customer Service
  • Research & Analysis

Ratings Explained

  • Pricing: They used to be called Deal4Free, but pricing is tight…
  • Market Access: CMC mainly focus on the main markets, but still a lot of exotic pairs to trade.
  • Platform & Apps: Some of the best trading tech around for active traders.
  • Customer Service: London-based support staff (still thankfully, despite all the Brexit pomp).
  • Research & Analysis: Top class client sentiment tools that show which way profitable traders are.

I remember way back almost 20 years ago when I first had my account, sitting in CMC’s reception eager to pick up a CD-Rom of the Market Maker trading platform so I could trade PA (personal account) 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. CMC Markets had tighter pricing and because the platform had a dark background, and 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…

CMC Markets CFD Trading

History Of CMC

CMC was originally set up by its current CEO, Peter Cruddas, as Currency Management Corporation in 1989 after leaving Western Union, where he learned how the foreign exchange markets worked, in particular the market-making side of the business. Originally offering forex trading, then financial spread betting and moving into CFD broking in 2000, CMC began to expand internationally in 2002. CMC Markets was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2016.

CMC Markets, which is now a member of the FTSE 250 index, currently has over 310,000 active clients globally, and in the 2021-22 financial year, generating a net operating income of £281.9 million.

I haven’t been to their offices for a few years, but the last time I was there was when the brokerage world was switching over from voice to online, CMC were ahead of the curve then and was one of the first forex brokers to invest heavily in technology and have always led the way in online trading platform innovation.

CMC Markets – Spread Betting & CFDs

CMC Markets only offers CFD trading, Rolling Spot Forex, Spread Betting in the UK which are generally short-term speculative products. You can invest in the long term and buy physical shares through CMC Invest in the UK (although in Australia they do offer stockbroking).

If you don’t know what these are you shouldn’t be trading them. But if you do and you want to trade them, CMC Markets is in my view one of the best places to do so. They’ve got a nice new tagline…

Calling all calculated risk takers…

I really like this is it’s the essence of trading really. Yes, trading is risky, but it’s a calculated risk. And one risk you can always reduce is going with a well-established and well-capitalised provider. CMC Markets is a public company so you can see how well they are doing as a business. Trading is hard enough without having to worry if your broker is going to go bust.

CMCX Share Price

The current CMC Markets (LON:CMCX) share price is 314p which is a change of 4 or 1.29% from the last closing price of 314 with 168,097 shares traded giving CMC Markets a market capitalisation of £878,620,356. The most recent daily high has been 315.5 and daily low 300.46. The CMC Markets share price 52 week high has been 343 and the 52 week low 86.9. Based on the most recent CMC Markets share price opening of 314, the current CMC Markets EPS (earnings per share) are 0.17 and the PE (price earnings ratio) is 18.75. Pricing data automatically updates every 15 minutes, last updated: 19/07/2024 16:35.

Although you’re out of luck if you want to trade CMC shares on CMC, I tried when I was demonstrating how to do a pairs trade against it’s main rival IG. I had to trade CMC on IG and IG on CMC.

Market Range

CMC Markets definitely has one of the best market ranges of all the brokers out there. They don’t offer the most shares by a long shot (they offer around 12,000 assets versus IG’s 17,000 or Interactive Brokers epic coverage, but they have some really great markets that are exclusive to them. I’ve always used them for trading the most popular shares, and I would say they are aimed at more active traders than the other platforms. You only really miss out on smaller cap stocks that aren’t appropriate for margin trading anyway, as they are growth investments.

Sector Bets & Diversification

One of the things that I’ve always liked about CMC is its approach to diversification. Everyone knows that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to investing, and the same is true of trading. You’ve got a better chance of beating the market consistently if you spread your risk across different asset classes and don’t go crazy Rio trading.

