66.30 % of retail investors lose their capital when trading CFDs with this provider.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 66.30 % of retail investors lose their capital when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Forex and regulation

Published: 19.05.2023

Nowadays, online trading and Forex is a highly regulated industry. However, this has not always been the case. In this article, we will take a closer look at regulatory measures in the online trading industry. Is it something that an investor or trader should want? And how does a regulated broker differ from an unregulated one? Read on and find out!

Regulation in online trading refers to a set of rules, laws, and guidelines that aim, among other things, to regulate the way in which financial market activities occur in the online environment of trading platforms. These rules are issued by EU Regulators (i.e. CySEC, CNB, KNF, CONSOB, etc) . These rules and directives set the trading environment on financial markets to be as transparent and fair as possible for investors and traders.

A little bit of history

Online trading began to gain popularity in Europe in the late 2000s, when the first brokers appeared, offering their clients the opportunity to trade on financial markets. The prospect of generating profits from the comfort of one's home appealed to an ever-increasing number of people, and so by the time the 2000s were over, we could basically talk about an online trading boom.

It was a business sector in which relatively large sums of money were being made and which was not yet fully covered by legislation at that time. In this grey area, the state regulatory authorities did not have much control, and unfair behavior by some brokers to the detriment of their clients was possible. It took several years and several cases of broker misappropriation before the environment in the EU began to fully address the regulation of online trading.

Not all regulations are equal (EU vs offshore)

The regulatory environment varies from country to country. For example, the EU legal environment is typically much more stringent in terms of regulatory control of brokerage firms than let’s say offshore jurisdictions. Brokers licensed in these offshore jurisdictions are subject to less stringent regulation than, for example, brokers licensed in an EU Member State.

EU Regulation

  • Higher level of client protection
  • More complex client registration process
  • More suitable for beginner traders/investors

Offshore regulation

  • High leverage option
  • Less complex client registration process
  • A significantly lower level of client protection

EU Regulation

The online trading industry within the European Union is overseen by ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority). This authority is the EU’s financial markets regulator and supervisor. One of ESMA's main objectives is to protect consumers (retail investors and traders) which it tries to achieve through various steps.

Negative balance protection

Probably the most important aspect of client protection that ESMA has put into practice. Let’s say that the client in our previously mentioned example had a really unfortunate trade and now faces a loss exceeding his account balance, due to the reckless usage of financial leverage. In a normal situation, common sense would tell us that he will go into debt. Luckily, our trader chose to trade with an EU-regulated broker. This means he will not go into debt. This is because, thanks to the negative balance protection, a client of an EU-regulated broker cannot lose more money than he has deposited in his trading account.

Reduced financial leverage

Financial leverage allows investors and traders to open multiples of trading positions and trade a larger volume of transactions than with their own money. Thus, in case of a successful trade, leverage multiplies the result, but it works the same way in case of a loss.
It is the financial leverage that is a big attraction, for many traders. But trading on the financial markets is not a simple matter and the combination of lack of experience and financial leverage can quickly cost beginners their money.
That's also why ESMA set the leverage limit for retail clients in the EU at 1:30 in 2018, and higher leverage (up to 1:400) can only be provided by brokers to clients who have met a number of criteria for Professional Client status.


Segregation of client deposits

As we mentioned in the minor historical throwback at the beginning of our article, the Forex industry and online trading, in general, have come a long way since its beginnings. In particular, the industry's unregulated beginnings have sometimes led to brokers using capital from client deposits to fund their operations and even to cases of embezzlement.

ESMA, therefore, supervises brokers operating in the EU to ensure that client deposits are protected. One way is by depositing client funds in separate bank accounts. Brokers cannot use client deposits to fund their operations. Thus, situations similar to the early days of online trading cannot be repeated.


KYC regulation (know your customer)

This is a regulatory requirement in order for Brokers to identify their clients. If you have ever opened an account with a broker and been frustrated by the number of personal documents and proof of income documents you had to provide during registration, then they were probably an EU-regulated broker.

The goal is to prevent money laundering, fraud, and even terrorist financing. By relying on these rules, a broker can be a little more confident that its services are not being used by clients for nefarious purposes.

Offshore regulation

Clients of offshore brokers, for example, can expect much higher leverage, which can be a welcome change for some more experienced traders. However, the problem arises when they lose more than their trading account balance due to this leverage. This is because the offshore license does not obligate the broker to protect clients against negative balances, so the client may become indebted to the broker.

How to know where a broker is regulated?

Now you are probably wondering how to tell whether the broker you are researching is regulated offshore or not. Fortunately, there are several reliable ways to get to the answer.

Broker's license

A broker needs a specific license to offer its services. This is issued by the regulatory authority of a particular state. Any reliable and transparent broker should have a regulation and licensing section on their website where you can find the regulatory bodies under which the broker falls, as well as the states in which the broker is authorized to practice.

As a regulated broker, Purple Trading is licensed in the following countries:







Czech republic









ACPR i Authorization number: 68519/62627


BaFIN i Authorization number: 145745




MNB i Authorization number: K8801622





CONSOB i Authorization number: 4246

FKTK i Authorization number: NCB 397




LB i LEI Code: 213800T8I5VC4HS1GR60




MFSA i Authorization number: LIL4




Finanstilsynet i Authorization number: FT00089934












CNMV i Authorization number: 4023


FI i Authorization number: 38346


You will often see the phrase "XY% of client accounts are loss-making" in online brokerage advertisements. If you are wondering why a broker would voluntarily disclose such, often unflattering, statistics, trust that the Regulators are imposing this requirement.

For example, CySEC which is the relevant Regulator in Cyprus, and which Purple Trading is registered/licensed, requires brokers to include disclaimers in their marketing materials. These can take many forms - from the aforementioned sentence under the banner of a Facebook ad to the colossus of several paragraphs that you will find in the footer of this article.

Example of a disclaimer on an online advertisement


The online trading environment has undergone significant regulatory changes since its inception in the EU. This has provided a degree of protection for investors and traders, but it is still necessary to take into account that the financial market environment is itself very risky. However, if you want to be sure of maximum protection, the logical step is to open an account with an EU-regulated broker. At Purple Trading, we are proud to claim ourselves as one of these brokers.

Trade with a regulated broker - Trade with Purple Trading


Your capital is at risk.
66.30 % of retail investors lose their capital when trading CFDs with this provider.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 66.30 % of retail investors lose their capital when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.