Beginner’s Guide to Forex Trading in Dubai
Role of the DFSA Plus the Best Forex Brokers Available in Dubai
Since oil revenues plummeted from 50 percent of Dubai's GDP to less than 1 percent today, Dubai created a financial industry that is the envy of the world and forex trading boomed. We explain forex regulation, the Dubai International Finance Centre and the Dubai Financial Services Authority’s regulatory role. We also discuss security and other concerns when choosing a Dubai forex broker and review the 5 best DFSA-regulated forex brokers available in Dubai, selected by our research team.
The Importance of Regulation for Forex Trading in Dubai
The forex industry dealt with its share of fraud, and Dubai forex traders are no exception. Deceptions caused stringent regulation in Dubai. Since it is easy for fraudsters to pose as legitimate brokers and steal unsuspecting traders’ funds and data, it is vital to have a strong regulatory framework.
Exential Investments Scam
A disaster that lingers in Dubai's forex memory is the Exential Investments scam. Established in spring 2012, Exential Investments, Inc. was a money management company claiming to provide forex investment services that would double investors’ deposits. 7,000 of these investors lived in the UAE, with a large number based in Dubai. Concerns surfaced in 2016 when several clients could not withdraw their funds. Others received some returns. This was to encourage investors to continue investing and helped Exential maintain the charade.
Authorities learned funds deposited by new investors were used to pay existing investors. A Ponzi scheme that collected Dh1.8 billion (USD 517.2 Million). In July 2016, the Department for Economic Development in Dubai closed the company’s Media office. Dubai Civil court awarded one claimant Dh1 million, but this was not collected. There are difficulties locating stolen funds. In 2018 after convictions, lengthy prison sentences were given to Exential’s owner, his wife (in absentia), and the company's accountant. Forensic accounting uncovered a convoluted global fraud network.
After promised profits of up to 120 percent, many forex investors were left penniless, losing life savings and retirement funds. Today, 4 years after alarm bells rang, investors battle to reclaim their funds.
Dubai authorities learned many lessons. And although the UAE has stringent regulations in place, these only cover licensed brokerages. It is not possible to monitor every platform since new ones spring up in real-time. Forex traders need to stay vigilant. A good rule of thumb is to not trust ANY forex broker that promises guaranteed returns.
Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC)
A better approach is to use the regulatory bodies in your jurisdiction. Forex trading in the UAE is regulated by the federal Securities and Commodities Authority. This includes parts of Dubai. For this article, we focus on the 110 acres known as the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC).This special economic area was established in 2004 to provide a location where local standards could align with international counterparts. The purpose was to broaden the range of financial assets on offer and help Dubai become an investment magnet. It worked very well. Since its creation the DIFC became one of the world’s leading financial hubs.
A DIFC special feature is its own judicial, legal, and regulatory framework. While aligned with international standards, it retains the region’s specific character. This led to Dubai becoming a global top-10 financial center, able to provide a full range of banking services, including deposits, credit, M&A, underwriting, VC/PE, trade finance, capital markets, forex, and other brokerage facilities.
To encourage the DIFC business growth and development, 3 independent bodies were created:
Figure 1: Bodies of the DIFC
While each body has a crucial part to play in the forex regulatory situation, the focus is on the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) the independent regulator of financial services conducted in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)
The DFSA is the focus of global brokers keen to offer forex services to Dubai residents. With stringent guidelines in place, these applications are not a formality. Those who overcome the hurdles earned their place.
Searching for the right forex platform in Dubai and the DIFC, it can be easy to confuse security and credibility. Regulated brokers are not immune from hacks. Despite their good compliance intentions, your funds and personal data can remain at risk. Brokerage size and length of time trading can be two telling security barometers. Brokerages that perform with these criteria, have the best expertise and financial resources in place to protect you. The opposite is the case for new trading platforms starting and learning as they go.
Essential license check
If you find a preferred broker, the first vital step is to check its DIFC license status. The best way to do this is:
- Go to the DFSA website
- Type in the name of the broker you want to check and
- Click “search”
If your preferred broker does not appear, either it does not have a DFSA license or operates under a different name than its trading name. Take the necessary steps and do your research. It’s a good habit to practice.
At Business24-7 we work to ease burdens on our readers. Our team of analysts works all year to evaluate the best brokers for all asset classes. We conduct extensive due diligence on all brokers and extensive online searches for hacking evidence. We analyze independent audits to assess the appropriateness of security measures.
