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The retail Forex 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 books, i.e. they will use their liquidity to be the counterparty to your trade. Market makers rarely set their prices because their pricing is usually at the mercy of their liquidity partners, who would have already set a price on the interbank market.

To test these brokers, we created a live trading account, verified their regulation, and read the fine print to identify if the broker can manipulate or intervene in the client trades in any way or if they operate non-intervention dealing desks (NDD). In addition to establishing the total trading costs paid by clients and fee structure, we studied the educational material and tested customer service’s patience. These are the best market maker brokers for 2021 according to our testing and our research.

English

These are the best Market Maker Brokers for 2021

Last updated on 10 May 2021
Updated 10 May 2021
by Editorial Director Chris Cammackby Chris Cammack
Chris Cammack
All Brokers Regulated
All Brokers Regulated
by Trusted Authoritiesby Trusted Authorities
Trusted
1
AvaTrade
Min. Deposit
GBP 100
4.484.48
Trading Cost
USD 9
Min. Spread
0.90 pips
Trading Desk Type
Overall Rating
11110.54.48/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.9 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. AvaTrade Group regulated by ASIC, FSCA, B.V.I FSC & FSA. 72% of traders lose money with this provider.
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Good value, beginner-friendly and hugely respected in the UK, AvaTrade is one of the most reputable brokers in the industry. With support for the leading trading platforms and top-quality multilingual support, AvaTrade has built a brand on a solid reputation and continues to add to that reputation with the recent addition of AvaProtect – an automated loss-protection tool – to its product lineup.

AvaTrade offers UK clients trading in Forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies, exchange-traded funds, options, bonds, and equities and is a good choice for any type of forex trader ranging from beginners to scalpers and intraday traders to long-term traders.

Pros
  • Good for beginners
  • Well regulated
  • Low minimum deposit
Cons
  • Dealing desk
  • Limited market analysis
Read More About AvaTrade
2
XM
Min. Deposit
GBP 5
4.384.38
Trading Cost
USD 16
Min. Spread
0.60 pips
Trading Desk Type
Overall Rating
11110.54.38/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.60 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. XM Group regulated by CySEC, ASIC, and the IFSC. 77.19% of traders lose money with this provider.
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XM Group has achieved substantial growth since opening in 2009, earning 1.5 million clients in 196 countries. XM’s operational philosophy is aimed at client satisfaction and low client turnover; they earn client loyalty through award-winning 24/5 personal customer service, varied account types and competitive trading conditions.

Regulated the FCA, CySEC and ASIC and the recipient of many industry awards, XM Group stands out from a crowded field of market maker brokers for their customer service and educational support.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Excellent education
  • Wide range of assets
  • Fast and free withdrawals
Cons
  • Dealing desk
Read More About XM
3
Plus500
Min. Deposit
GBP 100
4.094.09
Trading Cost
USD 8
Min. Spread
0 pips
Trading Desk Type
Overall Rating
11110.54.09/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.80 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Cryptocurrency availability subject to regulation. Islamic account available. Plus500 proprietary trading platform supported. Plus500 is regulated by FCA, CySEC, ASIC, and MAS. All information presented is verified as of the date of the review. 76.4% of traders lose money with this provider.
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With 50+ Forex CFD pairs available, tight spreads and fast execution, Plus500 is a popular broker with both its new and long-standing customers.  Even though a lot of effort has been put into creating a user-friendly platform, CFDs are complex financial products, and thus the platform is not suitable for inexperienced traders.

Award-winning customer service is available 24/7 and the Plus500 platform is web-based with no need for any downloads or setup, making this a good provider for those starting out who want to keep it simple. 

Plus500 has one account with a 100 USD minimum deposit requirement and keeps simplicity at the core of its business.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Wide range of assets
Cons
  • Limited education
  • Limited account options
Read More About Plus500
4
MarketsX
Min. Deposit
GBP 250
4.394.39
Trading Cost
USD 6
Min. Spread
0.60 pips
Trading Desk Type
Overall Rating
11110.54.39/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.60 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. MarketsX is regulated by CySEC, ASIC, and the FSCA. 74.93% of traders lose money with this provider.
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Marketsx is a premium trading platform. It’s operated by Markets.com and offers traders fast, low-cost trading on over 2,200 financial instruments. Marketsx provides CFD trading on global stock, forex, commodity, indices, cryptocurrency, ETF and bond markets. Clients in the UK can also use spread bets on applicable instruments.

