India is the second-most populous country in the world with over 1.3 billion people residing across its vast territories. Besides being an extensive nation, it also is rapidly evolving, quickly becoming the leading economic power globally. Therefore, the country’s huge population is gradually starting to earn more money, saving up, and investing in different assets. The Forex trading industry is rather new to the market as its presence was mainly sparked by economic growth. Almost a couple of decades ago, new India forex brokers were targeting vulnerable people with thousands of active scammers around India.
This is not surprising as Forex was something new to the country and attracted lots of interest nationwide. Many used to advertise it as a way of making big amounts of money overnight while the case was rather different.
As a result, the government of India was forced to push for strict regulations, putting the national interest forward. Strict regulations came in with the 1995 act, representing the framework not only for Forex but other financial instruments as well. The country’s regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) was founded in 1992 but initially had not as many duties, responsibilities, and powers. However, today SEBI is responsible for registering, licensing, monitoring, and regulating forex brokers in India, financial companies, as well as individual investors. The main aim of SEBI is to ensure the integrity of the financial market in India while safeguarding core principles of the open market, fair economy, such as transparency, honesty, and accountability. SEBI now is one of the most prominent and highly respected regulators globally with brokers from all around the world striving to obtain its licenses.
The broker’s list
Today, unlike not long ago, the Indian Forex market is well-saturated with brokers that meet the needs and tastes of all clients. Therefore, when looking for a firm, making sure that you choose the right one is of utmost importance.
Despite India’s recent rapid development, including in terms of transparency and fairness within the market, scammers and dishonest brokers are still present. Such firms can trick clients into flawed financial schemes, costing them a fortune. In this list, we have gathered some of the most reputable and trusted or simply the best India brokers. Reviews are comprehensive and cover a wide spectrum of details, giving you an opportunity to find exactly what you are looking for.
SEBI in detail – what are India forex brokers?
The Indian forex market was not always regulated or well-functional. For years, this country and its forex brokers faced speculations and provocations amid the soaring rates of scamming. This indeed was true as the country’s economy started evolving and some dishonest people intended to make money with the name of Forex trading. It worked for some entities as people trusted them with their savings. Thousands of people have lost their money as a result of such illegal activities related to this sector. However, with the introduction of SEBI, the nation’s official, state-assigned regulator, things soon changed for good. In no time, top India forex trading brokers became trusted and well-respected entities in the eye of the Indian general public.
SEBI was established in 1992 but was granted the power to overlook forex brokerages and other participants of the country’s financial industry in 1995. From that point onwards, the authority has been responsible for all stages of operations of Forex brokerages. First off, the body licenses the firm. This is a process that requires the company to meet certain requirements, which are rather strict. High standards of licensing are what make SEBI one of the most respected regulators globally. The thoroughly controls and monitors brokerages even before granting them a license, throughout the process of getting registered. Later, SEBI asks them to comply with a number of requirements and set standards, representing the core values of the authority. It has quite high standards even in comparison to some of the leading authorities globally, such as the UK’S FCA. In case of rule violations, fraud, dishonesty, or being involved in illegal activities, SEBI regulated forex brokers face tremendous fines. In particular cases, the regulator even has the power to restrict its clients’ operations. The structure of sanctioning clients is very similar to the FCA amid the proximity of financial systems between the two nations due to the historic ties. In an attempt to make the process efficient, SEBI puts quite some responsibility on its clients. Brokerages regulated by SEBI are asked to present monthly, quarterly, and annual comprehensive financial reports, showing their revenues in detail.
Despite SEBI being one of the leading financial regulators all around the world, it is not an independent body. Usually, in the case of the vast majority of leading regulators, the government stands separately from them. Even when such authorities exist on the basis of some state authorities, governments of those countries do not interfere in the operational business of regulators or in the appointment of decision-making figures. With India, the case is quite different. SEBI was always a part of the Indian governmental network. Forex trading brokers for Indian nationals are directly regulated by the government authority. It was founded by the state and remains to be owned and influenced by it. The process of its governance and leadership is quite complex as a number of state authorities participate in appointing members that manage and lead SEBI. First of all, the main figure of the authority, the chairman, is nominated by the Union Government of India. This ensures that the leader of the entire body always represents the ideas of the government. Two members that are commonly referred to as ‘officers’ are appointed by the Union Finance Ministry. This member represents the say of the biggest financial authority of the nation. One member is nominated by the Reserve Bank of India while the remaining 5 members are also presented by the Union government of India. With such allocation, the Union Government holds the most power in the process of leading SEBI. However, India’s state authorities are not corrupt and have genuine and honest interests in making the regulator function efficiently and fairly. Therefore, this arrangement of members of the authority has never caused any difficulties for clients or SEBI itself.
