Best Market Maker Brokers

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Written By
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Written By
Royston Wild
Royston is an experienced investor and writer. His expertise includes stock recommendations through to commodities, forex, and macroeconomic news. Royston's background includes roles as a stocks and commodities reporter, and editor of forex coverage at Shares Magazine.
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Edited By
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Edited By
James Barra
James is an investment writer with a background in financial services. He has worked as a management consultant, where he delivered large-scale operational transformational programmes at some of Europe's biggest banks. James authors, edits and fact-checks content for a series of investing websites.
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Market maker brokers are companies that buy and sell financial assets with the use of their own inventories. They allow markets to operate smoothly by supplying deep liquidity and provide important benefits for short-term traders.

This guide will explain how they work, plus the advantages and disadvantages you can experience by day trading with a market maker broker. We’ve also evaluated a long row of companies to bring you our pick of the best market maker brokers.

Best Market Maker Brokers 2024

These are the top market-making brokers based on our exhaustive reviews:

  1. OANDA US - OANDA remains an excellent broker for US day traders seeking a user-friendly platform with premium analysis tools and a straightforward joining process. OANDA is also heavily regulated with a very high trust score.
  2. IG - IG continues to provide a comprehensive package with an intuitive web platform and best-in-class education for beginners, plus advanced charting tools, real-time data, and fast execution speeds for experienced day traders.
  3. Plus500 US - Plus500 US stands out as an excellent choice for beginners, offering a very user-friendly platform, low day trading margins, and access to the Futures Academy to enhance trading skills.
  4. Firstrade - We recommend Firstrade for beginner investors looking to trade US stocks with no commissions. There is a wealth of free education plus premium-quality research and trading ideas from Morningstar, Briefing.com, Zacks and Benzinga.

Best Market Maker Brokers Comparison

Best Market Maker Brokers Comparison
Broker Market Maker Minimum Deposit Investment Offering Trading Platforms Financial Regulators Visit
OANDA US logo
$0 Forex, Crypto OANDA Trade, MT4, TradingView, AutoChartist NFA, CFTC Visit
IG logo
$0 CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto, Spread Betting Web, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, MT4, AutoChartist, TradingCentral FCA, ASIC, NFA, CFTC, DFSA, BaFin, MAS, FSCA Visit
Plus500 US logo
$100 Futures on Forex, Commodities, Cryptos, Indices, Interest Rates WebTrader, App CFTC, NFA Visit
Firstrade logo
$0 Stocks, ETFs, Options, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Cryptos, Fixed Own SEC, FINRA Visit

#1 - OANDA US

Why We Chose OANDA US

OANDA is a popular brand offering exceptional execution, low deposit requirements and advanced charting and trading platform features. The top-rated brand has over 25 years of experience and is regulated by trusted agencies, including the NFA/CFTC. Around the clock support is available for short-term traders, alongside flexible contract sizes and automated trade executions.

  • Instruments: Forex, Crypto
  • Regulator: NFA, CFTC
  • Platforms: OANDA Trade, MT4, TradingView, AutoChartist
  • Min. Deposit: $0
  • Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:50

Pros

  • The broker's API facilitates access to 25 years of deep historical data and rates from 200+ currencies
  • Seasoned day traders can access industry-leading tools, including an MT4 premium upgrade and advanced charting provided by MotiveWave
  • There's a strong selection of 68 currency pairs for dedicated short-term forex traders

Cons

  • The range of day trading markets is limited to forex and cryptos only
  • It's a shame that customer support is not available on weekends
  • There's only a small range of payment methods available, with no e-wallets supported

#2 - IG

Why We Chose IG

Founded in 1974, IG is part of IG Group Holdings Plc, a publicly traded (LSE: IGG) brokerage. The brand-US offers spread betting, CFD and forex trading across an almost unrivalled selection of 17,000+ markets, with a range of user-friendly platforms and investing apps. For 50 years, IG has maintained its position as an industry leader, excelling in all key areas for traders.

