In a nutshell
Admirals is a great broker all-round, reliable and trustworthy (established over 20 years ago). There’s a huge range of investment options to trade (via CFDs) or invest in (buy directly), it’s low cost, and the trading software is great (MetaTrader 4 or 5) – packed with advanced features provided by Admirals for free. The customer service is excellent too. 5 stars from us.
Admirals (Admiral Markets)
cracked open 🥥
Admirals is one of the most established trading platforms in the world, with 100,000s of customers. It’s been operating for over 20 years, and it’s trustworthy and reliable.
It’s a broker, that’s a company that buys and sells investments on your behalf, and it runs on one of the best trading platforms out there, called MetaTrader (4 and 5). Plus, they also have their own mobile app to trade on your phone (on both Apple and Android).
Admirals has a huge range of investment options to choose from – over 8,000, which include stocks and shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), foreign exchange (forex), bonds, indices, commodities (e.g. gold) and crypto (although no crypto for UK customers). We’ll explain all of these later on.
You can buy and hold investments directly (stocks and ETFs), or you can trade something called Contract For Differences (CFDs), which is where you effectively trade the price of an investment, rather than buying the investment directly, which typically means trading can be much cheaper, easier and faster for certain investments (such as commodities), and you can do things such as trade both price directions (e.g. trade the price going up (long), and the price going down (short)).
And, it’s one of only a few places that offer spread betting (where you essentially place a bet on the price, rather than invest, and so can avoid some taxes – we’ll cover this in detail below).
You can also trade with borrowed money, meaning you can trade with more cash than you have in your account – we’ll cover these advanced features in detail below.
Admirals also offer a multi-currency account so you can trade in a range of currencies and avoid paying some currency conversion fees (e.g. a fee if you used Pounds (GBP) to buy US stocks (USD)).
When it comes to the fees, it’s low cost – being commission free on some investments, and low commission per trade (fee to buy or sell) on stocks and ETFs ($0.02 per share for US shares). There’s also one free trade per day in the UK, US and Europe (on shares). We’ll cover the fees in detail below.
If you’re ready to get started right away, the sign up processes is pretty smooth and you can trade right away after signing up (some brokers can take a few days) – just head over to the Admirals website¹ to get started.
Otherwise, let’s dive in!
Is Admiral Markets good for beginners?
Yep! Admirals is one of the best places for beginners to get started with trading and investing – the learning resources are great, and you can start with a demo account, so you don’t have to risk any real cash until you’re ready (a sensible idea for beginners).
And when you are ready, the minimum deposit is very low, just £1 for buying stocks and shares directly, and £250 is needed in your account for trading CFDs or currencies.
There’s a huge range of learning resources available with Admirals, which range from beginner, to intermediate and advanced. And, are across several different formats, including written articles and in-depth guides, to webinars (live lessons online), videos and full courses on trading that you can do any time (based on forex trading, but the concepts can apply to all trading).
The educational content covers pretty much everything from the basics of trading, the software, psychology, how to value companies and how to use charting software and indicators (advanced tools).
The flagship course is a 20 day in-depth course, which runs through a new lesson every day to make it manageable (and keep it engaging), it’s pretty great actually, and highly recommended. Plus it's completely free too. To get started, visit the Admirals website¹.
There’s also a shorter course, with 9 lessons to give you a quicker intro in forex and CFD trading, with some practical lessons too, so you can put everything into practice.
Note: you’ll need a demo account (or real account).
Supporting the environment
Before we get too far into this review, we just wanted to highlight and say Admirals are are great company behind the scenes – they’ve put sustainability as a core focus of their business, to help change the world in the future.
That means as a business they’re doing things to reduce carbon emissions (they are carbon neutral as a business) and have ESG values in place (Environmental, Social, Governance – standards to improve the world and for the people in it).
You’ll see this across the trading platform too, as ESG investments are highlighted and featured, so if you’re looking to invest in sustainable options, they’re easy to find.
