ECN Brokers

ECN brokers enable traders to use electronic communication networks for direct access to forex and stock markets. In this review, we provide a step-by-step guide to finding the best true ECN brokers in the UK. We also look at the ECN model vs market makers, taking into account spreads and leverage.

ECN Brokers

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    Eightcap is an award-winning, FCA-regulated broker offering industry-low trading fees. They are also the highest-rated brand by TradingView’s 50 million-strong users, who can trade directly on the platform. UK traders can sign up for a live account with an accessible £100 minimum deposit.

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    FXCC is an established broker that’s been offering low-cost online trading since 2010. Registered in Nevis and regulated by the CySEC, it stands out for its ECN trading conditions, no minimum deposit and smooth account opening that takes less than 5 minutes.

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    Established in Australia in 2010, Pepperstone is a top-rated forex and CFD broker with over 400,000 clients worldwide. It offers access to 1,300+ instruments on leading platforms MT4, MT5, cTrader and TradingView, maintaining low, transparent fees. Pepperstone is also regulated by trusted authorities like the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC, ensuring a secure environment for traders at all levels.

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    IC Markets is a globally recognized forex and CFD broker known for its excellent pricing, comprehensive range of trading instruments, and premium trading technology. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Australia, the brokerage is regulated by the ASIC, CySEC and FSA, and has attracted more than 180,000 clients from over 200 countries.

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    DNA Markets is a forex and CFD broker established in 2020. The broker operates two entities in Australia and the offshore jurisdiction, St Vincent and the Grenadines. Traders can access 800+ markets, with a Standard account for beginners and a Raw account for experienced traders. The reliable MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms are available, alongside Signal Start.

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    Founded in 1999, FOREX.com is now part of StoneX, a financial services organization serving over one million customers worldwide. Regulated in the US, UK, EU, Australia and beyond, the broker offers thousands of markets, not just forex, and provides excellent pricing on cutting-edge platforms.

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    RoboForex is an online broker, established in 2009 and registered with the IFSC in Belize. Traders can choose from five accounts (Prime, ECN, R StocksTrader, ProCent, Pro) catering to different needs with trades from 0.01 lots and spreads from 0 pips. RoboForex has also enhanced its offering over the years, adding CFD instruments and launching its stock trading platform, plus the CopyFX system.

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    InstaForex is a forex and CFD broker founded in 2007. The broker offers diverse market coverage to millions of clients, spanning traditional assets like currencies and shares, as well as other interesting opportunities such as IPOs.

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    BlackBull is a New Zealand-based CFD broker with trading opportunities on forex, stocks, indices, commodities and cryptos. The broker supports the MetaTrader 4 and 5 platforms as well as TradingView, cTrader and a proprietary mobile app. Clients can trade with high leverage and tight spreads from 0 pips on the broker's ECN accounts.

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    Founded in 2009, Vantage offers trading on 1000+ short-term CFD products to over 900,000 clients. You can trade Forex CFDs from 0.0 pips on the RAW account through TradingView, MT4 or MT5. Vantage is ASIC-regulated and client funds are segregated. Copy traders will also appreciate the range of social trading tools.

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    Fusion Markets is an online broker established in 2017 and regulated by the ASIC, VFSC and FSA. It is best known for its low-cost forex and CFD trading, although its multiple account types and copy trading solutions cater to a range of traders. New clients can sign up and start trading in 3 easy steps.

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    GO Markets is an established forex and CFD broker with multiple industry awards and accolades. The ECN/STP broker is popular with budding traders, offering competitive accounts in multiple base currencies and a range of flexible payment methods. With top-tier regulation from CySEC and ASIC, GO Markets is a trusted broker.

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    Founded in 2008, NordFX is an offshore CFD broker offering forex, stock, commodities, indices and crypto trading to over 1.7 million clients in 190 countries. Traders access markets through the MT4 and MT5 platforms and benefit from low commissions, spreads from zero and decent extra features. Minimum deposits start from just $10 and very high leverage is available up to 1:1000.

  14. Axi

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    Axi is a global forex and CFD trading firm, founded in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. Highly leveraged trading opportunities plus a $0 minimum deposit make it a popular choice among 60,000+ traders worldwide. Axi also stands out for its resources, including copy trading and Autochartist.

