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Best Futures Brokers in Australia (2024)

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Author
Ivo Kolchev
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Fact checked by
Franklin Silva
Updated
Jan 23, 2024

Futures trading is an increasingly popular investment option among Australians looking to invest and speculate on the future prices of commodities, currencies, and other financial instruments. However, finding the best online investment platform to trade on can be quite challenging.

That’s where we come in. We’ll compare the best futures brokers’ fees, features, and trading platforms, providing you with the essential information you need to choose the one that best suits your specific requirements.

Whether you’re an experienced trader or just starting out, you’ll find everything you need to know right here. So, read on to discover the top futures brokers in Australia.

The Best Futures Brokers in Australia

  1. Interactive Brokers: Best overall futures broker with its iconic Trader Workstation platform.
  2. Saxo Bank: Best for a wide-ranging futures offering through its in-depth SaxoTraderGo platform.

Award Winner

Interactive Brokers logo
#1 Best overall futures broker
Min. deposit of $0
Offers interest on uninvested cash balances, including AUD
Excellent reputation (founded in 1978)
See broker summary
Visit BrokerRead review
Broker summary
CommissionFrom $0.10 (Depending on exchange and account type)
RegulatorsFINRA, SIPC, SEC, CFTC, IIROC, FCA, CBI, AFSL, SFC, SEBI, MAS and MNB.
Futures offeringAgriculture, Currency, Energy, Equity Index, Fixed Income, Metals, and Volatility Futures
Interest on uninvested cashAUD: 3.688%; USD: 4.83%; GBP: 4.673%
AUD available as base currencyYes
Visit BrokerRead review

Award Winner

Saxo Bank logo
#1 Best futures platform for a wide-ranging futures offering
Min. deposit of $2,000
Offers interest on uninvested cash balances
Excellent reputation (founded in 1992)
See broker summary
Visit BrokerRead review
Broker summary
CommissionFrom $1 (Depending on exchange and account type)
RegulatorsASIC, FSA, FCA, SFC, MAS, FINMA, DFSA.
Futures offeringMetals, Energy, Power/Electricity, Grains, Meats & Dairy, Softs, Equity Indices, Currencies, Bonds, and STIR (short-term interest rate) futures
Interest on uninvested cashUSD: Up to 4.08%; EUR: Up to 2.66%; GBP: Up to 3.95% (as of June 2024)
AUD available as base currencyYes
Visit BrokerRead review

62% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

#1 Trader Workstation (IBKR GlobalTrader)

Interactive Brokers logo
Visit brokerRead review

Interactive Brokers at a glance

Desktop, web, and mobile versions
Free software (no fees to use it)
Customizable and user-friendly platform
Education, news, and analysis
Free Demo Account
Visit Trader Workstation - IBRead review

Trader Workstation (TWS), the proprietary trading platform of Interactive Brokers, is one of the most innovative trading platforms developed by a brokerage firm. It includes two subsets: the “TWS Mosaic”, which displays a fully customisable workspace, and the “Classic TWS”, where you can find more complex/advanced tools for more experienced traders.  

You get comprehensive order management, technical charts, watchlists, and other portfolio tools in a single view. You can organise your trading activity by asset classes and, at the same time, keep up to date with relevant market news impacting the markets. TWS offers powerful trading tools like ComboTrader, which helps traders create proprietary combination order strategies or choose from multiple templates with predefined programs to execute futures trades.

Interactive Brokers also offers a web-based alternative called “Client Portal”, a “light” version of TWS, which lets you keep track of your portfolio performance and other essential features with few constraints. The same goes for its mobile app (“IBKR GlobalTrader”), which enables you to check every piece of information on the go.

IBKR offers competitive pricing starting at $0.1 per contract, among the lowest on the market. Although the pricing structure is a bit complex, it is important to note that IBKR has no added spreads, ticket charges, platform fees, or account minimums, making it a great option for traders looking to minimise their costs. However, the fee you pay will depend on your monthly traded volume. You can learn more about the pricing structure on IBKR’s dedicated futures pricing page here.

Below we present a table with a small selection of futures contracts available on IBKR and their respective commissions:

Market Contract Commission per Contract in USD
Australia Mini SPI Futures AUD 0.20 to AUD 1.00
Canada S&P/TSX 60 Futures CAD 0.30 to CAD 2.40
United States E-micro Futures USD 0.10 to USD 0.25
Germany Mini DAX Futures EUR 0.28 to EUR 0.80
Bitcoin Bitcoin Futures USD 5.00
Commodities Commodities Futures USD 0.25 to USD 1.05
Stocks Stocks Futures USD 0.25 to USD 0.85 (depending on exchange)
E-Micro FX E-Micro FX Futures USD 0.05 to USD 0.15

View from Interactive Brokers Web Trader

#2 SaxoTraderGO

Saxo Bank logo
Visit brokerRead review

SaxoTraderGO at a glance

Desktop, web, and mobile versions
Free software (no fees to use it)
Customizable and user-friendly platform
Education, news, and analysis
Free Demo Account
Visit SaxoTraderGORead review

62% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Features three platforms for trading: SaxoInvestor, SaxoTraderGO, and SaxoTraderPRO. Assuming that most people visiting this page have average knowledge of financial markets, we will focus on the middle one: SaxoTraderGO, which, by the way, is the most popular consumer-facing trading platform of the broker.

