UPDATE: In December 2018, Formax Prime announced that they are shutting down their business.
The following is retained for archival purposes:
Formax Prime Capital is a recommended forex broker. They have no known regulatory action taken against them. They also score well across most key criteria, particularly for their true ECN business model.
Don’t open a Formax account before reading this.
This is a review for Formax Prime Capital (UK) Limited, as found at www.formaxprime.co.uk, which is not to be confused with a similar entity called Formax International Market Limited at www.formaxmarket.com. Formax Prime Capital (UK) Limited is owned by the Formax Group Limited, an international financial company with subsidiaries around the world including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, India, and Thailand. Formax Group Limited has been in business since 2013, and has achieved rapid growth since that time.
Hereafter, Formax Prime Capital (UK) Limited will be referred to as Formax Prime.
Formax Prime is an online broker offering an ECN trading environment for spot forex, as well as other trading instruments like indices and commodities. Forma Prime’s website describes a core business approach with a focus on honesty, fairness and high standards of value and service. Of course, this does not mean that clients of Formax are certain or even likely to make money, but that they can expect fair treatment from their broker.
✅Summary of Regulatory Status:
Formax Prime is an authorized firm as regulated by the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA is one of the world’s most reputable forex regulators. Formax Prime is registered under number 624225. Formax Prime has held its regulatory status with the FCA since January 2015. The license under which Formax Prime operates specifies that:
- Formax Prime is allowed to deal with Retail Clients, Professional Clients and Eligible Counterparties as defined by the FCA.
- Formax Prime is allowed to deal with rolling spot forex contracts, commodity options and options on commodity futures
- Formax Prime is required to protect the money that it holds on behalf of its clients. It cannot use this money for its own business or lend this money out to others. Formax and other similar firms achieve this by holding funds in accounts that are segregated from the company’s own funds.
- Formax Prime is allowed to deal in investments as an agent, and only as a principal under the matched principal broker exemption. More on this will be explained below
As an FCA regulated broker, Formax Prime is subject to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for retail forex broker complaints. Formax Prime has a complaints handling procedure documented on its website. Any complaints should first be addressed through that process. If the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of the forex broker, the complaint can be escalated to the FOS, where the FOS can force a resolution in favour of the trader if it is warranted. This is a powerful regulatory mechanism that makes dealing with Formax Prime safer than dealing with unregulated forex brokers.
There has been no known regulatory action taken against Formax Prime.
As noted elsewhere on our website, forex brokers can and do go bankrupt, and forex traders are at risk of losing some or all of their account balances when this happens.
This counterparty risk is considered low for clients of Formax Prime for the following reasons:
- Client funds are held in segregated accounts, so the insolvency of the company should not impact their ability to return account balances to their clients
- Clients are generally not trading against Forex Prime, so clients are not counting on Formax Prime to pay out of its own funds when a client wants to close a trade. Formax Prime is acting as a broker between its clients and a third party. This is contrary to many other retail forex brokers, where the client is trading directly against their broker and is counting on the broker’s solvency to get their money back when they close a trade
- As a FCA regulated broker, clients of Formax Prime benefit from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS is a compensation fund of last resort, to protect customers against bankruptcies of their financial services company. In the unlikely event that Formax Prime cannot return client money, clients may be eligible up to £50,000 of compensation from the FSCS. This protection applies to all clients of that forex broker, and the client does not need to be a citizen of the UK to qualify.
Formax Prime uses the ECN business model. This appears to be a true ECN model from what we are able to determine from Formax Prime’s Terms and Conditions, Best Execution Policy and the FCA license. This is the best business model for a forex broker because it minimizes the potential conflict of interest between the broker and the client. In this model, Forex Prime establishes a trading venue where there are multiple bids and asks provided by liquidity providers or other clients to achieve tight spreads. As clients choose to execute orders, the broker will match up the orders with the bids/asks and confirm and execute the trade for both sides of the transaction. In this model the broker does not trade for its own book and does not trade speculatively for the client.
The FCA license states clearly that Formax Prime is allowed to deal in investments as an agent, and is only able to deal as a principal under a limited license as a match principal broker. Under this limited license, the broker is not allowed to deal on their own account unless several conditions are met, including:
- such positions are incidental and provisional in nature and strictly limited to the time required to carry out the transaction in question
- it has resulted in a failure to match investor’s orders precisely
- the total value of such positions is less than 15% of the broker’s initial capital
Formax Prime offers very competitive spreads, particularly on the major currency pairs. They offer a choice of pricing models:
- An ECN Commission Free Account, which has no commission and the spread includes a mark up to compensate the broker for the service they provide. The spreads start as low as 0.6 pips on EUR/USD, which is incredibly low for an all-in spread
- and ECN Raw + Commission Account, which has lower spreads with a commission that is as low as £3 per lot, but can be higher depending on volume. This also results in very low combined transaction costs. The total transaction costs for this account appear to be higher than the Commission Free Account, but it also includes value added services such as priority withdrawals and a 24/7 personal manager.
The following is an example of live spreads for the Commission Free Account:
The following is an example of live spreads for the ECN Raw + Commission Account:
✅Accounts and Funding:
As noted above, clients of Formax Prime offer a choice of two accounts: the ECN Commission Free Account requiring a minimum deposit of £1000, and the ECN Raw + Commission Account requiring a minimum deposit of £5000. Clients of either account will have access to the following terms:
- account currencies in EUR, GBP, USD
- leverage of 200:1
- minimum volume of 0.01 lot, which are micro lots
- fractional pip pricing
- permission for scalping
- permission for MT4’s expert advisors (EAs)
Of particular importance to new traders is that Formax Prime offers demo accounts that do not expire. This is an unusual and important feature, as it can take months or years for a new trader to learn how to trade profitably. It is very important to have a chance to do this before risking real money. Please see our article on How To Start Trading Forex Safely to find out more about the importance of this.
Clients of Formax Prime can fund their accounts using a variety of methods including:
- Wire transfer with no deposit fee and a fixed deposit fee that depends on the details of the transfer
- Credit or debit cards with a 3.2% deposit fee but no withdrawal fee
- Electronic payments with Skrill Moneybookers and Neteller both with variable and high deposit fees, and more modest withdrawal fees
- China Unionpay with a 1.5% deposit fee and a 1.5% withdrawal fee
Care should be taken in the choice of funding methods to minimize the fees, especially for large funding amounts.
Formax Prime uses the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading platform, offer both a PC/Mac and mobile version. MT4 has the following purported benefits:
- It is a very well-known platform that will have a lot of familiarity for experienced traders, with a common understanding of this platform on online trader forums
- There is a massive library of EAs available to try trading with, and a lot of support available online for how to build your own EAs, which will be appealing to some traders
However, MT4 has been in use since 2005, which is a very long time. It has long ago been surpassed by other more powerful and intuitive platforms. Further, the huge library of EAs in the online market in our opinion is no advantage and will almost certainly lose money for the client. There are many, many scammers out there trying to take your money in exchange for an MT4 EA that will lose money. This is not the fault of Formax Prime, but they could have chosen a more modern trading platform or choice of platforms.
The following is a screenshot of Formax Prime’s user interface:
Broker reviewed: Formax Prime
Review date: 2018-12-02
Rating out of 5: 4.5