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    EagleFX is a forex and CFD broker, established in 2019. The broker uses STP execution on the MT4 platform, offering tight spreads and low commissions. With leverage up to 1:500 and no restrictions on hedging or scalping, EagleFX is an attractive option for short-term traders.

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    Founded in 2015, VT Markets maintains its position as a top Australian multi-asset CFD broker. With 1000+ tradeable instruments and support for the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms, this broker delivers a wide range of trading opportunities to over 200,000 clients worldwide. VT Markets is regulated by the ASIC, FSCA, and SVGFSA.

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    Tradeview is an offshore forex and CFD broker based in the Cayman Islands and regulated by CIMA. Traders can access over 5000 instruments with a minimum deposit of $100. There are several third-party platforms on offer, including MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and cTrader.

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    FXTrading.com is global broker offering highly leveraged CFDs on 10,000+ assets, including forex, stocks, indices, commodities and cryptocurrencies. Competitive prices with raw spreads and low to zero commissions are available. Traders can use the popular MetaTrader 4 platform and will have access to a suite of additional analytical tools and other resources. The multi-regulated brokerage is authorized by the ASIC and VFSC.

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    Grand Capital is a MetaTrader broker with welcome bonuses, trading competitions and an intuitive copy trading service. Several account types and 400+ assets provide trading opportunities for various types of investors and strategies. New users can also open an account and start trading in a matter of minutes.

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    IronFX is a multi-regulated forex and CFD broker founded in 2010. This award-winning firm offers 500+ markets to over 1.5 million clients across 180 countries. Traders can access various account types with competitive pricing on the MT4 platform, as well as 24/5 customer support in 30 languages.

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    Ingot Brokers is a multi-regulated brokerage established in 2006. The broker offers CFD trading opportunities on 1000+ instruments including forex, stocks, indices, commodities and cryptocurrencies. The broker supports the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms and offers both raw spreads and commission-free account options.

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    Dukascopy is an online broker operated by a Swiss-regulated banking group. It offers a good selection of 500+ markets, with forex, stocks, gold, ETFs, indices, bonds and cryptocurrencies available. It also offers flexible trading opportunities through the choice of CFDs or binary options. Traders will use MetaTrader 4 or a proprietary platform that is well-suited to automated trading.

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    AZAforex is a multi-asset broker founded in 2016. The brand offers a sophisticated proprietary platform, ECN trading and 40+ deposit methods. The brokerage has 120,000+ registered customers with copy trading and a VPS.

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    RockGlobal is a New Zealand based and regulated CFD broker. They offer competitive spreads from 0.1 pips and a large range of trading assets, trading platforms and educational services, with up to 1:500 leverage. Operating in a Tier 1 regulated environment, RockGlobal offers peace of mind and excellent customer support.

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    FXTM is a top-rated forex and CFD broker established in 2011 and operating across 4 continents. The company is secure and regulated by leading authorities, including the FCA and CySEC. Offering 1000+ trading markets and three account types, they cater to all levels of trader.

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    Kwakol Markets is a Nigerian headquartered broker with strong regulatory oversight in Australia and Canada. A great selection of trading assets are available, including synthetic products that simulate realistic market activity. Clients can trade on the MT4, MT5 and cTrader platforms, as well as a copy trading solution whereby a fee is only paid on profitable trades.

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    Axofa is a forex and CFD broker registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The broker offers three account types with access to forex, commodities and indices. With ECN processing, low minimum deposits and no commissions, Axofa remains an attractive option, although the broker does not hold a reputable license.

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    SageFX is an offshore, unregulated CFD broker that offers highly leveraged trading on forex, stocks, commodities, indices and crypto via the TradeLocker platform. Traders can access commission-free trading or an ECN account with tight spreads. While the broker's regulatory status is weak, it does provide segregated accounts and two-factor authentication.

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    MultiBank FX is an established broker offering forex and CFD products since 2005. With 20,000+ instruments, plenty of local payment methods and 24/7 multilingual customer support, the broker is a popular choice among traders globally. New clients can also access a variety of bonus offers and access the hugely popular MT4 and MT5 trading platforms.

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    Pacific Union Prime is an FSCA and offshore-regulated multi-asset broker offering competitive fees and direct market access on forex, commodities, stocks, bonds and indices. The broker supports the popular MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms and a proprietary mobile app. Fees vary by account type with no commission and spreads from 1.9 pips on the Standard account and $7 commission per lot and spreads from 0.4 pips on the Prime account.

