By Chris Cammack Updated: April 29, 2020

The retail Forex CFD market is a complex space, and the brokers that work within it have different business models, but most of them are known as market maker brokers. The key identifying factor of a market maker broker is that they will take the exposure from any trade on to their own books, i.e. they will use their own liquidity to be the counterparty to your trade.

Some traders are wary of Market Makers because they believe there is an inherent conflict of interest in this business model (trader loses, broker wins and vice versa), but the truth is that they are an integral part of the Forex market, providing essential liquidity and access to a market that would otherwise be out of reach for all but the large institutional traders, such as banks and hedge funds.

It’s also important to note that market makers very rarely set their own prices – that is, they are not true market makers – because their pricing is usually at the mercy of their liquidity partners, who would have already set a price on the interbank market.

We will discuss how market makers operate in detail below, but for now, it is enough to know that well-regulated market makers offer a fair and transparent trading environment for retail traders.

These are the best market maker Forex brokers currently available; we have selected them based on their regulation, trading conditions, platforms and how good they are for beginner traders.

  • MarketsX - Best Market Maker Broker
  • FxPro - Most Trusted Broker
  • XTB - Most Assets Available
  • XM - Best Trading Platforms
  • easyMarkets - Best Customer Service
  • BDSwiss - Best Trading Conditions
By Chris Cammack Updated: April 29, 2020
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  • Broker
    MarketsX

    MarketsX  - Best Market Maker Broker

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    ASIC ASIC
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 250
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Metals
    • Equities
    • Energies
    • ETFs
    • Bonds
    • Blends
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Maestro
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Paypal
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Live0.9 pipsNoneInstantGBP 250 Account Details
  • Broker
    FxPro

    FxPro  - Most Trusted Broker

    REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    CySEC CySEC
    FSCA FSCA
    DFSA DFSA
    SCB SCB
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    • cTrader
    • FxProEdge
    Trading Instruments
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    • Equities
    • Energies
    • Futures
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Maestro
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Unionpay
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    FxPro cTrader0.45 pips$4.50MarketUSD 100 Account Details
    FxPro MT41.2 pipsNoneMarketUSD 100 Account Details
    FxPro MT51.52 pipsNoneMarketUSD 100 Account Details
    Islamic1.2 pipsVariableMarketUSD 100 Account Details
  • Broker
    XTB

    XTB  - Most Assets Available

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    IFSC IFSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 5
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • xStation5
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Paypal
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Islamic0.28 pips$10.00InstantUSD 5 Account Details
    Pro0.28 pips$7.00InstantUSD 5 Account Details
    Standard0.35 pipsNoneInstantUSD 5 Account Details
  • Broker
    XM

    XM  - Best Trading Platforms

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    ASIC ASIC
    IFSC IFSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 5
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    • Equities
    • Energies
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Sofort Banking
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Maestro
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Bitcoin
    • Unionpay
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Micro1.0 pipsNoneInstantUSD 5 Account Details
    Standard1.0 pipsNoneInstantUSD 5 Account Details
    XM Ultra Low0.6 pipsNoneInstantUSD 50 Account Details
    XM Zero0.6 pips$7.00InstantUSD 100 Account Details
  • Broker
    easyMarkets

    easyMarkets  - Best Customer Service

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    ASIC ASIC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    • Metals
    • Vanilla Options
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Sofort Banking
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Maestro
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Astropay
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Islamic1.9 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    Standard1.9 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    Premium1.4 pipsNoneInstantUSD 2000 Account Details
    VIP0.9 pipsNoneInstantUSD 10000 Account Details
    Super VIP1.2 pipsNoneInstantUSD 50000 Account Details
  • Broker
    BDSwiss

