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[Not my post] The Structure of Forex Brokers
Originally posted by Darkstar at Forex Factory. Disclaimer: I did not write this. I found this post on ForexFactory written by a user called DarkStar, which I believe a lot of redditors will benefit from reading. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ There has been much discussion of late regarding borker spreads and liquidity. Many assumptions are being made about why spreads are widened during news time that are built on an incomplete knowledge of the architecture of the forex market in general. The purpose of this article is to dissect the market and hopefully shed some light on the situation so that a more rational and productive discussion can be undertaken by the Forex Factory members. We will begin with an explanation of the purpose of the Forex market and how it is utilized by its primary participants, expand into the structure and operation of the market, and conclude with the implications of this information for speculators. With that having been said, let us begin. Unlike the various bond and equity markets, the Forex market is not generally utilized as an investment medium. While speculation has a critical role in its proper function, the lion’s share of Forex transactions are done as a function of international business. The guy who buys a shiny new Eclipse more then likely will pay for it with US Dollars. Unfortunately Mitsubishi’s factory workers in Japan need to get their paychecks denominated in Yen, so at some point a conversion needs to be made. When one considers that companies like Exxon, Boeing, Sony, Dell, Honda, and thousands of other international businesses move nearly every dollar, real, yen, rubble, pound, and euro they make in a foreign country through the Forex market, it isn’t hard to understand how insignificant the speculative presence is; even in a $2tril per day market. By and large, businesses don’t much care about the intricacies of exchange rates, they just want to make and sell their products. As a central repository of a company’s money, it was only natural that the banks would be the facilitators of these transactions. In the old days it was easy enough for a bank to call a foreign bank (or a foreign branch of ones own bank) and swap the stockpiles of currency each had accumulated from their many customers. Just as any business would, the banks bought the foreign currency at one rate and marked it up before selling it to the customer. With that the foreign exchange spread was born. This was (and still is) a reasonable cost of doing business. Mitsubishi can pay its customers and the banks make a nice little profit for the hassle and risks associated with moving around the currency. As a byproduct of transacting all this business, bank traders developed the ability to speculate on the future of currency rates. Utilizing a better understanding of the market, a bank could quote a business a spread on the current rate but hold off hedging until a better one came along. This process allowed the banks to expand their net income dramatically. The unfortunate consequence was that liquidity was redistributed in a way that made certain transactions impossible to complete. It was for this reason and this reason alone that the market was eventually opened up to non-bank participants. The banks wanted more orders in the market so that a) they could profit from the less experienced participants, and b) the less experienced participants could provide a better liquidity distribution for execution of international business hedge orders. Initially only megacap hedge funds (such as Soros’s and others) were permitted, but it has since grown to include the retail brokerages and ECNs. Market Structure: Now that we have established why the market exists, let’s take a look at how the transactions are facilitated: The top tier of the Forex market is transacted on what is collectively known as the Interbank. Contrary to popular belief the Interbank is not an exchange; it is a collection of communication agreements between the world’s largest money center banks. To understand the structure of the Interbank market, it may be easier to grasp by way of analogy. Consider that in an office (or maybe even someone’s home) there are multiple computers connected via a network cable. Each computer operates independently of the others until it needs a resource that another computer possesses. At that point it will contact the other computer and request access to the necessary resource. If the computer is working properly and its owner has given the requestor authorization to do so, the resource can be accessed and the initiating computers request can be fulfilled. By substituting computers for banks and resources for currency, you can easily grasp the relationships that exist on the Interbank. Anyone who has ever tried to find resources on a computer network without a server can appreciate how difficult it can be to keep track of who has what resources. The same issue exists on the Interbank market with regard to prices and currency inventory. A bank in Singapore may only rarely transact business with a company that needs to exchange some Brazilian Real and it can be very difficult to establish what a proper exchange rate should be. It is for this purpose that EBS and Reuters (hereafter EBS) established their services. Layered on top (in a manner of speaking) of the Interbank communication links, the EBS service enables banks to see how much and at what prices all the Interbank members are willing to transact. Pains should be taken to express that EBS is not a market or a market maker; it is an application used to see bids and offers from the various banks. The second tier of the market exists essential within each bank. By calling your local Bank of America branch you can exchange any foreign currency you would like. More then likely they will just move some excess