Contracts For Difference (CFDs) & Margin Foreign Exchange (FX)

Set up an FX (forex) company in Australia

There's quite a bit of work in setting up an over-the-counter (OTC) foreign exchange and/or derivatives business in Australia.  We have helped a large number of companies do this, including:
  • physical delivery FX spot, FX forward and FX options businesses;
  • margin forex or CFD or binary options trading businesses;
  • wholesale liquidity platforms who act as central counter-parties; and
  • money remittance businesses.
We have also assisted with providing ongoing commercial and compliance services, such as creating or reviewing: Of course, you also need to apply for a licence to provide FX or derivative services to people or companies in Australia.

Because we have had so much experience in this area, we have developed many templates to make the process as cost-effective, quick and efficient as possible.  We also have a one-page checklist titled "10 Steps To Setting Up A Foreign Exchange or Derivatives Business in Australia".  Feel free to download it and pass it on.

The Over-the-Counter (OTC) Derivatives Compliance Forum

We run a face-to-face compliance forum intended for CFD providers, margin FX and binary options providers in Sydney.  Specifically, it’s for compliance professionals and Responsible Managers of OTC FX and derivatives companies.  If you are a compliance or legal services provider, there’s an expectation that you will bring along at least 2 of your clients if you want to come along.  If you’re interested in attending, contact Paul Derham to find out more.

Maintaining a forex company in Australia

Most of our FX clients have offices overseas.   We assist the head office (wherever that is) and any local contacts, by offering them a number of ongoing services:
  • ongoing legal services
  • ongoing regulatory updates
  • ongoing training
  • attendance at their compliance committee meetings (usually monthly or quarterly).
We also use Skype and other technology to keep communication lines open.


Question:  I want to start up an FX money transfer or FX trading business in Australia.  Can I do it?

Yes – if you have enough experience providing FX services in a regulated environment.  This means you need to have worked for a licensed FX provider in Australia or overseas in a regulated jurisdiction, like the UK, Hong Kong, Canada, the US, Singapore or Japan, for a minimum of 3 in the last 5 years.  See ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 105 for more details. There are also other requirements relating to your qualifications (but you can gain these in a matter of weeks). 

Maybe – if you or your business partners don’t have the required directly relevant experience in a regulated environment, you can’t get an AFSL.  However, you can try to get your company authorised by an existing licensee.  This would make you and your company “authorised representatives” of the AFSL holder.  That licensee will need an AFSL which authorises it to advise and deal and make a market in foreign exchange contracts (and perhaps other financial products, depending on your proposed activities).  How do you find a licensee like this?  Just type “Forex trading FSG” or “money transfer FSG” or similar into your search engine, and it will find a website that is operated by an Australian Financial Services licensee (this is because all AFSL holders who deal with retail clients have an FSG, usually available on their website).  You can then look at their AFSL on the ASIC website.  Then, it’s up to you to negotiate a commercial relationship with them.  Most licensees charge a flat fee and a commission of some sort in exchange for appointing you as an authorised representative.  Once you have your three years’ experience, you can then apply for your own licence.  However, keep in mind that the licensee may require you to: use their platform; their FX rates; their compliance documentation; and be subject to audits, training and other supervision. 

Contact our office now to discuss with one of our lawyers your requirements and how we can assist.

Business Types