    BDSwiss  - Best Trading Conditions

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Sofort Banking
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Basic1.5 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    RAW Spread0.0 pipsNoneInstantUSD 200 Account Details
    Black1.1 pipsNoneInstantUSD 10000 Account Details
  • Broker
    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 1
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    Trading Instruments
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Metals
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Standard Cent MT40.3 pipsNoneMarketUSD 1 Account Details
    Standard MT40.1 pipsNoneMarketUSD 1 Account Details
    Standard MT50.2 pipsNoneMarketUSD 1 Account Details
    Pro0.1 pipsNoneMarketUSD 200 Account Details
    Raw Spread0.0 pips$3.50MarketUSD 200 Account Details
    Zero pips$3.50MarketUSD 200 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    MAS MAS
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 50
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • ATPro
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    • Bonds
    • Interest Rates
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Standard0.5 pipsNoneInstantUSD 200 Account Details
    Premium0.5 pipsNoneInstantUSD 10000 Account Details
    Professional0.5 pipsNoneInstantUSD 500000+ Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    DFSA DFSA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 200
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    Trading Instruments
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    • Equities
    • WTIs
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Fasapay
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Classic1.4 pipsNoneMarketUSD 50 Account Details
  • Broker
    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    • Futures
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Maestro
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Unionpay
    • Fasapay
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Live Fixed Spread2.2 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    Live Floating Spread1.1 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    Live Zero Spread0.0 pips$18InstantUSD 500 Account Details
    STP/ECN No Commission1.7 pipsNoneECN/STPUSD 500 Account Details
    STP/ECN Zero Spread0.0 pips$7.50ECN/STPUSD 500 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    FSCA FSCA
    DFSA DFSA
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    • Equities
    • Energies
    • Bonds
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Bitcoin
    • Unionpay
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Premium1.0 pips0.0MarketUSD 100 Account Details
    Zero Spread pips0.0MarketUSD 200 Account Details
    Hfcopy1.0 pips0.0MarketEUR 300 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    ASIC ASIC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 200
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    Trading Instruments
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    • Equities
    • WTIs
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Fasapay
    • BPay
    • POLi
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Standard1.0 pipsNoneMarketUSD 200 Account Details
    GoPlus+0.0 pips$3.00MarketUSD 500 Account Details
  • Broker
    REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 50
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • NinjaTrader
    Trading Instruments
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    • Equities
    • Bonds
    • WTIs
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Standard1.3 pipsNoneSTPUSD 50 Account Details
    Active TraderNot Published pipsYesSTPUSD 25000 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • ETX
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Maestro
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Unionpay
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    MT40.6 pipsNoneInstantGBP 100 Account Details
    TraderPro0.6 pipsNoneInstantGBP 100 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    ASIC ASIC
    FSCA FSCA
    B.V.I FSC B.V.I FSC
    FSA FSA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    • ETFs
    Deposit Methods
    • POLi
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Paypal
    • Bank Transfer
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Islamic1.2 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    Professional0.9 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    Retail0.9 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
  • Broker
    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    DFSA DFSA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    • Futures
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • WebMoney
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Classic1.2 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    Fixed1.8 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    Islamic Fixed1.8 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    Raw0.2 pips$4.00InstantUSD 200 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    • Sirix
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    • Equities
    • ETFs
    • Bonds
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Micro3.0 pipsNoneMarketUSD 100 Account Details
    Silver1.9 pipsNoneMarketUSD 1000 Account Details
    Gold1.5 pipsNoneMarketUSD 10000 Account Details
    Platinum1.2 pipsNoneMarketUSD 50000 Account Details
    Exclusive1.0 pipsNoneMarketUSD 100000 Account Details
  • Broker
    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    ASIC ASIC
    FSCA FSCA
    MAS MAS
    FMA FMA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • Plus500
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    • Vanilla Options
    • ETFs
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    • Paypal
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Standard0.0 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 1000
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    • AdvancedTrader
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Equities
    • Bonds
    • Futures
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Unionpay
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    ProfessionalCustom pipsNoneInstant Volume Based Account Details
    Standard1.7 pipsNoneInstantUSD 1000 Account Details
    Premium1.4 pipsNoneInstantUSD 10000 Account Details
    Prime1.1 pipsNoneInstantUSD 50000 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 250
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • Sirix
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Neteller
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Fasapay
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Bronze1.5 pipsNoneInstantUSD 250 Account Details
    Silver1.2 pipsNoneInstantUSD 1000 Account Details
    Gold0.9 pipsNoneInstantUSD 10000 Account Details
    PremiumNot Published pipsNoneInstantUSD 25000 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    B.V.I FSC B.V.I FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 5
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • Sirix
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    • Spread Betting
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Sofort Banking
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Maestro
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    ECN Zero Account0.0 pips$10.00InstantUSD 5 Account Details
    Standard Fixed1.8 pipsNoneInstantUSD 5 Account Details
    Standard Variable1.3 pipsNoneInstantUSD 5 Account Details
    VIP Varibale0.6 pipsNoneInstantUSD 5000 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 10
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • IQ option
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    • ETFs
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Bitcoin
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Live AccountUnpublished pipsNoneInstantUSD 5 Account Details
  • Broker
    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 200
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • etoro
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    Deposit Methods
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Neteller
    • Unionpay
    • Skrill
    • Paypal
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Professional1.0 pipsNoneMarketEUR 200 Account Details
    Standard1.0 pipsNoneMarketUSD 200 Account Details
  • Broker
    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 10
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • MT5
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    • Equities
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Maestro
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    • Bitcoin
    • Unionpay
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Cent Account1.5 pipsNoneInstantUSD 10 Account Details
    Standard Account1.3 pipsNoneInstantUSD 100 Account Details
    ECN Zero Account1.5 pipsNoneMarketUSD 200 Account Details
    ECN Account0.1 pips$2.00MarketUSD 500 Account Details
    FXTM Pro Account0.0 pipsNoneMarketUSD 25000 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    IFSC IFSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Skrill
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Basic2.5 pipsNoneMarketUSD 250 Account Details
    Gold2.0 pipsNoneMarketUSD 5000 Account Details
    Platinum1.4 pipsNoneMarketUSD 10000 Account Details
    VIP1.1 pipsNoneMarketUSD 50000 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 500
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • Sirix
    Trading Instruments
    • Commodities
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Equities
    • ETFs
    Deposit Methods
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Maestro
    • Skrill
    • Neteller
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    Mini4.0 pipsNoneInstantUSD 500 Account Details
    Standard3.0 pipsNoneInstantUSD 1000 Account Details
    Gold2.0 pipsNoneInstantUSD 5000 Account Details
    IslamicNot Published pipsNoneInstantUSD 10000 Account Details
    Platinum2.0 pipsNoneInstantUSD 10000 Account Details
    VIP1.6 pipsNoneInstantUSD 50000 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    ASIC ASIC
    FCA FCA
    MAS MAS
    FMA FMA
    Trading Desk Type
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 5
    Trading Conditions
    Trading Platforms
    • MT4
    • CMCmarkets
    Trading Instruments
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Forex
    • Indicies
    • Metals
    • Equities
    • Bonds
    • WTIs
    Deposit Methods
    • Bank Transfer
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Paypal
    • BPay
    • POLi
    AccountSpread FromCommissionExecutionMin. Deposit
    CFD Account0.7 pipsNoneInstantUSD 5 Account Details

