What is Trust Score?
Trust Score is a rating system powered by a unique proprietary algorithm developed by researchers and data analysts at BrokerNotes.co's sister site, ForexBrokers.com. This tool has been designed to allow traders to quickly and intuitively understand if a broker is trustworthy.
Fed by extensive research, data collection, and the opinions of our in-house experts, our algorithim produces an individual numerical rating for each broker (this rating is the broker’s Trust Score). Ratings range from 1 to 99 (the higher a broker’s Trust Score, the better – more on that below).
BrokerNotes’ sister site, ForexBrokers.com, was launched in 2016. Even back then, we knew that one of our top priorities was to make it simpler for investors and traders to determine if they could trust their online forex broker. We also knew that identifying secure, reliable brokers can be a thorny task, and that there’s a harsh industry reality; not every company in the finance industry is trustworthy, and not every broker will protect your interests.
With that goal in mind, our team of researchers, writers, and data analysts developed and launched Trust Score; a solution that would help everyday forex traders and investors answer a common – but crucial – question: Can I trust my broker with my money?
Later, when we launched BrokerNotes.co, we knew that we wanted our readers to benefit from the same extensive database of online forex brokers, international jurisdictions, regulatory agencies, and licenses that’s been helping our readers at ForexBrokers.com choose reliable brokers for over six years.
Trust Score Variables
How is a broker’s Trust Score calculated?
A number of unique data-driven variables are factored into the calculation that determines a broker’s Trust Score. These variables include:
- Number (and quality) of held regulatory licenses (we recognize dozens of individual regulatory agencies and licenses).
- Total years in business.
- Corporate structure (Is the firm publicly traded? Is it a bank?).
- Overall opinion score from our in-house industry expert, Steven Hatzakis.
Trust Score regulatory licenses
We’ve conducted extensive research and collected data on regulatory bodies across a wide range of regulatory environments, jurisidictions, and countries.
Based on our research, we’ve sorted regulatory agencies into three categories (Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3), with Tier 1 indicating the most stringent regulatory environment (which is good) and Tier 3 the least.
We continually audit and analyze the regulatory ecosystem to calibrate Trust Score, as well as the agencies that we recognize. In order to best serve traders who want to determine which online brokers are trustworthy, we only recognize the most legitimate, stringent regulatory licenses. Not every regulatory agency or available license warrants inclusion into our Trust Score system.
It’s also important to note that licenses are not all weighted equally.
For example, becoming licensed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to operate in the United States is far more complicated, expensive, and, as a result, more significant than registering with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) in South Africa.
Below, we’ve included a comprehensive list of the regulatory licenses that are recognized, tracked, and incorporated into our Trust Score algorithm. The list is ordered by tier, and listed alphabetically by country:
Tier-1 Jurisdictions (High Trust):
- Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) - Australia
- Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) - Canada
- Securities Futures Commission (SFC) - Hong Kong
- Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) - Ireland
- Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA) - Japan
- Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) - Singapore
- Financial Markets Authority (FMA) - New Zealand
- Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) - Switzerland
- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - United Kingdom (UK)
- Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) - United States
Tier-2 Jurisdictions (Average Trust):
- China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) - China
- Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (CySEC) - Cyprus
- National Stock Exchange (NSE) - India
- Israel Securities Authority (ISA) - Israel
- Central Bank of Russia (CBR) - Russia
- Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) - South Africa
- Securities and Exchange Commission (Thailand) - Thailand
- Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) - United Arab Emirates
Tier-3 Jurisdictions (Low Trust):
- Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB) - Bahamas
- Financial Services Commission (FSC) - Belize
- Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) - Bermuda
- BVI Financial Services Commission (FSC) - British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) - Cayman Islands
- Mauritius' Financial Services Commission (FSC) - Mauritius
- Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) - Vanuatu
"Highly Trusted" 90-99
Brokers that have earned Trust Score’s “Highly Trusted” rating are considered the most trustworthy firms in the industry. Simply put, we would not hesitate to open and fund an account with a Highly Trusted broker ourselves (and have done so many times).
Important note: Just because a broker has earned a Highly Trusted rating does not mean that it is immune from running into trouble, and our risk assessment is by no means a guarantee of solvency for the indefinite future. Some events (like the Swiss National Bank abruptly removing its euro ceiling in 2015, for example) are impossible to predict, and such market anomalies can have catastrophic effects on forex brokers.
Our Trusted rating indicates brokers that are reliable and trustworthy. Just one tier removed from our coveted “Highly Trusted” rating, “Trusted” firms are a solid choice, and may simply hold fewer regulatory licences or feature different corporate structures than those brokers that have earned our top Trust Score rating.
"Average Risk" 70-79
Average Risk brokers are firms we generally consider to be safe, but that may warrant a closer inspection before you open and fund a live trading account. At the least, we always encourage traders to check the regulatory licenses for Average Risk firms to verify that they are regulated in their own country of residence.
When a broker is regulated in its own country of residence, there are typically additional protections and provisions in place, in the case of a broker going under or getting into legal trouble.
"High Risk" 60-69
High-risk firms should be scrutinized and carefully reviewed before opening an account. These forex brokers are – in most cases – operating without credible regulatory licensing, and likely have a history of legal or financial issues.
Before considering an account with a high-risk firm, we recommend checking our country guide for your country of residence to see if a more trusted broker is available.
"Do Not Trust" <59
Simply put, we do not recommend opening an account of any kind with a broker that earns a “Do Not Trust” rating. At ForexBrokers, we will never recommend that you use a broker if we don’t believe that there are adequate protections in place to safeguard traders and their funds.
Comparing Trust Scores
Curious how each brokers’ Trust Score stacks up against the competition?
Our cutting-edge Comparison Tool works in tandem with our research and testing data to help you pick, compare, and ultimately choose the best (and most trustworthy) broker for you. Check out our Comparison Tool here.
Have an idea for how we can improve our scoring methodology? Email us, we'd love to hear from you.
Forex Risk Disclaimer
"There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses." Learn more.