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    Errante is a Cyprus-based and regulated forex and CFD broker with leveraged trading on multiple assets, tiered accounts including a zero-spread option, and copy trading support. The broker offers leveraged trading up to 1:30 under its CySEC-regulated branch and 1:500 from an offshore branch, and supports the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms. Errante's asset list is relatively limited but it does offer fast execution and low latency, and it is a trustworthy brand.

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    Swissquote is a Switzerland-based bank and broker that offers online trading and investing. The company has a high safety score and is listed on the Swiss stock exchange. The firm offers a huge range of products, from stocks, ETFs, bonds and futures to 400+ forex and CFD assets. Hundreds of thousands of traders have opened an account with the multi-regulated brokerage. Clients can get started in three easy steps while 24/7 customer support is available to assist new users.

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    FXPrimus is an award-winning CySEC-regulated brokerage offering CFD trading on 200+ instruments via the MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader platforms. The choice between a competitive commission-free account and two affordable raw spread options make this an accessible broker for anyone seeking forex, stocks, indices and commodities with high leverage.

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    Established in 2005 in Australia, FP Markets is an ASIC- and CySEC-regulated broker boasting an extensive suite of tradable assets. Its Standard and Raw accounts cater to traders at every level, while it packs a punch in the tooling department, from the MetaTrader suite and intuitive TradingView to actionable trading ideas from Trading Central and AutoChartist.

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    Anzo Capital is an offshore broker that offers leveraged CFDs on 100+ instruments including forex, stocks, indices and metals. The MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms are supported, and traders can choose between an STP account with spreads starting from 1.4 pips and zero commission, or an ECN account with a $4 round-turn commission and spreads from zero. A decent range of payment methods are accepted, including crypto deposits.

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    HYCM is an online broker with authorization from four international bodies including the FCA and CySEC. The broker offers short-term CFD trading on forex, shares, commodities, indices, ETFs and Bitcoin, and supports the MT4 and MT5 platforms, as well as Trading Central analysis.

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    Global Prime is a multi-regulated trading broker offering 150+ markets. Traders can get started with a $200 minimum deposit and trade with leverage up to 1:100. The firm also has a high trust score and a good reputation with a license from the ASIC.

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    Fortrade is a multi-asset, multi-regulated broker with branches regulated by the FCA, CySEC and ASIC among others. The brand offers trading opportunities on a wide range of instruments including stocks, bonds, commodities, forex, indices, cryptocurrencies and ETFs, with competitive fees and support for MetaTrader 4 and a proprietary platform.

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    FXOpen is a multi-asset broker with regulation from several trustworthy bodies including the UK's FCA. The broker offers CFD trading on forex, stocks, commodities, indices, cryptocurrencies and ETFs via the MetaTrader 4 & 5 and TradingView platforms.

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    TMGM is an ASIC-regulated forex and CFD broker with a vast range of tradeable assets covering forex, stock, index, crypto and commodity markets. The account types on offer provide a flexible choice between no commission or zero spreads, with competitive pricing all-round.

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    Infinox is a UK-based and FCA-regulated broker that offers diverse trading products thanks to its STP and ECN account types and support for MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and a proprietary platform. Clients can also benefit from a free VPS that can support automated strategies and a social trading platform, catering to both beginner and seasoned traders.

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    OspreyFX is an ECN broker headquartered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Established in 2019, the firm offers 120+ forex and CFD assets with high leverage up to 1:500, tight spreads from 0.1 pips and round-the-clock customer support. OspreyFX also stands out for its funded trading accounts where traders can keep up to 70% of profits.

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    LonghornFX is a forex and CFD broker offering over 150 instruments with leverage up to 1:500. The firm is registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and was launched in 2020. Clients can access a strong selection of cryptos, alongside forex, indices, commodities and stocks. With ECN/STP processing, this offshore broker promises tight spreads and fast execution.

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    RoboMarkets is a Cyprus-based forex, CFD and stock broker aimed at traders from Europe. The broker offers thousands of instruments across six asset classes and provides access to four leading platforms, including MetaTrader 4. With ECN pricing, Cent accounts and algorithmic trading tools, RoboMarkets caters to a range of trading strategies and investing styles.