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See All Forex Brokers

The Forex Market and Market Makers

In order to better understand how and why market makers operate the way they do, we need to understand how the Forex market works.

The vast majority of Forex trading takes place in the interbank market, trillions of dollars in currencies move between the major banks in this market on a daily basis (6.6 trillion USD per day is the 2019 estimate). It is in this space where the market is made; the prices set here, between the members of the interbank market, will be the basis for pricing in the lower volume sections of the Forex market, including the retail CFD market.

It is fair to say that the primary market makers in the Forex market are the members of this interbank market. They effectively set the rules for everyone else to play by – including market maker CFD brokers.

How do Market Makers Work?

Like all Forex brokers, market makers will offer you a bid and an ask (buy and sell) price on currency pairs, this price will be mostly set by the pricing of the currency pair on the interbank market. As market makers will be taking exposure to the risk associated with the trade (i.e. will be counterparty to the trade) they will also charge a mark-up fee on both the buy and sell prices.

The difference between the buy and sell prices is called the spread and is how market makers make most of their money. Think about it as the fee charged by the broker for creating the liquidity needed to make your trade. Most market makers will also hedge the trades they take on with a member of the interbank market, thus protecting themselves from losses – this is especially true in cases of large volume retail trades.

Market makers may also make alterations to the pricing on pair based on other factors:

  • Current exposure – a broker’s risk management team may dictate changes in pricing if they believe they are holding too many trades in one direction on a pair
  • The dealing desk’s views on future price movement – if the broker believes the GBP is overpriced against the USD, this will affect the pricing offered
  • Volume – as mentioned above, market makers will protect themselves when taking large volume trades, so will often insist on wider spreads and less leverage in these cases.

Market Makers vs ECN Brokers

Market makers are distinct from the other form of retail Forex CFD brokers, known as ECN (Electronic Communication Network) brokers. Instead of making a market and exposing themselves to the trading risk of their clients, ECN brokers act as a middleman between the trader and the members of their networks. Rather than being the counterparty to trades, ECN brokers will match trades against the best available price from their network of possible counterparties.

Because ECN brokers take no risk exposure from the trade and sit at the centre of a web of ruthless supply and demand forces, spreads are generally very tight and trade execution speeds are often much quicker. But ECN brokers will charge commission on every trade they match – making them an expensive proposition for smaller account sizes.

Should I Trade with a Market Maker?

As mentioned at the top, many traders are wary of working with market maker brokers, as they feel that there is an inherent conflict of interest in the business model. While it is true that a market maker will never quote prices that are going to damage their business, they will always have to offer a fair price – they cannot alter the pricing too much one way or the other before they open themselves up to arbitrage risk (the risk of traders making a profit by trading the discrepancies in pricing).

Furthermore, market makers in Europe, the UK and Australia will have strict requirements placed on them by regulators committing them to ensuring best execution of trades. Under this rule, it is illegal for market makers to skew trades to damage a client’s position.

If you are trading with a well-regulated market maker, the only real discussion to be had when considering trading through them or not is the style of broker you prefer. If you want tighter spreads and can afford commission on your trades, then an ECN broker may best – but for many retail Forex traders, this will be an unreasonable expense. It is also worth noting that many market maker brokers also offer very tight spreads and excellent all-round trading conditions.

