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AuthorBy Chris Cammack
Updated: October 22, 2020

The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has so far made no move to provide oversight and control of the Forex trading industry in Nigeria, despite publicly commenting on the potential for abuse in an unregulated Forex market.  Until such time as the SEC offers guidance to Forex traders, and a legal framework for Forex brokers, it is advised that trades register with internationally regulated brokers.

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Leading Forex brokers in Nigeria 2021

Last updated on 22 Oct 2020
Updated 22 Oct 2020
by Editorial Director Chris Cammackby Chris Cammack
Chris Cammack
All Brokers Regulated
All Brokers Regulated
by Trusted Authoritiesby Trusted Authorities
Trusted
1
AvaTrade
Min. Deposit
GBP 100
4.484.48
Min. Spread
0.90 pips
Fx Pairs
50+
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.48/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.9 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. AvaTrade Group regulated by ASIC, FSCA, B.V.I FSC & FSA. 72% of traders lose money with this provider.
2
XM
Min. Deposit
GBP 5
4.384.38
Min. Spread
0.60 pips
Fx Pairs
57
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.38/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.60 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. XM Group regulated by CySEC, ASIC, and the IFSC. 77.19% of traders lose money with this provider.
3
Pepperstone
Min. Deposit
GBP 5
4.614.61
Min. Spread
0 pips
Fx Pairs
80+
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.61/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.09 pips with 7 USD commission round turn on the trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4, MT5 & cTrader platforms supported. Pepperstone is regulated by the FCA, ASIC, and the DFSA. 79.3% of traders lose money with this provider.
4
IronFX
Min. Deposit
GBP 50
4.194.19
Min. Spread
0 pips
Fx Pairs
85
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.19/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.10 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 1000:1. Islamic account available. Only MT4 platform supported. IronFX is regulated by CySEC, FCA, ASIC, and the FSCA. 75.35% of traders lose money with this provider.
5
FP Markets
Min. Deposit
GBP 100
4.234.23
Min. Spread
0 pips
Fx Pairs
60+
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.23/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.10 pips with 6 USD commission round turn on the trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4, MT5 & IRESS platforms supported. FP Markets is regulated by CySEC and ASIC.
6
FX Giants
Min. Deposit
USD 100
3.773.77
Min. Spread
0 pips
Fx Pairs
23
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
1110.503.77/ 5
AlertMost retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.
7
eToro
Min. Deposit
GBP 200
3.693.69
Min. Spread
1 pips
Fx Pairs
52
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
1110.503.69/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. Only eToro proprietary trading platform supported. eToro is regulated by CySEC, FCA, and ASIC. 67% of traders lose money with this provider.
8
Plus500
Min. Deposit
GBP 100
4.094.09
Min. Spread
0 pips
Fx Pairs
70+
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.09/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.80 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Cryptocurrency availability subject to regulation. Islamic account available. Plus500 proprietary trading platform supported. Plus500 is regulated by FCA, CySEC, ASIC, and MAS. All information presented is verified as of the date of the review. 76.4% of traders lose money with this provider.

    How Forex Trading Works

    The name Forex is taken from the two words Foreign and Exchange. Simply put, this is the buying and selling of currency pairs in order to make a profit. The most popular traded pair by volume is the EUR/USD. This is where the Euro is pitted against the U.S. Dollar. Let us say the USD is currently worth $1.08, that means that for every EUR you spend, you will get $1.08.

    The goal is to BUY low and SELL high for a profit, or indeed to SELL high and BUY low. That’s because with Forex trading you can go long or short, meaning you can trade when markets are rising or falling.

    Forex vs. Stocks

    Let’s compare that for a second to the stock market. With stock trading, you are actually purchasing the underlying asset, for instance, the Netflix Stock. When buying an asset you will only profit when the price of that asset rises. Each share of Netflix is expensive. At the time of writing, you can buy 1 Netflix share for $436. It’s hard to get sufficient exposure to the market unless you have a huge amount of capital to start with. With Forex trading you can often start with just $100 minimum deposit.

    Margin and Risk Management

    Most brokers offer you the facility to trade with margin, using leverage. This effectively amplifies the value of your capital, and it also amplifies the risk too. So for a $20 trade, if you are using leverage of 1:100, this will multiply your trade 100 times. $20 x 100 = $2000.

    Risk management is perhaps one of the most important lessons you will learn when trading Forex. It is in effect, how to make your capital last as long as possible and how to take as much profit on the way. Almost every broker offers risk management tools on their platforms. These include the stop-loss order to control losses if trades move against you, or the Take Profit feature to capture profits when the trades move in your favour.

