A quick online search reveals a score of brokers and trading companies, all offering enticing opportunities for amateur investors to get involved in forex trading. There are platforms to download, instructional videos to watch and, of course, coaches who’ll sell you their secrets (for a premium).

Occasionally you see someone who’ll invest on your behalf for an upfront fee, promising amazing returns in no time. However, before you pull out your credit card, pause to take stock – because the jury’s still out on whether forex trading is a viable way to earn a living.

Ethical, professional brokers like Mark Weetman, CEO of KI Unum Capital, usually begin their advice with a few cautionary words. “Competition is ingrained in all of us – the fight-or-flight reflex, the need to win and the desire to make a profit,” he says.

“When we’re in this mindset, we believe greed is good. Unfortunately, this is the very quality to which online forex advertising appeals. Mainstream social media sells zero-to-hero stories of overnight forex millionaires and the average man on the street believes he can make mega-profits by trading the forex market, with minimal effort.”

The reality, however, is very different. The European Securities & Markets Authority (ESMA) now compels brokers to reveal just how many of their clients are actually winning. “The primary goal of this new regulation is to put a halt on misleading advertising,” explains Weetman, “and the percentages don’t make pretty reading.”

In a recent study, The Finance Magnates’ Intelligence Department collected data to compare the client winnings of several top brokerage companies. It found that, on average, 76,3% of retail clients will lose money trading forex, with an average lifespan of close to six months.

The significance of this revelation isn’t that the brokers in the study are doing anything wrong. Rather, it shows just how difficult it is to make money trading forex. Essentially brokers can only offer their clients the best possible advice and tools to keep their losses to a minimum. Beyond that, it’s up to the clients themselves.

“Brokers with better-educated clients will improve their clients’ win/loss ratio,” says Weetman. However, advertisers don’t always emphasise that forex trading is ongoing learning process.