I find forex trading incredibly difficult, I’ve never been able to make any money at it because I can’t judge forex price action, I find it too fast-paced. What I like to speculate on is the overvaluation or undervaluation of one currency against another. CMC has a market called weighted currency indices, which basket together one currency again many others. So you can trade how you think the US Dollar is going to perform against the EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, CHF, CNH, JPY and SGD in one go. So instead of an outright punt, you are taking on a Dollar position rather than a USDGBP trade.

CMC Forex Indices

CMC Markets, has always enabled sector bets, but they have fine tuned these over the years because of the proliferation of ETFs into share baskets, like US Gold, Oil & Gas, Luxury Lifestyle and Collaborative Technology. This is great, because I really like trading stocks, I find it quite easy, compared to forex as they are based on fundamentals I understand. Plus, one trading strategy that is relatively simple is trend following, especially now, with the Reddit generation getting so worked up. If you see a sector getting some good press you can jump on the bandwagon without having to sniff out the individual stocks. Likewise, if sentiment is turning negative, it’s time to go short.

CMC Share Baskets


Did you know that CMC Markets was once called deal4free? You obviously can’t say that anything is free now, because the regulators frown on that sort of thing, instead, you have to say something like “zero commission”, because you are being charged something somewhere, you just don’t see it on your statement.

Trading with CMC Markets is obviously not free, but it is cheap, they have always been one of the best value trading platforms. Primarily because the unashamedly act as a market makers.

If you are spread betting, charges are built into the spread and as the name suggests very competitive. It’s always been one of their appeals that if you are trading the most popular and liquid assets, they are one of the cheapest places to do it. Commission charges on single stock CFDs are set at 2 cents per share in the US  and 0.10% for UK and European equities. So you get the choice, if you are a normal trader you can have your costs built into the spread, or if you are one of the bigger boys you can trade CFDs with better pricing and commission charged afterwards.

Alpha & Price Plus

There are two ways to get recognition at CMC. You can either buy your way in with a minimum deposit of £25k and join their Alpha. It’s a nice name because, as I’m sure you know Apha in trading is trying to outperform the market. You get interest on cash balances, discounted spreads and free access to the FT. Or if you can’t afford to buy your way in, you can still get reduced spreads by putting the volume through. The more you trade the lower your spreads will be… Or if you can’t afford that and still want free access to the FT, you just have to copy and paste an FT headline into Google and it’ll get you through the paywall. It’s a trick that everyone knows, which is odd really because if you share an FT login and they see that you are logged in from multiple PCs, the subscription department will give you a quick “courtesy call” to ask what you are doing”.

CMC – Profitable 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 website OPTO, which includes a magazine full of insightful articles, plus 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’s in-house analysis team sits comfortably between the two, and 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.

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 competes with all of the large-scale margin trading brokerages in the CFD, 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 firm’s focus on in-house trading technology, and the use of currency and share baskets, are the key differentiators from their competitors.

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

CMC Markets Awards

CMC recently won “best forex broker” in our 2023 awards.

@good_money_guide Who is the top Forex broker? Check out the Good Money Guide Awards for the best trading platforms and brokers in the market. From shares to stocks, find the perfect broker to suit your trading needs. #GoodMoneyGuide #trading #stocks #broker ♬ original sound – Good Money Guide

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Video Review Of CMC Markets

Watch as we trade live on the CMC Markets trading platform and highlight some of the features unique to them.

YouTube video

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

CMC Markets Facts & Figures

CMC Markets Total Markets
➡️Forex Pairs338
➡️UK Stocks745
➡️US Stocks4968
CMC Markets Key Info
👉Number Active ClientsOver 308,600
💰Minimum Deposit0
❔Inactivity Fee£10 per month
ℹ️ Public Company✔️
CMC Markets Account Types
➡️CFD Trading✔️
➡️Forex Trading✔️
➡️Spread Betting✔️
➡️DMA (Direct Market Access)
➡️Futures Trading
➡️Options Trading
➡️Investing Account
CMC Markets Average Costs
➡️FTSE 1001
➡️DAX 301.2
➡️S&P 5000.5
➡️Crude Oil2.5
➡️UK Stocks0.1%
➡️US Stocks$0.02 per share

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Is CMC Markets trading app any good?

