Publicly traded FX/CFD brokers see shares flat in 2023, but with (very!) mixed results

As we ring in the new year and look back at 2023, a good barometer of what has been going on overall in the global FX and CFDs brokerage sector is taking a look at the publicly traded brokers, and how their shares have performed.

While the vast majority of the hundreds of licensed Retail FX and CFD brokers (and even more unlicensed / offshore brokers) remain privately held companies, a number of the leading brands are “public” and have their shares traded on a daily basis on various stock exchanges – which also requires them to report financial and operating results on a regular basis. These include IG Group, CMC Markets, Swissquote, XTB, Plus500, and NAGA Group.

A quick look at how the shares of these brokers have performed in 2023 provides, we believe, a very good summary of the industry as a whole. It was (overall) a good market for FX/CFD brokers in terms of new client signups and trading volumes (and revenues and profits), but not exactly smooth sailing. As we describe in more detail in FNG’s Top FX and CFD trading industry news stories of 2023, some brokers are clearly doing better than others, and some are struggling, in what remains a very competitive environment.

Crunching the numbers in the chart above (with more data provided in the table below), FX/CFD broker shares rose by an average of 0.9% in 2023 – basically flat. But a quick “visual” of the chart gives the true picture a little more clearly – it was a very “mixed” market, from Swissquote’s 53% share price rise all the way to CMC’s 53% drop.

The performance of these publicly traded FX/CFD brokers needs of course to be viewed in the context of the overall equity market. Which, like our graph above, was also very mixed. In Europe the FTSE 100 Index (+2%) was basically flat, although the S&P500 Index in the US saw a healthy 25% rise in 2023. Germany’s DAX was similarly up by 19%.

It seems as though the equity market was in “good shape” this past year, but investors are quick to reward (or punish) companies that exceed (or fall short of) expectations.

The leader of our pack in 2023, Switzerland’s online trading leader Swissquote (+53%), actually overcame a mid-March 15% share price drop after posting slow end-of-2022 results as excitement continued to build around the company’s balanced banking-and-trading offering, backed by impressive 1H-2023 results at Swissquote. At CHF 204.60, Swissquote (SWX:SQN) shares are again approaching their 52-week high of just above CHF 207.

Poland based XTB (WSE:XTB) also had a very good year, with its shares trading up 22% during 2023 to join a very elite club of brokers having a market cap of more than USD $1 billion.

At the other end of the spectrum, Plus500 (-7%), NAGA Group (-7%) and CMC Markets (-53%), seem to have left investors unimpressed. For NAGA Group (ETR:N4G) that follows an 85% share price collapse in 2022, and in late December the company announced plans to be acquired by

One more item we’d mention is that this list remained the same in 2023 as in 2022, after an attempt by Australia/London based ThinkMarkets to go public (via a SPAC merger) was pulled toward the end of the year. ThinkMarkets’ IPO attempt follows two similar failed attempts by other brokers over the past year and a half, with both eToro and Saxo Bank cancelling SPAC mergers in the US and Europe, respectively.

How will 2024 shake out for publicly traded online brokers?

Stay tuned to FNG…

Share Price on: Market Cap
31-12-22 31-12-23 % change (USD $M)
Swissquote 133.5 204.6 53% 3734
XTB 31.02 37.82 22% 1128
IG 785 769 -2% 3771
Plus500 1804 1669 -7% 1682
NAGA Group 1.15 1.07 -7% 64
CMC Markets 224 105 -53% 374
Average return 0.9%
Median return -4.5%

Share prices are stated in the currency listed. Market Cap stats converted to USD.

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