Saxo Markets are a Market Maker Forex broker whose strength is their range of products including 9000 CFDs, 105+ currency pairs, 657 ETFs CFDs and 19,000+ Shares. IC Markets strength is their low spreads through ECN + STP pricing and MetaTrader 4, 5 and cTrader trading platforms.
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Saxo Capital Markets (Saxo Markets) and IC Markets are respected online brokers yet have key points of difference. Saxo Markets is a Market Maker with fixed pricing, while IC Markets is a No Dealing Desk broker that offers tighter, ECN-like spreads.
Both brokers are overseen by top-tier financial authorities. Saxo Bank was established in Denmark and is now regulated in 10 different jurisdictions around the globe, while IC Markets is based in Sydney and overseen by ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission), CySec (Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission) and the FSA (Seychelles Financial Services Authority).
IC Markets is a No Dealing Desk (NDD) broker so it can offer customers a choice of either a standard fixed spread inclusive of commission or an ECN-like raw spread with a flat-rate commission fee. Saxo Markets, on the other hand, is a Market Maker, and therefore only offers clients fixed pricing where trading costs are included in the spread.
To compare spreads between the two online brokers, firstly we look at the fixed no commission spreads offered by Saxo Markets and IC Markets, followed by the ECN-type spreads offered only by IC Markets. Data for the brokers have been taken from each broker’s website.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 04/06/2021
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Compared to other forex brokers, both IC Markets and Saxo Markets offer competitive all-inclusive spreads. Saxo Markets spread only product generally offers tighter spreads than IC Markets with spreads of 0.9 pips for EUR/USD and 0.7 pips for AUD/USD, while IC Markets is more competitive with other currency pairs such as EUR/JPY, GBP/USD and USD/CAD currency pairs. Data has been taken from the broker’s websites.
For those wanting to reduce trading costs while accessing institutional grade spreads, IC Markets offers an ECN-like Raw Account. With No Dealing Desk interference and over 25 top tier liquidity providers, the online broker can offer retail investors ultra-tight spreads from 0.1 pips for EUR/USD and 0.2 pips for AUD/USD currency pairs.
Compared to other top brokers, IC Markets institutional grade spreads can only be challenged by Pepperstone. Although traders pay a flat-rate, round-turn commission fee on top of the Raw spread, trading costs overall are reduced due to the ECN-like pricing. View the standard vs raw spread account comparison to learn more about the differences between the two IC Markets accounts offered.
Although Saxo Markets clients gain access to tight commission-free spreads of 0.7 pips for currency pairs such as AUD/USD, IC Markets Raw Spread account offers clients spreads as low as 0.1 pips, which are hard to beat. IC Markets NDD interference allows for ECN-style pricing and low commission fees, meaning customers can access ultra-tight spreads only offered by the best forex brokers.
Open a demo account >>Visit IC Markets >>
As a Market Maker, Saxo Markets offers customers three tiers of retail investor accounts where commission fees are included in the fixed spreads. Saxo Markets Classic account provides access to the broker’s entry-level prices and standard customer support, while Platinum and VIP account holders gain access to tighter spreads, personalised customer support, and VIP benefits.
On the other hand, IC Markets is a No Dealing Desk (NDD) broker that offers three different account types depending on a trader’s pricing structure and platform preferences. Similarly to Saxos Classic account, IC Markets Standard account includes commission charges in the spread and may suit those new to forex trading.
Unlike Saxo Markets, IC Markets offer two ECN-style accounts for investors’ wanting to trade in an institutional trading environment. Traders using a Raw Spread account pay $7 round turn commission fees on MetaTrader platforms, while cTrader users pay $6 round turn.
All of IC Markets and Saxo Markets account types are available as Islamic Accounts. For traders who follow Islamic finance practises, swap-free accounts ensure no interest is charged or received in accordance with Sharia Law. Instead, Islamic accounts incur flat rate overnight financing fees rather than interest-based charges.
Saxo Markets and IC Markets account types are structured very differently. Saxo Markets offers no-commission fixed spreads with high-volume traders gaining access to discounted prices, whereas clients trading with IC Markets can choose either raw, ECN-like pricing, or a Standard commission-free account.
At CompareForexBrokers, we recommend an IC Markets Raw Spread account, as the account type provides access to narrow ECN-style spreads with low commission fees which will save you on trading costs.
