The Best Forex Brokers in Malaysia 2020
Finding the best brokers to trade forex in Malaysia may seem difficult. The legal environment for forex traders in Malaysia can be challenging to navigate and choosing the wrong broker is easier than you might think.
While the Securities Commission of Malaysia permits both onshore and offshore brokers, not all of these are a safe choice. Luckily for you, our experts have evaluated hundreds of providers to create a list of secure forex brokers that accept Malaysian traders.
Our best Malaysian forex brokers are all licensed by the SCM, provide Malay language support, accept deposits via localized payment methods, and offer Islamic swap-free accounts. As such, you can trust them to offer a superior trading experience.
Check out our list of reputable forex brokers in Malaysia below or continue reading our detailed guide to discover:
- How forex trading is regulated in Malaysia
- What you will need to open a trading account in Malaysia
- How Islamic accounts work
- The pros and cons of trading forex in Malaysia
Top Malaysia Forex Brokers 2020
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How we find the best forex brokers in Malaysia
As a Malaysian trader, choosing a forex broker can be complicated. However, we’ve done all the hard work for you. The firms that have made it on to our list of the best places to trade forex in Malaysia have all gone through a very rigorous evaluation and testing process.
Based on our extensive experience as professional traders over the years, we’ve developed a highly complex and effective methodology to review and rank brokers. Our team tests each broker using over 200 different criteria points across 10 essential areas, ranging from licensing to reputation.
We understand that not every category has the same level of importance. For that reason, we assign a different weight to each one. A category like licenses and regulation has a more significant impact on the final score than the availability of educational materials, for example.
For those looking to trade forex in Malaysia, however, our forex broker review team also considers certain aspects that will appeal specifically to you.
- Regulation – The main forex trading regulatory body is the Securities Commission of Malaysia (SCM), though Malaysian forex traders can sign up with any internationally regulated forex broker. However, it’s often a good idea to work with a firm that holds the Capital Markets Services License (CMSL) issued by the SCM. All the forex brokers we recommend for Malaysian traders are licensed by the SCM.
- Islamic accounts – We also check to make sure that the forex brokers we recommend offer Islamic forex accounts, customized for Muslim traders, which means they do not charge swaps.
- Localized payment methods – When you make a deposit or a withdrawal through a Malaysian payment method, you’ll save time as well as money. Local payment methods are faster, have lower fees, and will also help you save on currency exchange fees. We ensure that the brokers we recommend offer payment methods convenient for you as a Malaysian trader, including Maybank2u, CimbClick, Alipay, Wechat Pay, MOL-Wallet, GoCash, Zoom payments, iWallet, and more.
- Good spreads on important currency pairs for Malaysian traders – A large percentage of Malaysian forex traders focus on currency pairs that involve the US dollar. This is because the bank of Negara has prohibited the trading of the Ringgit. Therefore, we focus on finding brokers that offer attractive spreads on major USD currency pairs, such as the EUR/USD, the GBP/USD, and the USD/JPY, as well as on some of the more exotic USD pairs, including the USD/SGD, the USD/CNY, and the USD/THB.
- The ability to deposit in Ringgit but trade in another currency – We only recommend brokers who accept deposits in Ringgit but then allow you to trade in US dollars or any other currency of your choice. This way, you won’t have to deal with the hassle of currency exchange, while still ensuring that you align with the law on the trading of Ringgit.
- Customer service and websites in Malaysian – Any forex broker catering to Malaysian traders must ensure that you can understand their offer and communicate with them effectively. This means a good broker will offer support in Malaysian and also have their website available in your language. This is exactly what you can expect from the brokers in our list of the best Malaysian forex brokers. So-called Malaysian forex brokers who don’t offer their website or support in Malaysian will never make it onto our list.
How is forex trading regulated in Malaysia?
While forex trading is legal in Malaysia, technically you can only do so with registered and approved financial institutions. Until recently, these institutions consisted mainly of large financial organizations and banks, which were not interested in working with retail traders.