currency from one branch to another. Since this is a micro-exchange with a single counterparty, you are basically at their mercy as to what exchange rate they will quote you. Your choice is to accept their offer or shop a different bank. Everyone who trades the forex market should visit their bank at least once to get a few quotes. It would be very enlightening to see how lucrative these transactions really are. Branching off of this second tier is the third tier retail market. When brokers like Oanda, Forex.com, FXCM, etc. desire to establish a retail operation the first thing they need is a liquidity provider. Nine in ten of these brokers will sign an agreement with just one bank. This bank will agree to provide liquidity if and only if they can hedge it on EBS inclusive of their desired spread. Because the volume will be significantly higher a single bank patron will transact, the spreads will be much more competitive. By no means should it be expected these tier 3 providers will be quoted precisely what exists on the Interbank. Remember the bank is in the business of collecting spreads and no agreement is going to suspend that priority. Retail forex is almost akin to running a casino. The majority of its participants have zero understanding how to trade effectively and as a result are consistent losers. The spread system combined with a standard probability distribution of returns gives the broker a built in house advantage of a few percentage points. As a result, they have all built internal order matching systems that play one loser off against a winner and collect the spread. On the occasions when disequilibrium exists within the internal order book, the broker hedges any exposure with their tier 2 liquidity provider. As bad as this may sound, there are some significant advantages for speculators that deal with them. Because it is an internal order book, many features can be provided which are otherwise unavailable through other means. Non-standard contract sizes, high leverage on tiny account balances, and the ability to transact in a commission free environment are just a few of them… An ECN operates similar to a Tier 2 bank, but still exists on the third tier. An ECN will generally establish agreements with several tier 2 banks for liquidity. However instead of matching orders internally, it will just pass through the quotes from the banks, as is, to be traded on. It’s sort of an EBS for little guys. There are many advantages to the model, but it is still not the Interbank. The banks are going to make their spread or their not go to waste their time. Depending on the bank this will take the form of price shading or widened spreads depending on market conditions. The ECN, for its trouble, collects a commission on each transaction. Aside from the commission factor, there are some other disadvantages a speculator should consider before making the leap to an ECN. Most offer much lower leverage and only allow full lot transactions. During certain market conditions, the banks may also pull their liquidity leaving traders without an opportunity to enter or exit positions at their desired price. Trade Mechanics: It is convenient to believe that in a $2tril per day market there is always enough liquidity to do what needs to be done. Unfortunately belief does not negate the reality that for every buyer there MUST be a seller or no transaction can occur. When an order is too large to transact at the current price, the price moves to the point where open interest is abundant enough to cover it. Every time you see price move a single pip, it means that an order was executed that consumed (or otherwise removed) the open interest at the current price. There is no other way that prices can move. As we covered earlier, each bank lists on EBS how much and at what price they are willing to transact a currency. It is important to note that no Interbank participant is under any obligation to make a transaction if they do not feel it is in their best interest. There are no “market makers” on the Interbank; only speculators and hedgers. Looking at an ECN platform or Level II data on the stock market, one can get a feel for what the orders on EBS look like. The following is a sample representation: You’ll notice that there is open interest (Level II Vol figures) of various sizes at different price points. Each one of those units represents existing limit orders and in this example, each unit is $1mil in currency. Using this information, if a market sell order was placed for 38.4mil, the spread would instantly widen from 2.5 pips to 4.5 pips because there would no longer be any orders between 1.56300 and 1.56345. No broker, market maker, bank, or thief in the night widened the spread; it was the natural byproduct of the order that was placed. If no additional orders entered the market, the spread would remain this large forever. Fortunately, someone somewhere will deem a price point between those 2 figures an appropriate opportunity to do something and place an order. That order will either consume more interest or add to it, depending whether it is a market or limit order respectively. What would have happened if someone placed a market sell order for 2mil just 1 millisecond after that 38.4 mil order hit? They would have been filled at 1.5630 Why were they “slipped”? Because there was no one to take the other side of the transaction at 1.56320 any longer. Again, nobody was out screwing the trader; it was the natural byproduct of the order flow. A more interesting question is, what would happen if all the listed orders where suddenly canceled? The spread would widen to a point at which there were existing bids and offers. That may be 5,7,9, or even 100 pips; it is going to widen to whatever the difference between a bid and an offer are. Notice that nobody came in and “set” the spread, they just refused to transact at anything between it. Nothing can be done to force orders into existence