Top 10 Best ECN STP Forex Brokers List 2020 [Non Dealing Desk]

Finding Trading Edges: Where to Get High R:R trades and Profit Potential of Them.

Finding Trading Edges: Where to Get High R:R trades and Profit Potential of Them.
TL;DR - I will try and flip an account from $50 or less to $1,000 over 2019. I will post all my account details so my strategy can be seen/copied. I will do this using only three or four trading setups. All of which are simple enough to learn. I will start trading on 10th January.
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As I see it there are two mains ways to understand how to make money in the markets. The first is to know what the biggest winners in the markets are doing and duplicating what they do. This is hard. Most of the biggest players will not publicly tell people what they are doing. You need to be able to kinda slide in with them and see if you can pick up some info. Not suitable for most people, takes a lot of networking and even then you have to be able to make the correct inferences.
Another way is to know the most common trades of losing traders and then be on the other side of their common mistakes. This is usually far easier, usually everyone knows the mind of a losing trader. I learned about what losing traders do every day by being one of them for many years. I noticed I had an some sort of affinity for buying at the very top of moves and selling at the very bottom. This sucked, however, is was obvious there was winning trades on the other side of what I was doing and the adjustments to be a good trader were small (albeit, tricky).
Thus began the study for entries and maximum risk:reward. See, there have been times I have bought aiming for a 10 pip scalps and hit 100 pips stops loss. Hell, there have been times I was going for 5 pips and hit 100 stop out. This can seem discouraging, but it does mean there must be 1:10 risk:reward pay-off on the other side of these mistakes, and they were mistakes.
If you repeatedly enter and exit at the wrong times, you are making mistakes and probably the same ones over and over again. The market is tricking you! There are specific ways in which price moves that compel people to make these mistakes (I won’t go into this in this post, because it takes too long and this is going to be a long post anyway, but a lot of this is FOMO).
Making mistakes is okay. In fact, as I see it, making mistakes is an essential part of becoming an expert. Making a mistake enough times to understand intrinsically why it is a mistake and then make the required adjustments. Understanding at a deep level why you trade the way you do and why others make the mistakes they do, is an important part of becoming an expert in your chosen area of focus.
I could talk more on these concepts, but to keep the length of the post down, I will crack on to actual examples of trades I look for. Here are my three main criteria. I am looking for tops/bottoms of moves (edge entries). I am looking for 1:3 RR or more potential pay-offs. My strategy assumes that retail trades will lose most of the time. This seems a fair enough assumption. Without meaning to sound too crass about it, smart money will beat dumb money most of the time if the game is base on money. They just will.
So to summarize, I am looking for the points newbies get trapped in bad positions entering into moves too late. From these areas, I am looking for high RR entries.
Setup Examples.
I call this one the “Lightning Bolt correction”, but it is most commonly referred to as a “two leg correction”. I call it a “Lightning Bolt correction” because it looks a bit like one, and it zaps you. If you get it wrong.

https://preview.redd.it/t4whwijse2721.png?width=1326&format=png&auto=webp&s=c9050529c6e2472a3ff9f8e7137bd4a3ee5554cc
Once I see price making the first sell-off move and then begin to rally towards the highs again, I am waiting for a washout spike low. The common trades mistakes I am trading against here is them being too eager to buy into the trend too early and for the to get stopped out/reverse position when it looks like it is making another bearish breakout. Right at that point they panic … literally one candle under there is where I want to be getting in. I want to be buying their stop loss, essentially. “Oh, you don’t want that ...okay, I will have that!”
I need a precise entry. I want to use tiny stops (for big RR) so I need to be cute with entries. For this, I need entry rules. Not just arbitrarily buying the spike out. There are a few moving parts to this that are outside the scope of this post but one of my mains ways is using a fibs extension and looking for reversals just after the 1.61% level. How to draw the fibs is something else that is outside the scope of this but for one simple rule, they can be drawn on the failed new high leg.