However, Malaysian law states that it is legal to make overseas investments. Therefore, many Malaysian traders opt to work with offshore brokers and classify their trading as an offshore investment.
Some also claim that the rule of only trading currency with licensed institutions only applies to physical currency. Conversely, retail forex trading, when done online, doesn’t fall into that category because you are trading theoretical currency.
The simplest way to ensure that you are trading forex in Malaysia legally is to use a licensed institution and have an Islamic account.
So, there are ways for you to trade forex legally in Malaysia, especially if you’re using a licensed institution or an offshore forex broker.
However, the law is clear in that you cannot trade forex in Malaysia with someone else’s funds, just as you can’t ask others to provide you with funds to trade.
It should be noted that the government is relaxing the rules of trading forex in Malaysia.
Who regulates forex trading in Malaysia?
In terms of regulatory bodies, trading forex in Malaysia is regulated mainly by The Securities Commission of Malaysia and Bank Negara Malaysia.
Bank Negara Malaysia
Bank Negara is Malaysia’s central bank and controls everything related to the Ringgit. It also advises the government regarding the financial standing of the economy and is also actively involved in everything to do with trading forex in Malaysia.
The Securities Commission of Malaysia
The Securities Commission of Malaysia regulates any company that deals with securities. Some of its functions include:
- Supervising clearance houses, central depositories, and exchanges
- Registering preparation prospectuses other than unlisted recreational clubs
- Approval of corporate bond issuances
- Regulating anything to do with securities and futures contracts
- Regulating mergers and acquisitions
Other regulatory authorities
The other authorities that play a role in regulating forex in Malaysia include the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, the Finance Accreditation Agency, and the Sharia Advisory Council.
- The Malaysian Investment Development Authority lays out the rules of conduct for currency exchange businesses and retail forex traders. They also regulate matters regarding investment in foreign assets, foreign currency loans, Ringgit loans, and opening accounts in foreign currencies.
- The Finance Accreditation Agency was established by the Securities Commission Malaysia and acts as an independent body charged with quality assurance and accreditation for companies operating in the financial services sector.
- The Sharia Advisory Council ensures that the Islamic Capital Market fully complies with Sharia principles.
Trading with offshore brokers in Malaysia
The main issue with trading forex in Malaysia is that, in some areas, this activity is permitted only to a certain point. It’s, therefore, easy to cross the legal line, especially if you don’t research the law in your local area.
You can avoid this issue is by working with an offshore forex broker. Malaysian law allows people to invest overseas, and retail forex trading can be considered a foreign investment, as long as you use an offshore forex broker.
If you choose the right offshore broker, you’ll be able to enjoy a slew of other advantages, including attractive bonuses, investor protection, safety against scams and frauds, and more.
One of the main disadvantages of an offshore forex broker is that you could end up choosing the wrong firms to work with. Some brokers are licensed in regions with regulatory bodies that do little regulating. In these cases, the risk of being defrauded is far higher.
This won’t be an issue, however, if you only choose an offshore forex broker from our list of the best firms to trade forex in Malaysia.
If you decide to work with a different firm, though, make sure they are regulated by a top tier regulatory agency. These include the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Cyprus Exchange and Securities Commission, and the Financial Conduct Authority of the UK.
Top tier regulatory bodies enforce strict rules of conduct for forex brokers, ensuring that these firms treat you fairly. Many of them also require brokers to be part of some form of investor compensation program to ensure that if the firm goes bankrupt, you will receive some form of compensation.
For example, CySEC-regulated brokers are members of the Investor Compensation Fund, which covers forex traders up to €20,000.
Islamic accounts for Malaysian forex traders
Islamic accounts are designed for Muslim traders as you won’t have to pay swaps/rollover fees and will not earn interest. Transactions should also be settled right away. Currencies, therefore, must be transferred between accounts immediately upon the conclusion of the transaction, and the costs must be covered at the same time.
Sharia law does not permit making money from money, known as “Riba”, which includes interest. Likewise, Muslim traders are not permitted to pay interest.
