A NFA forex broker refers to a forex (Foreign Exchange) brokerage firm which is regulated and authorized by the United States authority called National Futures Associations (NFA).
The NFA was started in 1982 and it is one of the four US independent regulators. These four include the NFA, CFTC, SEC, and FINRA. Since 2010 brokers who wish to offer services in the US market must hold US regulation from one of these bodies. Of these, the NFA is the primary market regulator within the United States market. There is a lot of collaboration between the NFA and the CFTC in particular when it comes to the regulation of forex, commodities, futures, and other derivatives products within the US market.
If you are looking for a broker which is regulated in the US, then you may also want to look at CFTC regulated brokers for some excellent top broker choices.
In order to rank the best NFA brokers we have taken into consideration a number of factors including the following:
- An active NFA license;
- The commissions charged on forex;
- The general quality of the broker;
- Specific brokers’ features.
What are the best NFA forex brokers?
Below is our curated list of the best forex brokers regulated by the NFA, with details and information about the regulation, the features, and the characteristics.
How does the NFA work?
The role of the NFA takes many forms in the US. On one end, their role is to promote forex, commodities, and derivative products in the US market, while also making sure that the brokers or other financial institutions offering these products are operating completely above board. They collaborate very closely with banks, brokers, and other institutions in the US, particularly the CFTC to both ensure compliance and follow up on their mission to promote trading.
As one of the chief market regulators, the NFA also plays a huge role in protecting you as a trader in the United States. They do this by always being on the lookout for fraudulent firms and brokers, any market manipulation, offering of illegal instruments such as CFDs in the US, or other NFA/CFTC rules violations which brokers must adhere to.
In order to become NFA regulated, the broker or firm faces a long and expensive mission. This is why you may not see too many NFA regulated brokers around, but it is also a factor in making it one of the most trusted in the world due to the fact that only brokers with the very best of intentions would commit to jumping through such regulatory hoops. Some of the requirements in order to become NFA regulated are as follows:
- Brokers have to hold at least $20.000.000 in order to avoid any insolvency cases (caused by market volatility, for example) towards its customers
- Client funds must be held in segregated accounts. This is in order to protect customers money from any case of bankruptcy or fraud
What are the characteristics and benefits of NFA?
If you are under NFA regulation then you can look forward to a maximum available leverage of 50:1 being available on major forex pairs. This is more than you can achieve with some other regulators such as CySEC. With NFA regulation, segregated bank accounts must also be used by brokers, though negative balance protection is not mandatory.
In general, the regulations set out by the NFA are very strict. This is great in terms of making sure you have a very safe trading environment, but not great in that the expenses of passing through the regulatory process reduces the number of brokers that are available to the US market.
What are the prohibitions with NFA?
Under NFA regulations, trading in forex, commodities, and the futures market is permitted. Every derivative product including future, options, bonds, and more, is legal within the US. The only trading which is illegal and strictly prohibited by the NFA is CFDs trading. No NFA regulated broker, nor any broker trading within the US is allowed to offer CFDs trading.
Differences between NFA Regulated and NFA Licensed Brokers
The difference between a regulated broker and a licensed broker in any country is that in order to be regulated, the broker must pass through the complete regulation process. This can often be long and expensive. If the broker is simply licensed, then they are allowed to offer services in a country without being fully regulated by that particular place. This can occur with some other regulators around the world, but is not allowed by the NFA.
In order to offer services in the US, a broker must be fully NFA regulated.
How to check if a broker is NFA regulated
It always makes sense to double check the regulatory status of your broker before you begin trading. To do this for your NFA regulated broker, simply head to the NFA official website and look for the firm register which you can check. You can also follow this firm register link and search for the firm name. This may be different to the broker name though it can often be found at the bottom of your brokers homepage.
How does NFA intervene in case of financial abuse?
The NFA has widespread power to intervene and protect you as a trader if any financial abuse is suspected. This intervention could mean a temporary or permanent ban for the firm in question from operating in the area, or a fine and other sanctions that can be imposed at the discretion of the regulator. The most recent case of this with a major forex broker was in 2017 with FXCM when they were claiming negative balance protection in the US, when it was actually not available to US traders. They were both banned, and remain banned, and also had to pay a hefty $650,000 fine.
How NFA can help you
With that in mind, and the widespread powers that the regulator has demonstrated, there are many ways in which they could help you. These include if you have any disputes with a broker about any of the assets on offer, though you should remember that these disputes must involve NFA members, NFA employees, or NFA associates.
If this is the case, then you can go to the NFA official website and choose the “file a customer claim” option on the Customer Arbitration section to begin the process of filing your complaint for them to follow up on.
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