https://preview.redd.it/2cd682kve2721.png?width=536&format=png&auto=webp&s=f4d081c9faff49d0976f9ffab260aaed2b570309
I am looking for a few specific things for a prime setup. Firstly, I am looking for the false hope candles, the ones that look like they will reverse the market and let those buying too early get out break-even or even at profit. In this case, you can see the hammer and engulfing candle off the 127 level, then it spikes low in that “stop-hunt” sort of style.
Secondly I want to see it trading just past my entry level (161 ext). This rule has come from nothing other than sheer volume. The amount of times I’ve been stopped out by 1 pip by that little sly final low has gave birth to this rule. I am looking for the market to trade under support in a manner that looks like a new strong breakout. When I see this, I am looking to get in with tiny stops, right under the lows. I will also be using smaller charts at this time and looking for reversal clusters of candles. Things like dojis, inverted hammers etc. These are great for sticking stops under.
Important note, when the lightning bolt correction fails to be a good entry, I expect to see another two legs down. I may look to sell into this area sometimes, and also be looking for buying on another couple legs down. It is important to note, though, when this does not work out, I expect there to be continued momentum that is enough to stop out and reasonable stop level for my entry. Which is why I want to cut quick. If a 10 pips stop will hit, usually a 30 pips stop will too. Bin it and look for the next opportunity at better RR.

https://preview.redd.it/mhkgy35ze2721.png?width=1155&format=png&auto=webp&s=a18278b85b10278603e5c9c80eb98df3e6878232
Another setup I am watching for is harmonic patterns, and I am using these as a multi-purpose indicator. When I see potentially harmonic patterns forming, I am using their completion level as take profits, I do not want to try and run though reversal patterns I can see forming hours ahead of time. I also use them for entering (similar rules of looking for specific entry criteria for small stops). Finally, I use them as a continuation pattern. If the harmonic pattern runs past the area it may have reversed from, there is a high probability that the market will continue to trend and very basic trend following strategies work well. I learned this from being too stubborn sticking with what I thought were harmonic reversals only to be ran over by a trend (seriously, everything I know I know from how it used to make me lose).

https://preview.redd.it/1ytz2431f2721.png?width=1322&format=png&auto=webp&s=983a7f2a91f9195004ad8a2aa2bb9d4d6f128937
A method of spotting these sorts of M/W harmonics is they tend to form after a second spike out leg never formed. When this happens, it gives me a really good idea of where my profit targets should be and where my next big breakout level is. It is worth noting, larger harmonics using have small harmonics inside them (on lower time-frames) and this can be used for dialling in optimum entries. I also use harmonics far more extensively in ranging markets. Where they tend to have higher win rates.
Next setup is the good old fashioned double bottoms/double top/one tick trap sort of setup. This comes in when the market is highly over extended. It has a small sell-off and rallies back to the highs before having a much larger sell-off. This is a more risky trade in that it sells into what looks like trending momentum and can be stopped out more. However, it also pays a high RR when it works, allowing for it to be ran at reduced risk and still be highly profitable when it comes through.

