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How to Get an FX License and Where to Open Bank Accounts for Forex?

Ever wondered how to get an FX trading license? Where to open a Forex brokerage or bank account? Right now may be the right time to ask these questions! 

An offshore forex license is the easiest way to access major liquidity providers to make a profit and build your effective business across the highly liquid global foreign exchange market – the largest market in the world. 

Even the COVID-19 pandemic has not damaged the FX industry! On the contrary: due to the increased volatility of the world’s economy, the opportunities have improved. Forex thrives on volatility.

Forex - support from professionals

An offshore Forex brokerage license will win you the trust of traders, confirm your company’s commitment to excellence and more!

Clients prefer to deal with a trustworthy,  reliable and of course licensed broker who has an impeccable reputation and financial health check. 

If you are new to the Forex brokerage business, you can take advantage of a variety of our expert services. We will guide and facilitate you at every stage – from the company architecture or expansion planning, through the licensing and bank account opening, to the kick-start of your company.

Information is the key to success in this fast-paced arena – so here are some basic facts on the industry.

The foreign exchange market size and your Forex license as a ticket to enter it  

Nowadays, between 170 and 180 currencies are traded globally, not including cryptocurrency (featuring nearly 6,000 virtual currencies). The USD is the most popular of them, and EUR-USD is the most traded currency pair. 

Forex is a worldwide distributed electronic marketplace with a daily turnover worth USD6.6 trillion (as of 2019). Its global worth in 2021 is by rough estimations above $2.409 quadrillion. Wow! The market never sleeps.

Forex markets operate as spot markets (for cash) and derivatives markets offering futures, forwards, as well as currency swaps and options.

There are over 10 million Forex traders worldwide, over 1/3 of them are in Asia. Most traders have never traded in other markets. Individual investors represent less than 6% of all traders. About 15% of traders make profits, others fail. 

The traders’ risks are due to the likelihood of unfavorable fluctuations in supply and demand and therefore currency values. That is why they need specific knowledge (of macroeconomics, market analysis) and technical skills. Many traders prefer to resort to brokers’ services.

Major players are banks, hedge funds, other financial institutions.

The largest hub of FX trading is London, UK. London is closely followed by the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. 

The business is really very simple: FX brokers buy and sell currencies on behalf of their clients and receive a commission for this or charge the spread between the bid and the ask prices. The devil, as they say, is in the details.

At the moment, offshore jurisdictions offer a favorable environment for Forex activities. On our behalf, we are ready to facilitate you at all stages of your business formation and development. 

Why do many brokers get an FX license from an offshore jurisdiction?  

The FX market is not regulated at all in some countries. Many regulators issue licenses, but they are not of equal perceived value. According to DailyForex analytical portal, there are about 2,000 regulated (licensed) brokers in the world.

Unregulated brokers are often linked to scams, particularly from St Vincent and the Grenadines. This jurisdiction does not regulate or license forex and never has, but that hasn’t stopped many people here on the internet setting up companies there!

  • Offshore banks will hardly dare to open an account for a brokerage company without a license. I mean… would you?
  • A license gives you the right to work legally, avoid penalties, and be trusted in the jurisdiction(s) where you are going to offer services. 
  • There are other parameters by which brokers are chosen and rated by clients… but the reputation is the number one criterion. 

We recommend what is known as ‘an offshore brokerage license’, i.e. a license for your company incorporated in an offshore jurisdiction. 

An offshore Forex license offers the following advantages:

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No citizenship nor residence requirements for director/owners.

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Relatively simple due diligence requirements.

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Affordable license fees and renewal costs.

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No leverage restriction on brokerage services.

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Minimum requirements for the share capital or capital deposit.

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Various audit exemptions for small companies

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Simplified accounting.

Every licensed Forex broker can and needs to be sure of the legality of brokerage services rendered to clients. 

However, unfortunately, many scammers sell fake licenses to ignorant buyers. They come from places like St Vincent and Costa Rica. Besides, not all licenses are created equal.

When applying for the license, you should check and be confident that the license is valid and will be accepted across the world or in the target market. This is particularly important if you are planning to expand your business and open your offices in different countries.  

To be convinced of the validity and value of the license, you need the advice of a lawyer who is specialized in forex issues. We recommend a free professional consultation and fee-based facilitation of our legal experts in all matters of your offshore company formation, brokerage licensing, account(s) opening, substance, and expansion.

 We have a network of associate partners in many parts of the world, so our services are fast, reliable, reasonably priced, and very competitive.  