Saxo Markets and IC Markets require significantly different initial minimum deposits. At IC Markets, customers need to deposit $200 into their account to start trading, regardless of account type or trading platform, while Saxo Markets requires a deposit of at least USD $10,000 to open an entry-level, Classic account. For traders wanting to gain access to the tighter fixed spreads offered to Platinum and VIP customers, they are required to deposit $200,000 and $1 million United States Dollars, respectively.
While the large deposit requirements attract high-volume traders, yet rule out Saxo Markets as a broker for many new forex traders. As IC Markets requires the industry average minimum deposit of $200, they are the clear winners of this round.
IC Markets only supports 10 base currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, NZD, etc.) for deposits compared to 24 account base currencies (USD, GBP, AUD, CHF, NOK, ZAR, SEK, etc.) supported by Saxo Markets.
Metaquotes (MT4 and MT5) and cTrader trading platforms are considered the best in the world due to the advanced charting tools and algorithmic trading features available on the 3 platforms.
MetaTrader 4 is the gold standard for forex and CFD trading. The platform is well-known for its robot trading feature known as Expert Advisors. Using the Metaquotes programming language (MQL4) traders can develop and execute algorithmic strategies or download other investors strategies from the MetaTrader library.
When trading CFDs on MT4, users gain access to 20 trading tools exclusive to IC Markets clients. The Advanced Trader Tools include apps such as a Correlation Matrix, Sentiment Trader and Tick Chart Trader, while indicators include Renko, Keltner and Pivot indicators among others.
While MetaTrader4 can be used by IC Markets Standard and Raw account holders, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader are only available to Raw Account holders. MT5 offers similar features to its predecessor, yet traders can access a wider product range and more extensive charting tools.
Unlike MT4, Raw Account holders using MT5 can trade Shares and hedge positions as there is no FIFO (First In First Out) rule. Another improvement from MT4 is Level 2 Market Depth. This allows for transparent pricing where customers can view a range of available prices sourced directly from IC Markets liquidity providers. MT4 and MT5 are available as desktop or Webtrader platforms.
Lastly, cTrader is an option for those wanting ECN-like pricing in a user-friendly, yet professional trading environment. The platform offers ultra-fast execution, comprehensive charting tools, multiple order types and one-click trading. With low commission fees and access to 15 equity indices and 64 currency pairs and metals, cTrader users’ can develop diversified trading strategies with low trading costs. cTrader is available as a Webtrader or desktop trading platform.
As a Saxo Markets customer, a trader has the choice of the broker’s proprietary software – SaxoTraderGO and SaxoTraderPRO. Both platforms provide access to Saxo’s full product range, yet technical analysis and trading tools vary between the two platforms.
Although SaxoTraderGO is suited to all levels of experience, those new to online trading can easily find their way around the user-friendly interface.
SaxoTraderPRO, unlike SaxoTraderGO, is a multi-screen desktop platform designed for experienced traders wanting to conduct advanced analysis and place complex orders.
For Saxo Markets customers wanting to trade on the go, they are restricted to the SaxoTraderGO mobile apps that are compatible with Android and iOS devices. IC Markets clients’ can choose from iOS or Android apps for MT4, MT5 and cTrader.
When comparing the trading platforms available to Saxo Markets and IC Markets customers, IC Markets is the clear front runner as the broker offers the three most popular platforms for automated trading – MT4, MT5 (EAs) and cTrader (cBots).
While Saxo Markets proprietary trading platforms allow for advanced technical analysis and complex orders, IC Markets offers the three best trading platforms available to retail forex traders. Whether an IC Markets customer chooses MT4, MT5 or cTrader depends on the account type a trader signs up to, along with the assets they want to trade.
Both Saxo Markets and IC Markets offer impressive market access that allows traders to develop diversified trading strategies.
IC Markets is one of the best online brokers for traders wanting to incorporate Crypto CFD trading into their strategies. The broker offers 10 different currencies to choose from with up to 5:1 leverage and no commission fees.
As a Saxo Markets customer, traders are restricted to trading Bitcoin and Ethereum Cryptocurrencies as ETNs (Exchange Traded Notes). Many investors prefer to trade Crypto CFDs, as ETNs cannot be traded on leverage.
Other than Forex and Cryptocurrency CFDs, Saxo and IC Markets both provide access to a range of asset classes.