https://preview.redd.it/1bx83776f2721.png?width=587&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c76c3085598ae70f4142d26c46c8d6e9b1c2881
From these sorts of moves, I am always looking for a follow up buy if it forms a lightning bolt sort of setup.
All of these setups always offer 1:3 or better RR. If they do not, you are doing it wrong (and it will be your stop placement that is wrong). This is not to say the target is always 1:3+, sometimes it is best to lock in profits with training stops. It just means that every time you enter, you can potentially have a trade that runs for many times more than you risked. 1:10 RR can be hit in these sorts of setups sometimes. Paying you 20% for 2% risked.
I want to really stress here that what I am doing is trading against small traders mistakes. I am not trying to “beat the market maker”. I am not trying to reverse engineer J.P Morgan’s black boxes. I do not think I am smart enough to gain a worthwhile edge over these traders. They have more money, they have more data, they have better softwares … they are stronger. Me trying to “beat the market maker” is like me trying to beat up Mike Tyson. I might be able to kick him in the balls and feel smug for a few seconds. However, when he gets up, he is still Tyson and I am still me. I am still going to be pummeled.
I’ve seen some people that were fairly bright people going into training courses and coming out dumb as shit. Thinking they somehow are now going to dominate Goldman Sachs because they learned a chart pattern. Get a grip. For real, get a fucking grip. These buzz phrases are marketeering. Realististically, if you want to win in the markets, you need to have an edge over somebody.
I don’t have edges on the banks. If I could find one, they’d take it away from me. Edges work on inefficiencies in what others do that you can spot and they can not. I do not expect to out-think a banks analysis team. I know for damn sure I can out-think a version of me from 5 years ago … and I know there are enough of them in the markets. I look to trade against them. I just look to protect myself from the larger players so they can only hurt me in limited ways. Rather than letting them corner me and beat me to a pulp (in the form of me watching $1,000 drop off my equity because I moved a stop or something), I just let them kick me in the butt as I run away. It hurts a little, but I will be over it soon.
I believe using these principles, these three simple enough edge entry setups, selectiveness (remembering you are trading against the areas people make mistakes, wait for they areas) and measured aggression a person can make impressive compounded gains over a year. I will attempt to demonstrate this by taking an account of under $100 to over $1,000 in a year. I will use max 10% on risk on a position, the risk will scale down as the account size increases. In most cases, 5% risk per trade will be used, so I will be going for 10-20% or so profits. I will be looking only for prime opportunities, so few trades but hard hitting ones when I take them.
I will start trading around the 10th January. Set remind me if you want to follow along. I will also post my investor login details, so you can see the trades in my account in real time. Letting you see when I place my orders and how I manage running positions.
I also think these same principles can be tweaked in such a way it is possible to flip $50 or so into $1,000 in under a month. I’ve done $10 to $1,000 in three days before. This is far more complex in trade management, though. Making it hard to explain/understand and un-viable for many people to copy (it hedges, does not comply with FIFO, needs 1:500 leverage and also needs spreads under half a pip on EURUSD - not everyone can access all they things). I see all too often people act as if this can’t be done and everyone saying it is lying to sell you something. I do not sell signals. I do not sell training. I have no dog in this fight, I am just saying it can be done. There are people who do it. If you dismiss it as impossible; you will never be one of them.
If I try this 10 times with $50, I probably am more likely to make $1,000 ($500 profit) in a couple months than standard ideas would double $500 - I think I have better RR, even though I may go bust 5 or more times. I may also try to demonstrate this, but it is kinda just show-boating, quite honestly. When it works, it looks cool. When it does not, I can go bust in a single day (see example https://www.fxblue.com/users/redditmicroflip).
So I may or may not try and demonstrate this. All this is, is just taking good basic concepts and applying accelerated risk tactics to them and hitting a winning streak (of far less trades than you may think). Once you have good entries and RR optimization in place - there really is no reason why you can not scale these up to do what may people call impossible (without even trying it).
I know there are a lot of people who do not think these things are possible and tend to just troll whenever people talk about these things. There used to be a time when I’d try to explain why I thought the way I did … before I noticed they only cared about telling me why they were right and discussion was pointless. Therefore, when it comes to replies, I will reply to all comments that ask me a question regarding why I think this can be done, or why I done something that I done. If you are commenting just to tell me all the reasons you think I am wrong and you are right, I will probably not reply. I may well consider your points if they are good ones. I just do not entering into discussions with people who already know everything; it serves no purpose.

Edit: Addition.