Choose the Forex license by the 6 decisive quality criteria  

As we have noted, licenses differ in terms of their usability across the world, ease of registration and renewal, other criteria (that depend on the regulator). 

 We suggest the basic scale of 6 parameters:

  1. validity in the jurisdiction of your brokerage services state, where the main financial operations will be conducted (please note, that in some jurisdictions an actual Forex license is not required, while in some countries the lack of a proper license is subject to punitive actions);
  2. the speed of obtaining the license (which impacts the speed of setting up a Forex brokerage);
  3. compliance requirements set by  the jurisdiction of your license registration (for example, the in-person presence of the applicant, the fees and capital investment, taxation, reporting, due diligence, ownership transparency, substance, restrictions, non-disclosure of FX trading information, clients’ data, etc.);
  4. access to corporate bank accounts and banking tools for financial transactions with currencies or derivatives (to avoid disappointments at a later stage, this aspect needs to be analyzed in advance, and a pre-approval exercise conducted by our experts by banks’ parameters proves to be a very useful preventive measure);
  5. total costs of the license (fees for registration  and renewal, capital requirements);
  6. planned trading strategy and the broker business model (ECN, STP, DMA, Market Maker, and Hybrid).

Please note: Forex companies are classified as high-risk types of business, so not every financial institution is ready to provide services to such enterprises. Our support includes help with the customer-specific selection of the banks and accounts that will not reject you before they see your application.

Our legal experts’ services also include:

  • asset management;
  • operations with securities;
  • bookkeeping;
  • auditing;
  • international tax planning;
  • building a business in full compliance with international financial rules. 

Where is it easier to get an FX license and bank accounts for Forex? 

There is a huge number of regulators around the world that issue licenses for Forex brokerage, but each of them has different requirements. The rules and requirements for licenses in different countries should not be generalized. Our support for Forex activities abroad will allow you to choose the best jurisdiction, depending on your plans and the local conditions. 

Jurisdictions issuing FX brokerage licenses are often categorized by certain parameters from category A (the most strict requirements, the costs are higher, the substance is a must, the waiting period is longer) to category E (the easiest registration, reasonably low costs, the minimum requirement to substance). 

Let us consider some offshore examples.

Moheli ( M ) – low-cost (small deposit), a fast and simple procedure for registration, the license can be of two types and can cover crypto operations.

Belize ( D ) – licensing is conducted by the BFSC (Belize Financial Services Commission), takes 3-4 months, a bank account set-up is challenging.

Latvia ( E ) is a traditional back-office for the industry with a simple procedure of opening bank accounts for Forex activities and the possibility of repeated applications, the license is trusted by clients from the EU and the CIS countries.

Estonia ( E ) – licensing is conducted within 2-3 months by the Financial Supervision Authority, plus you need to register with the securities regulator.  

Cyprus ( C ) requires a local office presence and payment of local taxes, a reasonable amount of reporting. Forex companies are regulated by CySEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). It is not difficult to open accounts with European banks. 

Whatever the license, its availability is a prerequisite for a positive reputation (and your progress). The document confirms that the company has complied with all norms and requirements, including risk mitigation and protection of the interests of its clients. 

If you feel that you are ready to start an FX brokerage company, you should not miss the opportunity to maximize your chances for success by relying on our professional experts’ competence and experience. 

In our free consultations and fee-based services, we are always guided by the knowledge of our client’s specific aspirations, capacity, potential. To know you better, we ask you to submit a fillable online form. This is the first step to our cooperation. 

Why should you use customized services and one-on-one consulting on the issues of the FX license and bank accounts for Forex? 

Customized expert advice is necessary not only for the right choice of the jurisdiction for the Forex company formation and licensing. It is very important to analyze business planning, including the search for banking options, liquidity provider, offshore payment processor, trading platforms and solutions, business continuity arrangements (failover in case of natural disasters etc).

Our support is not an off-the-shelf package. Our advantage is the thorough guidance and assistance offered to you with compliance in your endeavours. To help you build a successful Forex brokerage  company, we can help to:

  • analyze your capacity, prospects, limitations, and opportunities, 
  • recommend the most appropriate domicile for your Forex company (in an offshore, midshore, or onshore jurisdiction), recommend the business entity type, detail the tax planning prospects, analyze the banking, and other operational opportunities;
  • provide a full range of services for the company formation (the office, staff, online presence, technology, etc.);
  • represent your interests in the relevant regulatory and supervisory national bodies;
  • apply for and register the license for your company;
  • select and open the suitable bank account(s)  for your Forex activities;
  • launch the business and offer ongoing support in the company’s operation. 

