A professional Forex trading account is a type of Forex trading account found primarily in the EU, UK and Australia that is only accessible to those traders who qualify as professional clients based on strict criteria of capital, trading volume and financial expertise.

It offers higher leverage options and fewer regulatory protections than a standard Forex account.

The main feature is the absence of the 1:30 leverage limit. In a professional Forex trading account, leverage is essentially unlimited, and many brokers offer up to 1:500 leverage.

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What are the requirements to qualify for a professional Forex trading account?

To qualify for a professional Forex trading account under ESMA (Europe), FCA (UK), and ASIC (Australia), a trader generally needs to meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • Trading Frequency: Execute a significant number of trades, with ESMA and FCA specifying 10 per quarter over the last four quarters.
  • Portfolio Size: Possess a substantial financial portfolio, with ESMA and FCA setting a threshold of €500,000 or £500,000, respectively.
  • Professional Experience: Have relevant professional experience in the financial sector, typically for at least one year, as required by all three regulators.

The specifics can vary slightly between the three regulatory bodies.

In practical terms, the trading frequency criterion necessitates a robust history of trading activities. This means that to qualify as a professional client a trader must have consistently engaged in significant trades, averaging around 10 per quarter over the last year. It’s a measure to ensure that the individual has active and regular experience in the Forex market.

Secondly, the portfolio size requirement is about the financial robustness of the trader. A portfolio exceeding €500,000 (or the equivalent in local currency) indicates the trader’s substantial financial involvement and capacity. This threshold includes not just cash but also investments in various financial instruments, ensuring that the trader has a considerable stake and experience in financial markets.

Lastly, the professional experience criterion requires that the trader has worked in a role in the financial sector that provided them with direct exposure to financial trading or advisory services. This experience, typically of at least one year, is crucial as it suggests that the trader has an in-depth understanding of market operations and risks involved.

Are professional Forex trading accounts regulated?

Yes, professional Forex trading accounts are regulated in the EU, UK, and Australia.

In the European Union, Forex brokers offering professional accounts must adhere to regulations set by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and respective national regulators. In the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) oversees the regulation of Forex trading, including professional accounts, while in Australia is the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

These organizations are among the top Forex regulatory bodies, ensuring fair practices and trader protection in their respective jurisdictions.

What’s the difference between a professional Forex trading account and a retail one?

A professional Forex account differs from a retail one mainly in having higher leverage (up to 1:500), access to a broader range of complex financial instruments, and potential participation in active trader programs.

Conversely, retail accounts offer more regulatory protections, comprehensive risk warnings, and stricter margin requirements, catering to less experienced traders with different levels of client money protection.

This distinction underscores the importance of understanding Forex trading account types to choose one that best fits an individual’s experience level and trading goals.

Following is a detailed list of the differences between a professional Forex trading account and a retail one:

  • Leverage Limits: Professional accounts often have higher leverage compared to retail accounts. Leverage in professional accounts can rise even up to 1:500.
  • Regulatory Protections: Retail accounts enjoy more regulatory protections like negative balance protection, which may not apply to professional accounts.
  • Margin Calls: Stricter margin requirements for retail accounts to protect against significant losses.
  • Active Traders Programs: Professional Forex traders can often participate in programs where they can access discounts
  • Access to Financial Instruments: Professional accounts might have access to a wider range of complex financial instruments.
  • Risk Warnings: Retail accounts receive more comprehensive risk warnings and disclosures.
  • Risk Management Tools: Retail accounts often have access to different or additional risk management tools.
  • Minimum Deposit: Professional accounts may require a higher minimum deposit or account balance.
  • Client Money Protection: Different levels of client fund protection between professional and retail accounts.

How does leverage work in a professional Forex trading account?

In both professional and retail Forex trading accounts, leverage functions identically, magnifying both potential profits and losses.

However, professional accounts typically offer more leverage, sometimes as high as 1:500 or more, subject to the broker’s offer, allowing larger positions with less capital.

For example, Pepperstone, IC Markets and FxPro all three offer a maximum Forex leverage in professional accounts of 1:500.

How do trading fees work in a professional Forex trading account?

In professional Forex trading accounts trading fees operate the same way as retail Forex accounts, but professional accounts may benefit from discounts.