SEBI asks its clients to follow certain rules and regulations listed under its charters. The most significant regulation is that SEBI listed forex brokers are now allowed to indulge in currency pairs that do not have Indian Rupee as a base or quote currency. Indian Rupee is the national currency of the country. Its use and circulation are strictly monitored and regulated by authorities overlooking SEBI, including the Reserve Bank of India and the country’s ministry of finance. Purchasing services and products or trading in order to receive profit in any other currency than Indian Rupee is outlawed within the country. This rule should be well-respected by all institutions, businesses, and individuals in India regardless of nationality or place of origin. There are no exceptions to the rule and every entity, including legit forex companies in India, needs to adhere to it. Moreover, according to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), Indian nationals are forbidden to send the national currency overseas for the purpose of conversions or investments in any asset, unless officially approved by the government. Those who violate the rules listed under the charter of FEMA face not only severe fines but possibly even a prison term. Therefore, when working in India, one should always be aware of how serious regulations in this country are taken.
SEBI also has quite strict rules in place for the maximum high leverage amount and insider trading. The latter is completely prohibited under the national law, bolstered through the charters of FEMA. Those who practice this illegal activity can face a term in prison as well as the indefinite termination of affiliated entities. Every currency pair on the Indian Forex market regulated by SEBI should be based on Rupee. However, in reality, only very few foreign currencies are allowed to be freely traded within the nation. Four major currencies, USD, EUR, GBP, and JPY can be traded without the need for any additional permissions. This is mainly due to the reason that those 4 are most commonly used by top India forex trading brokers. Moreover, the immense Indian diaspora overseas has influenced the shape of the market as it is today. Indian Forex traders that moved abroad during the unstable and uncertain times in their home country are returning, bringing foreign capital, mainly from the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Japan.
The authority regulates the total of over 3 thousand financial institutions. The number of them is constantly changing as a result of new ones eager to get licensed while others lose theirs following the violations of rules and regulations. At any given time, there are approximately 100 exclusively Forex-related firms, including India forex brokers registered in the SEBI database. The number, again, is changing at all times.
In return to the extensive requirements, restrictions, and regulations listed above, Forex Brokers licensed by SEBI receive countless benefits from it. First off, one of the most significant differences between SEBI and other major regulators is its approach to Brokers. It is very flexible in terms of market development and offers many innovative solutions to its clients. SEBI remains one of the only few regulatory agencies that allow internet trading for traditional tock exchange entities. Moreover, the authority is constantly striving to create a more welcoming environment for web-based firms that would struggle to operate efficiently elsewhere, under other regulators.
Importantly, SEBI offers extensive protection mechanisms to legit forex companies in India. It does not have any precise framework for covering the liquidation losses. However, the body makes sure that all operations held under its rule are completely and absolutely legally conducted. For this purpose, it has a range of separate departments monitoring their clients at all times. One of the crucial parts of this process is the SEBI’s audit. The authority, obviously, just like any other decent regulator, asks their clients to submit financial reports every now and then. However, SEBI also conducts audits in firms licensed by it on a regular basis. This helps them prevent any illegal activities that could otherwise have occurred, damaging individuals and the authority’s spotless reputation. The latter is one other important benefit that SEBI can bring to the long India forex brokers list. In the forex industry, big names mean a lot. No one will trust a regulator with a questionable and suspicious reputation. National regulators work hard for years to earn the name that can be proudly shown on websites of all of their clients. Fortunately, SEBI is one of the leading and most trusted of such institutions. Its license alone can boost the trust in certain brokerages as the public is aware that SEBI’s regulatory and monitoring process is comprehensive and profound.
How to find India registered brokers
All of the listed benefits also extend to those who want to have business relations with brokerage firms licensed by SEBI. However, finding one that is certainly and actively registered on the authority’s database can be quite difficult. The Indian Forex market is still well-saturated with scammers and dishonest brokers that use the name of SEBI and other regulatory agencies to attract clients. Therefore, checking and verifying that the broker is really licensed is of utmost importance. One can never trust the India regulated forex brokers website saying that they have a license.
Besides checking on whether the brokerage firm is licensed or not, making sure that it is active also carries an absolutely crucial role. As described earlier in the article, SEBI has many tools and instruments to suspend the license in case the client fails to meet the requirements set by the regulator. Being the state-owned and controlled authority, SEBI has lots of power and actively monitors entities under its jurisdiction. Therefore, many brokerage firms lose certificates due to issues with meeting the rules and regulations. Unfortunately, many continue to use the name of SEBI even after they have lost the license, violating the India forex brokers regulation. Showing off the certification document after losing one is not difficult. Such behavior often leads to thousands of people being tricked into doing business with illegal and unlicensed firms. Thus, before moving forward with your business relations, make sure to check whether the firm has an active license.
