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Please ensure you understand how this product works and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing money. This means that some liquidity providers might withhold their best quotes inside the ECN network, and brokers, in the end, do not get the best prices to offer to traders. Another factor that plays a significant role is that ECN technology has been costly. Processing, execution, and other features have to be paid for by traders, which does not always pay off. The STP/DMA is more affordable given that their spreads remain low due to access to the best prices.

fx dma

This model can lead to conflicts of interest between the broker and the trader, as the broker may have an incentive to trade against the client or manipulate prices. The implementation of the FIX protocol gave market participants the ability to route orders electronically to execution desks. Advances in the technology enabled more detailed instructions to be submitted electronically with the underlying order.


An alternative would be the MetaTrader 5 platform; however, we found that it didn’t have the full portfolio of share markets available on the IRESS platform. It offers plenty of technical indicators and drawing tools to make your analysis efficient. That’s one of the main reasons online trading has become so accessible, affordable, and popular. Brokers, aka the middlemen, handle all of the technical stuff and you get to buy and sell by tapping a few buttons. Examples of buy-side entities include hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds, life insurance companies, and private equity funds. This form of control over trading activities is considered sponsored access.

In our testing, we found this tool improves the trade management experience and enhances features missing from the platforms. MetaTrader 5 and cTrader are set up to take advantage of direct market access with more advanced tools, such as the Depth of Markets tool, which is fine-tuned for DMA trading. For MetaTrader 5 users, it is $3.50 per lot traded, and for cTrader platform users, it is $3.00.

DMA example

If your account is not denominated in USD, the commission will be converted into your base currency (at current exchange rates) before being deducted. An EMA is a type of MA that reacts quicker to price changes than a simple MA. This is the result of a more complex calculation that puts more weight on recent price values and involves moving the EMA values forward or backward in time.

We introduce people to the world of trading currencies, both fiat and crypto, through our non-drowsy educational content and tools. We’re also a community of traders that support each other on our daily trading journey. DMA can be a good way for advanced traders to get a more comprehensive view of the market, and see the best possible prices available. It’s for serious traders who demand deep liquidity and the control to take advantage of rapid price opportunities.

DMA/STP Forex Brokers Differences

Assume that in the past the uptrending price has just slightly dropped below the MA only to rally once again shortly after. In this case, the price dropping below the MA wasn’t a reversal signal—the MA just didn’t fit the price action well. Displacing the MA by several periods may help keep the price above the MA, creating a better fit for the asset’s trend and thus avoiding some of the false signals.

fx dma

You can trade in various DMA markets such as equities, forex, financial derivatives like Contracts for Difference (CFDs), and fixed income. While some CFD brokers have Forex with DMA trading (IG Group for one) very few brokers offer this. In our forex testing, we used the ECN-powered Raw account and found the spreads to average 0.1 pips on EUR/USD, 50% below the industry average.

Drawbacks of direct market access in forex

They are not the “adversary” party, just the intermediary (like the ECN broker). Conflict of interest is certainly avoided with DMA brokers and traders do not need to worry about being set up by their broker (latency problems, requoting of prices, etc.). We liked how FP Markets consistently delivers some of the best spreads we’ve seen, thanks to their STP trading. With their Raw account operating on a no-dealing desk model, they offer true ECN pricing. These spreads, provided directly by liquidity providers, are kept “raw”, ensuring that traders get the most competitive rates.

fx dma

So while you’re trading at market prices, you won’t gain any ownership rights over the equities or currencies that form the subject of your CFD. It’s a way of placing trades that offers more flexibility and transparency than traditional dealing (which is usually referred to as OTC, or over-the-counter). While a DMA account has direct access to liquidity, orders are still sent in the broker’s (not the trader’s) name. When a trader places a trade with a DMA broker, this is replicated in the underlying exchange before being offered to the speculator. Market Makers on the other hand offer a market that may differ from the underlying exchange. They can take the opposite side of your position which some believe leads to a conflict of interest.

The broker offers 197 shares across eight exchanges, giving you access to the most popular markets while benefiting from the deep liquidity and better pricing DMA can provide. Direct Market Access Brokers (DMA) differ from types of brokerages like ECN and no dealing desk (NDD) as you can execute orders directly through electronic order books at the exchange. 2) Unlike DMA brokerage firms, the ECNs are not directly connected to the Non-deliverable Forward Ndf liquidity providers but are instead connected to ECN pools. In the direct pools, they have no direct contacwithto the premier banks and may not be in a position to get the best rates from the liquidity providers. Liquidity providers are known to conceal their best prices inside the ECN pools as they are anonymous. Although many people confuse or mix up DMA trading with ECN and STP, several features are unique to DMA Forex brokers.

fx dma

We’ve noted spreads dipping to as low as 0.0 pips, especially for the EUR/USD pair. Although XM is a relatively new entrant in the market, it has proven to be a trustworthy and reliable trading partner. The company operates from Cyprus and is regulated by the CySEC as well as the FCA.

How DMA trading works

You can also trade contracts for difference (CFDs) using direct market access. Whatever instrument you trade, you’ll place an order directly onto the order books of an exchange. You would search the L2 Dealer platform for the best price available to either buy or sell the underlying market. Then, you would place an order and your broker would do a quick check to see if you had enough margin to open the position. The necessary checks only take a few seconds, after which your order will be placed directly onto an exchange’s order books.

The “shop assistant” (aka the broker/brokerage software) then goes and fulfils your order and returns with the product. The risks of loss from investing in CFDs can be substantial and the value of your investments may fluctuate. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. You should consider whether you understand how this product works, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Actually, dealing desk brokers do not have the capacity to deal with large, profitable investors because their liquidity is limited. On the other hand, STP/DMA brokers have nothing to do with the trade outcomes since they are not the liquidity providers.

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