Yes, CMC Markets trading app is one of the best around. But, it’s incomparable to the functionality of their Next Generation trading platform.

CMC Markets’ trading app lets you trade over 12,000 markets via CFDs and financial spread bets. It’s suitable for active traders and has the same fast-paced feel as the main platform.

CMC Markets’ trading app lets you trade over 12,000 markets via CFDs and financial spread bets. It’s suitable for active traders and has the same fast-paced feel as the main platform.

One of the things that makes CMC Markets app stand out for me when I tested it is the focus on media as well as execution. Instead of providing an app that is just a slimmed-down version of the main platform, there is a huge amount of educational and news content available as video. So the app provides a bit more than just a way to stay connected to the markets, it can be a resource and a way to learn whilst on the move.

The analysis section provides insights and intraday updates, news from Reuters, economic calendars and CMC TV can keep you informed and entertained. There are also some quite good platform tour videos, so you can get to know the platform better, some educational videos on how to trade and you can join live events.

The app quite nicely highlights trending, popular and typical markets, which are ranked by activity so you can see the most liquid markets and what is being traded.

One of the standout features though is CMC Markets’ client sentiment data, which is displayed around the order tickets. When you bring up an asset you can see what percentage of clients are long or short, related products and also break it down between which way the profitable and non-profitable clients are trading.

Overall, CMC Market’s trading app is an excellent resource for active traders on the move.

CMC Markets trading app

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Is CMC Markets a good trading platform?

CMC Markets uses its own proprietary trading platform called Next Generation. It was previously called Market Maker, however, the name was dropped because of (presumable) B-book cogitations. CMC Markets also offers MT4, but it’s a light offering.

CMC Markets trading platform is very much a technology-driven solution that aims to offer institutional-grade tools and execution to retail and experienced clients.

One of the stand-out features of CMC Market’s main trading platform is the client sentiment indicators. Whilst most trading platforms provide this information, where you can see what percentage of the client base is long or short an asset, with CMC Markets you can break sentiment down by time frame and profitable clients. Essentially, giving you an indication of where the smart money is going.

Another key feature I liked when testing the platform was the share baskets. CMC has created it’s own sectors on popular themes like driverless cars, cannabis and cyber security. These give traders the ability to quickly speculate on themes through share baskets which are quicker to build than ETFs, meaning as a trader you can take advantage of sector moves quicker than on other trading platforms.

CMC Markets trading platform has one of the widest market ranges for CFD and spread betting clients, you can trade over 12,000 instruments including an industry-leading 338 forex pairs, 124 commodities, and over 1,000 ETFs. However, CMC Markets doesn’t offer as many UK shares (745) and US stocks (4968) as other platforms, instead focussing on the most heavily traded and liquid companies.

Compared to IG, CMC Markets trading platform feels a bit more professional, it has a classic black background, more flashing lights and a slightly more urgent trading ticket. As such, it is more suitable for more active traders trading intra-day.

Overall, an excellent trading platform and a well-run company.

CMC Markets Trading Platform

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Does CMC Markets have a demo account?

CMC Markets has a very good demo version of their forex, CFD and spread beting trading platform and app. CMC Markets demo lets you trade on over 12,000 markets with a virtual and risk free £10,000 with no time limit.

But how does it compare to the live version? I’ve tested and traded on the CMC demo to see how it compares.

It’s worth noting that there is no CMC Markets MT4 demo account and to reset it you have to open a new demo with a different email address.

CMC Markets’ demo is about as good as demo accounts can get. It offers all the main functionality of their live trading platform, including the excellent client sentiment tool, that allows you to see what profitable traders are long or short of.

CMC Markets Demo

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

What’s the difference between spread betting and CFDs on CMC Markets?

Spread betting is better for UK CMC Markets traders as you do not have to pay capital gains tax on profits. Other than that, spread betting and CFDs with CMC Markets are the same in terms of price and market coverage.