The proprietary Marketx trading platform is packed full of features and trading tools and is optimised for lightning execution. As well as in-depth charting and asset comparison tools, Marketsx also gives traders a wealth of decision-supporting data with sentiment tools, tutorials, and regular live-streamed, expert analysis.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Wide range of assets
  • Fast and free withdrawals
Cons
  • High minimum deposit
Read More About MarketsX
5
IronFX
Min. Deposit
GBP 50
4.194.19
Trading Cost
USD 11
Min. Spread
0 pips
Trading Desk Type
Overall Rating
11110.54.19/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.10 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 1000:1. Islamic account available. Only MT4 platform supported. IronFX is regulated by CySEC, FCA, ASIC, and the FSCA. 75.35% of traders lose money with this provider.
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With a huge range of account types, a good micro account and over 80 tradeable currency pairs, IronFX has something for everyone. A globally recognised Forex broker with award-winning education and market analysis, IronFX has also recently introduced market execution accounts with ultra-low spreads.

For beginners who want to learn to trade on the MT4 platform, and experienced traders looking for strong international regulation, IronFX is an excellent choice in a broker.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Wide range of assets
Cons
  • Expensive withdrawals
Read More About IronFX
6
FxPro
Min. Deposit
GBP 100
4.244.24
Trading Cost
USD 14
Min. Spread
0.60 pips
Trading Desk Type
Overall Rating
11110.54.24/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.40 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4, MT5, cTrader and FxPro proprietary trading platform supported. FxPro Group is regulated by FCA, CySEC, FSCA, and the DFSA. 77% of traders lose money with this provider.
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FxPro is one of the most respected Forex brokers in the industry. Regulated by the FCA and CySEC and with over 870,000 client accounts in 173 countries, FxPro is a truly global powerhouse.

FxPro offers a no dealing desk execution model on MT4, MT5, cTrader and a browser-based platform. A reasonable 100 USD opening deposit and outstanding customer service are combined with competitive spreads – often as low as 0.6 pips – to match profitability with security.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Great platform choice
  • Tight spreads
Cons
  • Limited education
Read More About FxPro
7
XTB
Min. Deposit
GBP 5
4.144.14
Trading Cost
USD 5
Min. Spread
0.80 pips
Trading Desk Type
Overall Rating
11110.54.14/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.50 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & xStation platforms supported. XTB Group is regulated by CySEC CySEC, FCA and the IFSC. 82% of traders lose money with this provider.
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Founded in 2002, XTB is a Polish market-maker with tight spreads on a single account and a focus on providing top-class education and market analysis for its clients. Regulated by the FCA, CySEC and the Belize IFSC, XTB offers negative balance protection for all clients and high-speed trading on over 4000 instruments.

XTB recently dropped support for MT4 to focus on its award-winning proprietary platform, xStation 5, which features more modern elements and a more intuitive design than the MetaTrader platforms.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Good for beginners
Cons
  • Limited platform choice
Read More About XTB
8
FXCM
Min. Deposit
GBP 50
4.134.13
Trading Cost
USD 13
Min. Spread
0 pips
Trading Desk Type
Overall Rating
11110.54.13/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.30 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & Ninja Trader platforms supported. FXCM is regulated by FCA, ASIC, and the FSCA. 76.31% of traders lose money with this provider.
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Founded in 1999, FXCM is an FCA-regulated market marker with tight spreads and support for the MT4 platform.

Though it has a strong focus on educating new traders, FXCM also offers innovative trading tools and a wide range of specialty platforms for experienced traders. Customer support is excellent and FXCM’s flagship platform, Trading Station, has won multiple awards for its intuitive layout and customisability. Traders will also benefit from FXCM’s enhanced execution model across all popular currency pairs and CFDs.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Great platform choice
  • Excellent education
  • Innovative trading tools
Cons
  • Limited demo account
Read More About FXCM
9
CMC Markets
Min. Deposit
GBP 5
4.694.69
Trading Cost
USD 7
Min. Spread
0.70 pips
Trading Desk Type
Overall Rating
11110.54.69/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.70 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & CMC Proprietary platforms supported. CMC Markets is regulated by the ASIC, FCA, MAS and the FMA. 76% of traders lose money with this provider.
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CMC Markets is a British CFD broker with regulation from ASIC, the FCA, MAS and the FMA – making it is one of the world’s best-regulated brokers. Clients at CMC Markets can trade on Forex, indices, shares, commodities, treasuries, cryptocurrencies, and share baskets. The single trading account has a 5 GBP minimum deposit and offers commission-free trading on 330 Forex pairs, one of the largest sets of Forex pairs in the industry.

