Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Brokers 2024

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Written By
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Written By
Tobias Robinson
Tobias is a partner at DayTrading.com, director of a UK limited company and active trader. He has over 25 years of experience in the financial industry and contributed via CySec to the regulatory response to digital options and CFD trading in Europe. Toby’s expertise and dedication to financial education make him a trusted voice in the industry, including a BBC investigation into digital options.
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William Berg
William contributes to several investment websites, leveraging his experience as a consultant for IPOs in the Nordic market and background providing localization for forex trading software. William has worked as a writer and fact-checker for a long row of financial publications.
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The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has a mission to develop, administer and enforce world-class regulation of financial services within the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC), including online brokers. This guide ranks the top DFSA brokers. Our team also  unpack the DFSA’s rulebook, regulatory actions and how traders are protected.

Best DFSA Brokers

The Dubai Financial Services Authority ensures certain standards are met to protect traders. These are the best DFSA-regulated brokers for Emirati traders:

#1 - Pepperstone

Why We Chose Pepperstone

Established in Australia in 2010, Pepperstone is a top-rated forex and CFD broker with over 400,000 clients worldwide. It offers access to 1,300+ instruments on leading platforms MT4, MT5, cTrader and TradingView, maintaining low, transparent fees. Pepperstone is also regulated by trusted authorities like the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC, ensuring a secure environment for day traders at all levels.

"Pepperstone stands out as a top choice for day trading, offering razor-sharp spreads, ultra-fast execution, and advanced charting platforms for experienced traders. New traders are also welcomed with no minimum deposit, extensive educational resources, and exceptional 24/7 support."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Currency Indices, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Crypto, Spread Betting
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, CMA, BaFin, SCB
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, AutoChartist, DupliTrade
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)

#2 - XM

Why We Chose XM

XM is a globally recognized forex and CFD broker with 10+ million clients in 190+ countries. Since 2009, this trusted broker has been known for its low fees on 1000+ instruments. XM is regulated by multiple financial bodies, including the ASIC and CySEC.

"XM is one of the best forex and CFD brokers we have tested. The flexible account types will suit a variety of short-term trading styles while the $5 minimum deposit and smooth sign-up process make it easy to start trading."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Forex, Stock CFDs, Turbo Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Precious Metals, Energies, Shares, Crypto, Futures
  • Regulator: ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, FSC, FSCA
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5
  • Minimum Deposit: $5
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots

#3 - IG

Why We Chose IG

Founded in 1974, IG is part of IG Group Holdings Plc, a publicly traded (LSE: IGG) brokerage. The brand offers spread betting, CFD and forex trading across an almost unrivalled selection of 17,000+ markets, with a range of user-friendly platforms and investing apps. For 50 years, IG has maintained its position as an industry leader, excelling in all key areas for traders.

"IG continues to provide a comprehensive package with an intuitive web platform and best-in-class education for beginners, plus advanced charting tools, real-time data, and fast execution speeds for experienced day traders."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto, Spread Betting
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, NFA, CFTC, DFSA, BaFin, MAS, FSCA, FINMA
  • Platforms: Web, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, MT4, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:250 (Pro)

#4 - CMC Markets

Why We Chose CMC Markets

Established in 1989, CMC Markets is a respected broker listed on the London Stock Exchange and authorized by several tier-one regulators, including the FCA, ASIC and CIRO. More than 1 million traders from around the world have signed up with the multi-award winning brokerage.

"With advanced charting tools and an extensive range of tradable CFDs, including an almost unrivalled selection of currencies and custom indices, CMC Markets provides a fantastic online platform for traders of all levels. "

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Treasuries, Custom Indices, Spread Betting
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, MAS, CIRO, BaFin, FMA, DFSA
  • Platforms: Web, MT4
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)

#5 - XTB

Why We Chose XTB

Founded in 2002 in Poland, XTB now serves more than 935,000 clients. The forex and CFD broker combines a heavily regulated trading environment with an extensive selection of 5,600+ assets and a commitment to trader satisfaction, featuring an intuitive in-house platform with superb tools to support aspiring day traders.

"XTB stands out as a top choice for new day traders with the terrific xStation platform, commission-free pricing, no minimum deposit, and excellent educational tools, many of which are seamlessly integrated into the platform. "

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Crypto, ETFs
  • Regulator: FCA, CySEC, KNF, CNMV, DFSA, FSC
  • Platforms: xStation
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (EU) 1:500 (Global)

What Is The Dubai Financial Services Authority?

The Dubai Financial Services Authority strives to maintain an environment that embraces the DIFC guiding principles of integrity, transparency and efficiency. The authority aims to protect and enhance trading conditions for retail investors and service providing entities. The board does this by embedding high standards in a concise, clear and flexible regulatory framework. This is based on international best practises relevant to the modern international finance centre.

The vision of the board is to be an internationally respected regulator, leading the development of financial services in the UAE through a fair yet strong directive.

History

The Dubai Financial Services Authority is now well established. Here we outline some key dates in the history of the DFSA to understand how it got to where it is today:

The authority has been successfully operating ever since, and in 2019 the DFSA marked its 15th anniversary by registering the 500th firm conducting services in or from the DIFC.

Why Was The DFSA Created?

