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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Which Forex Broker should I use?

I receive a ton of emails from new traders asking me this question - "Which forex broker or trading platform should I use?" To be honest, I try to refrain from answering this question just because I feel that I would be doing that person disservice by just throwing out this or that broker's name. I feel that every new trader should go through the personal journey to find a broker for a couple of reasons:
  1. It will force those new traders who are only interested in learning about trading systems to learn the subtleties of trading such as spreads, leverage and margin, interest credits/debits, etc.
  2. While one traders style or method may be well suited on one broker's platform, it may not do so well on another broker's platform. Trying out different brokers may even open a new traders eyes to new methods and techniques that they may have not thought about before.
So, instead of telling you which broker you should go out and try, I say go out and demo every broker you are interested in and ask yourself some of these questions:

  1. Does the broker offer fixed or non-fixed spreads? How wide are the spreads? These questions are more significant to those traders who like to take quick profits on a few pips. Large and/or variable spreads can cut into the profits of this type of strategy.
  2. Is this trading platform user friendly? How easy or difficult is it to enter market/limit orders and to adjust positions once in a trade? Does it come with charting and/or news software?
  3. Does this broker credit or debit daily interest? Some brokers either do both, deduct interest, or neither. Some brokers actually debit twice the daily interest rate. Robbery! This information can enhance or hinder your profitability.
  4. Try different brokers in different market environments. For instance, during periods of high or extreme volatility, how well does this broker execute your trades? Does the trading software freeze or keep you from logging in? Do the spreads change and by how much?
  5. When it comes to tax time, how well does your broker list out all of your trades and profits and losses? The answer to this can save you or your tax guy hours of time.
  6. Is this broker registered with any regulating authorities? Check to see if your broker of choice is registered with the National Futures Association (NFA) or Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) if they're based in the US. If the broker is based in the United Kingdom, check with the Financial Service Authority (FSA). If the broker isn't registered with any of these, then you may want to think twice before signing up with them.
This is just a quick list and I'm sure you will come up with more as you go along. If you're still looking for an opinion on brokers, I suggest checking out some forex forums such as Forex Factory and Moneytec. There great places to talk and exchange information with other traders like you!

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