Tuesday 20 October 2020 10:09 am FXCM Talk

The rise of the retail trader: A short history of how trading became accessible

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Having joined FXCM in 2001 just out of college, Brendan has held various positions within the company over the last 15 years and was appointed Global CEO in 2017.

Once upon a time not so long ago, the world of trading looked vastly different. 

To determine where to invest, a trader had to listen to the radio, read the daily newspaper, maybe even visit the library to research particular industries and individual companies. Once they knew where to invest, they would call their local broker and ask to buy the asset and what quantity they wanted over the phone. It was a manual, time-consuming and unsophisticated process.

Trading has come a long way in the last few decades. Today, a trader can receive a trading signal on their mobile from their broker, open the app and begin trading. That’s it. A few taps are enough to access the latest market news and open a position. It’s automated, instant and effortless. 

With such ease of access, it is no surprise that unprecedented market volatility combined with international lockdowns have drawn more people into the markets than ever before. Many of these traders, despite being young and entering the market for the first time, have been using the latest apps to trade with the best performing shares, stock indices, currencies and cryptocurrencies. 

Yet, the advent of the internet creates new risks as well as new opportunities. There are countless brokers to pick from, each with their own bells and whistles to entice new traders. But beneath the sleek websites and flashy YouTube ads, it is important to know how to distinguish brokers. 

The right trading instrument for every trader

With so many brokers, so many apps, and so many trading instruments, the choices of where to begin can be overwhelming. The good news is that there is an instrument for each risk appetite and every budget. 

With so much volatility providing a lot more room to speculate, brokers have been busy meeting the heightened demand with an array of new trading instruments to keep up with the changing face of the market. There are numerous different trading opportunities available today and the surge in popularity of Contracts for Differences (CFDs) trading has contributed greatly to this. The major benefit of CFD trading is that it does not require you to take delivery of the underlying asset. Once you are trading CFDs you can bet on whichever asset you so desire – whether this is FX, crypto, equities or commodities – you have the versatility to trade seamlessly and efficiently.   

And this leaves with us with what we see today: a market ripe with choice and an opportunity for just about anyone to profit on in a matter of moments.

The right educational tools

With so much choice and opportunity, it’s vital to be informed and aware of exactly what you’re signing up for – for new traders just as much as experienced ones. The choice and flexibility of these instruments does not mean much for the trader who does not understand what they are trading.

 This where your choice of broker becomes important. A reputable broker will provide their clients with all educational resources they need to make to trade safely – webinars, newsletters, trading signals, market data. A reputable broker will teach you how to trade. 

This is the vital difference between harnessing market moves and being caught out by them. Each trading instrument responds differently to market conditions. Currencies, cryptos, commodities – each has its own advantages and risks.  

Making sense of the complexities 

The combination of choice and educational resources has pulled trading into the 21st Century. It has never been easier to get stay informed of market news and open positions based upon these insights.  

In providing digestible information on the latest economic news, trading strategies and market data, leading brokers have emboldened many to begin trading on their own terms. Gone are the days where traders must be glued to screens full of charts and data, waiting for the slightest move – today, trading platforms work around the convenience of regular working people. 

Instead, platforms are intuitive and easy to use, with a variety of customisable trackers and algorithms available to help execute trades from mobile, desktop and the web. No trader should be losing money or missing out on today’s biggest opportunity just because the platform is too difficult to navigate.

It is a complex story of complex markets. Nonetheless, market-leading brokers will harness the most innovative technology to provide traders of all appetites and budgets with the right tools and the right instruments to make trading just that little bit easier. 


CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 

75.38 per cent of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

To learn more about FXCM, visit www.fxcm.com/uk 

FXCM is a leading provider of online foreign exchange (FX) trading, CFD trading, and related services. Founded in 1999, the company’s mission is to provide global traders with access to the world’s largest and most liquid market by offering innovative trading tools, hiring excellent trading educators, meeting strict financial standards and striving for the best online trading experience in the market. Clients have the advantage of mobile trading, one-click order execution and trading from real-time charts. In addition, FXCM offers educational courses on FX trading and provides trading tools, proprietary data and premium resources. FXCM Pro provides retail brokers, small hedge funds and emerging market banks access to wholesale execution and liquidity, while providing high and medium frequency funds access to prime brokerage services via FXCM Prime. FXCM is a Leucadia Company.

Trading Forex/CFDs on margin carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. Leverage can work against you. The products are intended for retail, professional and eligible counterparty clients. Retail clients who maintain account(s) with Forex Capital Markets Limited (“FXCM LTD”) could sustain a total loss of deposited funds but are not subject to subsequent payment obligations beyond the deposited funds but professional clients and eligible counterparty clients could sustain losses in excess of deposits. Clients who maintain account(s) with FXCM Australia Pty. Limited (“FXCM AU”), FXCM South Africa (PTY) Ltd (“FXCM ZA”) or FXCM Markets Limited (“FXCM Markets”) could sustain losses in excess of deposits. Prior to trading any products offered by FXCM LTD, inclusive of all EU branches, FXCM AUFXCM ZA, any affiliates of aforementioned firms, or other firms within the FXCM group of companies [collectively the “FXCM Group”], carefully consider your financial situation and experience level. If you decide to trade products offered by FXCM AU (AFSL 309763), you must read and understand the Financial Services Guide, Product Disclosure Statement, and Terms of Business. Our FX and CFD prices are set by us, are not made on an Exchange and are not governed under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act. The FXCM Group may provide general commentary, which is not intended as investment advice and must not be construed as such. Seek advice from a separate financial advisor. The FXCM Group assumes no liability for errors, inaccuracies or omissions; does not warrant the accuracy, completeness of information, text, graphics, links or other items contained within these materials. Read and understand the Terms and Conditions on the FXCM Group’s websites prior to taking further action.