I want to talk a bit more about using higher percentage of risk than usual. Firstly, let me say that there are good reasons for risk caps that people often cite as “musts”. There are reasons why 2% is considered optimum for a lot of strategies and there are reasons drawing down too much is a really bad thing.
Please do not be ignorant of this. Please do not assume I am, either. In previous work I done, I was selecting trading strategies that could be used for investment. When doing this, my only concern was drawdown metrics. These are essential for professional money management and they are also essential for personal long-term success in trading.
So please do not think I have not thought of these sorts of things Many of the reasons people say these things can’t work are basic 101 stuff anyone even remotely committed to learning about trading learns in their first 6 months. Trust me, I have thought about these concepts. I just never stopped thinking when I found out what public consensus was.
While these 101 rules make a lot of sense, it does not take away from the fact there are other betting strategies, and if you can know the approximate win rate and pay-off of trades, you can have other ways of deriving optimal bet sizes (risk per trade). Using Kelly Criterion, for example, if the pay-off is 1:3 and there is a 75% chance of winning, the optimal bet size is 62.5%. It would be a viable (high risk) strategy to have extremely filtered conditions that looked for just one perfect set up a month, makingover 150% if it was successful.
Let’s do some math on if you can pull that off three months in a row (using 150% gain, for easy math). Start $100. Month two starts $250. Month three $625. Month three ends $1,562. You have won three trades. Can you win three trades in a row under these conditions? I don’t know … but don’t assume no-one can.
This is extremely high risk, let’s scale it down to meet somewhere in the middle of the extremes. Let’s look at 10%. Same thing, 10% risk looking for ideal opportunities. Maybe trading once every week or so. 30% pay-off is you win. Let’s be realistic here, a lot of strategies can drawdown 10% using low risk without actually having had that good a chance to generate 30% gains in the trades it took to do so. It could be argued that trading seldomly but taking 5* the risk your “supposed” to take can be more risk efficient than many strategies people are using.
I am not saying that you should be doing these things with tens of thousands of dollars. I am not saying you should do these things as long term strategies. What I am saying is do not dismiss things out of hand just because they buck the “common knowns”. There are ways you can use more aggressive trading tactics to turn small sums of money into they $1,000s of dollars accounts that you exercise they stringent money management tactics on.
With all the above being said, you do have to actually understand to what extent you have an edge doing what you are doing. To do this, you should be using standard sorts of risks. Get the basics in place, just do not think you have to always be basic. Once you have good basics in place and actually make a bit of money, you can section off profits for higher risk versions of strategies. The basic concepts of money management are golden. For longevity and large funds; learned them and use them! Just don’t forget to think for yourself once you have done that.

Update -

Okay, I have thought this through a bit more and decided I don't want to post my live account investor login, because it has my full name and I do not know who any of you are. Instead, for copying/observing, I will give demo account login (since I can choose any name for a demo).
I will also copy onto a live account and have that tracked via Myfxbook.
I will do two versions. One will be FIFO compliant. It will trade only single trade positions. The other will not be FIFO compliant, it will open trades in batches. I will link up live account in a week or so. For now, if anyone wants to do BETA testing with the copy trader, you can do so with the following details (this is the non-FIFO compliant version).

Account tracking/copying details.

Low-Medium risk.
IC Markets MT4
Account number: 10307003
Investor PW: lGdMaRe6
Server: Demo:01
(Not FIFO compliant)

Valid and Invalid Complaints.
There are a few things that can pop up in copy trading. I am not a n00b when it comes to this, so I can somewhat forecast what these will be. I can kinda predict what sort of comments there may be. Some of these are valid points that if you raise I should (and will) reply to. Some are things outside of the scope of things I can influence, and as such, there is no point in me replying to. I will just cover them all here the one time.

Valid complains are if I do something dumb or dramatically outside of the strategy I have laid out here. won't do these, if I do, you can pitchfork ----E

Examples;

“Oi, idiot! You opened a trade randomly on a news spike. I got slipped 20 pips and it was a shit entry”.
Perfectly valid complaint.

“Why did you open a trade during swaps hours when the spread was 30 pips?”
Also valid.

“You left huge trades open running into the weekend and now I have serious gap paranoia!”
Definitely valid.

