Futures trading is a popular investment option for many UK investors who are interested in speculating on the future prices of various commodities, currencies, and financial instruments. The rise of online trading platforms has made accessing the futures market easier than ever before. However, with so many options available, selecting the right broker can be challenging.
To assist you in making an informed decision, we have conducted research and compiled our findings in this article to help you choose the best futures broker in the UK. In this article, we will compare the fees, features, and trading platforms of the top futures brokers to provide you with essential information to make the best decision for your needs.
Whether you are an experienced trader or a beginner, keep reading to discover the top futures brokers in the UK.
What Makes a Good Broker for Futures Trading in the UK?
When choosing a futures broker, it’s important to consider several factors that can impact a trader’s success. These include:
- Low trading fees: To enhance your profitability in futures trading, it’s crucial to choose a broker with competitive trading fees. You’ll want to look for a broker that offers low spreads, minimal or no commissions. In addition, consider choosing a broker with low account minimums if you are looking to start with a small amount.
- Reliable platform: The trading platform is your primary tool, and it should have all the necessary features for effective trading. The platform should be user-friendly, fast, and reliable. It’s also helpful if the platform includes market news and real-time data feeds, which can give you valuable insights into the market. Additionally, risk management tools such as stop-loss orders and trailing stops can help protect your trades and minimize your risk.
- Excellent customer support: A futures broker’s customer support is essential, particularly for new traders. Fast response times and helpful support staff should be available via phone, email, or live chat to ensure that you can get the help you need, when you need it.
- Regulatory compliance: To ensure the safety of your funds, it’s important to choose a futures broker that is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This helps mitigate the risk of fraud, scams, and other unethical practices in the industry. However, if you’re considering an international broker, make sure they are regulated by a reputable global regulatory body such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA) in the United States, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in Australia, or any other reputable global regulatory bodies.
The Best Futures Brokers in the UK
Interactive Brokers | Best Overall
Interactive Brokers is a well-known global futures broker that provides access to a wide range of futures trading instruments, including equity index futures, commodity futures, currency futures, interest rate futures, stock futures, and more. They offer low trading fees and a trading platform, the Trader Workstation (TWS), that is user-friendly yet has advanced features, making it a great choice for both professional futures traders and beginners.
Saxo Markets | Best for a wide-ranging futures offering
Saxo Bank offers a diverse range of trading instruments, providing traders access to over 300 futures from 28 global exchanges, including equity indices, energy, metals, agriculture, rates, and Forex. It offers competitive trading fees, a user-friendly platform that can be accessed on both desktop and mobile devices, and advanced research and analysis tools.
IG | Best for zero-commission futures trading (CFD only)
IG is a popular broker that offers a wide range of trading instruments, including futures. Additionally, they are known for their high quality research and educational resources. It is ideal if you are looking for a commission-free futures broker.
NinjaTrader | Best for active traders
NinjaTrader is a futures broker that provides access to multiple futures markets such as CME Group, Eurex futures, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), and Coinbase Derivatives. It offers an advanced trading platform with a free simulator for testing trading strategies where you can trade a variety of futures instruments, including indices, commodities, and cryptocurrencies.
Tastytrade | Best for outstanding education features
Tastytrade is a US-based brokerage firm that caters to traders specializing in futures or options contracts. Their platform offers advanced trading tools and education features with low commissions on futures contracts, starting at just $0.50 per contract.
Let’s take a closer look at the key characteristics before delving thoroughly into each broker’s services.
Best Futures Brokers in the UK compared
|Minimum deposit||£0||£500||£250 by card and £50 by bank transfer||£0||$0|
|Availability of GBP account||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Deposit method||Bank transfer||Bank transfer, credit/debit cards||Bank transfer, credit/debit cards||Bank transfer||Bank transfer and CurrencyFair|
|Commissions||Starting at $0.10
(Depending on exchange and account type)
|Starting at $/£1.00
(Depending on exchange and account type)
|£0||Starting at $0.35 per side
(3 pricing plans available)
|Starting at $0.25 per side
(Depending on exchange and account type)
|Withdrawal fees||1 free withdrawal per month||£0||£0||£/$50 for international bank transfer||$45 for international bank transfer|
Futures available for trading by the best futures brokers in the UK
|Equity Index Futures||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Foreign Currency Futures||✔||✔||✘||✔||✔|
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of our top picks for the best futures brokers in the UK and what sets them apart from the rest.
#1 Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers at a glance
Interactive Brokers is an outstanding futures broker that offers traders access to a comprehensive range of futures trading products globally with access to over 30 market centers. It was founded in 1978 and is regulated by many top-tier regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), making it a good choice for British traders. Additionally, it is listed on the NASDAQ exchange (Ticker: IBKR).
Interactive Brokers offers a professional trading platform with multiple features, including a range of order types and algorithms that help traders execute various trading strategies. The TWS (desktop version) platform is one of the best trading platforms with advanced features and a high degree of customisation.
Moreover, the platform 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. In addition, they offer a well-designed web interface, IBKR GlobalTrader, and a mobile app. While all the platforms are designed to provide professional tools and resources to traders, they are also user-friendly for beginners.