CMC Markets pioneered electronic trading in the UK during the early 1990’s and introduce financial spread betting to complement its CFD and forex trading in 2001. Since then the Market Maker spread betting platform has evolved into the “Next Generation” platform and is one of the best proprietary trading platforms for active traders in the industry.

Overall, CMC Markets is an exceptional spread betting platform with innovative features suitable to frequent traders wanting to trade on tight spreads.

  • Spread betting markets available: 12,000
  • Minimum deposit: £1
  • Account types: CFDs, spread betting
  • Equity overnight financing: 2.9% +/- SONIA
  • Pricing: Shares 0.1%, FTSE 1, GBPUSD 0.59

CMC Market’s spread betting offering has always won business by producing great technology that reduces the cost of trading. By focussing on mobile and online trading, they now see over 70% of spread bets go through on mobile versus online.

I found that CMC Market’s spread betting prices were always tight and hail from the original online platform name (Deal4Free, and slogan “compare the spread”). CMC Markets also invented the concept of the daily cash rolling spread bet so traders no longer need to trade the futures price, reducing trading costs further.

Whilst CMC Markets focus on the major markets, they do actually offer access to quite a large amount of assets, over 12,00 including an industry-leading 338 fx crosses (CMC did start as a forex platform), 124 commodities, 28 indices and hundreds of UK and international stocks.

Two of CMC Market’s very innovative spread betting features are how they break down client sentiment and their share baskets. It’s commonplace for spread betting brokers to display client sentiment, but CMC Markets let you filter that sentiment down to profitable clients so it can become more valuable. They also provide a wide range of weighted share baskets so you can spread bets on sectors like driverless cars, big tech, cyber security and China tech, where ETFs have not yet been created.

CMC Markets spread betting platform

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Can you trade commodities with CMC Markets?

Yes, CMC Markets has a very good commodities trading offering, with lots of spot and forward contracts. But you cannot trade on exchange commodities with DMA, instead, you have to trade them as a CFD or spread bet.

CMC Markets lets you spread bet and trade commodity CFDs and with leverage on 100+ instruments. Commodity markets include Gold, Silver, Brent and West Texas Crude Oil plus commodity indices, with tight spreads, lightning-fast execution and some of the highest customer satisfaction in the industry.

  • Commodities markets available: 100+
  • Pricing: Gold 0.3, Oil 0.3

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Why does CMC Markets not call indices by their proper name?

Stock exchange and index owners charge a lot of money to use their trademarked names, so it’s cheaper for brokers to quote OTC prices with a descriptive name.

Indices Trading

CMC Markets lets you trade on over 80 cash and forward global indices based on the FTSE 100 and more, with leverage, on an award-winning spread betting and CFD platform. Trade indices with tight spreads, lightning-fast execution and the highest-rated customer service in the industry.

  • Indices available: 80+
  • Index pricing: FTSE 1, DAX 1, Dow 2, NASDAQ 1, S&P 0.5

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Is CMC Markets a market maker for CFD trading?

Yes, CMC Markets is a CFD market marker in more ways than one. CMC operates a b-book dealing desk model where you are trading against them. CMC also provide liquidity as a market marker for smaller brokers to use their trading volumes.

CMC Markets is one of the original CFD brokers launched in 1989. They offer access to over 12,000 markets and are known for tight pricing and good trading platform tech.

Overall, CMC Markets is an excellent CFD trading platform with good market coverage and very competitive pricing. It’s most suited to short-term CFD traders speculating on the major markets.

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Does CMC Markets have MT4?

Yes, and it’s actually quite a good offering, compared to other main stream brokers like IG who also have their own in-house platform.

You get competitive spreads on 175+ FX pairs, plus indices and commodities with no restrictions on scalping and no restrictions on minimum stop-loss or take-profit distances, or stop-loss and take-profit limits. Additional premium MT4 indicators and EAs, included at no cost on a London-located server.

  • MT4 markets available: 200+

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Can you trade forex on CMC Markets?

