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  1. Beginner
    Early Stages for Beginners
    8 Topics
  2. Forex Terminology
    11 Topics
  3. Margin & Leverage
    2 Topics
  4. Personal Psychology Questions
    2 Topics
  5. Psychology for Beginners
    7 Topics
  6. Intermediate
    Identifying Scams
    2 Topics
  7. Brokers for Beginners
    5 Topics
  8. Technical Analysis
    13 Topics
  9. Market Structure
    5 Topics
  10. Completion
    Risk Management for Beginners
    8 Topics
  11. Fundamental Analysis
    9 Topics
  12. Advanced
    Using Indicators
    6 Topics
  13. Technical Analysis (Part 2)
    8 Topics


*ECN - Electronic Communications Network*

A dealing desk broker, otherwise known as a market-maker, is a brokerage who essentially “makes the market” in representation of the real market. You’re not trading the real market. You’re trading the market your broker provides for you.

You should know that the rates the market maker gives you are not made up out of nowhere. More often than not, they’re actually close to what the real market has. It’s just not the real interbank market that large institutions are trading through.

When it comes to dealing desk brokers, they make money from the spread off of each trade. Remember, trading is a zero-sum game. Meaning if you win, someone has to lose. If you lose, someone else won.

NOTE: Some people also call trading a negative-sum game because even if you open a trade and close it one second later, you lost some money. Whether it be a penny, 10 cents, or $1, you instantly lose money from the spread off of each trade, so most people look at trading as either you win or you lose.

So with market makers, they place your trade with someone on the opposite end. This means if you’re buying EUR/USD, they’re going to match you up with someone who is selling EUR/USD; that way, they can make money off the spread, and if you win you win, if you lose, you lose.

However, the issue most people have with market makers is that if they CAN’T find someone to match you up with, they ultimately have to take the opposite side of your trade. So if you’re buying EUR/USD, then in order to execute your trade as you requested, they have to SELL EUR/USD…. against you….. on a market THEY created… yeah, HUGE conflict of interest.

A lot of reasons I’ve seen people refrain from using market maker brokers is because you never know if you lost just because you had the wrong bias, or because your broker knows exactly where your stop loss is placed. This can potentially forcefully move the market against you and stop you out before price continues in its overall true direction.

One of the pros of using a market maker is most times, the spread is fixed. Regardless if the market is changing or not, the spread of a pair will remain the same. That way, you know the spread (price you pay to enter a trade/difference between the bid & ask price) always in the back of your mind.

What you should know is that not all market makers are in it just to see their clients lose. Actually, most don’t want to see that. If all of their clients lose and they make all the money, they may make a few million, but they’ll go out of business the next year due to terrible reviews about the broker and their clients closing their accounts. Due to the competitiveness of other market maker brokers, regulated market makers aren’t allowed to forcefully stop you out. Well, they can, but they’ll be in trouble if they get caught. For example: A huge broker most Forex traders know about, FXCM, was banned by the CFTC from operating in the United States due to taking positions directly against clients and using their own market making broker to their advantage. Unregulated brokers can do that with no repercussions, but regulated brokers cannot. (We’ll talk more about regulated brokers vs. unregulated next).

An ECN or non-dealing desk broker is a broker who does NOT create a market for their clients. The trades of their clients actually get routed to the best price possible offered by a liquidity provider (banks, large institutions, etc). Thus, there is NO conflict of interest in your trading. They do NOT take the opposite side of your trades. They simply send your trade to a liquidity provider and take a small commission from each trade.

What this means is, there is a list of all the best bid & ask prices from several different liquidity providers. Your ECN broker is just trying to see which bid & ask price is the best to get you in with your trade with the lowest possible spread.

Your broker makes money on the spread and sometimes even charges a small commission, but they have NO interest on if you win or lose. They are simply providing you access to the interbank market. Regulated ECN brokers are not manipulating prices for retail traders.

ECN brokers offer a variable spread. Meaning one day, EUR/USD’s spread can be a 6, and the next day, it can be 13, depending on what’s going on with the Euro & the US Dollar, if there’s a fundamental announcement (news) coming out, if its less volatile because the market just opened up or is closing, and etc.

One of the cons to using an ECN broker is that some of the fees are genuinely higher/more expensive than brokers who don’t use an Electronic Communications Network.

At the end of the day, choose whatever broker fits best for you. You may want a broker that offers a fixed spread, and if it’s regulated, market makers’ number 1 priority before taking the opposite side of your trade is to find another trader who has the opposite side of your trade, if it isn’t a conflict of interest.

You also may want a broker that doesn’t provide any type of conflict of interest when it comes to taking the opposite side of your trades. If you don’t mind the variable spreads and want direct access to the interbank market, then an ECN broker is the one for you.

After figuring out if you want to trade with a dealing desk broker or a no-dealing desk, the next thing you need to figure out is if you’re going to use a regulated broker or an unregulated broker!