The objective of regulation is to ensure fair and ethical business behavior. In their turn all foreign exchange brokers, investment banks and signal sellers have to operate in compliance with the rules and standards laid down by the Forex regulators. Typically they must be registered and licensed in the country where their operations are based. Licensed brokers may be subject to recurrent audits, reviews and evaluations to check that they meet the industry standards. Foreign exchange brokers may have capital requirements which require them to hold a sufficient amount of funds to be able to execute and complete foreign exchange contracts concluded by their clients and also to return clients’ funds intact in case of bankruptcy.
Each Forex regulator operates within its own jurisdiction and regulation and enforcement varies significantly from country to country. In the European Union a license from one member state covers the whole continent under the Mifid regulation and has resulted in regulatory arbitrage where companies select the EU country that imposes the least controls such as CySEC in Cyprus. Not all foreign exchange brokers are regulated and many will register in jurisdictions that impose low-regulatory environments such as tax havens and corporate havens that form part of offshore banking.
MAIN REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS
Client conduct - These insure brokers cannot make unrealistic or misleading claims or promises. It also prevents brokers from advising clients to take risky trade decisions or to enter into positions that are not in their best interest.
Segregation of client funds - These restrictions ensure that the broker cannot use any of the client's funds for its operational or other expenses. This regulation requires that all deposits be maintained separately from the broker’s bank accounts.
Reporting and disclosure - These rules insure the broker’s clients are well informed of the status of their account and the risks associated with FOREX products.
Leverage limits - These limits ensure clients maintain an acceptable risk level. As such, firms may not offer increasingly higher leverage to consumers (e.g. 1:1000).
Minimum capital requirements - These restrictions ensure that clients can withdraw their funds at any time including in the event of bankruptcy of the broker.
Audit - Periodic auditing assures the broker financial risk is tolerable and there is no misappropriation of funds. To this end, brokers must submit periodic financial and capital adequacy statements.