What’s a regulated broker?

Regulated brokers are investment brokerages that are registered with a financial regulatory body for their country, for example, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is a financial regulator for the United Kingdom. Brokers that are registered and regulated by financial regulators are bound by quality control standards set forth by financial regulators, these strict rules are imposed to help safeguard investors against fraudulent activities. Depending upon the jurisdiction that you reside in, trading online with a brokerage that is unregulated may be illegal, therefore, we advise traders to invest only with regulated brokerages.

Are there any benefits of trading with a regulated forex broker?

In reality, there is no such thing as a guarantee. No matter how well a forex broker is regulated, there is no telling that your money will be safe.
Some examples includes MF Global, a well known US based broker went bust despite being regulated by the CFTC, known as one of the most strict financial watchdog in the US. Likewise, in Europe, Alpari UK had to shut shop after the January 2015 SNB shock. Despite being regulated by the FSA (Financial Services Authority) in the UK, latest reports show that customers are getting $0.79 on the dollar in terms of the money that was lost.
However, don't let the two examples make you judgmental about regulated forex brokers as they do have their own advantages.

How do regulations protect traders?

Regulations protect traders by enforcing quality services and products, fair prices, and requiring brokers to operate in a more transparent capacity. Additionally, the enforcement of regulations on fair pricing allows traders to receive better services and deals with brokers through increased competition between rivaling brokers.
Transparency - Financial audits are a regular occurrence with regulated brokers which will help prevent your account from potentially being fleeced by scams or involved in fraudulent schemes.
Risk Warnings - Regulated brokers are required to disclose transparent risk warnings when opening an account therefore customers are well-aware of the risks before trading live.
Compensation - If a broker should declare bankruptcy, you are expected to receive a portion of your funds back. An example would be how CySec regulated brokers are required to sign up for an Investor Compensation Fund.
Anti-Money Laundering & Credit Card Fraud - Part of a KYC Policy (Know-Your-Client), traders are required to provide a photo ID along with Proof of Address. While this process may seem time-consuming it is essential and helps prevent credit card fraud and money laundering.

Questions to ask before investing with a broker

What are the minimum deposit, payment methods, and trading terms?
Does this broker offer mobile, desktop, and web-based trading?
Does the style of trading offer suit my investment style?
Does the broker offer a free demo account for practicing?
How helpful and relevant are answers given by customer support?
What are other traders saying about the broker, are they highly rated?
Is this broker regulated, and if so, does the regulation number match the subsidiary disclosed on the site?

What editorial standards are used to rank brokers?

Licensing, Regulation & Investor Safe Guards
Usability, Research & Educational Resources, and Technology
Corporate Transparency, Longevity, and Broker Security
Trading Platform, Order Types, and Range of Offers
Client Reviews, Cost-Points, and Customer Service