How much do forex brokers actually make and what factors affect their total revenue and profit?
To find this information out, the team at InvestinGoal collected data on several stock exchange listed brokers.
The below highlights the revenues and profits of 5 major brokers over the past 5 years.
The data shows IG Markets overtaking Plus500 last year as the most profitable listed broker in the world, with IG Markets reporting over $500 million in profits.
The combined 2021 revenue of all five brokers reached over $2.5 billion, with combined profits totalling over $1.1 billion.
You can view the key data for each broker in more detail below.
|Brokers||PROFIT 2017||PROFIT 2018||PROFIT 2019||PROFIT 2020||PROFIT 2021|
Table of contents
IG Markets is a leading worldwide online trading provider. They invented financial spread betting in 1974 and have been at the forefront of the industry ever since, offering award-winning platforms and market-leading services.
IG Markets have been recognised for many awards over the years, including 2021 winners for Best Finance App and Best Multi-Platform Provider.
IG Markets revenue and profit saw a slight drop between 2018 and 2019 – a 12.9% decrease in revenue, and a 27.3% decrease in profit.
This was expected due to the regulatory earthquake in 2018 (which was highlighted in IG Markets 2018 Financial Report) – the revenue decreased due to the regulatory changes in UK and EU – this was the case across several markets.
To make up for this decrease, the company invested in technology, marketing and new features to offer their clients to recover in a 3-year growth plan to increase revenue – we can see from the chart that this worked.
Both revenue and profit grew massively between 2019 and 2021 for IG Markets; revenue increased by 82.6% and profit by 139.7%.
There were a few different reasons for this growth, a major one being the global pandemic which saw markets becoming highly volatile and saw an influx of new clients.
IG Markets also expanded into new markets and launched new products and services across 2020 and 2021, such as Spectrum, their multilateral trading facility that enables clients across Europe to trade on-exchange products.
Overall, IG Markets revenue has increased by 74% from 2017 to 2021, and profit increased by 120% over the same four-year period.
CMC Markets is another leading broker – they began trading in 1989 and specialise in Spread betting and CFD trading.
CMC Markets have also won multiple awards including the 2021 Number one web-based platform and best spread betting provider. They’re also listed on the FTSE 250.
Between 2017 and 2018, CMC Markets saw a growth of 9.5% in revenue and 19.7% in profit as they expanded into China and the Middle East.
Similarly to IG Markets, there was a decrease in profit and revenue in 2019 due to the regulatory changes in August 2018. These changes prohibited CMC from offering binary options in the EU.
Between 2019 and 2020, CMC Markets saw a growth of 100.7% in revenue and a growth of 1418.9% increase in profit.
Again, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted this due to the market exploding. However, CMC also continued to perform well with their execution times being sustained despite extremely high levels of trading activity.
The company also made a significant investment into technology development which included building a non-leveraged trading platform for their UK clients – this development is expected to lead to a moderate increase in operating costs over the next financial year.
CMC Markets have grown by a total of 355% for profit, and 131.1% for revenue since 2017.
Plus500 was founded in 2008 and are a leading provider for Contracts for Differences (CFDs) and deliver trading facilities on shares, forex, cryptocurrencies, ETF’s and more alongside innovative trading technology.
They are listed on the FTSE 250.
Plus500 started 2017 in a great position thanks to their customer growth and new offices in South Africa and Singapore.
As you can see, both revenue and profit grew in 2018 thanks to huge investments made in the previous year as well as them moving up to the main market of the London Stock Exchange, joining the FTSE list and beginning operations in Singapore.
There was a fairly big drop in revenue and profit in 2019 – these decreases stemmed from a range of events. Regulatory changes affected Plus500’s total revenue as did the new FSC Seychelles licenses, and low market volatility in the first quarter of the year.
In 2020, their revenue and profit saw a huge jump, with an increase of 146.1% compared to the previous year.
Again, the pandemic massively increased the number of people trading and brought huge market volatility – thankfully, huge investments in technology ensured clients had a high-quality trading experience with Plus500.
We can see there has been a slight drop in profit and revenue in 2021, which we expect was caused by the new ASIC regulation which was published in 2020 – this affected Plus500 as they’re an established CFD provider in Australia.