    Brokers work across different regions and under different regulatory authorities. The best known European licensing bodies include the FCA in the UK and CYSEC in Cyprus. In Australia, the regulatory body for Forex is known as ASIC.

    Forex Trading in Nigeria

    Now we will skip across the globe to Nigeria, as that is what you came here for. We will look at this from three angles:

    1. Are there laws regulating Forex trading in Nigeria?
    2. What is the role of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Nigeria,
    3. Have there been instances of Forex scams perpetrated in Nigeria?

    Let’s dive in.

    Is Forex Trading Legal in Nigeria?

    Forex trading in Nigeria is legal and there are neither laws that support it, nor prohibit it. In fact, they seem to positively encourage it. A recent statement made from a source in the Nigerian presidency encouraged youths to go into Forex trading, as a means of generating foreign currency to back up the nation’s dwindling reserves.  

    Nigeria’s foreign revenues come mainly from crude oil sales (95%). The collapse of crude oil prices has hit the country’s financial position very badly. The Federal Government of Nigeria is pressed to balance her budget and has had to downgrade the crude oil price benchmark twice already in 2020.

    The Central Bank is also pressing to have banks convert remittances and foreign currency earnings of individual and corporate account holders into the local currencies, at the point of withdrawals. That’s so the US Dollar equivalents can be made available to the Central Bank to shore up the depreciating foreign currency reserves. The government in Nigeria is also keen on taxing proceeds of trading and has recently passed a Finance Law to broaden the scope of taxation.

    So there is no legal framework which guides or regulates Forex trading in Nigeria, Nigerians are free to trade Forex with any Forex brokers of their choice.

    The Role of the Nigerian SEC

    The financial market regulator in Nigeria is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This body regulates the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the bonds market and the operators within the equity trading industry. Nigeria’s financial markets are not as robust as you would find in the Western world. Short selling is not permitted, and the SEC has not made any moves to regulate the Forex market or other exotic financial trading products. Rather, it has been content with providing disclaimer warnings to the public, asking them to only invest in markets approved by the SEC and only to trade with money they can afford to lose. You might by now be building the picture that there is a huge regulatory lacuna in the Forex industry in Nigeria.

    Scam Forex Brokers in Nigeria

    The regulatory lacuna has led to a proliferation of Forex broker interest in the country, and also unlicensed money managers, signals providers, introducing brokers and schemes which resemble Ponzi-style operations.

    A number of renowned Forex firms have entered the country and established local branches, including Instaforex, Alpari, Liteforex and Avatrade. ACM Brokers also opened shop in Nigeria in 2019. Strangely, these firms are not licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission to offer Forex trading to Nigerian traders. Rather, they are riding on the licenses of their parent firms in Cyprus and other offshore locations to deliver their product offerings to the local market.

    These Forex brokers in Nigeria are not the problem though, as they have conducted business largely with respectability. The biggest scam operations in the Forex market in Nigeria, border on the so-called “trade for me” business models, which are basically a system where someone offers to trade Forex accounts for others with no money management licenses. SEC provides licenses for money managers in Nigeria, but it is virtually impossible to see any one of these “money managers” with an actual license.

    In the last three years, three companies have come into the market offering returns of up to 30% per month for money lodged with them. The companies say they will invest your money into the Forex market. The biggest of these companies is MBA Trading, which has hosted a number of high-profile events in which top-ranking members of the Nigerian government have attended. The company claimed it had an SEC license, but in a strange twist, the SEC named them as an unlicensed company and warned the public against doing business with them. Those who claim to have been paid regularly by MBA Trading have hailed them as the best thing to have ever happened to the Nigerian Forex industry, but critics say their mode of operations and returns paid to clients (which exceed average returns on Forex trading) smack of a well-oiled Ponzi scheme waiting to unravel.

    Trading with Offshore Brokers in Nigeria

    Apart from the Forex brokers mentioned above which are local branches of Forex firms, almost all Forex trading in Nigeria is offered by offshore brokers. There has been quite an evolution in terms of who has been considered the best Forex broker in Nigeria, over the last 15 years. The first offshore Forex broker that offered trading in Nigeria, which commanded a wide section of the market in 2005 was Marketiva (now defunct). This was followed by Northfinance (now FxPro). There has been a tilt towards using Cyprus-based brokers, but the ESMA rules implemented in 2018 are now driving local traders in Nigeria towards the offshore locations of the British Virgin Islands, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Vanuatu and similar locations.

    The Importance of Regulation

    Prior to 2010, the Forex market in Nigeria was hit by many scams and local Forex traders lost millions of dollars to offshore brokers who simply disappeared with their clients’ funds. There is now better awareness about the need to use brokers who are regulated. However, many local traders still patronize unregulated brokers who tempt them with over-the-top bonus offers. Some established names in the local financial markets have begun to lobby the SEC to follow the examples of Kenya, South Africa and Mauritius, by enacting regulatory protocols specifically for the Forex market.

