Forex brokers have several roles to play in the market. These roles have also evolved over time, as traders demand a lot more from their trading providers. Forex companies now perform the following roles:
A) Access to the Market
This is the core role of the forex broker. The forex market is a virtual market with no physical location. At the centre of forex market operations is the interbank market, where the big banks offer various currency pairs for sale. Professional and individual traders therefore do not have to proceed to a physical location to trade, but rather have to have a means of accessing the interbank market. They can only gain access to the interbank forex market using software known as platforms. These platforms are provided by the forex brokers. So without the brokers, nobody can get access to the forex interbank market to trade.
Access can be provided directly using the ECN/STP platforms (also known as direct market access platforms), or indirectly using the market maker platforms that route orders to the broker’s dealing desk. Traders should as much as possible, try to understand the implications of getting direct access to the FX market on one hand, and getting indirect access on the other. The type of access granted will determine factors such as amount of capital to start with, as well as the trading styles and processes to be adopted.
B) Trader Education
This is gradually but surely becoming a very important element of the forex broker’s functions. Research has shown that 90% of retail traders will lose 90% of their accounts in 90 days. This is a well-established market statistic. Majority of the losing traders (if not all) are traders who are uneducated about the market and who do not understand how to trade profitably. These will end falling by the wayside. No broker wants to spend money acquiring clients, only to have them quit the market after decimating their accounts in 90 days. With brokers realizing that such an arrangement is not good for business in the long run, many of them are now investing significantly into trader education. Videos, articles and webinars are the common means by which beginner traders are given an introduction into the forex market.
C) Market Research
Once traders get established on the platforms using trader educational resources, their trading activities can be sustained via the provision of market research tools, analysis and news feeds. Many brokers have incorporated this into their offerings as well. For the trader, this is a good thing.