Which Is The Best Broker to Trade Forex in Dubai?
This is our list of the 5-best DFSA licensed online forex trading platforms in Dubai. We compared trusted brokers based on: traders score, commodities you can trade, trading platforms, funding methods, minimum deposit and welcome bonus and regulation.
IQ Option is the best online broker for options trading. They offer low spreads, a sophisticated trading platform, free demo account, and responsive customer support. IQ Options ensure UAE clients get the best global advanced tools and platforms available. The trading experience on their proprietary web, desktop, and mobile platforms is smooth, easy to learn, and navigate. It is suitable for professional and beginning traders. It offers a variety of charting tools to help traders predict future market movements. Investors can open a demo account with no limitations. $10,000 in virtual currency is provided to practice.Trading since 2013, with 16 million accounts, and 3.6 million trades per day, IQ Options offers a transparent trading platform that enables users to trade forex, stocks, binary options, and cryptocurrencies. IQ Option is a trustworthy online broker subject to the highest standards of regulation and safety in the industry. It is a CySEC authorized company with a 100% clean history.
Based in Melbourne, Pepperstone is a reliable Forex and CFD broker, known for its diversity of trading platforms, industry-leading pricing, fast account opening, and great support. Pepperstone Financial Services (DIFC) Limited is authorized and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority since mid-2020 and is a recent addition to our list. Pepperstone users can trade many assets including forex, CFDs, cryptocurrencies, indexes, shares, and commodities. Forex traders in Dubai enjoy tight spreads, over 80 currency pairs, high-quality educational tools, fast withdrawals, and a minimum deposit of $150.
Pepperstone offers MetaTrader and cTrader trading platforms with multiple self-developed add-ons. Their research is better than average. They have great customer support, an above-average research group, and an award-winning set of educational tools. Their customer service is fast and reliable and is available through 24/5 phone and online chat support plus an extensive FAQ web section, and e-mail.
Founded in 1996, Swissquote is a safe, reliable, and competitively priced broker for trading forex and CFDs. Swissquote’s proprietary trading platform Advanced Trader needs a design overhaul. Traders can use their MetaTrader platform suites MT4 and MT5. Swissquote’s Dubai's presence is provided by Swissquote MEA Ltd., which holds a Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Category 4 license. It acts as the local relationship manager for UAE accounts which are held in Switzerland.Deposits and assets belonging to forex traders in Dubai are held securely in Switzerland with Swissquote Bank Ltd. A safe and low-risk broker for forex, they boast a wide selection of 80 currency pairs, with a good selection of major and exotic pairs among them. As a bank they are regulated by SFC (Hong Kong), MAS (Singapore), FINMA (Suisse), FCA (UK).
eToro is an established social trading company, operating since 2007. They are regulated by the FCA (UK), ASIC (Australia), CySEC (Cypress). Available in the UAE, they are not regulated by DFSA or ADGM. They do not have an Emirates or Dubai office.
eToro is a trustworthy platform. It is licensed by an established regulator. Its main operation is based around CFDs. eToro has an excellent social trading platform that allows investors to follow other traders and copy their investment strategies.
AFSL 491139. High risk to capital.
Q8 Trade is an online broker specialized in trading Contracts for Difference (CFDs). Assets, available to trade include currencies (forex), indices, stock, and commodities. They operate in countries of the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). Q8 Trade does not charge trading fees other than spreads between buy and sell prices. Deposit minimums vary between $250 and $1000. There are no deposit fees while withdrawals cost $30.
Their product catalog includes 50 currency pairs and 150 stock CFDs. Q8 has several accounts and plans from which to choose. The choice depends on the experience level of the trader and their trading budget.
Forex Trading in Dubai – Conclusion
Having learned from experience and thanks to the stringent DFSA regulation, Dubai forex traders have good reason to be confident. While unregulated brokerage firms exist, there is a wealth of educational material on safer brokerages to use. Competition among regulated and licensed brokerages is increasing. This means there is less reason to increase trading risks.
If you have used any of the forex brokerages mentioned in this article, please let us know your experiences. We are keen to hear direct user feedback to align it with our research. We want to provide the best information possible. Happy trading!
If you liked reading this article than you might be interested in these:
- 1 Beginner’s Guide to Forex Trading in Dubai
- 2 Which Is The Best Broker to Trade Forex in Dubai?