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 minimize their costs. However, the fee you pay will depend on your monthly traded volume.
Here is a table summarizing the pricing of futures contracts on IBKR:
|Market||Contract||Commission per Contract|
|United Kingdom||FTSE 100 Index Futures||GBP 0.15 to GBP 0.65|
|United States||E-micro Futures||USD 0.10 to USD 0.25|
|Canada||S&P/TSX 60 Futures||CAD 0.30 to CAD 1.25|
|Australia||Mini SPI Futures||AUD 0.20 to AUD 0.75|
|Germany||Mini DAX Futures||EUR 0.28 to EUR 0.50|
|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|
Note that the commission rates may vary depending on the exchange and the specific contract being traded.
Another essential tool Interactive Brokers offers is the SpreadTrader, a single-screen command center that helps traders manage their futures positions seamlessly. The platform’s Index Arbitrage Meter is another useful tool that traders can use to analyze index arbitrage strategies. The tool measures the spread between futures contracts and their respective spot prices, making it easier for traders to identify opportunities and execute trades.
Interactive Brokers offers multiple account base currencies, including GBP, USD, CAD, AUD, and EUR. However, the only available funding method is through a bank transfer. Additionally, you are only eligible for one free withdrawal per month, which can be a downside for some traders.
You can read our comprehensive Interactive Brokers review for more details.
#2 Saxo Markets
Saxo Markets at a glance
With over 30 years of experience, Saxo Markets is a top futures broker offering traders access to over 300 futures contracts from 28 global exchanges, covering equity indices, energy, metals, agriculture, rates, and Forex. It has successfully served over 876,000 customers globally and processes over 1 million transactions daily. The company is fully licensed and regulated in 15 jurisdictions across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, demonstrating a commitment to the strictest regulatory standards.
Saxo Markets offers competitive pricing on futures trading, with commissions varying based on the contract and the tier of pricing, which is dependent on your trading volume. They offer three tiers of pricing; Classic, Platinum, and VIP, with lower commissions available to traders as they trade more. Below is a small table showing the commissions for USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, and AUD futures contracts for each tier of pricing:
|Contract / Currency||Commission Classic||Commission Platinum||Commission VIP|
|USD||USD 4.00||USD 2.00||USD 1.00|
|GBP||GBP 3.00||GBP 2.00||GBP 1.00|
|EUR||EUR 4.00||EUR 2.00||EUR 1.00|
|CAD||CAD 6.00||CAD 3.00||CAD 1.00|
|AUD||AUD 7.00||AUD 3.00||AUD 1.00|
These commissions are for each contract and each trade (buy or sell) through SaxoTrader 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 you can manage your trades more effectively. With the Time and Sales feature, you can also monitor real-time futures prices and trade directly from the exchange. 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.
75% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
IG at a glance
IG is another broker among our list of top futures brokers in the UK. It has been providing trading services since 1974, with over 320,000 clients worldwide. IG offers a huge selection of CFD futures, including over 80 indices, commodity and bond futures. This makes it easy for traders to diversify their portfolios and access a wide range of global markets.
IG offers you a variety of trading platforms to choose from, depending on your trading needs and preferences. The IG trading platform is available on both iOS and Android devices and features a progressive web app, and can be accessed from any device with internet connection. Additionally, for advanced traders, IG provides access to ProRealTime and MetaTrader4 platforms, which are known for their advanced charting capabilities and customization options. For traders seeking Direct Market Access (DMA), IG provides L2 Dealer, a platform specifically designed for professional traders, providing them with direct access to exchange order books and market depth. IG’s trading platforms also allow you to trade with leverage, which can amplify gains, but it’s important to note that it also increases risks, and you must have a sound risk management strategy in place.
One of the key advantages of trading futures with IG is transparent pricing, with all costs clearly stated upfront. For futures markets, there is no overnight funding fee because the cost of funding is built into the spread. You can check below some of the spreads applied to major futures contracts:
Indices futures spread
Commodities futures spread
|Market||Value of One Contract||Contract Spread|
|Spot Silver (5,000 oz)||$50||2|
|Oil – Brent Crude||$10||6|
|Oil – US Crude||$10||6|
Opening an account with IG is free of charge. However, you should note that there is a monthly account charge of £12 if you haven’t used your account for two years or more. It’s important to keep this in mind to avoid any unexpected charges. The required minimum deposit depends on your funding method. For example, there is a £250 minimum for credit/debit card deposits and a £50 minimum for bank transfers.
NinjaTrader at a glance
NinjaTrader was established in 2003, providing specialized software and brokerage services designed specifically for futures and options trading. The platform gives you access to some of the most popular futures markets, such as CME Group, Eurex futures, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), and Coinbase Derivatives. Their trading platform is used by over 800,000 users making it among the top futures brokers.
NinjaTrader’s trading platform caters to the needs of both professional and beginner futures traders, with advanced technical indicators available on desktop, web, and mobile versions. If you’re new to trading, you can start with a free 2-week trial that includes live-streaming market data and utilize a demo account to practice your skills. Once you’re ready to trade with real money, NinjaTrader offers a free and unlimited trading simulator to further sharpen your skills before jumping into the market.