that don’t exist. Regardless what market is being examined or what broker is facilitating transactions, it is impossible to avoid spreads and slippage. They are a fact of life in the realm of trading. Implications for speculators: Trading has been characterized as a zero sum game, and rightly so. If trader A sells a security to trader B and the price goes up, trader A lost money that they otherwise could have made. If it goes down, Trader A made money from trader B’s mistake. Even in a huge market like the Forex, each transaction must have a buyer and a seller to make a trade and one of them is going to lose. In the general realm of trading, this is materially irrelevant to each participant. But there are certain situations where it becomes of significant importance. One of those situations is a news event. Much has been made of late about how it is immoral, illegal, or downright evil for a broker, bank, or other liquidity provider to withdraw their order (increasing the spread) and slip orders (as though it was a conscious decision on their part to do so) more then normal during these events. These things occur for very specific reasons which have nothing to do with screwing anyone. Let us examine why: Leading up to an economic report for example, certain traders will enter into positions expecting the news to go a certain way. As the event becomes immanent, the banks on the Interbank will remove their speculative orders for fear of taking unnecessary losses. Technical traders will pull their orders as well since it is common practice for them to avoid the news. Hedge funds and other macro traders are either already positioned or waiting until after the news hits to make decisions dependent on the result. Knowing what we now know, where is the liquidity necessary to maintain a tight spread coming from? Moving down the food chain to Tier 2; a bank will only provide liquidity to an ECN or retail broker if they can instantly hedge (plus their requisite spread) the positions on Interbank. If the Interbank spreads are widening due to lower liquidity, the bank is going to have to widen the spreads on the downstream players as well. At tier 3 the ECN’s are simply passing the banks offers on, so spreads widen up to their customers. The retailers that guarantee spreads of 2 to 5 pips have just opened a gaping hole in their risk profile since they can no longer hedge their net exposure (ever wonder why they always seem to shut down or requote until its over?). The variable spread retailers in turn open up their spreads to match what is happening at the bank or they run into the same problems fixed spreads broker are dealing with. Now think about this situation for a second. What is going to happen when a number misses expectations? How many traders going into the event with positions chose wrong and need to get out ASAP? How many hedge funds are going to instantly drop their macro orders? How many retail traders’ straddle orders just executed? How many of them were waiting to hear a miss and executed market orders? With the technical traders on the sidelines, who is going to be stupid enough to take the other side of all these orders? The answer is no one. Between 1 and 5 seconds after the news hits it is a purely a 1 way market. That big long pin bar that occurs is a grand total of 2 prices; the one before the news hit and the one after. The 10, 20, or 30 pips between them is called a gap. Is it any wonder that slippage is in evidence at this time? Conclusions: Each tier of the Forex market has its own inherent advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your priorities you have to make a choice between what restrictions you can live with and those you cant. Unfortunately, you can’t always get what you want. By focusing on slippage and spreads, which are the natural byproduct of order flow, one is not only pursuing a futile ideal, they are passing up an enormous opportunity to capitalize on true inefficiencies. News events are one of the few times where a large number of players are positioned inappropriately and it is fairly easy to profit from their foolishness. If a trader truly wants to make the leap to the next level of profitability they should be spending their time figuring out how identify these positions and trading with the goal of capturing the price movement they inevitably will cause. Nobody is going to make the argument that a broker is a trader’s best friend, but they still provide a valuable service and should be compensated for their efforts. By accepting a broker for what it is and learning how to work within the limitations of the relationship, traders have access to a world of opportunity that they otherwise could never dream of capturing. Let us all remember that simple truth.
We created this website to bring together all the tools and services you’ll need to start trading for real. If you want to start taking advantage of the markets now, without having to become an expert, our free trading signal. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it with us. Here you’ll learn the basic terminology to be a successful Forex trader. To begin learning Forex, you’ll need to have a good grasp on the basic definitions, rules and terms used by professional traders. At first, this can sound daunting but after we spell out the fundamentals, it will become clearer and you’ll be on your way to becoming a Forex trader. We will cover terms, such as; base currency, the quote currency, micro lots, mini lots, standard lots, long position, short position, pips, spread, margin and many more. Someone who is using more than 10% of the whole equity into a trading session is probably not having a good money management strategy. Because you should always trade safe and also because the market may turn back on you and you would find yourself in a big margin problem. With good risk management, having 10% of your account invested can bring consistent returns with no problems.