Admirals trading platforms
Right, let’s get into the nitty gritty, how you’ll be using Admirals to trade.
As Admirals is a broker, they handle all the buying and selling for you, but they do this via a few different trading platforms – that’s something you use, such as software on your computer, or an app on your phone, to tell Admirals which trades to make.
Don’t worry, it’s much simpler than it sounds, you simply download it straight from the Admirals website, and it works on both Mac and Windows computers. Your options are:
- MetaTrader 5 (MT5) – easy to use platform where you can buy investments directly (e.g. stocks and shares), and trade CFDs, forex and more. You’ll have everything you need to trade and invest such as a visual chart, real-time prices, trading tools and loads more. You can also download MT5 on your mobile (both Apple and Android).
- MetaTrader 4 (MT4) – this is the older version of MetaTrader. It’s easy to use, but with a slightly outdated look and feel. It’s simpler to use, but only allows you to trade forex and CFDs. You can also download this on mobile devices too.
- MetaTrader WebTrader – this is the web version of MetaTrader, so you can trade within your web browser (meaning you don’t have to download the software to your computer). It’s pretty great, but you can only trade forex, CFDs and commodities, rather than buying stocks and shares directly.
- Admirals mobile app – this is the mobile app built by Admirals and works on Apple and Android. It’s got everything you need to trade on the go, without using MetaTrader, but only currently offers CFDs.
So, which one is right for you? If you’re looking to make the most of your trading, go for MetaTrader 5 – it’s got the most features by far, and the full range of investment options. You can also download it on your mobile, or use the Admirals app for mobile trading.
If you’re looking to simply invest in stocks and shares directly (e.g. not CFDs or forex), then MetaTrader 5 is your only option with Admirals.
Admirals trading tools (for platforms)
Alongside your trading software, e.g. MetaTrader 5, Admirals also offers some great extras:
MetaTrader Supreme Edition
If you’re using Metatrader 4 or 5, you can get MetaTrader Supreme Edition via Admirals, which provides even more information when trading, with more technical analysis indicators (to help you chart and plan potential trades), and it guides and educates you too.
There’s also things included such as showing the trend (sentiment) of other traders around the world, about certain assets, e.g. are others buying or selling.
Plus, loads more features to help you trade more efficiently, and hopefully more profitability! Learn more about MetaTrader Supreme Edition on the Admirals website¹.
Note: if you’ve got a Mac and want to make full use of some of the Windows only features, such as MetaTrader Supreme Edition, they offer a Virtual Private Server (VPS), which allows you to run Windows on your Mac, or an alternative option called ‘Parallels’. All for free.
StereoTrader is another advanced trading tool you can plugin to your MetaTrader set up, and free if you’re an Admirals customer.
It offers some advanced features such as the ability to test trading strategies on historic data (recommended), and more advanced order types, such as dynamic trailing stops, where the stop (the price you have set to sell the asset if the price moves against you), moves up as the asset increases in price.
You can also place stealth orders, which makes your trades private from other traders (and the market).
Admirals offers their customers some great analytics tools too, which can be used to improve trading, including:
- Technical analysis insights: analysis from charts (looking at historical price data).
- Global sentiment indicators: determining how the market is favouring a trade (e.g. buying or selling), based on a huge range of financial media.
- Trader market sentiment: see the long and short positions as a total for currency pairs.
- Market heat maps: see the top movers in real-time (up and down in price) and the last 24 hours.
- Forex calendar: keep track of important announcements that might affect currencies.
- Trading news: regular updates (often daily) on what’s happening in the business world, such as rumours of a merger or interest rate forecasts. This is available globally or in your location (e.g. in the UK).
- Weekly podcast: listen to the latest in trading from experts.
How Admirals works
Admirals has two core offerings – shares and ETFs that you can buy directly (using MetaTrader 5), or trade CFDs, which are trading the price of an asset (e.g. a share) instead.
You’re likely to be familiar with buying shares and ETFs, as you simply buy, hold and sell them whenever you like (by the way Admirals is very low cost for this – fees covered below).