The Dubai Financial Services Regulatory Authority legislation was established to ensure fairness, transparency and efficiency in the markets, but why are they really there? The agency oversees regulated entities and monitors their compliance with the relevant laws and rules. New entities must be authorised and registered with the regulatory body to conduct financial services within or from the Dubai International Financial Centre.

DBFSA regulated trading brokers

Objectives

The functions and main responsibilities of the Dubai Financial Services Authority are comprehensive. With the regulatory obligation, the board has a statutory responsibility to pursue the following objectives:

Guiding Principles

When exercising responsibilities and functions via the regulatory framework, the board follows guiding principles of integrity, transparency and efficiency. These include:

Regulatory Framework

Dubai’s Financial Services Authority regulatory mandate covers various services in or from the DIFC. This includes asset management, insurance, international commodities derivatives exchanges, commodities futures trading, banking services, collective investment funds, securities and more. Additionally, to regulating these categories of services, the DFSA is accountable for overseeing and implementing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing within the DIFC.

The Regulatory Law of 2004 permits the Dubai Financial Services Authority to create rules related to objectives, powers and functions. Any new guidelines tend to comprise of a period of public consultation. Thus, as a trader, you are given the right to comment on proposed rules. It should be noted that the DFSA’s regulatory regime is subject to international standard reviews from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. This ensures that a specific jurisdiction’s regulatory system is fair and reassures traders that international best practice is being implemented.

Structure

The Dubai Financial Services Authority follows a corporate structure. At the time of writing the chairman of the DFSA was Fadel Abdulbaqi Al Ali. Board members are made up of directors and an executive team across various departments. These committee subdivisions include governance and nominations, audit, risk and remuneration. The hierarchy structure consists of the following members:

The DFSA holds strong relationships with other regulatory boards across the globe. The pursuit of common objectives via the exchange of information ensures fair guidelines for traders under the DIFC. Specific cases can be referred to the Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT).

Investment Tokens

In October 2021, the Dubai Financial Services Authority updated its regulatory framework for crypto and digital currency investments. This guidance includes protocols for all investment tokens such as security tokens or derivative tokens.

Directors of the board, including Peter Smith, and previously Apurv Bagri, promote the guidelines as a strategy for the future of the market in a safe trading environment. A full consultation paper is due by the end of 2021 but is expected to follow similar values published by the UK’s FCA. The framework applies to all individuals issuing, trading, or holding such tokens.

Achievements

The entity has been recognised in various awards ceremonies since its inception in 2004. Honours include the Best Regulator for Islamic Funds in 2007. This followed the DFSA’s efforts to facilitate cross-border marketing of Islamic investment funds.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority adopts an effective strategic approach to corporate social responsibility with several social initiatives. This includes launching the Tomorrow’s Regulatory Leaders Programme in 2006. The DSFA Tomorrow programme has developed sustainable careers, jobs and high salary opportunities for UAE nationals.

A financial services awareness initiative was also launched for the UAE community to learn, share and understand financial markets. Alongside this, an in-house magazine originally named ‘13th Story’, offers an educational resource for individuals wanting to learn within the DSFA community, including prospective traders.

Criticisms

The Dubai Financial Services Authority regulatory board has made significant progress in its quest to become a globally respected authority. The website update and statutory regulations now provide transparent information for both financial entities and traders. This induces the online publication of the annual report, the outsourcing of reviews and simple entity search functionality.

However, license fees are costly when compared to the likes of the CySEC, which may deter companies from registering. On the positive side, traders can be assured of the stringent compliance, listing rules and qualification requirements of financial service firms.

Final Thoughts On The DFSA

The Dubai Financial Services Authority is an independent regulator that ensures a safe and transparent trading environment within the DIFC. Alignment with global regulators and a focus on corporate social responsibility is an added benefit. Remember, when signing up with a brokerage, don’t just check for the DFSA logo on the broker’s website. Always check they are on the register of the board by using the entity search function on the DFSA’s official website. See our list of DFSA regulated trading brokers to get started today.

FAQ

How Do I Know If A Broker Is Registered With The DFSA?

You can use the online Dubai Financial Services Authority company search to see if a broker is regulated by the board. This tool allows you to search through all firms associated with the regulator.

How Can I Contact The Dubai Financial Services Authority?

Traders can contact the DFSA via telephone at +971(0)43621500. The regulator follows standard office hours Sunday to Thursday 8 AM to 5 PM (GMT+4). Unfortunately, we did not find an email address contact and LinkedIn updates are infrequent.

Does The Dubai Financial Services Authority Regulate FinTech Firms?

Yes, licensing became available in 2017. Ian Johnston, Chief Executive, suggested FinTech is providing opportunities to seek financing and inclusion within the online trading landscape. The DFSA allowed FinTech firms to apply for a class of financial services license for sustainable development.

Is Cryptocurrency Trading Regulated By The DFSA?

Yes, from October 2021, the DFSA implemented guidelines for security token and derivative token trading. The framework includes requirements for digital wallet providers, appropriate marketing of digital currency trading and facilitating direct access to approved trading venues of investment tokens.

When Was The DFSA Established?

The DFSA was established in September 2004, when it was approved as an independent entity within the Dubai International Financial Centre. The authority was created to ensure fairness, transparency and efficiency within financial services.