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Professional trading accounts offer sophisticated and experienced investors higher leverage, lower costs, and wider market access. We have ranked, compared and reviewed some of the best professional trading accounts in the UK to help you choose the most appropriate account for your trading strategy.

Best Professional Trading Accounts 2022

Our picks for the best professional trading accounts are based on over 7,000 votes in our annual awards, our own experiences testing the accounts as well as an in-depth comparison of the features that make them stand out compared to alternatives.

City Index

City Index: Best for trading signals & analytics

City Index professional account offers higher leverage, generous cash rebates across all asset classes and dedicated account management.

Pros:

  • Smart trading signals
  • Voice brokerage
  • Post-trade analytics

Cons:

No DMA

74% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Interactive Brokers: Best for sophisticated traders

With IBKR’s Universal Account, clients can trade stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds, and funds around the world from a single screen. Fund your account in multiple currencies and trade assets denominated in multiple currencies

Pros:

  • Sophisticated order execution
  • Wide market range
  • Futures and options

Cons:

  • US-based
  • No voice brokerage

60% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

CMC Markets

CMC Markets: Best for segregated strategies

Get a London-based account manager, segregate multiple strategies, and control your risk with customised leverage and with dynamic Trading, you only pay interest on your net borrowings and not your full position size.

Pros:

  • Advanced trading platform
  • Tight pricing
  • High volume rebates

Cons:

  • No DMA

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Pepperstone

Pepperstone: Best package of MT4 trading indicators

Access to higher leverage, exclusive account features and qualify join the Active Trader program where you’ll earn cash rebates for your trades. Plus get a dedicated relationship manager to look after all your trading needs and receive priority service.

Pros:

  • Excellent MT4 offering
  • Tight pricing
  • Automated trading

Cons:

  • No DMA

74% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

IG: Best for liquidity & market range

Trade all the usual IG markets as well as full range of cryptocurrencies, as well as our digital 100s with margins up to 90% lower and get a rebate on your spread each month. Plus use up to 95% of your IG share dealing account as margin for leveraged trades.

Pros:

  • Wide market range
  • Excellent liquidity
  • Personal service

Cons:

  • No on-exchange futures or options

73% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Saxo Markets: Best for advanced & professional traders

As a professional client margins are reduced to 1.5% forex, 2.5% for indices and 10% for equities. Plus, you can use a percentage of your shareholdings as
collateral for margin trading.

Pros:

  • DMA trading
  • On exchange futures & options
  • Robust trading platform

Cons:

  • No spread betting

70% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Compare Professional Trading Accounts

Professional trading accounts explained:

In this guide we will go through what professional accounts are, the pros and cons and also who they are appropriate for.

What is a professional trading account?

A professional trading account is an account that offers a higher leverage or margin on trading products such as CFDs or spread betting. Experienced clients can opt to upgrade from a retail classification to professional by proving they have significant and or professional trading experience.

Because of the new ESMA rules Spread betting and CFD platforms are therefore placing their hopes on professional client accounts, but how can you make sure you choose the best option?

New restrictions from the ESMA threaten to put the party on hold for spread betting firms, but they have responded by opening up a host of professional trading platforms. But how do these work, can you qualify and how do you tell the difference between them?

Besides that professional clients are deemed capable of making their own investment decisions. Criteria may change a little from platform to platform, but generally speaking you will need to have been working in a professional position in financial services for at least a year, have a portfolio of at least €500 and you must have a certain level of professional trading experience.

Should you become a professional trader?

First of all, professional CFD and spread betting accounts are not for everyone. I’ve been involved in spread betting and CFDs for about twenty years, but of late there has been a real move to make CFDs and spread betting mass-market products. However, they are not.

There are about 150,000 active traders in the UK, about 340,000 in EMEA and only about 100,000 in the US. Which is not really a lot, when you think about the size of the overall investing markets.

No matter how many brokers sponsor football teams, or how many flash little gits you see on Instagram bragging about their Forex profits, derivatives is not for the masses.

Trading spread betting (compare spread betting brokers here) and CFDs (compare CFD brokers here) is very risky and as per the new ESMA required risk warnings around 75% of traders lose money. But who knows what that is based on, or how accurate the reporting is, or even if it’s even relevant.

But never the less, traders will trade and they will want to make the most efficient use of their risk capital by searching for a broker that offers the best margins, rates and access.

If you qualify for a professional trading account they are a safer option than going offshore with an ASIC-regulated broker.

How to get a professional trading account:

Traders must be able to answer ‘yes’ to two or more of the below criteria to be considered for classification as a professional trader:

  1. Has your trading averaged 10 significantly sized leverage transactions per quarter over the last 4 quarters?
  2. Do you have a financial instrument portfolio, including cash deposits, exceeding €500,000?
  3. Have you worked in the financial sector in a professional position, requiring knowledge of derivatives trading, for at least a year?

What is the difference between professional and retail status?

The key differences between brokers offering professional trading accounts are:

  • Margin rates
  • Commission rates
  • Spread width
  • Additional/restricted market access
  • Voice brokerage/personal account managers

Commission reductions for professional trading accounts

Some professional trading accounts also offer rebates for higher volume trading. Or may even offer a reduction in trading commissions for high volume accounts

They may also differ in the amount of support they offer and the accessibility of their service. Because you’re classified as a professional investor, many firms may assume a certain level of knowledge on your part. This means the language may be more complicated and they may offer little in the way of tuition, or expert support.

Professional trading account margin rates

Retail margin rates are capped by the FCA and one of the major benefits of a professional trading account is that you get increased leverage and reduced margins. This increases the amount of exposure you can have to the market, but it also increases the risk, and with it how much you could potentially lose.

Benefits of professional accounts

There are benefits to becoming a professional trader. These benefits can include;

  • a reduction in margin rates
  • using collateral as margin
  • rebate on high trading volumes

 You’ll be treated as someone who knows what they are doing and understands the risks they are taking on.

You’ll be given a dedicated client account manager and access to the latest and most sophisticated trading software. Most will also offer reductions on margin rates. Most importantly you’ll get better margin rates when trading CFDs or spread betting in a professional account.

The other main benefit is that your trading costs are lowered the more you trade. For high volume traders broker will offer a rebate on trading fees, which is essentially reducing your commission, if you put the volume through.

Risks of professional accounts

However, there are disadvantages too, such as;

  • no negative protection
  • no leverage or product restrictions
  • assumption of increased experience by the brokers so they won’t explain things in detail

As result a professional client, you’ll waive some of the FCA protections given to retail clients. Negative balance protection does not apply, so if your losses exceed your balance you could be in trouble.

FAQ:

How do professional traders trade forex?

Professional forex traders will trade DMA forex, forex CFDs, forex futures and forex options through a futures broker

What software do professional traders use?

Professional traders will either use an inhouse developed trading platform from professional futures brokers like Interactive Brokers or Saxo Markets, or a futures trading platform like TT (Trading Technologies)

How do you trade the markets like a professional?

To trade the markets like a professional, you will need experience, risk capital and treat trading as your primary income source.

How do you become a professional stock trader?

The easiest way to become a professional trader is to get an official trading qualification and trade for an institutional capital markets company.

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