Making money through forex trading needs 3 requirements to be met at the same time:
- Proper mental situation
- Proper brokerage service
We have to talk about all of these 3 requirements on a regular basis. Focusing only on the techniques, or giving you the forex signals whenever there is a trade setup doesn’t make you a trader. You have to learn the techniques and master your trading system, and at the same time you have to build a proper and stable mental and psychological status for yourself. Additionally, you also have to know about the brokers, the way they work and make money, and the way they can cheat their clients to make more money.
As a retail trader, you need to have an account with a broker, otherwise you will not be able to trade. Many professional traders, hedge funds, money managers, proprietary trading firms, and institutional traders who have large trading capitals, trade through the banks. Some of them have their own custom made platforms connected to the liquidity providers. However, novice retail traders who want to start with a small account, have to sign up for an account with a broker, because they cannot afford to trade through the banks, or have their own platform.
If you are a retail trader who wants to open a live account in future, or you have already opened a live account, you should know how the brokers make money and how they can cheat you to make more money.
Before I go to details, I have to clarify something:
There are so many traders who open a live account before they learn to trade properly, and so they lose. Instead of finding the problem and trying to fix it, many of them are used to accuse the broker. It is true that many brokers cheat their clients, but most retail traders lose because of their own mistakes, not because the brokers make them lose. A cheating broker can cause the losing traders to lose more and wipe out their accounts faster, but a professional trader can easily find out that the broker is cheating, so that he will withdraw his money and close his accounts as soon as possible. So, if you lose money in a trade after reading this article, don’t immediately think that the broker has made you lose.
I will have a separate article about the ways that broker can make money legally. In this article, I am talking about the ways that brokers cheat their clients to make money illegally.
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Nowadays, traders talk about regulation all the time. A brokerage company is regulated when it is registered with a governmental organization that monitors the brokerage companies activities. Usually there are also something like insurance that covers the traders capital if the registered broker gets bankrupt.
When traders find out that a brokerage company is regulated with a well-known and powerful organizations/authorities, they think that they are safe and they can not be cheated anymore, but this is not true. I have seen some highly regulated brokers that cheat their clients the most. How?
- There are always some special cheating ways, that can not be tracked by the regulatory authorities.
- Brokers can easily bribe the regulatory authorities and ask them to be kinder to them and close their eyes on some events.
- Many of the people who work in the regulatory authorities are the brokerage companies owners, and so they know how to bypass the rules
The “regulation market” started to become hot since a few years ago, and poor traders thought that the governors have finally decided to support them against the cheating brokers, but they were wrong. There are proofs that those regulations are done by the governors who directly or indirectly own brokerage companies and make millions through them. They made the regulation rules to prevent the traders to open accounts with the offshore brokerages, so that the money stays in their own countries, and the traders become obliged to open accounts with those brokerages owned by the governors. I am sure you can guess the rest of the story…
Someone Who Has GOLD Makes the Rules!
The conclusion is that “regulation” doesn’t necessarily mean that the broker can not cheat. Also not being regulated doesn’t mean that the broker cheats definitely. For some cheating brokers, “regulation” is just a tool to attract more traders to open accounts. They get regulated and registered because they have to, not because they are honest. I am not saying that all registered/regulated brokers cheat their clients. What I am saying is that don’t trust a broker just because it is regulated and registered.
There are dirty hands behind these kinds of apparently good actions (regulation). When they found out that they could make a lot of money through the traders losses, they took actions to (1) prevent the traders’ funds to leave the country, and (2) make it too difficult for the small brokerages to become registered and regulated, because (1) they wanted to keep the traders’ money in their own country, and (2) only their own brokerages become regulated, and traders can not open accounts with the other brokerages. Indeed, they created a funnel to drain the funds to their own pockets. However, people just see the surface and are not aware of what is going on behind the scene.
Let me ask you a question. More than 95% of the traders lose money. Many of them wipe out their accounts at least a few times, before they give up on forex trading. Many of them lose a lot of money. What these so called regulations have done for these people?