    However, Nigeria is a very ethnically diverse country and certain activities such as the operations of companies in the financial markets are dominated by certain ethnic nationalities. Getting bills to back regulation of such industries to pass in the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives usually requires a lot of collective bargaining that sometimes has to cross these ethnic lines. This makes it not only a difficult proposition but also a lengthy process. A case in point is a bill that seeks to regulate Nigeria’s highly controversial oil sector, which has still not been passed close to 20 years since its introduction.

    Naira Forex Brokers and Naira Forex Accounts

    It can be notoriously difficult to source foreign exchange in Nigeria. The sale of Forex to individuals is tightly regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which arbitrarily fixes the amounts that can be sold to regulated Bureau de Change operators without prior notice. Also, the CBN has set reporting standards that require banks to report to the National Financial Intelligence Unit, any transaction deemed suspicious. The process of documentation and the bureaucracy behind the process has driven many frustrated Forex traders to the parallel market, where foreign currencies are sold at premiums of up to 25% of the official exchange rates.

    Some of the Forex brokers in Nigeria have taken the initiative to allow their clients to fund their accounts in Naira. This has been so successful that any broker that offers the Naira funding option is now regarded generally as the best Forex broker in Nigeria. Naira accounts have removed the entire bottleneck associated with foreign currency operated accounts. They have also made it easier for traders to calculate their risk and returns.

    Islamic Accounts

    Forex trading is conducted mostly by Nigerians from ethnicities in the mostly Christian South of the country, with very little participation from the mostly Muslim North. Therefore, Islamic accounts are not considered an important consideration among the Nigerian Forex trading population. Most Muslim investors prefer to use the Jaiz Bank, Nigeria’s only Islamic-investment compliant financial institution, to run their investments.

    Opening a Forex Trading Account in Nigeria

    The process of opening a Forex trading account in Nigeria is much like everywhere else. Apart from filling the online form, which normally takes a few minutes, verification of accounts has become easier over the years. There used to be a time when Forex brokers in Nigeria required a notarized copy of the international passport, as the only recognized document to prove identity. But things have changed. A reform of the licensing system for drivers in Nigeria has made the drivers’ license an internationally acceptable document for the purpose of identity verification.

    Addresses can be verified with a utility bill or a bank statement, with a 6-month period being the acceptable duration of validity.

    How we Rate Forex Brokers in Nigeria

    We base our decision on a variety of parameters which include the below:

    Broker Type

    ECN trading accounts are generally too expensive for the average Forex traders in Nigeria. Most Forex traders in Nigeria have probably been taught with the MT4 platform, which is a preserve of retail Forex brokers and therefore is the platform of choice for many users. Therefore, market makers dominate this market and look like they will continue to do so for some time to come.

    Account Types

    A large percentage of the market tries out trading with only a few hundred dollars. Therefore, the best Forex broker in Nigeria would be one that provides various account types, which include a micro account to cater to this market.

    Trading Platforms

    As mentioned previously, MT4 is the most popular platform among Forex traders in Nigeria. Other platforms such as the MT5, cTrader, Currenex, ActTrader, NinjaTrader, etc. have all failed to gain traction in the Nigerian forex market.

    Broker Fees

    Studies have shown that Forex traders in Nigeria are not too mindful of spreads. Therefore, a reduction in spread costs does not seem to play an important role in deciding who the best Forex broker in Nigeria would be.

    Customer Service

    Some brokers targeting the Nigerian market now have local support channels, where users can reach representatives who understand the needs of the local populace. This is a crucial ingredient in the marketing and distribution of Forex trading products to the local populace.

    Education and Research

    Education and research are fast becoming the backbone of market penetration for Forex brokers in Nigeria. However, the local brokers appear to be struggling to deliver this. Most of the education and research output has been through physical seminars. But these appear tailored solely towards bringing sign-ups without delivering extra value. Some offshore brokers are capitalizing on this and delivering education and research using experts. Webinars and online content are also being deployed to a greater degree.

    Summary

    Forex trading in Nigeria is legal but unregulated, which puts a greater onus of protection of accounts, on the account owners and not the providers.

    At any time, the SEC may decide to pull off a surprise by regulating the Forex market in Nigeria. But at the moment, offshore brokers are gradually gaining access to this market using local partners. Traders should aim to understand what the Forex brokers in Nigeria offer and which ones best suit their objectives.

    References

    Featured Brokers

    Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors and comes with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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