The process of checking this information is far from difficult thanks to the regulator’s web platform which is simple and easy to use. The official website ‘sebi.gov.in’ has all the necessary information on it about the rules of registration and what criteria brokerage firms are meant to meet. The website has a separate page for the list of ‘licensed entities’, including every brokerage firm, company, and individual registered by SEBI. With the search tool including the advanced ones, it is easy to find particular SEBI approved forex brokers. Once found, the website discloses all the public information about the entity. Therefore, one can compare the data listed on the website to what the brokerage firm has disclosed on its website. This is yet another great way to check the honesty of the firm.
In many cases, the search tool is simply not enough to receive the information needed. Sometimes, details need to be clarified and checked. Although the database is quite comprehensive and complete, some details might be missing. Gladly, SEBI has a very efficient communication platform. The regulator’s hotline is available during working hours, providing any interested individuals with public information regarding forex brokers in India. The call center operators are professionally trained and possess the ability to provide clients with sufficient service. Yet, sometimes calling an Indian hotline might not be an option but no worries, SEBI offers alternatives when it comes to communication. The info email address can be found on the regulator’s website. The SEBI team is very responsive and should give you an answer to your question shortly through email. This can indeed be a great solution for those residing outside of India.
Sometimes, even after checking through all of the methods listed above, the brokerage firm and information about it is still nowhere to be found. In this case, do not panic but contact the firm itself. Oftentimes brokerage firms are registered with different names from what they display on the website. Other names are used for various reasons but this makes no difference for the client. The brokerage firm’s subsidiaries can also be used when acquiring the license. Therefore, if you have a hard time identifying the legit forex companies in India on the SEBI’s database, ask the firm under what name they can be found.
How does SEBI prevent FX scams in India?
As stated on a number of occasions throughout the article, India remains a market with a high rate of scammers and dishonest firms. This is rather unfortunate but it most certainly has a historic background that has to do with the rapid economic development of the country. One of the main reasons why the Indian government created SEBI and granted its extensive powers and responsibilities was to prevent scams across the country. To this very date, the authority has been incredibly successful in the fight against Forex and other financial frauds.
First of all, the important factor about SEBI that makes it so different from other influential regulators is that it falls under the influence of the Indian government. The regulator is completely state-owned and controlled amid a rather strict India forex brokers regulation and framework. Its close affiliation with the state and immense power is what makes SEBI so effective against scams. It strictly controls those who fall under its jurisdiction. However, being backed by the state, it also manages to impose sanctions onto firms that are not licensed by the regulator yet remain present in the Indian market. This prevents scams not only in entities licensed by SEBI but also within other firms operating in the Indian market.
In general, the Indian law and more specifically FEMA states that every financial institution, company, brokerage firm, and the individual investor should be licensed by a relevant regulatory agency. For the vast majority of those, such a body is SEBI. Therefore, the regulator and the Indian government are eligible for fining or/and ceasing operations of forex brokers in India operating without a valid license.
What is the 2nd best option?
There are many regulators around the world but not all of them are great. SEBI most certainly belongs to the list of some of the finest authorities globally. It is state-owned giving it the power to effectively prevent scams and regulate the market. On the other hand, due to the fairness and honesty of the Indian government, which is based on democratic principles, the regulator remains unbiased. It offers great guarantees while ensuring that the market is integral and has no grey areas. These advantages are what make SEBI such a desirable and prominent regulator among new India forex brokers, as well as all around the world.
However, it also has some specific frameworks that might not be suitable for everyone. For instance, the most noticeable of them all is how currency pairs should always be based on the Indian Rupee. For many international brokerage firms, this significantly limits the opportunity to trade at a larger scale. Moreover, the restrictions are imposed on money transactions and investments in foreign currencies. This scares many away amid the unstable nature of the Indian Rupee and the limited space for global expansion.
If you like advantages offered by SEBI but feel much too restricted by the regulations imposed by the authority in regard to foreign currencies, CBUAE (Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates) could be the right choice for you. It is the regulator of the United Arab Emirates which is located within the reasonable physical distance from India. The bank is completely state-owned and operated, offering similar benefits to what SEBI listed forex brokers are offered. The market is very well-controlled and arranged, full of international firms. In general, compared to India and SEBI, the United Arab Emirates offers a much more diverse and international environment. Therefore, should this be a priority for you, CBUAE is a great option in the region.
Alternatively, the UK’s FCA(Financial Conduct Authority) is widely liked among Indian firms. The British Forex market is one of the biggest, most diverse, and international. The FCA itself offers tremendous guarantees in case of the brokerage firm liquidation. The limit of guarantee is more than 85 thousand pounds, making it one of the most secure and trustworthy regulators. Due to close relations between the two countries, the FCA’s structure and framework are quite similar to SEBI.