Nothing. Still more than 95% of the trader lose. What the governors have done is not about supporting the traders. It is about driving the funds toward the direction they want. They could easily make a rule that doesn’t allow those who have not passed some training courses and stages to open live accounts. You can not drive a car when you don’t have a drivers license. They could do the same with having a live account too. Why don’t they do it?
You know the answer. They want you to open a live account before you learn to trade properly, and lose your money. Before the regulations, they were worried about you to lose your money to the overseas brokerages, but now it is OK if you lose, because your money goes to their own pockets now.
Now, let’s talk about the ways that brokers can cheat to make more money out of your trades. Before reading the rest of this post, I recommend you to read a small article already published on LuckScout, to learn about the two different kinds of brokers, market maker and ECN/STP.
When you learn about the market maker and ECN/STP brokers, you may think that it is only the market maker brokers that cheat the traders. This is not true. ECN/STP brokers can cheat to make more money.
1. Stop Loss Hunting:
Stop loss hunting is a very effective way that market maker brokers use to make the traders lose money. To learn about this method, please read this article: Stop Loss Hunting by Forex Brokers – What to Do?
ECN/STP brokers should only transfer the orders to the liquidity providers (banks). They can only charge a fixed fee (commission) for each order, and this fee is the only way for the ECN/STP brokers to make money. However, many of them who are greedy, want to make more money through some other ways. “Markup” is a way used by these brokers to make more money through each position that traders take.
Markup is an extra pip the broker adds to the liquidity provider’s base spread. For example, the liquidity provider spread for EUR/USD is 0.5 pips, but the broker adds 1 pip to it, and so the total spread becomes 1.5 pips. In this case, the broker makes 1 pip, in addition to the commission it is legally allowed to charge.
How can you find out that your broker adds markups?
You can ask the broker first. Sometimes they tell you that they are doing it. Many of them believe/claim that it is their right to add markups while they charge commissions also. Many of them deny it, and claim that the spread they offer is the normal forex market spread. You can easily compare their spread with the market’s normal spread. If it is 1-3 pips above the regular spread, then they are adding markups to the spread. Nowadays, the liquidity providers offer a very low spread, as low as 3 pips for GBP/JPY that was used to have a relatively high spread in the past. If an ECN/STP broker doesn’t add any markups, then its spread must be very low.
When you found out that your broker charges markups too, it will be your choice to withdraw your money and close your account, and find another broker. However, you should note that sometimes the broker adds markups, but it is a real ECN/STP broker and you don’t have any problems in opening and closing your positions. If just a few markup pips doesn’t make a big difference, you’d better to hold your account.
It doesn’t make sense for a market maker broker to add markup. The spread they offer is completely in their own control, and they don’t get the spread from a liquidity provider. Therefore, they can increase the spread directly and they don’t have to add markups.
A high spread because of adding markups can be easily seen on the platform, by checking the difference of the bid and ask prices. However, slippage is hidden to the traders. You don’t find out that the broker slips the price as long as you have not opened and closed any positions.
What Is Slippage?
Slippage is a trick made by the market maker brokers. As your profit is their loss, then they have to do their best not to let you win. One of the ways is that they slip the price when you want to take or close a position. When you want to buy and click on the buy button, they suddenly take the price higher, so that you will enter with a higher price than what you see on the chart. For example you want to buy EUR/USD while the buy price is 1.31216 on the platform. You click on the buy button and you enter, but when you check your entry price you will see that it is much higher than what you saw on the platform. For examples it is 1.31320.
They don’t make you enter with a lower price when you want to go short (sell), because it doesn’t make sense to enter with a lower price when the actual sell price is higher on the platform. However, when you want to close a short position (you buy) they slip the price and you get out with a higher price.
Slippage causes you not to make the profit you could make with your winning positions, and lose more with your losing positions, because it worsen your entry/exit prices.
Market maker brokers don’t do this manually. It is all done automatically and through some special settings of the platform.
If you ask them why this happened, they will answer that it is because of the market situation, volatility and… .