Yes, I think CMC Markets is an excellent platform for forex traders. CMC was originally called Currency Management Corporation so its roots are deeply embedded in forex trading.

CMC Markets is suitable for forex traders who want tight pricing with robust technology, but also the options to trade peripheral markets should opportunities occur. CMC Markets won three awards in 2020 for its FX product, including our own Good Money Guide Best Forex Broker award in 2023, and it remains one of the best services out there.

Based on our broker matrix CMC Markets offers the most currency pairs of all the forex brokers we compare. 338 at last count. This is made up of both cash markets, but also CFDs and spread bets based on future prices (not DMA futures, but OTC derivatives based on the cost of carry). The Fx platform lets you rank all 388 fx pairs based on change and market so you can see what is most volatile and what are the cheapest and most expensive crosses to trade. They are also split into developed markets, which will traditionally have more liquidity and emerging markets, where prices may be more volatile.

Prime Forex Services

However, as well as being a client-facing forex broker, CMC Markets also provide liquidity to a wide range of smaller brokers. This means that there should always be good FX liquidity capable of filling large and high-frequency orders from even the most active traders.

And of course, you can see what other traders on the CMC platform think of specific forex markets with the “market pulse” tools. The client sentiment indicator shows how many clients are long or short an FX market, and the Chart forum gives analyst views from a technical perspective.

Forex Trading Platform:

There are a few things that are unique to CMC’s forex trading platform, which are quite handy, for example, the web version is modular so you can set it to update all windows (news, pricing, sentiment, charts etc.) when you click on a new pair, or you can keep them separate. Which can give you either a good market overview, or let you focus on an individual asset.

They also have 12 “Forex Indices” which are baskets of currency pairs that track the same base currency. So instead of speculating on the USD versus a specific currency, you can speculate on how the USD will perform against a broad range of economies, like a sector position in stock trading.

There are a couple of FX ETFs to trade that track GBP, EUR and USD, but there are no OTC options markets, nor can you trade on exchange futures with DMA.

CMC Markets Forex Trading

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

CMC Markets FAQs

Yes. CMC Markets is allows scalping as it’s low costs and liquidity make high frequency trading possible on their platform.

CMC Markets makes money by widening the bid/ask spreads offered to clients, commission and overnight funding and running a B-book.

In 2023, CMC Markets made £233 million from spread betting and CFDs and just under £40 million from stock broking. CMC also benefited from high-interest rates and earned nearly £14 million from interest on client balances.

Yes, CMC Markets is a market maker as well as a broker so they make money from hedging. This is one of the reasons they are able to offer such tight pricing for clients. CMC Markets also provides market making liquidty for smaller brokers.

Yes. CMC Markets offers discount pricing, unique indices, innovative platform, well-established, pioneering, safe (in relative terms), staff always seem to know what they are talking about too.

Yes. CMC offers guaranteed stop-loss orders for which it charges users a premium, however, if that GSLO is not triggered, then the premium you paid is refunded.

Overall yes. Funds are protected by the FSCS as CMC Markets is regulated by the FCA in the UK which ensures that firms treat their customers fairly and have enough money to operate. You can also track the financial health of CMC Markets by looking at their share price on the London Stock Exchange.

I would say that CMC Markets is good for beginner traders if you already have a firm understanding of how the financial markets work. But, if you are brand new to trading you may find the trading platform a bit complex and be more suitable to a broker that offers a mix of trading and investing like eToro.

You cannot set your own leverage on CMC Markets and it is always set to maximum as a retail trader. You can increase your margin and leverage limits if you upgrade your account to “professional trader status”.  If you want to set your own leverage as an active trader, Interactive Brokers offer this facility.

You cannot buy shares on CMC Markets, you can only go long (the equivalent of buying) or short (selling) through CFDs or financial spread bets.

If you want to buy physical shares your only option with CMC Markets is to open an account with CMC Invest, which is their sister investment app for longer-term investing.

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
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