These discounts can take the form of rebates, where a portion of the spread or commission is returned to the trader. Such rebates are typically structured to reward high trading volumes, effectively reducing the cost per trade for active traders.

This can be particularly beneficial for those who trade frequently or with large volumes, as even slight reductions in fees can significantly impact overall profitability.

Additionally, some brokers offer tiered pricing structures, where the cost per trade decreases as the trading volume increases.

How does support work in a professional Forex trading account?

Professional Forex traders typically receive dedicated support, offering personalized assistance and expert advice, unlike the standard support available to retail traders.

This enhanced level of service can include more in-depth market analysis, faster response times, and help with complex trading strategies.

Are professional Forex accounts safe?

Professional Forex accounts are generally safe in terms of fund security but carry higher risks due to their nature and features.

In these accounts funds are always segregated when choosing major regulated Forex brokers, meaning the client’s money is kept separate from the broker’s operating funds, enhancing security and reducing the risk of misappropriation.

However, the higher leverage offered in professional accounts, while enabling greater market exposure and potential profits, also significantly increases the risk of substantial losses.

This risk is compounded by the typical lack of negative balance protection in professional accounts, meaning traders can lose more money than they have in their accounts, even though professional traders are presumed to have a better understanding and capability to manage these risks.

What are the pros and cons of professional Forex accounts?

Following is a detailed list of the pros and cons of professional Forex trading accounts.

Pros of professional accounts:

  • Higher Leverage: Provides the ability to control larger positions with less capital, potentially amplifying profits.
  • Access to Advanced Tools: Professional accounts often offer sophisticated trading platforms and tools for detailed analysis and strategy execution.
  • Wider Range of Instruments: Traders can access a broader spectrum of financial instruments, including exotic currency pairs and complex derivatives.
  • Dedicated Support: Enhanced customer service with access to experienced account managers and tailored advice.
  • Fee Reductions: Possible lower trading fees or rebates, especially beneficial for high-volume traders.
  • Professional Networking: Opportunities to connect with a community of experienced traders and industry professionals.

Cons of professional accounts:

  • Increased Risk: High leverage can also amplify losses, making these accounts riskier.
  • Lack of Negative Balance Protection: Traders may lose more than their account balance, owing money to the broker.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Stringent requirements to qualify, including proof of trading experience and financial capability.

What are the best professional account Forex brokers?

According to our research, the top Forex brokers offering professional trading accounts are:

  1. Pepperstone
  2. IC Markets
  3. FxPro
  4. Interactive Brokers
  5. Saxo Bank

However, there are several other best brokers for professional traders, each with special features and offers.

Do all Forex brokers offer professional accounts?

No, not all Forex brokers offer professional accounts.

The availability of professional accounts depends on the broker’s regulatory compliance, resources, and target clientele.

Some brokers cater exclusively to retail clients, while others provide services to both retail and professional traders.

What are the best professional Forex trading platforms?

The offer of platforms for professional Forex traders is extensive. However, the choice of one Fx trading platform over another depends heavily on the type of strategy.

Many pro traders do not need special or complicated platforms, while others, due to advanced strategies, need more complex platforms.

The platforms that are usually preferred by professional Forex traders are:

  • MetaTrader 4 and 5 (MT4/MT5): Popular for their advanced charting tools, custom indicators, and automated trading capabilities through Expert Advisors (EAs).
  • cTrader: Known for its intuitive interface, advanced charting tools, and support for algorithmic trading.
  • Interactive Brokers (IBKR): Offers a comprehensive trading platform with access to a wide range of global markets and financial instruments.
  • Saxo Bank: Renowned for its professional-grade tools, extensive market research, and access to a vast range of currency pairs.

How to choose a Forex broker for a professional account?

Choosing a Forex broker for a professional account involves careful consideration of several key factors:

  1. Verify Regulation: Ensure the broker is regulated by a reputable authority (like FCA, ASIC, or CySEC).
  2. Assess Leverage: Check the leverage offer.
  3. Compare Costs: Compare the cost of trading, including spreads and any commissions. Professional accounts might offer more competitive pricing structures.
  4. Investigate Active Trader Programs: Check the availability of Active Trader Programs. Professional accounts might offer more competitive pricing structures under precise conditions.
  5. Request Deposit and Withdrawal Information: Ask for precise information and reassurances regarding deposits and especially withdrawals.
  6. Evaluate Customer Support: Evaluate the level of customer support, especially availability and access to dedicated account managers or professional trading support.
  7. Ensure Risk Management Tools: Ensure there are adequate risk management tools suited to professional trading.
  8. Research Reputation: Research the broker’s reputation within the trading community. Look for user reviews and testimonials, especially from other professional traders.
  9. Consider Extra Features: Consider any extra features like educational resources, research, trading signals, or access to trading communities

Choosing between a professional or retail Forex account involves similar considerations such as regulatory compliance, trading tools, and fee structures.

