Forex Brokers And Their Issues

Before delving into the many issues of forex brokers today it would be best we define what a broker is before really jumping in. In simple terms a broker exante review could be referred to as a go between, a middleman and or an agent. Now in the case of the forex market they are regarded as the agent responsible for linking the buyer and the seller to the market place. Since many big and successful forex brokers have big banks that provide them (the brokers) market prices, these market prices are transferred to traders as the bid/ask price.

To fully understand these brokers, one would really have to consider knowing the different types of brokers available. There are just four types of brokers but other school of thought may think differently. These are:

1) Market Makers/DD

2) NDD

3) STP

4) ECN

These are the four available types of brokers today (though I personally like to think there are just three).

1) Market Makers/DD: These brokers are to say the least not looking for your best interest as they have “dealing desks” (DD). Forex brokers that operate (route orders) through the Dealing Desk and quote fixed spreads. A dealing desk broker makes money via spreads and by trading against its clients. A Dealing Desk Forex broker is called a Market Maker – they literally “make the market” for traders: when traders want to sell, they buy from them, when traders want to buy, they sell to them, e.g. they will always take the opposite side of the trade and in this way “create the market”. A trader doesn’t see the real market quotes, which allows Dealing Desk brokers (Market Makers) manipulate with their quotes where they need to in order to fill the client. They make money from the bid/ask price which more often than not is manipulated. In my books this makes the market makers a “no no” for any trader who wants to succeed. Painfully most of your “micro accounts” are owned by these market makers. This is so because they may not have liquidity providers and since micro accounts do not require large sums of money they are willing to give traders a hard time. So if a trader must have a winning spree, such trader would want to avoid trading the news hours since the “market maker” brokers will be able to manipulate the prices as they so wish.

2) NDD: Meaning No Dealing Desk. These type Forex brokers provide access to the interbank market without passing orders trough the dealing desk. With true No Dealing Desk brokers there are no re-quotes on orders and no additional pausing during order confirmation. This, in particular, allows trading during news times with no restrictions on trading. An NDD broker can either charge commission for trading or choose to increase the spread and make Forex trading commission free. No Dealing Desk brokers are either STP or ECN+STP.

3) STP: Simply means, “Straight Through Processing”. These types of forex brokers send orders directly from clients to the liquidity providers – banks, which trade on the Intebank. Sometimes STP brokers have just one liquidity provider, other times several of them. The fact remains that the more there are banks and liquidity in the system, the better the fills for the clients of such brokers. Since traders or clinets of such brokers have access to the true market and can execute trades immediately without dealer intervention, this makes brokers operating the STP platform very transparent in their dealings with clients and is perceived by traders to be honest to a large degree.

4) ECN: Meaning “Electronic Communications Network”. They are the most transparent of all other types of brokers and so are usually regarded as the purest form of what a forex broker should be, because of their services and qualities. ECN Forex brokers additionally allow clients’ orders to interact with other clients’ orders. ECN Forex broker provides a marketplace where all its participants (banks, market makers and individual traders) trade against each other by sending competing bids and offers into the system. Participants interact inside the system and get the best offers for their trades available at that time. All trading orders are matched between counter parties in real time. A small trading fee – commission – is always applied. More often than not sometimes STP brokers are discussed as if they were ECN brokers. Well the truth is to be a true ECN, a broker must display the Depth of the Market (DOM) in a data window, let clients show their own order size in the system and allow other clients to hit those orders. With ECN broker traders can see where the liquidity is and execute trades. ECN Forex brokers always have variable spreads. Only ECN brokers charge commission for trading Forex. Commission is the only revenue/profit an ECN broker receives. ECN brokers are not making money on bid/ask as do the market makers.

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