However, you might not be familiar with CFDs, so let's run through them now. (This is typically called trading rather than investing.)
CFDs, called ‘Contract For Differences’, is where you enter into a contract with the broker (i.e. Admirals), about the price of an asset in the future (such as a share), rather than buying the asset directly. You can then decide to sell the CFD later on, and you’ll agree to settle the difference in price from the date you sell, and the date you bought. Make sense?
So, it’s very similar to buying the asset directly, but with CFDs, you can trade both price directions, so predicting the price will go up (going long), or predicting the price will go down (going short).
CFDs also mean you can trade with leverage – that’s where you use borrowed money (from the broker), to open a trading position (e.g. buy CFDs) with more cash than you actually have in your account – this means your gains on trades can be a lot bigger (and your losses can too).
Leverage trading works by using the money in your account as ‘collateral’, a deposit to borrow more for a trade, so you can trade with more cash than you have in your account, and this can range from 2x to 30x depending on the asset.
Let’s use an example to explain. Imagine you want to make a trade with £50, and are predicting the price of share is going to go up in value. You think it’s pretty likely, so you use 5x leverage (also called 5:1). With 5x leverage this would mean you can place a trade worth £250 instead of £50 (5x higher).
That means if the share price increases, you make 5x more. Let’s say it increases by 10%, you’ve now made 10% of £250, so have made £25, rather than 10% of £50, which is £5. That’s a profit of 50% of your original money (£50). Pretty good right?
However, if the share price went down by 10% instead, you’d have lost £25 rather than just £5, which works out as 50% of your original money. Not a great day in the office.
It’s high risk, high reward, and should only be used as part of a sensible trading strategy.
Maximum leverage levels
Here’s the maximum leverage for each asset:
Negative balance protection
Admirals include negative balance protection, which means you’ll never be able to lose more than your deposit within your account. It means that if your position turns against you (e.g. goes down in price when you are speculating it goes up) and your positions drop below a certain amount, it will be sold automatically (called a margin call).
Admirals is one of the few places that offers spread betting – which is popular in the UK.
Spread betting is very similar to trading CFDs, where you trade the price of an asset (e.g. a share), except in this case it’s a bet on the price on a certain date in the future (CFDs have no expiration date). And so you’ll settle the difference between the price you bought and the price you sold at the agreed date in the future (expiration date).
A nice little bonus, as it’s technically classed as gambling, you won’t pay any Capital Gains Tax on your profits.
Islamic forex account
Admirals have also got an account which doesn’t involve any payments or earnings from interest on CFDs. Apart from that, the functionality is exactly the same as a regular account, with the same spread fees (more on those below) and no up-front costs.
Instead, if a position is open for more than 3 days (or 1 day for crypto and exotic currency pairs), an admin fee will be charged.
Range of investments
Admirals offers a huge range of investment options, lets run through them:
Stocks and shares
There’s a wide range of stocks and shares on Admirals, and they can be either bought directly, or traded via CFDs. There’s over 4,500 shares from across the world, including UK, USA, Europe, Australia, Japan and more.
A share represents the ownership of a company, you own a ‘share’ of the company, and they’re traded on stock exchanges around the world, such as the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the UK, and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the USA. Typically if a business does well, such as making more profit, the share price increases.
Note: with Admirals you can also trade fractional shares, so you can buy a portion of a share (e.g. 1/6th of a share), rather than having to buy a whole share – great for shares with high prices.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are lots of different investments grouped together into a single investment, which makes it much easier, and cheaper to buy and sell them. They also offer a great way to build a diversified portfolio (owning lots of different investments), making them super popular.
For example, an ETF could contain lots of similar companies, such as specific industries like healthcare or finance.
There’s a good range of ETFs on Admirals, over 200 from across the world.
Admirals also has a good range of indices (also called an index), and these are a section of a stock exchange that’s widely traded around the world. For instance, the FTSE 100 index is the top 100 companies in the UK, and the S&P 500 is the top 500 companies in the US.
