Forex brokers are the mediators between the interbank market and the retail traders in the spot forex market. As such they hold very crucial roles in retail forex trading, and can make or mar your trading. This is if they are good or bad. There are different types of brokers differing in the brokerage model they run. This (the brokerage model) can leave them with certain advantages and disadvantages.

types of forex brokers

There are two major types of brokers and they are:

  • Dealing Desk Brokers
  • No Dealing Desk Brokers.


Dealing Desk Brokers

Dealing desk brokers are brokers that quote currency prices themselves. They take the other side of the trade whenever clients place trades. Moreover, they are also known as market makers (MM) as they create the market in which their clients trade in. They make money from the spread and also when a client loses a trade (If they are on the other side of the trade when a client loses, they make a profit). When a client wins, the trade of the client is either passed on to a liquidity provider or matched with other clients’ trades.

For market makers, conflict of interest between the broker and client can be a thing of concern. As some shameful brokers engage in actions such as stop-loss hunting.

Examples of market makers are FXTM, Easy markets, Exness, Ava trade, and eToro. In-depth broker reviews can be accessed here.


No Dealing Desk Brokers

The other types of forex brokers are the no dealing desk brokers. These brokers do not create a dealing desk rather they match client orders directly STP technology or to the interbank market through ECN technology.

Therefore, based on the type of technology employed by the broker, no dealing desk (NDD) brokers can be divided into two categories:

  • Straight through processing (STP) brokers,
  • Electronic communications network (ECN) brokers.

STP Brokers

Straight through processing (STP) brokers are brokers with technology that matches client’s orders to that of other clients. They usually have lightning-fast execution with no requotes. They have liquidity providers linked to the interbank market that provides them with quotes.

Therefore, they do not quote prices themselves, and because clients’ orders are matched, they can only make a profit from the spread or through charging a commission. Examples of STP brokers include NPBFX, FBS, Alpari, XM, FXOpen and Trading 212.

ECN Brokers

Brokers that employ the electronic communications network connect their clients directly to the interbank market. They use live quotes from the interbank market. While there are some brokers who offer other forms of brokerage and also offer ECN accounts as one of their products. Also, there are brokers that offer only ECN accounts are referred to as true ECN brokers. Examples of ECN brokers are IC markets, Dukascopy, FXTM, FBS, and XM.

For more on forex brokers, check out our top recommendations or read through our broker reviews. You can also visit our forum page on forex brokers to see what other traders are saying about them.