Another consideration is the practice of Gharar, which roughly means gambling, and is prohibited. However, Gharar can also imply making any hazardous sale or risky investment. Some conservatives may feel that speculation on the forex market might equate to Gharar.
Some activities that could be affected by these prohibitions include:
- Swaps: Shariah law states that trading accounts cannot incur or receive swaps on overnight positions.
- Interest on margin deposits: According to Shariah law, a trading account cannot receive interest on the funds it contains.
- Loans: Any funds transferred by a financial institution as a loan with interest terms are prohibited because of Riba. A signed commitment to repay the loan is also forbidden.
- Margin trading: Trading certain securities on margin requires the payment of interest to borrow the funds from a broker to trade, which means it’s against Shariah law. However, trading forex on margin doesn’t involve the payment of interest and only requires a margin deposit.
- Forward sales: Sharia law forbids traders from making agreements to purchase or sell at a future date on a price set today. This means that Muslim traders cannot enter forward contracts or trade futures contracts.
What we look for in Islamic Accounts
Not all forex brokers offer Islamic accounts that conform in full with Shariah law. Some, for example, will place a time limit on the no-swap period. So, they’ll advertise that their accounts are swap-free, but when you read the fine print, you discover that the swap-free period is only authorized for 14 business days, for example.
Other forex brokers claim not to charge rollover fees, but fold these swaps into other fees they charge you or simply name them commissions, which means they are not 100% Shariah-compliant.
Yet other firms might offer a truly swap-free account, but then practice wider spreads and require higher deposits for these types of accounts.
However, if you choose to work with one of the firms on our list of the best brokers to trade forex in Malaysia, you don’t have to be concerned. We’ve ensured that they offer Islamic accounts that are 100% compliant with Shariah law.
What you will need to trade forex in Malaysia
Opening a live forex trading account in Malaysia is a straightforward, simple process. While the details might differ slightly from one broker to another, the overall process is practically the same.
You start by filling out an online application that requires you to provide some personal information, such as:
- Your name and address
- An email address and phone number
- Your date of birth
- Your nationality and an ID/passport number
- A password for your account.
Some forex brokers might then ask you some questions to determine your trading experience and to ensure that you have at least a basic understanding of forex trading.
Then, you will have to upload your government-issued ID or passport, along with a utility bill, to verify your identity and address.
Once the broker verifies your documents, you’ll be able to deposit funds into your account and start trading.
Malaysian forex brokers vs other forex brokers
Trading forex in Malaysia with local forex brokers has a few benefits over using an offshore broker. However, Malaysian brokers also have some limitations.
The benefits of Malaysian forex brokers
Here are some benefits of trading with forex brokers in Malaysia:
- All Malaysian forex brokers must be licensed by the Securities Commission of Malaysia, which ensures that you are in full compliance with the law when trading with these firms.
- Among other responsibilities, the SCM also works to ensure that Malaysian forex traders are safe when trading with a broker that has received a license. Your funds are, therefore, secure when trading with a Malay forex broker.
- Malay forex brokers also offer localized payment methods, so you will get your funds faster than with an international transfer. You’ll also pay lower fees and save on exchange rates.
- Many forex brokers in Malaysia also permit you to deposit funds in Ringgit but to then trade with another currency. It makes life easier for you since you don’t have to go through the hassle of exchanging Ringgit into another currency, while also ensuring that you comply with the law as trading Ringgit is prohibited.
The limitations of Malaysian forex brokers
While trading with a Malay forex brokers means you are safe at all times, these brokers do have some limitations that might make you consider using an offshore broker:
- Trading forex in Malaysia is still a relatively new concept, so local brokers are often not as sophisticated as offshore brokers. This can lead to various issues, including basic trading platforms, lower execution speed, and more.
- You are also limited in terms of trading Ringgit. However, this is an issue common to all forex brokers, regardless of location. The Malaysian government has not lifted its prohibition on trading the local currency to maintain some control over the exchange rate.