SaxoTraderGO is an award-winning web-based platform equipped with crucial features: fundamental and technical analysis tools, an extensive charting package, performance analysis, a comprehensive account overview, and a user-friendly interface. It allows you to synchronise every piece of information with the mobile app.

When you trade futures, you will have access to a comprehensive all-in-one screen where you can manage your investments from a wide range of asset classes, currencies, and countries. Saxo Bank has a dedicated futures trading page available here.

The fee on futures contracts will depend on your monthly traded volume. You can learn more about the pricing structure on Saxo Bank’s dedicated futures pricing page here

Below, we present a table with a small selection of currency futures contracts available on SaxoTraderGo and their respective commissions, ranging from Classic from the lowest traded volume to Platinum and VIP for investors trading high volumes:

Contract / Currency Commission Classic Commission Platinum Commission VIP
AUD AUD 3.00  AUD 2.00  AUD 1.00 
US USD 3.00  USD 2.00 USD 1.00
CAD CAD 6.00 CAD 4.00 CAD 2.00
EUR EUR 3.00  EUR 2.00  EUR 1.00 
GBP GBP 3.00  GBP 2.00  GBP 1.00 

These commissions are for each contract and each trade (buy or sell) through SaxoTraderGo and exclude exchange fees

Saxo Markets offers advanced tools for trading futures contracts. With the Futures Spread Trading feature, you can place orders to buy and sell multiple contracts at the same time. The Depth Trader feature lets you see all the buy and sell orders waiting to be executed so that you can manage your trades more effectively. You can also monitor real-time futures prices and trade directly from the exchange with the Time and Sales feature. Saxo Markets provides 24-hour support and educational resources for all types of traders. VIP traders can receive priority support and exclusive invitations to events.

View from SaxoTraderGO

Interactive Brokers vs Saxo Bank

Now that we have outlined the capabilities offered by each of the trading platforms, let’s compare how the two brokers stack up:

Broker Minimum Deposit Futures offering Futures commission, US Regulators
Interactive Brokers $0 Agriculture, Currency, Energy, Equity Index, Fixed Income, Metals, and Volatility Futures. As low as USD 0.1 per contract (depending on exchange and account type) FINRA, SIPC, SEC, CFTC, IIROC, FCA, CBI, AFSL, SFC, SEBI, MAS, MNB
Saxo Bank $2,000 (varies between countries) Metals, Energy, Power/Electricity, Grains, Meats & Dairy, Softs, Equity Indices, Currencies, Bonds, and STIR (short-term interest rate) futures. From USD 1 per contract (depending on exchange and account type) ASIC, FSA, FCA, SFC, MAS, FINMA, DFSA

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a great option for retail investors interested in optimising their trading commissions. It is ideal for beginners or professionals looking for a large number of instruments and a secure broker. Furthermore, Australian residents keeping their idle cash in AUD may collect interest on it.

On the downside, if you are new to investing, the platform might be a bit complicated with too many buttons and features.

You can check IBKR’s dedicated futures website for more information on the broker’s futures offering.

Saxo Bank has a product offering very similar to IBKR, albeit with slightly higher commissions. SaxoTraderGO’s functionalities arguably make it more suited to sophisticated investors who can take full advantage of the platform’s functionalities. 

A potential drawback for Australian residents is that Saxo Bank has not specified the interest it pays on idle AUD cash held in SaxoTraderGo.

Saxo Bank also has a dedicated website detailing the broker’s futures offering.

The bottom line

To sum it up, here’s a brief overview of our findings:

#1 Interactive BrokersBest Overall
#2 Saxo BankBest for a wide-ranging futures offering

With our comparison complete, here is what you need to do to get started on trading futures:

  1. Find a suitable broker.  Make sure the broker works with residents of Australia. Consider the fees and market access of the broker if you are interested in trading niche futures contracts.
  2. Open an account and deposit money: After deciding which broker’s trading platform to use, you must go through the account opening process and deposit money.
  3. You can now trade futures in Australia: Having considered the pros and cons of each broker, and after going through the account opening process, you can take advantage of the endless possibilities offered by the futures market!

We hope that this post addressed some of your concerns. Do your research to find the best investing strategy for you!

Happy investing!

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About the author
Author Avatar
Ivo Kolchev
Investor & Finance Writer

Ivo is a former portfolio manager and financial advisor, turned into a freelance finance writer and stock trader. He enjoys following the financial markets and have invested for over ten years.

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