These are examples of me doing dumb stuff. If I do dumb stuff, it is fair enough people say things amounting to “Yo, that was dumb stuff”.

Invalid Complains;

“You bought EURUSD when it was clearly a sell!!!!”
Okay … you sell. No-one is asking you to copy my trades. I am not trading your strategy. Different positions make a market.

“You opened a position too big and I lost X%”.
No. Na uh. You copied a position too big. If you are using a trade copier, you can set maximum risk. If you neglect to do this, you are taking 100% risk. You have no valid compliant for losing. The act of copying and setting the risk settings is you selecting your risk. I am not responsible for your risk. I accept absolutely no liability for any losses.
*Suggested fix. Refer to risk control in copy trading software

“You lost X trades in a row at X% so I lost too much”.
Nope. You copied. See above. Anything relating to losing too much in trades (placed in liquid/standard market conditions) is entirely you. I can lose my money. Only you can set it up so you can lose yours. I do not have access to your account. Only mine.
*Suggested fix. Refer to risk control in copy trading software

“Price keeps trading close to the pending limit orders but not filling. Your account shows profits, but mine is not getting them”.
This is brokerage. I have no control over this. I use a strategy that aims for precision, and that means a pip here and there in brokerage spreads can make a difference. I am trading to profit from my trading conditions. I do not know, so can not account for, yours.
* Suggested fix. Compare the spread on your broker with the spread on mine. Adjust your orders accordingly. Buy limit orders will need to move up a little. Sell limit orders should not need adjusted.

“I got stopped out right before the market turned, I have a loss but your account shows a profit”.
This is brokerage. I have no control over this. I use a strategy that aims for precision, and that means a pip here and there differences in brokerage spreads can make a difference. I am trading to profit from my trading conditions. I do not know, so can not account for, yours.
** Suggested fix. Compare the spread on your broker with the spread on mine. Adjust your orders accordingly. Stop losses on sell orders will need to move up a bit. Stops on buy orders will be fine.

“Your trade got stopped out right before the market turned, if it was one more pip in the stop, it would have been a winner!!!”
Yeah. This happens. This is where the “risk” part of “risk:reward” comes in.

“Price traded close to take profit, yours filled but mines never”.
This is brokerage. I have no control over this. I use a strategy that aims for precision, and that means a pip here and there differences in brokerage spreads can make a difference. I am trading to profit from my trading conditions. I do not know, so can not account for, yours.
(Side note, this should not be an issue since when my trade closes, it should ping your account to close, too. You might get a couple less pips).
*** Suggested fix. Compare the spread on your broker with the spread on mine. Adjust your orders accordingly. Take profits on buys will need to move up a bit. Sell take profits will be fine.

“My brokers spread jumped to 20 during the New York session so the open trade made a bigger loss than it should”.
Your broker might just suck if this happens. This is brokerage. I have no control over this. My trades are placed to profit from my brokerage conditions. I do not know, so can not account for yours. Also, if accounting for random spread spikes like this was something I had to do, this strategy would not be a thing. It only works with fair brokerage conditions.
*Suggested fix. Do a bit of Googling and find out if you have a horrific broker. If so, fix that! A good search phrase is; “(Broker name) FPA reviews”.

“Price hit the stop loss but was going really fast and my stop got slipped X pips”.
This is brokerage. I have no control over this. I use a strategy that aims for precision, and that means a pip here and there differences in brokerage spreads can make a difference. I am trading to profit from my trading conditions. I do not know, so can not account for, yours.
If my trade also got slipped on the stop, I was slipped using ECN conditions with excellent execution; sometimes slips just happen. I am doing the most I can to prevent them, but it is a fact of liquidity that sometimes we get slipped (slippage can also work in our favor, paying us more than the take profit would have been).

“Orders you placed failed to execute on my account because they were too large”.
This is brokerage. I have no control over this. Margin requirements vary. I have 1:500 leverage available. I will not always be using it, but I can. If you can’t, this will make a difference.