Indices are ETFs, so easily bought and sold as a single investment, and there’s a wide range to invest in and trade.
Commodities are real things, such as gold and silver, grain, oil, natural gas and more.
There’s a good range with Admirals, and you’ll trade them via CFDs, so trading the price of the commodity, rather than having to buy it directly (so you don't have to store the asset, such as a gold bar, phew).
You can also trade the price of bonds with Admirals (via a CFD), and these are loans from Governments that pay interest, and often an indicator of a country’s finances.
Foreign exchange (forex)
Foreign exchange, or forex, is super popular around the world – it’s swapping one currency for another, for instance Pounds (GBP) for Dollars (USD). This is called a currency pair, e.g. GBP/USD.
It sounds simple, but the market is fast moving, open 24 hours per day, 5 days per week, with the price changing all the time. Prices move fast and react to breaking news around the world – making it popular, and potentially very lucrative for great traders.
Admirals is very popular for CFD trading, there’s a huge range of currency pairs (over 80), including all the major currency pairs (e.g. EUR/USD), minor currency pairs (e.g. EUR/GBP), and exotic currency pairs (e.g. USD/Thai Baht).
The fees are also very low (we’ll cover those below).
Crypto (such as Bitcoin and Ethereum) is an option to trade with Admirals via CFDs, however, in the UK you aren’t allowed to trade crypto CFDs currently (by law). If you’re looking to trade crypto, we recommend eToro¹, where you can buy and trade cryptocurrencies directly.
Interest on cash
If you’ve got a bit of cash within your account, waiting for the next trade to come along, you’ll earn up to 2% interest on your balance. Not bad right?
Note: you’ll need to have at least one trading position open to qualify for the interest – and this is only available to UK customers currently.
Admiral Markets fees
Overall, the fees are low, making Admirals market a great option as a broker.
Depending on what you’ll be trading, and if you’re looking to simply invest (buy shares and ETFs), or trade regularly, the biggest fee you’ll pay is likely the spread fees…
Nuts About Money tip: you can view all the fees for any trade you’d like to make by using the trading calculator on the Admirals website¹
A spread fee is a fee that’s included within the price of an asset. It’s a small markup added by the broker on the price of an asset when you buy or sell.
So, when you buy an asset, for instance a share, you’ll pay the price you see, but the actual value of that asset will be slightly lower. If you immediately sold the asset, its value would be slightly lower (the market price).
It’s a common pricing structure for almost every forex and CFD trading platform out there.
The actual spread fee you’ll pay depends on the asset itself, and things like how many people are trading it at the same time, with more liquidity (people trading), typically the lower the spread fee.
With Admirals, the spread fees are low,– they can be as low as 0.5 pips on some forex currency pairs (e.g. 0.00005 represented in the currency pair format, which you would multiply by your trading amount). You’ll be shown the fee before you make a trade.
Stocks and indices are typically lower, and even zero spread fees on some.
We won’t cover every spread fee as it changes frequently, but you can find all the fees on the Admirals website¹.
As a comparison, another popular broker, XTB, has minimum spread fees of 0.9 pips.
Commission on shares and ETFs
For shares and ETFs, which include buying shares directly, or trading via CFDs, you’ll pay commission per share of:
You’ll pay this when you both buy and sell.
Note: this is in addition to the spread fee (if one applies).
Currency conversion fee
If you want to buy investments in another currency to yours, e.g. buying US shares but you have Pounds (GBP) in your account, your cash needs to be converted into the currency of the shares (e.g. US Dollars for US shares).
This can be done automatically when you buy the shares, and you’ll be charged a fee of 0.30% – which is called a currency conversion fee. This is very low. Typically currency conversion fees range from 0.45% to 1.50%. Another popular broker, Plus500, has fees of 0.70%.
As Admirals has multi-currency accounts, where you can hold different currencies, you can convert your money before you buy (transfer to an account in the specific currency), however there’s a fee of 1%.