  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto, Spread Betting
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, NFA, CFTC, DFSA, BaFin, MAS, FSCA
  • Platforms: Web, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, MT4, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
  • Min. Deposit: $0
  • Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:250 (Pro)

Pros

  • IG offers an extensive collection of professional and engaging educational resources, including webinars, articles, and analysis
  • The proprietary web-based platform continues to caters to traders of all levels, with advanced charting tools and real-time market data useful for day trading
  • As a well-established broker, IG operates under strict regulatory guidelines in multiple jurisdictions, maintaining a high level of trust

Cons

  • Beginners might find IG’s fee structure complex, with various fees for different types of trades or services, potentially leading to confusion or unexpected charges
  • Stock and CFD spreads still trail the cheapest brokers like CMC Markets based on tests
  • IG has discontinued its swap-free account, reducing its appeal to Islamic traders

#3 - Plus500 US

Why We Chose Plus500 US

Plus500 is a well-established broker that entered the US market in 2021. Authorized by the CFTC and NFA, it provides futures trading on forex, indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and interest rates. With a 10-minute sign-up, a manageable $100 minimum deposit, and a straightforward web platform, Plus500 continues to strengthen its offering for traders in the US.

  • Instruments: Futures on Forex, Commodities, Cryptos, Indices, Interest Rates
  • Regulator: CFTC, NFA
  • Platforms: WebTrader, App
  • Min. Deposit: $100
  • Min. Trade: 0.0 Lots

Pros

  • Plus500 US excels for its low fees with very competitive day trading margins and no inactivity fees, live data fees, routing fees, or platform fees
  • Plus500 is a publicly traded company with a good reputation, over 24 million traders, and a sponsor of the Chicago Bulls, instilling a sense of trust
  • The Futures Academy is an excellent resource for new traders with engaging videos and easy-to-follow articles, while the unlimited demo account is great for testing strategies

Cons

  • Although support response times were fast during tests, there is no telephone assistance
  • Plus500 US does not offer social trading capabilities, a feature available at alternatives like eToro US which could strengthen its offering for aspiring traders
  • The proprietary platform is user-friendly but lacks advanced technical analysis tools found in third-party solutions like MetaTrader 4

#4 - Firstrade

Why We Chose Firstrade

Firstrade is a US-headquartered discount broker-dealer with authorization from the SEC. The company is also a member of FINRA/SIPC. With welcome bonuses, powerful tools and apps, plus commission-free trading, Firstrade Securities is a popular online brokerage. It is also quick and easy to open a new account.

  • Instruments: Stocks, ETFs, Options, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Cryptos, Fixed
  • Regulator: SEC, FINRA
  • Platforms: Own
  • Min. Deposit: $0
  • Min. Trade: $1

Pros

  • Commission-free investing
  • Premarket trading
  • Stop limit and trailing stop orders supported

Cons

  • No demo/paper trading account
  • Some withdrawal fees
  • No copy trading

How Did We Choose The Best Market Maker Brokers?DayTrading.com broker testing methodology overview

The first and most important thing we checked is that the company is trusted.

The best indicator of a trustworthy broker is authorization from a creditable body, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US or the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.

This will help safeguard your capital, ensure you are receiving a high level of customer care, and reduce the risk of falling victim to conflicts of interest.

Following that:

  • We evaluated the market maker broker’s costs in the form of bid/ask spreads, commissions and additional fees.
  • We looked for companies that are transparent about their operations and pricing structure.
  • We looked for brokers with a wide selection of assets and securities, ensuring you’ll have a range of opportunities and the ability to build a diverse portfolio.
  • We tested the broker’s trading platform to make sure it’s enjoyable to use and that you can enter and exit positions quickly and easily.
  • We selected brokers with helpful features for short-term traders, including technical analysis tools, trading guides and mobile apps that facilitate trading ‘on the go’
  • We prioritized market maker brokers with excellent customer support based on our hands-on tests that consider the speed and quality of assistance.
  • We investigated the amount of borrowed funds, known as leverage, that you can use to trade, as this can play an important role in day trading strategies.
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Using leverage can supercharge a day trader’s profits, but when markets move in the wrong direction losses can also accelerate. Therefore, new traders should avoid using large amounts of borrowed money, or sidestep it altogether.

Understanding Market Makers

Market makers play an essential part in trading that takes place on regulated financial exchanges. They act as the middleman between buyers and sellers of financial securities, and continuously quote prices during market hours, thus ensuring that a trade can always be executed.

The deep liquidity that these institutions provide is critical for financial markets. It allows assets to be purchased and offloaded without causing substantial price turbulence.

Furthermore, their presence ensures that short-term traders, such as day traders, can open and close positions more easily.

Market makers also act as the middlemen in over-the-counter trading, where buyers and sellers do business outside of a financial exchange.

Importantly, market makers are not the same as brokerages. While brokers bring buyers and sellers together and pass orders onto third-party liquidity providers, market makers create the marketplace for investors by buying and selling assets directly to and from them.

However, financial institutions can act as both market makers and brokers. Trading with one of these dual-role entities carries advantages for short-term traders, though you should be aware of potential conflicts of interest that may arise.