There is no minimum deposit requirement, and they charge low fees by offering three pricing plans to choose from based on your trading needs. Here are the three plans:
|Plan||Micro futures contracts commission||Standard futures contracts commission||Monthly fee||One-time payment|
In addition to trading fees, you may also be charged for market data depending on which exchange you’re interested in. For example, if you’re looking to access CME Market Data (including CME, CBOT, NYMEX & COMEX), you can opt for a monthly bundle of all four exchanges at $12 or pay $4 per exchange per month. These fees are subject to change based on the exchange and whether you’re a professional or non-professional user.
On the downside, NinjaTrader’s withdrawal and inactivity fees are high. For international bank transfers, you will pay a $50 fee, and if you have an existing account and don’t make any trades during a given month, you will be charged a $25 fee which might not be convenient if you are not an active futures trader.
Tastytrade at a glance
Tastytrade is a futures broker based in the United States that also ranks among the top futures in the UK. It is a subsidiary of IG Group Holdings plc and gives you access to trade futures and gain exposure to indices, Forex, interest rates, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and more.
Tastytrade offers a commission structure that is particularly advantageous for active traders who specialize in niche securities such as futures and options. For instance, on micro and small futures, the commission starts at $0.50 and $1.70 per contract for a round-trip transaction, regardless of your trading volume. This makes Tastytrade an excellent choice for traders of all levels looking to optimize their trading activities and minimize costs. You can find below the commission on major futures contracts.
|Instrument||Commission to open||Commission to close||Additional clearing fee|
|Futures||$1.25 / contract||$1.25 / contract||$0.30 per contract|
|Micro Futures||$0.85 / contract||$0.85 / contract||$0.30 per contract|
|Smalls Futures||$0.25 / contract||$0.25 / contract||$0.05 per contract|
Tastytrade also stands out for its exceptional trading platform, which is available across desktop, browser, and mobile devices. It has advanced multi-account support and reporting, an intuitive dashboard layout, and workflow. The Follow Feed feature allows you to view your favorite trades from selected traders which presents an opportunity to learn from successful traders and gain insights into their strategies, including earnings plays and pairs trades.
Another special feature is the in-platform video feed that sets it apart from other futures brokers. You can watch real traders trade right inside the platform every minute the market is open and hear informed conversations about strategies, concepts, research, and market movements. This feature is an invaluable tool for traders who want to learn from experienced traders and get inspired to try new strategies.
On the drawbacks side, you are limited to opening accounts denominated only in USD, and Tastytrade does not provide any currency conversion services. Additionally, the available deposit methods are limited to bank transfers or CurrencyFair, which may not be ideal for all traders. Finally, when withdrawing funds from your account, it’s important to note that an international bank transfer fee of $45 will apply, which may be inconvenient.
The bottom line
In conclusion, the world of futures trading offers a wide range of investment opportunities for traders in the UK. Whether you’re looking to trade commodities, currencies, or indices, the key to success lies in choosing the right futures broker. In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the top futures brokers in the UK based on key factors such as trading platforms, commissions, regulatory compliance, and more. Here’s a short breakdown of our findings:
Best Futures Brokers in the UK
|#1||Interactive Brokers||Best Overall|
|#2||Saxo Markets||Best for a wide-ranging futures offering|
|#3||IG||Best for zero-commission futures trading|
|#4||NinjaTrader||Best for active traders|
|#5||Tastytrade||Best for outstanding education features|
If you’re feeling unsure about which broker is the right fit for you, don’t worry! Our “Help Me Choose” tool can give you a personalized recommendation based on your preferences. Additionally, our comparison table breaks down the key features of various futures brokers in the UK, making it easier to compare them side by side. Finally, our reviews provide even more details about each broker’s products and services.
What are futures contracts, and how do they work?
Futures contracts are agreements to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined price and date. They allow traders to speculate on the future price of an asset or hedge against price fluctuations.
Can I trade futures in the UK?
Yes, trading futures is legal in the UK, and there are several regulated futures brokers that operate in the country. You can also choose among internationally regulated brokers.
Can I trade Forex in the UK?
Yes, it is legal to trade Forex in the UK, and there are numerous regulated Forex brokers that operate in the country. If you are interested, we have an article on the top Forex brokers in the UK that provides a detailed overview.
What factors should I consider when choosing a futures broker in the UK?
When choosing a futures broker in the UK, factors to consider include fees, trading platforms, product offerings, customer support, regulatory compliance, and educational resources. We encourage you to read this article as we have included all these factors.
What are the fees associated with trading futures, and how do they vary between brokers?
Fees associated with trading futures may include commissions, spreads, and margin requirements and can vary between brokers. Some brokers may offer discounted rates if you trade more.
What types of futures products are available for trading with futures brokers?
Futures products available for trading may include indices, currencies, commodities, interest rates, and cryptocurrencies. Some brokers may also offer options on futures.
What is the minimum account balance required to trade futures?
Minimum account balances required to trade futures can vary depending on the broker. In our list, we included some brokers that do not have a minimum account balance.