Norway is a Scandinavian country in Northwestern Europe characterized by its fjord-dotted coastline, epic landscapes, and a mixed economy with well-developed private and state sectors. A substantial portion of its economic growth originates from major catalysts like the petroleum, fishing, shipping, tourism, and hydro-power industries.
Norway is a relatively small country but it boasts the largest sovereign wealth fund in the entire world whose value grew to the staggering US$1.09 trillion in October 2019. Norway had considered becoming a member of the European Union twice, once in 1972 and again in 1994, but its citizens voted against the membership on both occasions.
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Despite this, the country still has a considerable contribution to the European economy and must abide by many EU laws. Its membership in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA) provides Norway with full access to this single market, with little to no restrictions on trading within the European Union.
Given these conditions, one could assume this affluent nation would pour tons of money into online trading but this simply is not the case. Norway’s Forex trading market is not all that impressive despite the local thriving economy. Nevertheless, foreign exchange trading is well regulated in Norway, with investors from the country having a decent choice of locally and EU-licensed brokerages.
Norway Forex Legislation
Traders from the Land of the Midnight Sun can legally invest into financial instruments such as currency pairs, contracts for difference (CFDs), stocks, and indices. The local Forex sector is overseen by Finanstilsynet, known as the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (FSA) in English.
Brokers looking to receive licenses from the Norwegian regulator must comply with certain conditions and restrictions. Since Norway has a membership in the EEA, many of its regulatory guidelines mirror the framework outlined by the EU regulator the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).
It is recommended, although not absolutely necessary, for brokers to receive a license by the Norwegian regulator, Finanstilsynet. The watchdog has a website with a registry where local traders can find up-to-date information about all firms and individuals that fall under the supervision of the Finanstilsynet. All authorized brokers undergo regular audits to ensure they work in full compliance with the Finanstilsynet requirements.
However, companies established and licensed in other member states of the EEA and the EU are granted the right to legally provide their services on Norwegian soil as long as they notify Finanstilsynet of their intentions of doing so. They can do so even without having a physical establishment in Norway. As is the case in many European cases, most brokers that operate in Norway are in fact licensed and registered in other jurisdictions like the United Kingdom and Cyprus.
Being a member of the EEA, Norway has also adopted the MiFID, short for the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. This piece of legislation went into effect in 2007 but has seen several revisions over the years. Its purpose was to harmonize the regulatory frameworks of the EU financial markets and boost the volume of investments between member states.
For this reason, Norway’s Forex regulations largely coincide with those enforced in other European countries. Brokers active on the Norwegian market must hold their customers’ money in segregated accounts that are different than those the companies’ operational capital is stored in. This ensures the funds of customers are safe from harm should something bad happen to the firm, like bankruptcy, for example.
Similarly to many other European countries, Norway decided to altogether prohibit the marketing, sale, and distribution of binary options as of July 2018. After extensively investigating six major foreign providers of binary options, the Norwegian authorities established these entities resort to extremely aggressive advertising methods that can be detrimental to retail investors while failing to provide adequate warnings about the risks inherent to this financial instrument.
Restrictions on the sale and advertising of high-risk CFDs came into force in August of the same year. Under the new rules, CFD providers must comply with a stop-loss policy that aims at limiting investors’ losses. They should also post standardized disclaimers on their websites to warn retail customers about the risks of trading with complex derivatives.
Leverage is capped in line with ESMA’s proposed maximum of 30:1 for major Forex pairs. The limitations differ based on the volatility of the underlying asset of the CFD. Margins should range from 3.33% to 20%.
Norway Financial Regulators
The Forex trading sector is supervised by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (FSA). Formed in 1986, this government agency ensures all financial companies within the country adhere to its laws and regulations. It is headquartered in the Norwegian capital of Oslo and accounts directly to the Ministry of Finance.
Norway’s FSA was founded through a merger with two other entities, the Norwegian Insurance Council and the Norwegian Broker Control Agency. It was previously known as the Credit Supervisory Authority but was renamed to Finanstilsynet in the winter of 2009. Apart from Forex trading, the watchdog regulates local banks, stock exchanges, pension funds, insurance, financing, and credit companies, among others.