Notably, market maker brokers may have an inherent conflict of interest as they often take positions opposite to their clients, potentially profiting from client losses. They also control prices and execution, which can lead to practices like price manipulation and less favorable execution for traders.

Strict regulation means that these companies must establish robust procedures and systems to avert any such conflicts.

These include setting up Chinese walls (barriers between different divisions), establishing strict order routing rules, and conducting regular internal audits.

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Royston Wild
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How Do Market Makers Work?

These institutions anticipate executing high volumes of buy and sell orders each day. And so they hold large inventories of assets, such as stocks, commodities, currencies and bonds, that they stand ready to trade from.

This function means that markets can keep moving by guaranteeing that a buyer and a seller can always find someone to do business with.

When markets are ‘illiquid,’ an investor may have difficulties locating another to make a trade. In these situations, the spread – in other words, the difference between the buy (or bid) and sell (or ask) prices – can be exceptionally high, resulting in greater costs to the trader.

How Do Market Maker Brokers Make Money?

Market-making brokers primarily generate profits through the bid/ask spread. They seek to buy at a lower bid price and sell at the higher ask price, and bank the difference in the process.

These institutions are still able to make money when liquidity is healthy and bid-ask spreads are kept to a minimum.

Whilst margins are small, the colossal volume of trades that are placed each day enables them to make a tidy profit.

Example trading fee at market maker broker CMC Markets
CMC Markets – The bid/ask spread on trading Legal & General shares

Certain market makers will also charge fees or commissions to execute trades. However, a high level of competition means that these costs – along with the difference between bid and ask prices – do not become prohibitive for traders.

Even if a market maker charges a trading fee, this can often be lower than that imposed by other brokers (like agency brokers).
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Example Trade

Let’s say that I wish to trade shares in Colin’s Computers using a market maker broker. I believe prices of the company will rise in price, and decide to buy 100 shares in the business to capitalize on this. The company currently trades at $50 per share.

To begin with, I’ll have a look at the bid and ask prices on my market-making broker’s trading platform. They are listed as:

This results in a bid/ask spread of $0.20.

When I place my buy order for 100 Colin’s Computers shares, the brokerage will match my instruction with existing sell orders on the market. If there is a seller who’s happy to offload their shares at $50.10, my order will be executed at this price.

In this case, how much profit would the market maker receive?

First off, let’s have a look at the total cost of the trade to me. This stands at $5,010 ($50.10 x 100 shares).

Now let’s assume that the market maker initially bought those shares for their inventory at the lower price of $49.90 each. Their profit would come in at $20 (the bid/ask spread of $0.20 x 100 shares).

Bottom Line

Deep liquidity is the key to straightforward and cost-effective trading. And by using market-making brokers, traders can enjoy an optimal dealing experience and improve their chances of making a profit.

However, using one of these brokerages to trade also presents risks that individuals need to be constantly mindful of. That’s why we recommend choosing one of our top-rated market maker brokers.

FAQ

What Is A Market Maker?

A market maker is a firm or broker that provides bids and offers of a two-sided market along with the market size of each. By trading on both sides of the market, these companies provide a platform for trading, making their money through spreads.

Do Market Maker Brokers Manipulate Prices?

Market maker brokers set their own bid/ask prices, which makes it possible for them to manipulate asset prices. However, competition is so stiff that spreads offered by market makers are generally tight.

Finding a market maker broker that is registered with a respected authority will help prevent you from being scammed or manipulated.

Do Market Maker Brokers Own Stock?

A market maker will buy stock from you and hold it until it finds another buyer. During this time, the broker does own that stock. However, they do not hold shares for their own benefit.

What Are The Advantages Of Trading With A Market Maker Broker?

Market maker brokers with healthy liquidity allow traders to enter and exit positions rapidly, thus enabling you to swiftly capitalize on trading opportunities that arise. This also helps reduce the threat of slippage, where the expected and actual prices of a trade differ due to timing issues.

Many of these brokers also offer fixed spreads, which appeal to beginners especially, providing a clear picture of how much a trade will cost.

What Are The Risks Of Trading With A Market Maker Broker?

While their operations are often closely observed by regulators, the potential for market-making brokers to act in their own interests at the expense of traders is always present.

Also, market makers may not provide the same level of price transparency as other brokers, such as electronic communication network (ECN) brokers.

Additionally, with ECN brokers, it is possible to trade prices at certain times with little or no spread. This means day traders can often get better prices with these companies than with market makers.