How We Rate Market Maker Brokers

When we consider which market maker brokers are suitable for recommendation, we always look at the same factors. Each of these factors has the potential to radically alter your trading experience, and it is especially important for new traders to have trading conditions good enough to learn without being wiped out.

Regulation

Regulators ensure that market makers host a fair and transparent trading environment, all the while conducting strict auditing oversight and ensuring client fund protection. Brokers that are regulated by more than one major regulator are considered more trustworthy.

The major regulators are:

These international regulators are respected for their commitment to consumer protection, strong oversight and swift enforcement of sanctions on fraudulent brokers. They also all publish warning lists of unauthorised firms, so it is worth checking these before signing up with a broker:

FCA Warning List
ASIC Banned and Disqualified Register
CySEC Warnings

All market makers regulated by one or more of these regulators will be a fair and secure firm to do business with.

Trading Conditions

It is important to choose a market maker with the trading conditions that will support your trading strategy. Think about how much leverage you want to have available; keeping it low (100:1 or less) is a good idea if you are still learning how to trade. Also, consider what account currencies are supported by the broker and what currency pairs you want to trade, you do not want to be spending a fortune in conversion fees.

Other trading conditions to consider will be how tight the spreads are on the currency pairs you will want to trade, and what other assets are available that you may want to trade. Most Forex brokers will also offer CFD trading on commodities (such as oil, gas, etc.), precious metals (gold, silver, etc.), indices (FTSE, DAX, NYSE) and cryptocurrencies.

Account Types

Consider the different account types on offer at your broker, most market makers offer swap-free Islamic accounts, and all will offer demo accounts to practice with – the best demo accounts are unlimited and exactly simulate the real market.

Other popular account types are copy trading and social trading accounts. These will allow you to copy successful traders, who will then take a cut of your profits. A similar idea is the PAMM (Percentage Allocation Money Management) account, which is a pooled money operation, where the members of the money pool can choose what proportion of their account they want to allocate to a certain trader.

Trading Platforms

It is important to carefully choose a trading platform and find a broker that supports that platform. MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is a safe choice as it’s the industry standard and there is a multitude of online tutorials, though it is gradually being replaced with MetaTrader 5 – which has a more modern look and feel and has many features missing from MT4.

Market makers will not offer cTrader, as this is an ECN-only platform, but many will have their own in-house platforms, most of which are designed with new traders in mind so are easy to learn and have a more intuitive layout.

Broker Fees

We always check for additional broker fees that may be charged and so should you.

Market makers generally make their money from the spread, but some will also charge additional fees to further boost their profits. The most common charge is withdrawal fees, and it is good practice to always ask your broker if and how much they charge for withdrawing from your account. Generally, withdrawals fees are cheaper or non-existent when using online payment systems (such as Skrill) are used for funding your account.

We always highlight any extra fees charged by brokers in our reviews and will penalise brokers with extortionate fees.

Customer Service

Customer service is in your native language is important and many brokers offer full support in multiple languages. The best customer service will be available by live chat, email, messaging apps and over the phone. Many brokers will also offer a call-back service, so you do not have to make expensive international calls.

Good market makers offer customers support 24 hours a day, Monday-Friday and a rare few will also offer weekend service. If you are new to Forex trading you will want a broker with responsive technical support and customer support representatives with an in-depth knowledge of their products and platforms.

Education and Research

Forex education is especially important for new traders, many of the larger market maker brokers offer excellent structured Forex courses for beginners and a few will also have courses covering more advanced topics, like strategies and indicators. If you want to be a successful Forex trader you will never stop learning, so having a broker with excellent educational resources will essential.

Alongside educational support, a good broker will also have an in-house research team offering insightful market analysis on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Some market makers will leave market analysis to third-party companies such as Trading Central or TradingView – while these applications are both very useful, we find that brokers with their own analysis teams often provide better market research ideas and more useful information for new traders.

Final Word

Market makers are often unfairly blacklisted by many members of the Forex CFD trading community; the truth is that well-regulated market makers are an essential part of the Forex market. By committing themselves to be counterparty to any trade they provide much-needed stability, both in terms of liquidity and in terms of market function.

With the current regulations in place, it is also impossible for market makers to work against their clients – even if they wanted to ruin their reputation and open themselves up to arbitrage in this fashion.

It is worth noting that while well-regulated market makers are trusted members of the Forex market and essential for its function, there are many unregulated (or very poorly regulated) market makers that do not behave as ethically. Therefore, it is critical that you always trade with a market maker you trust – one that has a good track record and has oversight from a major regulator.

Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors and comes with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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