“Your account is making profits trading things my broker does not have”
I have a full range of assets to trade with the broker I use. Included Forex, indices, commodities and cryptocurrencies. I may or may not use the extent of these options. I can not account for your brokerage conditions.

I think I have covered most of the common ones here. There are some general rules of thumb, though. Basically, if I do something that is dumb and would have a high probability of losing on any broker traded on, this is a valid complain.

Anything that pertains to risk taken in standard trading conditions is under your control.

Also, anything at all that pertains to brokerage variance there is nothing I can do, other than fully brief you on what to expect up-front. Since I am taking the time to do this, I won’t be a punchbag for anything that happens later pertaining to this.

I am not using an elitist broker. You don’t need $50,000 to open an account, it is only $200. It is accessible to most people - brokerage conditions akin to what I am using are absolutely available to anyone in the UK/Europe/Asia (North America, I am not so up on, so can’t say). With the broker I use, and with others. If you do not take the time to make sure you are trading with a good broker, there is nothing I can do about how that affects your trades.

I am using an A book broker, if you are using B book; it will almost certainly be worse results. You have bad costs. You are essentially buying from reseller and paying a mark-up. (A/B book AKA ECN/Market maker; learn about this here). My EURUSD spread will typically be 0.02 pips or so, if yours is 1 pip, this is a huge difference.
These are typical spreads I am working on.

https://preview.redd.it/yc2c4jfpab721.png?width=597&format=png&auto=webp&s=c377686b2485e13171318c9861f42faf325437e1


Check the full range of spreads on Forex, commodities, indices and crypto.

Please understand I want nothing from you if you benefit from this, but I am also due you nothing if you lose. My only term of offering this is that people do not moan at me if they lose money.

I have been fully upfront saying this is geared towards higher risk. I have provided information and tools for you to take control over this. If I do lose people’s money and I know that, I honestly will feel a bit sad about it. However, if you complain about it, all I will say is “I told you that might happen”, because, I am telling you that might happen.

Make clear headed assessments of how much money you can afford to risk, and use these when making your decisions. They are yours to make, and not my responsibility.

Update.

Crazy Kelly Compounding: $100 - $11,000 in 6 Trades.

$100 to $11,000 in 6 trades? Is it a scam? Is it a gamble? … No, it’s maths.

Common sense risk disclaimer: Don’t be a dick! Don’t risk money you can’t afford to lose. Do not risk money doing these things until you can show a regular profit on low risk.
Let’s talk about Crazy Kelly Compounding (CKC). Kelly criterion is a method for selecting optimal bet sizes if the odds and win rate are known (in other words, once you have worked out how to create and assess your edge). You can Google to learn about it in detail. The formula for Kelly criterion is;
((odds-1) * (percentage estimate)) - (1-percent estimate) / (odds-1) X 100
Now let’s say you can filter down a strategy to have a 80% win rate. It trades very rarely, but it had a very high success rate when it does. Let’s say you get 1:2 RR on that trade. Kelly would give you an optimum bet size of about 60% here. So if you win, you win 120%. Losing three trades in a row will bust you. You can still recover from anything less than that, fairly easily with a couple winning trades.
This is where CKC comes in. What if you could string some of these wins together, compounding the gains (so you were risking 60% each time)? What if you could pull off 6 trades in a row doing this?
Here is the math;