Over the past four years, Plus500 have seen an increase of 64.2% in revenue and 75.3% in profit.
Naga Markets are a German-based Fintech company that aims to make investing simple and accessible for all. They are authorised and regulated by Cyprus Securities and exchange commission and are also listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange.
Naga Markets are also supported by Fosun who is a major shareholder with a billion-dollar asset fund.
In 2017, Naga Markets profit was at minus $2,691,902 – this could be due to past investments made (Naga Trader, Naga Wallet, Naga Virtual) however, we can see revenue is much higher as these investments were successful.
We can see that revenue dropped by 62.3% in 2019 – net profit also reached its lowest amount in the past four years as it dropped to minus $13,454,242. The 2019 Financial Statement revealed that huge regulatory changes affected Naga more than other brokers, which contributed to the drop.
In 2020, Naga Markets profit began to grow and reached a total of 1,553,953 – a 326.4% increase to the previous year, revenue also increased.
The growth was thanks to a combination of COVID-19 creating higher market volatility that attracted more clients, and a company restructure which was completed in 2019 which included a 70% reduction in costs and made Naga a self-sustaining business.
The company also launched a proprietary payment system, making it easier for NAGA clients to transfer money.
Naga Markets saw revenue and profits reach their highest point in 2021 – revenue was at a total of $56,840,000 and their total profit was at $4,547,200.
The company invested a lot into the cryptomarket in 2021 and created a crypto/NFT trading platform – both of these markets have seen a surge in popularity in the past year, which explains the increase.
Overall, Naga Markets increased its revenue and profits by 268.9% in the past four years.
The company have high hopes for the 2022 financial year with the continued growth of crypto and NFTs, as well as their plans to expand into other markets and invest in further platforms.
XTB are one of the largest stock exchange-listed FX and CFD brokers in the world, providing retail traders instant access to hundreds of global markets.
The company is regulated by the world’s biggest supervision authorities and have won numerous awards over the years, more recently including Best Customer Service 2021, Best Forex Broker for low costs 2021, and Best NDD Forex Broker 2021.
XTB entered 2017 in a great position with their highest number of clients from previous years. In 2018, their revenue decreased by 1.5% however, their profit grew by 1.6% – this was likely due to their optimised sales and marketing strategy, new products, shares and ETF from the largest stock exchange in Europe and USA.
In 2019, XTB had 80% more new clients, new CFD products, and more shares and ETFs. Despite this, there was a drop of 18.5% in revenue and 43.9% in profit due to the regulatory changes which caused a drop in trade volumes amongst EU brokers, including XTB.
Again, this company like many others in the space saw a big increase in both revenue and profit in 2020. Much of this was likely due to the pandemic creating higher market volatility and bringing an influx of new traders, as well as XTB’s earlier efforts of optimising their sales and marketing, adding new products, and gaining new shares and EFTs.
We can see that the market slowing down created a slight drop in revenue and profit for XTB in 2021. However, during this financial year, XTB planned to focus on entering new markets, business development, building a client base and increasing clients’ trading volumes.
In the past four years, XTB’s revenue has grown by 100.4% and profit by 125.8%. Their 2022 goals of acquiring 40 thousand new clients quarterly, and increasing marketing spend by 40% suggest that this will increase further in the next financial year.
From the information provided, there are certain key events that have impacted brokers across the board – regulatory changes negatively affected all brokers and caused a decrease in their revenues and profits – Naga Markets faced the biggest percentage decrease between 2018 and 2019 due to these changes.
Although the global pandemic was a nightmare for us all, it’d massively benefitted the trading and investment industry!
All of the brokers we looked at saw a huge increase in their revenue and profit between 2019 and 2020, thanks to COVID-19 creating higher market volatility.
Naga Markets saw the highest percentage increase in revenue, whilst CMC Markets saw the highest percentage increase in profit.
Throughout the last four years, we found that all brokers increased their revenue by a minimum of 64% and their profit by a minimum of 75%.
Although IG Markets gained the highest amount of revenue and profit in 2021 and continue to be a leading broker, Naga Markets had the biggest increase in revenue over these four years with it growing by 268.9% and CMC Markets saw the biggest growth in profit with an increase of 355%.
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