At InvestinGoal, we adhere to strict standards to ensure an unbiased review process. We conduct our reviews by examining each broker’s offering and performance across 4 key categories. A final rating is produced for each forex broker based on a total of 187 data points. Learn more about our review process and methodology.
To rank the best SEC-regulated brokers, we looked at the following elements:
- A valid SEC license
- Other protections and security offered
- Minimum deposit to begin investing
- Overall broker quality
- Interactive Brokers: best SEC broker overall
- Robinhood: SEC broker for beginners
- TD Ameritrade: most flexible SEC forex broker
- Charles Schwab: best stockbroking service
- Fidelity: best overall investing experience
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.
Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.
You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money
1. Interactive Brokers
- Interactive Brokers LLC is the entity authorized and regulated by the SEC with license n° 8-47257 since 1993 and a registered office in Greenwich, Connecticut.
- In the US, Interactive Brokers is also subject to NFA’s regulatory oversight along with FINRA.
- You can create USD accounts with Interactive Brokers and start with a minimum deposit of $0 under SEC oversight.
- Trading with Interactive Brokers is made on 130 global markets including forex pairs, futures, stocks, bonds, and more.
Visit Interactive Brokers
74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money
- Robinhood is SEC-regulated with a license n° 8-69188 and operates from Charlotte, North Carolina as Robinhood Financial LLC since 2012.
- Robinhood is also authorized to offer its services in the US by FINRA.
- Customers are protected by a further Robinhood coverage of up to $100 million under SEC regulation.
- Investment accounts at Robinhood are set in USD with no minimum deposit required under SEC regulation.
- Commission-free on stock trading, ETFs, options, and you can also invest in cryptos with SEC-regulated Robinhood.
(Your money is at risk)
3. TD Ameritrade
- TD Ameritrade is authorized by the SEC holding a license n° 801-60469 since 1979 and operates from Omaha, Nebraska as TD Ameritrade Inc.
- In the US, TD Ameritrade is also under the oversight of FINRA and CFTC.
- Depositing your funds with TD Ameritrade starts from a minimum of $50 to open USD accounts with SEC regulation.
- Commission-free trading in stocks, ETFs, and options while also TD Ameritrade provides for futures and forex trading under SEC oversight.
Visit TD Ameritrade
(74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money)
4. Charles Schwab
- Charles Schwab has had SEC regulation since February 1987, license n° 801-29938 and operates as Charles Schwab & Co., INC. with a local office in San Francisco, California.
- While being an SEC-regulated broker, Charles Schwab is also under FINRA oversight.
- USD deposits with Charles Schwab are available with wire transfers, electronic funds transfer, or checks under SEC oversight for a minimum deposit of $0.
- Under SEC regulation you can invest in stocks, retirement accounts, managed accounts, and other banking services with Charles Schwab.
Brokerage Products: Not FDIC Insured, No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value
- Another SEC-regulated broker is Fidelity with license n° 8-23292 since 1979 and operates under the Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC business name from Smithfield, Rhode Island.
- Apart from the SEC, Fidelity is also enlisted among the FINRA-regulated brokers in America.
- No minimum deposit is required to open a Fidelity account which by default is denominated in USD under SEC regulation.
- You can invest in stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and much more with Fidelity charging no commissions.
Trading is risky, you can lose money
What is the SEC?
The SEC was founded in 1933 and is one of, if not the most, respected, and well-known financial sector regulatory body in the US.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is active in overseeing many aspects of the financial sector, focusing on the stock market.
They are in fact, one of 4 key market regulators in the United States. The others are the CFTC, NFA, and FINRA. As such though, a broker must register with the SEC particularly if they are offering any stock brokerage services to traders.
How the SEC works
Now that you have taken a look at the very best SEC forex brokers, let’s examine the role of the SEC from the perspective of you as a forex trader, a little more closely.
As mentioned, the SEC is active throughout the financial industry in the United States, focusing especially on the stock market. The SEC does not oversee brokers only, but every company listed on the stock exchange is also overseen by the SEC for compliance.
The main functions and primary roles of the SEC are as follows:
- Protecting the investors
- Applying federal laws
- Stock market oversight
Any company that wishes to list and trade its stock publically must also have approval and regulation from the SEC. All of this is really aimed at protecting you as a trader and investor.
Characteristics and benefits of SEC
Generally speaking, the SEC is one of the foremost regulatory bodies in the United States. To that end, the regulatory conditions in the US for brokers are typically very strict. This can be very good for you as a trader since only the best forex brokers will pursue this regulation due to the level of cost and difficulty involved.
SEC regulation really helps to filter out any untrustworthy brokers from the system and ensure maximum protection for you as a forex and stock trader.
Prohibitions with SEC
The only major prohibition from a forex trading standpoint with the SEC is that CFDs cannot be offered for trading. This is a rule which goes across all of the US regulatory bodies and not just the SEC. So, no trading CFDs in the US.
Differences between SEC-regulated and SEC licensed brokers
The difference between a broker being SEC-regulated, or SEC licensed is related to process. A fully regulated broker is one that goes through the entire process of getting regulated by a body within that country . This can be costly, and time consuming on the brokers’ side.
A broker that is licensed, has not gone through this full regulation process, but is still allowed to offer trading services within that country. This may happen due to various reciprocal agreements that are in place between major regulators around the world.
Within the US, this situation can occur with the NFA, and CFTC regulated brokers, but the SEC is a stand alone regulator. This means that any broker wanting to be regulated by the SEC must complete the entire process first.
How to check if a broker is SEC-regulated
There are a couple of easy ways for you to check and verify SEC broker regulation. The first is you can go to the SEC official website to check the regulation directly. You can also check by following this link to Brokercheck (powered by FINRA) as another alternative.
In any case, to complete this check you will need to know the business name of your broker. This can generally be found at the bottom of their homepage.
How SEC intervene in case of financial abuse?
As mentioned, the SEC has some very stringent regulations for brokers, and broad powers to report and punish these brokers. They have the ability to report any illegal act to the US court, they can also ban particular brokers from the country and fine them.
The SEC is very active and recently exercised this power in fining ICOBox $16 million for offering unregistered securities. They are almost always involved in high-level cases of fraud against some of the biggest names in global business.
How SEC can help you
There are a variety of ways that SEC regulation, and choosing an SEC-regulated broker can help you. If you feel that a broker is engaged in unfair practices, false advertising, or other activities that are not permitted under their regulations, then you can directly contact the SEC Official Website.
This is also the case if you feel you have been the victim of any type of fraud while trading in the US.
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