ECN is an acronym for Electronic Communications Network. A Forex ECN broker does not have a dealing desk but in its place offers a marketplace where multiple market makers, banks and investors can enter in competing bids and offers and have their trades filled by several liquidity providers in an anonymous trading environment. The trades are done in the name of the ECN broker, providing you with absolute anonymity. A trader may have their buy order filled by liquidity provider “A”, and close exactly the same order against liquidity provider “B”, or have their order matched internally by bid or offer of a different trader. The best bid and offer is showed the trader along with the market depth that is the collective volume offered at each price level. A significant quantity of market participants offering pricing to the ECN broker results in tighter spreads. Forex ECN brokers typically charge a commission for matching trades between their customers and the liquidity providers.
Utilising an ECN broker to trade forex provides a variety of major advantages, probably the most evident being narrow spreads and deep liquidity. Narrow spreads ensure that day traders and scalpers can exploit small price changes on an intraday basis. Deep liquidity ensures that significant volumes can easily be traded without having any effect on price this is especially important in volatile market conditions and provides significant advantages for traders utilising automated fx trading systems. These two components combined mean that it is possible for you to to take advantage of more buying and selling opportunities, more opportunity equals more profit potential.
You will find a number of ECN brokers available in the marketplace today with by far the most widespread ECN used being Currenex. Currenex is generally employed by institutions and investment banks and out of reach for most retail investors, however in recent times as the demand for narrow spreads and transparency has improved extensively a lot of commonly accepted retail forex trading platforms such as Metatrader have been custom-made to suit ECN providers. Nowadays more than ever the bridge between retail traders and investment banks is tightening.
It goes without saying using an ECN company is not going to be of any benefit if you do not have a strategy. Developing a forex trading strategy that takes into consideration your risk profile, lifestyle and investment is crucial before you start trading. After formulating your trading plan it is best to then try a variety forex trading platform demos to see which trading platform most closely fits your trading plan. Of course its essential that you choose a forex platform offered by an ECN broker. It can often be tricky to find out whether or not a forex company is in fact an ECN provider, however as a guideline ECN providers will charge commission on your transaction rather quoting you a widened spread.