Overnight fees (swap fees)
When you hold a trading position overnight, such as a CFD shares position, you’ll often pay a small overnight funding fee, which can also be called interest. This depends on the asset you are trading. Sometimes you may receive interest instead (depending on if a lot of people are taking the other side of the trade).
Deposit and withdrawal fees
Adding money to your Admirals account (deposits) are completely free, and can be done via a bank transfer, card payment or things like PayPal. For withdrawals, you’ll get one free withdrawal per month, after that you’ll pay $10 per withdrawal.
With most trading platforms, you’ll be charged a fee for effectively not using your account, and not making any trades. Normally this kicks in after 12 months, but with Admirals, this is after 24 hours months – so quite a bit longer! If there is money in your account, you’ll be charged €10 per month.
To avoid this, all you need to do is log in and make a trade, and the 24 months starts again.
The customer support is excellent.
You’ll get a dedicated account manager to help you with any issues you might have, and there's a separate customer support team.
Customer support runs 24 hours per day, 5 days a week (Monday to Friday). You can even speak to a real person over the phone if you like (not that common these days), or via live-chat, or simply email in. They cover over 16 languages across the world.
If you email in, you should get a response within 24 hours. Over phone and live-chat the responses are super quick.
Is Admirals safe?
Yep, it’s safe to use Admirals.
Admirals is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, which means they’ve been reviewed and approved to look after your money and offer trading and investing services.
In the UK, you are also protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which means you’ll get protection up to £85,000 (on your deposits) if Admirals were to go out of business and unable to return your money (highly unlikely).
However, customer's money is held in an entirely separate account from Admirals own money, and cannot be accessed by Admirals under any circumstances. It can only be returned back to you.
Admirals is also authorised by the relevant financial authority across the world, in every country they operate in.
Admirals pros and cons
Here’s a quick recap and the pros and cons of Admirals:
- Low cost overall
- Trustworthy and reliable
- Huge range of investment options
- Spread betting (UK only)
- Fractional shares and ETFs
- Excellent education resources
- Free webinars
- Great trading platform (via MetaTrader 4 and 5)
- Trade on mobile (own app and MetaTrader 4 and 5)
- Trade on web (with MetaTrader WebTrader)
- Advanced trading features for MetaTrader included
- Excellent customer service
- Interest on cash
- Free demo account
- Must use MetaTrader (but a great option)
- No crypto (in the UK)
- Not much else!
Admirals customer reviews
We obviously love Admirals, but to get a good idea of what their customers think, we like to look at Trustpilot, the popular reviews website. On Trustpilot, Admirals has a score of 4.2 out of 5, that’s great.
And it’s even better for a financial services company, who often have very low scores for many reasons particularly due to poor customer service.
There’s a lot of reviews mentioning how good the service is, and how good the platform is (with all the extra features you get for MetaTrader from Admirals).
We think Admirals is pretty awesome. It’s very well established and trustworthy, having been operating since 2001, and is very popular around the world, particularly in the UK. For beginners to advanced traders, it’s great.
You’ll need to use MetaTrader 4 or 5 (or on the web) in order to use Admirals as a broker - but MetaTrader is excellent, it’s the go-to platform for trading, and has pretty much everything you need, and super reliable – and with Admirals, you’ll get a huge number of advanced features all for free.
You can also trade on mobile via the MetaTrader apps (4 and 5), or Admirals own app.
The educational resources are great, and one of the best out there for a trading platform, there’s everything you need to learn, with new content published regularly, and in-depth courses to run you through things step-by-step.
The range of investment options is huge, over 8,000 in total, and over 4,500 stocks to trade.
Overall the fees are low, and the customer service is excellent.
It’s a big 5 stars from us, and highly recommended for all traders and investors. To get started or learn more, head over to the Admirals website¹.
Some legal info from Admirals
Admirals have asked us to make sure you understand that...
Investments involve risks and are not suitable for all investors. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 72%of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider.
You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.