However, the decision largely depends on your trading experience and risk tolerance. Both account types require thorough research in terms of features and services offered, underscoring the importance of careful evaluation when choosing a Forex broker.

How to become a professional Forex trader?

Becoming a professional Forex trader involves a combination of education, skill development, and strategic planning. Here’s a step-by-step plan to become a professional Forex trader:

  1. Educate Yourself: Start by learning the basics of Forex trading, including understanding currency pairs, market dynamics, and how global events affect the Forex market. Utilize online resources, books, and courses.
  2. Develop a Trading Strategy: Formulate a trading strategy based on your risk tolerance, capital, and goals. This could include technical analysis, fundamental analysis, or a combination of both.
  3. Practice with a Demo Account: Before risking real money, practice with a demo account. This helps you understand the market’s mechanics without financial risk.
  4. Build a Risk Management Plan: Establish a solid risk management strategy to protect your capital. This includes setting stop-loss orders and determining the size of your positions based on your risk tolerance.
  5. Start Trading with Real Money: Begin with a small amount of capital. Gradually increase your investment as you gain more experience and confidence.
  6. Keep Learning and Adapting: The Forex market is dynamic. Continuously educate yourself about new strategies, market changes, and economic trends.
  7. Maintain Discipline: Stick to your trading plan, and don’t let emotions drive your trading decisions. Discipline is key to long-term success in Forex trading.
  8. Network with Other Traders: Join trading communities or forums. Networking with other traders can provide insights, tips, and support.
  9. Consider Professional Qualifications: While not mandatory, professional qualifications or courses can enhance your understanding and credibility.

Review and Reflect: Regularly review your trades to understand what works and what doesn’t. Use this information to refine your strategies.

How long does it take to become a professional Forex trader?

On average, a period of three to five years might be a reasonable estimate for many traders to reach a level where they could be considered professional, but this can vary significantly.

Some may achieve this more quickly with intense dedication and natural aptitude, while others may take longer.

How much do professional Forex traders make?

A commonly cited range for successful professional Forex traders is a monthly return of 1% to 10%. It’s important to note that these figures can fluctuate greatly.

Some months may yield higher returns, while others may result in losses. The Forex market is inherently volatile, and even professional traders face periods of both profit and loss.

How to earn money by managing other people’s Forex accounts?

To earn money by managing other people’s Forex accounts, you can become a trader for a managed Forex account.

This involves trading on behalf of clients, using your expertise to make trading decisions in the Forex market with their funds.

You typically earn through a fee structure, which may include a performance fee, which is a percentage of the profits generated, a management fee based on the assets under management, or a combination of both.


filippo ucchino

About The Author

Filippo Ucchino
Co-Founder - CEO - Broker Expert
Filippo is the co-founder and CEO of InvestinGoal.com. He has 15 years of experience in the financial sector and forex in particular. He started his career as a forex trader in 2005 and then became interested in the whole fintech and crypto sector.
Over this time, he has developed an almost scientific approach to the analysis of brokers, their services, and offerings. In addition, he is an expert in Compliance and Security Policies for consumers protection in this sector.
With InvestinGoal, Filippo’s goal is to bring as much clarity as possible to help users navigate the world of online trading, forex, and cryptocurrencies.

Trading CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies involves a high degree of risk. All providers have a percentage of retail investor accounts that lose money when trading CFDs with their company. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money and whether you understand how CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies work. Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework. Your capital is at risk. The present page is intended for teaching purposes only. It shall not be intended as operational advice for investments, nor as an invitation to public savings raising. Any real or simulated result shall represent no warranty as to possible future performances. The speculative activity in forex market, as well as in other markets, implies considerable economic risks; anyone who carries out speculative activity does it on its own responsibility.
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