With the real ECN/STP brokers sometimes you see that your entry is not what you saw on the chart. You may think that they also slip the price when you enter, but this doesn’t make sense to do if the broker is a real ECN/STP broker. They don’t make money from your losses, so they don’t have to make you lose. In contrast, they want you to win, grow your account and keep on trading with them, so that they will also make more money in long term.
Slippage is normal with the real ECN/STP brokers, specially when the market is volatile and during the news release time, because ECN/STP brokers have to route your orders to the liquidity providers. Although this is done automatically and electronically, but it takes some time and it is possible that the price changes during this time, specially when the market is moving strongly. So you will enter with a different price than what you saw on your platform. With the market maker brokers, this difference is always against you, but with the ECN/STP brokers it is sometimes against you, but sometimes in your favour.
Re-quoting is another trick made by market maker brokers. When the price is going up strongly, and you choose the right direction to enter (you click on the buy button), the broker delays for few seconds, and then instead of taking the position for you, gives a new price which is higher than the price you want to enter (because the price is going up strongly).
They do it when you choose the right direction. When the price is going up strongly and you buy, then you will make profit, and this is what a market maker broker doesn’t want. So it doesn’t let you enter with the buy price that was being offered when you clicked on the buy button, waits for few seconds for the price to go higher, and then offers you a new price, which is called re-quoting. Then you will have to click on the buy button again to enter. It is possible that they re-quote again, and repeat this process for a few times, to either stop you from entering the market, or make you enter with a much higher price. They just want to sabotage your trading.
Similarly, when the price is going down strongly, and you choose to go short, they don’t let you enter and wait for the price to go lower, and then they re-quote. They cause you to enter with a lower price to prevent you from making a good profit from your short position.
If you find out and complain, they will say they have no idea, and re-quoting is just the result of the markets volatility, and they have no control on it, and… . Whereas this is absolutely a big lie. They do the re-quoting through some special software and settings they apply to the platforms. They do it 100% intentionally.
Real ECN/STP brokers don’t re-quote, because it doesn’t make sense for them to do it. It will have no advantage for them. However, if a broker claims that it is a real ECN/STP broker, and it re-quotes at the same time, then it is not a real ECN/STP. It is a market maker broker.
Swap is the interest you have to pay when you hold your position overnight.
Swap has to be calculated through a special formula, and as each currency interest rate is clearly stated by the related central bank, the swap has to be a constant amount with all of the brokers, banks and liquidity providers. However, the swap you actually pay is different from broker to broker. It is OK if it is not too much, but if you see your broker charges a lot as the swap, then you have to ask them about the reason, and you have to close your account if they don’t fix it. Swap can cause you to lose a lot specially if you hold your positions for a long time.
Leverage is a good facility that helps us trade large amounts of money with a smaller account, and make bigger profits compared to the time that there is no leverage. However, it is a two-edge sword that can cut our own throat, if not used properly. Most of the novice and inexperienced traders misuse the leverage and take huge positions that their account balance is not high enough to handle. So that when the position goes against them, they get margin call and stopped out very easily and the whole account will be wiped out.
Read this carefully to learn about the leverage, margin… : Leverage, Margin, Balance, Equity, Free Margin, Margin Call And Stop Out Level In Forex Trading
Real ECN/STP brokers that are connected to real liquidity providers cannot offer a leverage higher than 100:1, because the liquidity providers do not support a leverage higher than this. If a real ECN/STP broker offers a higher leverage, and the client’s position goes to loss, then it is the broker who has to pay the extra loss. So a real ECN/STP broker never supports a leverage higher than 100:1.
However, market maker brokers can offer any leverage they want. I see that nowadays some of them offer 2000:1 which is crazy. Why do they do it?
They know that over 95% of the traders don’t know how to trade and they wipe out their accounts sooner or later. A higher leverage makes them take bigger positions, lose more and wipe out their accounts faster and easier.
When you see a broker offers such a high leverage, don’t think that they do it for your favour. They think about making more money within a shorter time.
This is it about the ways that brokers can cheat you. Please don’t ask me to recommend you a broker to open a live account with. I will never do it. I have good reasons for that.