https://preview.redd.it/u3u6teqd7c721.png?width=606&format=png&auto=webp&s=3b958747b37b68ec2a769a8368b5cbebfe0e97ff
This shows years, substitute years for trades. 6 trades returns $11,338! This can be done. The question really is if you are able to dial in good enough entries, filter out enough sub-par trades and have the guts to pull the trigger when the time is right. Obviously you need to be willing to take the hit, obviously that hit gets bigger each time you go for it, but the reward to risk ratio is pretty decent if you can afford to lose the money.
We could maybe set something up to do this on cent brokers. So people can do it literally risking a couple dollars. I’d have to check to see if there was suitable spreads etc offered on them, though. They can be kinda icky.
Now listen, I am serious … don’t be a dick. Don’t rush out next week trying to retire by the weekend. What I am showing you is the EXTRA rewards that come with being able to produce good solid results and being able to section off some money for high risk “all or nothing” attempts; using your proven strategies.
I am not saying anyone can open 6 trades and make $11,000 … that is rather improbable. What I am saying is once you can get the strategy side right, and you can know your numbers; then you can use the numbers to see where the limits actually are, how fast your strategy can really go.
This CKC concept is not intended to inspire you to be reckless in trading, it is intended to inspire you to put focus on learning the core skills I am telling you that are behind being able to do this.
submitted by inweedwetrust to Forex [link] [comments]

[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.
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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.
submitted by Cross_Game to Forex [link] [comments]