Profit Rate :
Some traders can’t make 10% per year. Others can safely and consistently make 30% per month and they are not afraid to show their verified performance as a solid proof of what they offer. While taking into consideration a proper risk and money management, you should never aim to make millions in one week with a small account because that would probably mean hitting margin call. Just remember: a good strategy and analysis will always bring profits. And if at the end of the month you have only 1% profit, that means you don’t have -1% loss.
Choosing the Best Forex Broker :
In order to start trading Forex, you will need to find the right online Forex broker for you with the cash rebate program. It’s important to find the right Forex broker for your trading needs according to several important criteria, such as security, customer service, trading platform, transaction costs, live quotes and more. While reading our guide on how to choose the best FOREX BROKERS.
Forex for free :
Most Forex brokers offer many free options, services, tips and information to help you trade better. Real-time charts and news, help guides, and blogs help you understand and learn about the market in real time. There are also many “demo” accounts to try the market before putting in real money.
Why Trade Forex?
The Forex market is fast becoming the most attractive and popular market in the world. The traditional stock is no longer relevant and traders are moving fast into the Forex. We collected here a few reasons to show you why this is happening and what advantages the Forex market has to make is so popular. We choose to focus on a few very important advantages of the Forex trading and the reasons that people choose this market: forex is the largest financial market in the world. The daily volume of the Forex market is huge over $3 trillion per day. This makes the stability of the market very good compared to stock trading. The price in the Forex market is exactly what you see is what you get and you can follow it very easily. Forex trading simplifies everything, there’s no clearing fees, no exchange fees, no government fees, no brokerage fees, no middlemen. The elimination of the middlemen gets the traders closer to the actual trade and makes the traders responsible for their pricing. The brokers are usually paid through a service called “bid-ask spread”. The Forex market is open 24 hours a day. Opening on Monday morning (in Australia) and closing in the afternoon (in New York). This is great for traders that can trade all day long or in parts. You can choose the times that are convenient for your trading, day-night, when you eat or when you sleep, whenever you want. In Forex trading you can minimize the risk by depositing a small amount that will control a larger contract value. This is controlled by leverage and can make you profitable in the Forex market. If a broker gives 50 to 1 leverage it means that with $50 deposit you can buy or sell with $2500. If you put $500, you can trade with $25,000. All this needs to be done with great risk management because high leverage can easily lead to great loss, as well as great profit. The Forex market is huge and therefore also very liquid. This means that on every buys or sell that you make, there will be someone who will take the other side of the trade. You will never be grounded because there’s no one on the other side. To get started you would think that you need a lot of money. The reality is that online Forex brokers have “mini” and “micro” options and some of them have a minimum of only $25. This is great for Forex beginners because it makes the trading starting point easier. I’m not saying that you need to start with the minimum, but being cautious is never bad and starting small is good for the average trader. main trading company
Forex the best trading market :
You can easily predict the movements in the Forex market you have many repetitive patterns and it’s fairly easy to learn, recognize and analyze these movements. The prices tend to go up or down and return to the average. They stay for quite a long time up or down and this stability makes the Forex market a much easier market to follow. This gives the traders a huge advantage in controlling their trades much better than the disorder.
Risk Warning :
We always suggest our clients to carefully consider their investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. try to money management with every trade. Trading foreign exchange on margin carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. The high degree of leverage can work against you as well as for you. FOREX IN WORLD takes no responsibility for loss incurred as a result of our trading signals. Before deciding to trade foreign exchange you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with foreign exchange trading and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts. FOREX TRADING IN INDIA: Forex means currency pair trading. Indian citizens can trade only currencies that have a pairing with INR. It is legal to trade with Indian Brokers providing access to Indian Exchanges(NSE, BSE, MCX-SX) providing access to Currency Derivatives. Since 2008, RBI and SEBI have permitted trading in currency derivatives. The currency pairs available for trading are USD-INR, EUR-INR, JPY-INR and GBP-INR.