The FSA has a very orderly and informative website, available in both Norwegian and English. It features a detailed registry with all trading companies that are allowed to legally service customers from the Norwegian market.
Enter the name of the broker you are interested in to see its Finanstilsynet ID, the type of services it can offer, and where it is licensed. Many of the companies listed in the registry are regulated in other European jurisdictions like Cyprus or the UK.
Norway Forex Payment Methods
Practicing with a demo account is always an option for novice Forex traders from Norway but you need to process a deposit if you want to start trading with real money. There are many different ways to deposit or withdraw from your account if you are based in Norway.
The most widespread options in this Nordic country are the standard debit/credit cards by Visa and Mastercard, followed by online banking and digital wallets. Bank checks are commonly available but are less frequently used by the locals.
Norway is a country with a mature e-commerce market, with an increasing number of residents using the services of third-party companies like Trustly. This payment platform is available across 29 European countries, including Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Spain.
This method enables you to fund your trading account in several simple steps. First you should select Trustly from the payment section of the broker’s website and choose the bank whose online banking services you are using. Then you log into your online banking, specify the amount you want to transfer to your trading balance, and confirm the payment.
If the simplicity of Trustly appeals to you, you have several other payment solutions that work on the same principle. One option that immediately comes to mind is Nordea, which was created after the mergers of several major Scandinavian banks. Nordea enables Norwegian traders to carry out transactions regardless of their location as long as they have signed up for the online banking services of one of the associated banks.
Some brokers on the Norwegian market accept payments via Klarna. E-wallets like PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller are also broadly available to customers from this jurisdiction. Many prefer to use them because of their time-efficiency, convenience, and speed.
Popular Trading Software in Norway
All decent brokers on the Norwegian market use robust platforms that facilitate speedy and hassle-free trading. A good Forex platform stands out with easy-to-use interface, a broad range of tools for market analysis, lightning-fast execution speeds, and up-to-date quotes. It also needs to have a well-organized chart station that allows for customization.
The good news is many Norway brokers choose to implement the MetaQuotes’ MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms, both of which cover all of the above-listed criteria. Both platforms are available for free installation and work on all popular operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Macintosh. The platforms are also available for browser-based trading viadedicated WebTrader versions.
They offer all the leading technologies for trading and market analysis alongside a host of additional services. Algorithmic trading is made possible through the availability of the Expert Advisors robots. You can trade in the financial markets on the fly since both MetaQuotes platforms are fully optimized for iPhones, iPads, and Android-based mobile devices. Norwegian is listed among the supported languages.
Some Norway-friendly brokerages go for less-known platforms like cTrader, Sirix, ZuluTrade, and NinjaTrader while others prefer to utilize propriety trading software. Most brokers that operate in Norway offer free trials of their trading platforms to allow new customers to get acquainted with all the features.
Mobile Trading in Norway
The foreign exchange markets are not easy to conquer, even when one possesses all the necessary knowledge and experience. To succeed in the long run, Forex traders must keep abreast of all the latest developments, trends, and news in the financial world. In recent years, it is becoming increasingly easier to achieve this thanks to the rapid development of mobile technologies.
Smartphones and tablets are gaining traction in the Forex community, with more and more traders preferring them over desktop computers and laptops. This tendency can also be observed in the Land of the Midnight Sun where smartphone penetration reached almost 87% in 2018, with over 4.6 million users. Forecasts predict the number of active smartphone users in Norway will reach 5.19 million people per month by 2024.
In 2017, the country ranked third in the world in terms of 4G availability and speed, with an average connection of 41.20 Mbps. It is anything but surprising mobile traders from Norway get to enjoy a seamless trading experience while away from their desktop computers.
Norway-friendly brokers cater to popular demand by offering customers from the country intuitive mobile apps, optimized for Android and iOS devices. Apart from supporting quick order execution, the apps are equipped with all the necessary tools and resources required for detailed analysis of the financial markets. The best Norway-friendly brokers also feature various educational tools to the benefit of beginner mobile traders.