CMC Market’s offers spreads as low as 0.70 pips pips on the EUR/USD, much lower than most other commission-free brokers. Traders will appreciate these low trading costs, advanced order management tools, and CMC Markets’ powerful and innovative platform, but beginners may be disappointed by the limited educational material.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Good for beginners
  • Excellent education
  • Excellent market analysis
Cons
  • No swap-free account option
Read More About CMC Markets
10
eToro
Min. Deposit
GBP 200
3.693.69
Trading Cost
USD 10
Min. Spread
1 pips
Trading Desk Type
Overall Rating
1110.503.69/ 5
AlertAccepts UK Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. Only eToro proprietary trading platform supported. eToro is regulated by CySEC, FCA, and ASIC. 67% of traders lose money with this provider.
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eToro pioneered social trading in 2012 and has been widely recognised for making the social trading experience as smooth and engaging as possible. Regulated by the UK’s FCA and offices in Canary Wharf (London), eToro has grown to become one of the largest Forex brokers in the world, along with raking in multiple UK-based awards for innovation.

eToro’s trading platform is slightly different to most brokers, offering a more user friendly for beginners, and an active and helpful community supporting with trading ideas and a helping hand. If you are looking for a fun, simple and reliable social trading experience, then eToro is worth investigating.

 

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Good for beginners
  • Innovative trading tools
Cons
  • Limited education
  • Wide spreads
Read More About eToro

How to compare Market Maker brokers

Some of the best known Forex brokers in the world are market makers. Still, even the biggest market makers have needed to adapt as ECN brokers started introducing better trading conditions and a wider product offering to traders. While some market makers have made this transition, others have not, and many poor market makers are still in business today. When comparing market maker brokers consider: 

Intervening Dealing desks: All brokers have dealing desks, they keep track of asset prices and who is buying and selling what assets. However, brokers can operate dealing desks in different ways. 

  • A fully automated dealing desk will execute any trade requested of it by a client. This type of dealing desk is often called an NDD or non-intervention dealing desk.
  • A dealing desk that is not fully automated allows for the broker’s intervention and creates a conflict of interest between the broker and their client. Suppose a broker can intervene when opening positions, manipulate already open positions, or close positions without your knowledge. In this case, brokers are never independent in the process and in extreme cases can participate in the trade to ensure your loss.

NDD market makers are responsible members of the community, but market makers who don’t have fully automated dealing desks can manipulate your trades for their financial gain.

Spreads: The spread is the difference between the buy and sell price of a forex pair, and it is how brokers earn their money. Markets makers include all trading fees in the spread, meaning traders are not charged any additional commission based on the volume traded. That said, the spread can vary greatly from 0.6 pips (EUR/USD) to 5.0 pips on market maker accounts, and the difference in these spreads will change your total cost of trading significantly. 

Market makers commonly offer fixed spreads, meaning they do not change with the liquidity available on the market. This fixed fee cost structure makes it easier for traders to calculate their cost of trading and the potential profit or loss in a trade. Additionally, due to the market maker business model, trades will not incur slippage, which is an additional complication with DMA brokers who rely on liquidity for trading becoming available.

Account regulation: Your broker should be regulated, as this is the only way to protect your trading capital. Many regulators exist worldwide, and some regulators have more credibility than others. Brokers often hold licences from multiple regulators but your trading account will be monitored by only one of these. 

  • Look for your broker to have top tier international regulation from the FCA, ASIC or MAS. While this regulation will not always apply to your trading account, this regulation will give you an idea of the strength of the broker’s internal processes.
  • Local regulation, which is the UK is the FCA, is a comfort because if your account is locally regulated, your home government will have oversight of your trading account and have the full right to enforce the regulations. Research who the local regulatory authority is in your country.

Education & research quality: Market maker brokers overall tend to have more funding for educational material, course creation, webinars and market analysts. If you are going to trade with a market maker, be sure you select one with a high education and research score – meaning more education resources and better and more frequent market analysis.


    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.

    Forex Risk Disclaimer

    Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors as it carries a high degree of risk to your capital: 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. 

    Forex and CFD transactions involve high risk due to the following factors: Over-leveraging, unpredictable market volatility, slippage arising from a lack of liquidity, inadequate trading knowledge or experience, and a lack of regulatory protection for clients.

    Traders should not deposit any money that is not disposable. Regardless of how much research you have done, or how confident you are in your trade, there is always a substantial risk of loss. (Learn more from the FCA or from ASIC)

    Our Methodology

    Our State of the Market Report and Broker Directory are the result of extensive research on over 100 Forex brokers. The explicit goal of these resources is to help traders find the best Forex brokers – and steer them away from the worst ones – with the benefit of accurate and up-to-date information.

    With over 150 data points on each broker and over 3000 hours of research and review writing, we believe we have succeeded in our goal. 

    In a world where trading conditions and customer support can vary based on where you live, our broker reviews focus on the local trader and give you information about these brokers from your perspective.

    All research has been conducted by our in-house team of researchers and writers, gathering information from various company representatives, websites and by sifting through the fine print. Learn more about how we rank brokers

    References

    Featured Brokers

    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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