For informational purposes please be advised that Saxo Capital Markets UK Limited has stopped offering cryptocurrency trading to UK retail traders due to the FCA ban on crypto assets. Clients from other countries can still access cryptocurrency trading via Saxo Markets’ subsidiaries.
Both brokers offer impressive market access, providing plenty of asset classes and financial instruments to build diversified trading strategies. While Saxo Markets offers access to over 9,000 CFD markets, IC Markets allows customers to trade 10 different cryptocurrencies, much more than the market average. Both brokers offer strong product ranges, therefore this round is a tie.
Open a demo account >>Visit Saxo Capital Markets >>
Social-copy trading features allow those new to forex trading to build confidence, while experienced traders can save time conducting technical analysis and staying up to date with markets. While Saxo Markets offer no social-copy trading tools, IC Markets allows clients to automate trading with ZuluTrade and MyFxBook.
ZuluTrade is an automated trading service where users can copy experienced traders’ strategies.
Myfxbook AutoTrade is an account mirroring service compatible with MT4.
As Saxo Markets does not offer any social-copy trading services, IC Markets is the winner. For those wanting to automate their trading with account mirroring services, IC Markets offers the choice of either ZuluTrade and Myfxbook.
While Saxo Markets charges no deposit or withdrawal fees, the online broker offers limited funding methods, failing to provide clients with any e-wallet payment methods. To deposit or withdraw funds from a Saxo Markets account, traders can use bank transfers, credit card or debit card (Visa and Mastercard).
Depending on the trading accounts base currency, IC Markets offer an extensive selection of fee-free deposit and withdrawal methods. As well as Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards, clients can use the following funding methods: Bank transfer, PayPal, Neteller, Neteller VIP, Skrill, UnionPay, bPay, FasaPay, POLi, Rapidpay, Klarna and Bitcoin Wallet. For traders moving funds around using International Wire Transfer, a fee of AUD $20 will be incurred when withdrawing funds.
As with many online brokers, Saxo Markets customers incur a £25 fee if they have not made a trade during the previous three months. Unlike Saxo Markets, IC Markets do not charge inactivity fees, clients can leave their trading account idle for any length of time.
Saxo Markets fails to provide e-Wallet deposit and withdrawal methods, so IC Markets wins this round. IC Markets offers 10 different funding methods with no deposit or withdrawal fees, while also charging no inactivity fees.
Yes, IC Markets is considered to be a safe broker by all industry standards. IC Markets is an award-winning forex broker regulated by tier-one regulatory bodies (ASIC) able to process over $15 billion in daily forex volume. IC Markets clients rate this broker 4.8 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot.
At IC Markets, scalping and all other trading styles are allowed. IC Markets is able to boast interbank spreads starting from 0.0 pips and fast order execution speed of 40ms, which is conducive for scalpers and automated trading. The wide network of liquidity providers (+25 tier-one LPs) allows IC Markets to keep the average EUR/USD spread at 0.1 pips one of the lowest spreads worldwide.
You can review our unbiased IC Markets Spreads and Fees Comparison for a complete evaluation.
Yes, Saxo is considered a safe broker by all industry standards. Saxo Markets is licensed in 15 jurisdictions, a secure and stable broker with clients from over 120 countries and +125k daily executed trades.
Compare Saxo Markets’ strengths and weaknesses here: Saxo Capital Markets 2021 Review.
Although Saxo Markets provides access to over 9,000 CFDs, one of the best product ranges available to retail investors, IC Markets offers an ECN-style trading environment with more than enough financial instruments to establish diversified portfolios. With spreads as low as 0.1 pips on major currency pairs, IC Markets is the overall winner when compared to Saxo Markets. The online broker offers ultra-tight spreads with low commission fees, automated trading features (Expert Advisors and social-copy trading), as well as a diverse range of CFDs and Cryptocurrencies.
Both forex brokers have a global presence with IC Markets headquartered in Sydney, Australia while Saxo Markets is headquartered in Denmark, Copenhagen including 12 global offices (London, Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai, etc.).
Justin Grossbard has been investing for the past 20 years and writing for the past 10. He co-founded Compare Forex Brokers in 2014 after working with the foreign exchange trading industry for several years. He also founded a number of FinTech and digital startups including Innovate Online and SMS Comparison. Justin holds a Masters Degree and an Honours in Commerce from Monash University. He and his wife Paula live in Melbourne, Australia with his son and Siberian cat. In his spare time, he watches Australian Rules Football and invests on global markets.