Getting Started

Hey guys! I found a super cool list of everything a new forex trader would need to get started! Originally made by to nate1357. Link to original thread http://redd.it/328cjr
Free Resources
Education:
www.babypips.com/school
www.informedtrades.com/f7
www.forex4noobs.com/forex-education
www.en.tradimo.com/learn/forex-trading
www.youtube.com/useTheTradeitsimple
www.traderscalm.com
www.orderflowtrading.com/LearnOrderFlow.aspx
www.profitube.com
Calendars:
www.forexfactory.com/calendar.php
www.dailyfx.com/calendar
www.fxstreet.com/economic-calendar
www.forexlive.com/EconomicCalendar
www.myfxbook.com/forex-economic-calendar
www.investing.com/economic-calendar
Free News Websites:
www.forexlive.com - Daily live news, analysis and resources
www.financemagnates.com - FX industry news and updates
www.fxstreet.com - Daily news, analysis and resources
www.forextell.com
www.forexcup.com/news
www.bloomberg.com/markets
Forums:
www.reddit.com/forex
www.forums.babypips.com/
www.forexfactory.com/forum.php
www.elitetrader.com/et/index.php
www.forex-tsd.com/
www.fxgears.com/forum/index.php
www.trade2win.com/boards
Margin / pip / position size calculators
www.myfxbook.com/forex-calculators
Brokerages:
There are many factors to consider when choosing a brokerage. Regulations typically force US traders to only trade at US brokerages, while international traders have more choice. After considering location you need to consider how much capital you will start trading with as many have minimum deposit levels. Once you’ve narrowed that down you can compared spreads and execution. ECN brokers execute your orders straight through to their liquidity providers, while market maker brokers may pair up your trades with other clients. Market maker brokers typically will partially hedge your positions on the interbank market. Many consider this to be a conflict of interest and prefer to trade at an ECN broker who would have an active motive to see you succeed. Lastly, brokers run inherently risky business models so it is important to consider the risk of bankruptcy.
www.forexpeacearmy.com - Aggregates broker reviews. Be warned though that people only seem to make bad reviews.
www.myfxbook.com/forex-broker-spreads - Live comparison of executable spreads
United States & International-
-Interactive Brokers
International Only-
-LMAX (whitelabel DarwinEx)
*DMA broker based in the UK. Note that as a DMA broker LMAX eliminates the ability for LPs to last-look transactions. This may result in reduced liquidity during volatile times as liquidity providers would be likely not to risk posting liquidity to LMAX's pool. *Tight spreads *Minimum deposit $10,000 *Fairly well diversified
-Dukascopy
*ECN based in Switzerland, but available elsewhere depending on local regulations.
*Tight spreads *Minimum deposit $100 *Fairly well diversified
-IC Markets *ECN based in Australia *Fair spreads on standard account, tight spreads on professional accounts. *Minimum deposit $200 *Fairly well diversified
-Pepperstone
*ECN broker based in Australia. *Fair spreads on standard account, tight spreads on professional accounts. *Minimum deposit $200 *Not well diversified
Software / Apps:
Desktop/mobile
Terminology/Acronyms:
www.forexlive.com/ForexJargon - Common terms and acronyms
FAQ:
I need to exchange money, how do I do it?
This isn’t what this sub is for. Your best bet is using your bank or an online exchange service. Be prepared to pay a hefty fee.
I have money in one currency and need to exchange it into another sometime in the future, should I wait?
Don’t ask us this. We speculate intraday in FX and shouldn’t be relied on to tell you what’s best for you. Exchange the money when you need it.
I have an FX account, should I start trading demo or live?
This is highly debatable. You should definitely demo trade until you have mastered how to use the trading platform on desktop and mobile. After that it’s up to you. Many think that the psychology of trading live vs demo trading is massively different. So it may pay to learn to trade live. Just be warned that most FX traders lose almost their entire first account so start with a low affordable balance.
What’s money management?
Money management is a form of risk management and is arguably the most important aspect of your trading when it comes to long term survival. You should always enter trades with a stop loss - the distance of the stop allows you to calculate how large of a percent of your account balance will be lost if your trade stops out. You can run a monte carlo simulation to figure out the risk of having a number of trades go against you in a row to drain your account. The general rule is that you should only risk losing 1-4% of your account per trade entered.
More on this here: www.investopedia.com/articles/forex/06/fxmoneymgmt.asp[35]
www.swing-trade-stocks.com/money-management.html[36]
What about automated trading?
Retail FX traders have been known to program “Expert Advisors” (EAs) to automate trading. It’s generally advisable to stay away from that until you’re very experienced. Never buy an EA from a developer because the vast majority of them are scams.
What indicators are best?
That’s up to you to test and find out. Many in this forum dislike oscillating indicators since they fail to capture the essence of what moves price. With experience you will discover what works best for you. In my experience indicators that are most popular with professional traders are those that provide trading “levels” such as pivot points, fibonacci, moving averages, trendlines, etc.
What timeframe should I trade?
Price action can vary in different timeframes. In longer term timeframes the price action and fundamentals are much more clear. Unfortunately it would take a very long time to figure out whether or not what you’re doing is successful on longer timeframes. In shorter timeframes you can often tell very quickly if what you’re doing is profitable. Unfortunately there’s a lot more “noise” on these levels which can prove deceptive for those trying to learn. Therefore the best bet is to use a multi-timeframe analysis, working from top-down to come up with trades.
Should I trade using fundamental analysis (FA) of technical analysis (TA)?
This is a long standing argument in these forums and elsewhere. I’ll settle it here - you should have an understanding of both. Yes there are traders who blindly ignore one of the other but a truly well rounded trader should understand and implement both into the analysis. The market is driven in the longer term through FA. But TA is necessary to give traders a place to enter and exit trades from a psychological risk/reward standpoint.
I’ve heard trading Binary Options is an easy way to make money?
The general advice is to stay away from binaries. The structure of binary options is so that when you lose the broker wins. This incentive has created a very scammy industry where there are few legitimate binary options brokers. In addition in order to be profitable in binaries you have to win 55-65% of the time. That’s a much higher premium over spot FX.
Am I actually exchanging currencies?
Yes and no. Your broker handles spot FX is currency pairs. Although they make an exchange at the settlement date they treat your position in your account as a virtual currency pair. Think of it like a contract where you can only buy or sell it as a pair. In this sense you are always long one currency while short another. You are merely speculating that one currency will appreciate or depreciate vs another.
Why didn't my order fill?
Even if price appears to cross over a line on your chart it does not guarantee a fill. Different charting platforms chart different prices - some chart the bid price, some the ask price and some the midpoint price. To fill a limit order price needs to cross your limit's price plus the spread at the time that it is crossing. If it does not equal or exceed the spread then it will not fill. Be wary that in general spreads are not fixed. So what may fill at one time may not at another.
submitted by ClassicalAnt6 to TeamOceanSky [link] [comments]

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