Data from US forex brokers showed that profitability once again declined during Q3 2015. Since peaking at 39.5% in Q2 2014, average profitability of retail traders at US forex brokers fell to 34.9% in Q3. The figure was compared to 36.2% in Q2. Using an average broker calculation (each broker’s results are weighted equally), profitability fell to 31.4% from the previous quarter’s level of 32.3%.
Among major individual brokers, only FXCM posted an increase in profitability, with the percentage of profitable traders falling at InteractiveBrokers (IB), GAIN Capital and OANDA. However, at 30%, profitability of FXCM accounts remained below overall averages.
As to what has become a quarterly tradition, IB once again took the top spot among profitable accounts at 44.6%. Despite seeing profitability decline among customers, IB widened its lead, by 1000 basis points, with OANDA in second place at 31.4%.
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The falling profitability though didn’t dampen an overall increase in activity. During the quarter, active accounts rose 2.4% to 94,031. Notable growth was seen at both FXCM and GAIN Capital, with active accounts rising 4.2% and 5.5% respectively. The increase of 1,031 accounts at FXCM countered a steep fall in Q2 when the broker registered 2,691 fewer traders of its US entity.
Leading all brokers again was IB, which reported 32,455 active traders, and increase of 2.3% from Q2 figures. Overall, IB continues register the expansion of its forex trading services. In addition to increasing accounts, IB stated in its post earnings report conference call yesterday that forex volumes in Q3 had increased from the same period in 2014.
Looking ahead, it will be worth noting how GAIN Capital fares in Q4. Following the acquisition of MB Trading by TradeKing, it was announced that MB Trading is withdrawing its status as a forex dealer. As a result, customers are being transferred to GAIN Capital, of which TradeKing acts as introducing broker.
(Author’s note: MB Trading results are estimates, with the report expected to be updated following the release of final figures from the broker)