One key philosophy that defined me as a retail trader. Always Remember: Conviction is important.
On here early this morning (light data day so we've got some downtime before our coverage) and wanted to post something I notice A LOT amongst the online comments and retail crowds. Don't be so quick to abandon ship or change the direction of where you see price action moving. By that, I don't mean this in the sense of sticking with losing trades, averaging down (losers average losers), or bad strategies. I mean this with regards to people that are far too easily convinced at the slightest dip, a full trend change has occurred. Whether its because of some indicator they look at that they want to tell the future or because a specific line was broken that they drew... Remember, market trends don't change because you think they do. Markets change when the expectations of the whole of the market participants turn. First, keep in mind that just because you have a particular trendline off two arbitrary points doesn't mean Joe Shmo at xyz capital and the 50 others in a PM position like him who's dropping $500 million USD on daily position movements is seeing the same line... or using a line at all. An example this week has been with USDJPY. I have seen plenty of comments floating around (not necessarily here) like this where a perfectly reasonable correction in a strong fundamentally backed USD bull trend leads to an "all aboard the short train". I'm not doing this to single anyone out... plenty of comments like this can be seen over at ForexLive (been friends with a couple of the contributors over the years and occasionally post comments) where purely stop driven short selling on the first retest of 100 since it gapped 60 pips across the line all of a sudden means we're going to revisit 95's and to sell everything with a pulse because "the trend has changed". Then comes the flurry of "confused" comments wondering why the USD isn't sinking. Ultimately, this comes down to basic market discipline of having objective judgement skills. Not getting swept up in the motion of the price action or more importantly... not getting swept up just because you have a position/financial stake in one answer or another (fading trends is a perfectly fine strategy so long as you don't presume each fading moment is a paradigm shift in the price's future movements). You need to be able to step back to determine without prejudice, if the trend truly is in fact broken. If you can't make a definitive conclusion on this from an objective point of view, then don't trade. Trading on guessing is flat out gambling. You're flipping a coin and hoping your guess is the same as the side of the coin. I'll tell you right now... Multi year currency trends don't change direction just because an indicator is overbought or a convergeance/divergeance of "insert random arbitrary measure here". If you mark the G10's major pair trends over the past 5 years, you can isolate the true changes in trends with shifts in the global paradigm of market flows. You can usually isolate shifts like this to policy shifts as well. This was the case in the constant up and down of the EUUSD over the course of the EU Sovereign Debt crisis. Each shift came from a change/agreement in how to further handle the crisis (ESM, etc). This is also why so many large macro funds made an ungodly amount of money during the past 6 months on the JPY. They recognized when the shift came from the large picture and chose entry points on the small picture. Yesterday proved a great example of this challenge to new traders in USD/JPY action with the ISM. It's been getting beaten on pretty badly with the large downward push in the Nikkei and had been sitting at 100.40 with buying attempts finding no ground. This indicated a good presence of market mind wanting to move downwards (with obvious stops at 100 being the obvious goal) and just waiting on a catalyst. If you stepped back for a moment though, nothing had changed. The largest QE program in history was still in full swing and USD yields were still rising (general gauge of attraction from jpy to USD can be viewed as the differential of JGB 10 years and 10 yr US Treasuries). I posted this prior to the 10am ISM report when it was still floating in the 100.40's and sure enough, we had a nice bounce when we ran into buyers and short profit takers below 99. Even for you guys that love the tech/trendline trading, this showed a bounce at the 55 day EMA and close to the daily trendline spanning from last November. This board should have been filled with comments about how great a chance this USD dip is to get a position in (or take profits if you're fading).... yet the retail comment consensus seemed to be swept up in a flurry of "yay short USD" and "sell bounces!", despite no fundamental landscape change or even technical viewpoint supporting greater breaks lower than yesterday's lows. As we sit right now, I could be completely proven wrong and this could be a trend change. Price could go back below 100 and push further lows into the mid 90's for all I know... and I will be the first to admit I am wrong when that happens. That doesn't change the point of this wall of text though. Bottom Line: Profitable traders let the price trend actually change direction before they change convictions. They do NOT change convictions and then wait for price trends to subsequently confirm.
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