We are convinced that there cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution – because there are no standard requirements for applicants for the Forex brokerage licenses across the world. 

Let us compare the differences by studying the cases of the UK, Cyprus, and Vanuatu.

To get an FX License in the UK, the applicant company needs to have a local Director, a local office, a Compliance officer, a business plan, a financial plan for 3 years, an external auditor, implement the AML procedures, and pass the Due Diligence. Minimum capital – from EUR 50,000 to EUR 730,000 (depends on the type of the license)  

To get an FX License in Moheli, the autonomous island government grants a Securities Dealers License after the company passes a reputation test, proves its financial stability, presents a viable business plan, proves that it complies with AML/CFT regulations, submits a detailed business plan, has a local office, deposits the capital of 25,000,000 KMF (about EUR 50,000) and files regular financial statements. 

To get an FX License in Cyprus: the applicant company needs to submit to the CySEC a relatively small package of documents, deposit EUR 730,000 – EUR 1,000,000, implement procedures for KYC clients, and obtain the proper technical equipment for this business. 

The lists of documents and requirements also differ. 

Just like licenses differ by the scope of allowed business activities, so the regulators’ decision can take from a couple of months, up to a year or more.  

Without proper step-by-step support, many companies fail in their applications. Some jurisdictions allow them to file their applications repeatedly, having corrected the mistakes or omissions in the documents, or adding some extra papers to prove they are trustworthy companies. 

What else can we do for you, apart from the Forex license registration? 

To answer this question, we have to ask you to fill out the online form or send us a message specifying your request for a free consultation.

Having studied your form, we can discuss your status, plans, and needs. Then we can help you obtain other kinds of licenses and permits. Here are some examples:

  • payment system licenses covering the EU
  • dealer licenses;
  • banking licenses covering the EU and in some other states;
  • gambling licenses;
  • documents/titles to intellectual property.  

May we restate our very special offer again:  we can help you choose the suitable bank, prepare your application package securing your set-up of account(s) with reliable banks, neobanks, or with the best payment systems. 

  • Our guarantees of success rely first of all on our thorough study of your situation and our experts’ experience on the market.  
  • We take every detail into account so that your documents would meet the real requirements (notarization, dates, apostille, prints, signature, levels of details, etc.). 
  • Besides, our special approach is to conduct the preliminary check of your documents (including the submission to several banks for pre-approval).  
  • Finally, we always recommend that our clients should be ready to submit additional documents on demand from the financial institution. 

The above-mentioned approach will allow you to save time, effort, and of course resources. But above all, you will get what you need!

Such legal customized support is a great advantage because it helps overcome the banks’ fears of risk. Many banks are reluctant to cooperate with offshore/high-risk businesses, including Forex trading. 

However, we keep track of the financial institutions around the world that welcome such companies on the condition that all requirements are observed. They are mostly based in jurisdictions that maintain Forex-friendly policies: Australia, Cyprus, Malta, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, and Seychelles, the Czech Republic, UK, New Zealand, some others.

Who needs a free expert consultation on Forex brokerage company set-up, its FX license, bank accounts for Forex brokerage?

Forex licensing and project start-up assistance is essential for investors and business owners planning to render financial services abroad. Forex licenses allow companies to trade currencies and derivatives, offer asset management services, make different transactions, etc. However, expert facilitation is critically important for guaranteeing the full compliance of the company with the current laws and legal acts, requirements for applicants. It is also important for maintaining justified expectations and thorough planning of further development.

Which jurisdictions are most friendly to Forex brokers?

At the moment, the most attractive countries in terms of requirements and terms of obtaining licenses are Vanuatu, Malta, Moheli, Cyprus, Seychelles, the UK, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Belize, Georgia, Serbia, New Zealand, Australia. These are the countries with quite a developed Forex environment where trading is seen in a positive light.

How much does it cost to get a Forex license?

The costs are country-specific. The overall expenses depend on many factors – quality of the application documents,  fulfillment of the AML, CFT and substance requirements, the services covered, the brokerage market, and many other aspects. The costs and the value (utility) of the license are often correlated. Some jurisdictions offer more than 1 type of license, and their costs are usually not the same. You should specify the jurisdiction you are interested in and send your questions to our experts or book a free consultation. Please find our e-mail at the top of this page.

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