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    AdroFx is an offshore ECN/STP broker that has offered CFD trading since 2018. The firm supports 100+ tradable assets on the popular MetaTrader 4 platform as well as a web trader, Allpips. Eight live accounts are available with no restrictions on trading strategies.

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    Coinexx is an unregulated broker that provides leverage up to 1:500 on forex, commodities, indices and cryptocurrencies with deep liquidity, pure ECN spreads and negative balance protection. The broker uses crypto as base currencies and has low minimum deposit requirements of 0.001 BTC.

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    Saxo Markets is a multi-award-winning trading brokerage, investment firm and regulated bank. With a huge 72,000+ trading instruments, plus investment products and managed portfolios, clients have no shortage of opportunities. The trusted brand also offers transparent pricing and top-tier regulatory protection from 10+ agencies including FINMA, FCA & ASIC.

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    Established in 2013, SuperForex is an offshore CFD and forex broker offering highly leveraged trades on 400+ instruments via the popular MetaTrader 4 platform. The broker has gained clients in over 150 countries and is regulated by the Belize IFSC. With a range of STP/ECN account types, including swap-free, micro and zero spread, this broker continues to suit traders with different styles and setups. SuperForex also offers a range of welcome bonuses and trading contests.

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    Amega is an offshore STP broker offering CFD trading on forex, stocks, indices and commodities with very high leverage up to 1:1000 and a zero-commission pricing structure. Traders access markets through the MT5 platform and can test the broker's services through a demo account.

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    Just2Trade is a reliable multi-regulated broker registered with FINRA, NFA and CySEC. The company has 155,000 clients from 130 countries and stands out for its huge suite of instruments and additional features, including a social network, robo advisors and a funded trader programme.

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    World Forex is an offshore broker registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines, offering commission-free trading with a $1 minimum deposit and 1:1000 leverage. Digital contracts are also available, offering beginners a straightforward way to speculate on popular financial markets.

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    FXCentrum is an offshore broker that offers highly leveraged, commission-free trading on diverse instruments with tight spreads. Traders can access forex, equity and commodities markets via MetaTrader 5 or the proprietary FXC platform and use the award-winning ZuluTrade platform for copy trading.

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    Exinity provides flexible low-cost trading in FX, commodities, indices and equities alongside unique education and support provided by teams located across the world. Now operating in the Middle East, through regulation from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority in Abu Dhabi and the Financial Services Commission of Mauritius, Exinity provides a range of services to traders and investors looking for new opportunities in the financial markets.

How ECN Brokers Work

True ECN brokers use electronic communication networks to connect trade participants and execute deals. ECN brokers are non-dealing desk (NDD) brokers, which means they work directly with liquidity providers. Traders, therefore, get access to interbank market rates, unlike when using market makers.

Traders receive quotes from multiple market participants which can lead to competitive bid and ask prices. The electronic communication network aims to match open buy and sell orders. If this isn’t possible, it will provide the most competitive prices available on the market. The broker will then use ultra-fast ECN technology to instantly execute the quote.

ECN Brokers Vs Market Makers

A market maker (also known as a dealing desk broker), defines its own quote to generate profit from the bid-ask spread, rather than quoting the market price. This is effectively their commission for the risk of holding the asset after it’s sold but before it’s bought. This helps to increase liquidity in the market making it easier for traders to buy and sell. As ECN brokers don’t set prices or profit off the spread, they usually charge a commission per trade instead.

Top ECN forex brokers

Pros Of ECN Brokers

The use of ECN technology offers traders several advantages over dealing desk brokers.

Price Transparency

As ECN brokers’ prices come directly from liquidity providers, they do not trade against the client and receive a commission regardless of whether the client makes a profit. All traders have access to the same price information when using ECN brokers.

This is opposite to market makers, who are on the other side of the trade to you and therefore set the rate according to their own interests.

Spreads

ECN brokers receive quotes from multiple market participants, which can lead to competitive bid and ask prices. ECN brokers are therefore generally able to offer lower spreads than traditional brokers. However, ECN brokers charge a commission for each trade, which can quickly eat into profits if executing a high number of trades.

Trading Hours

Electronic communication networks can be used for extended trading, outside the hours of the traditional market opening. This allows traders to act on economic news at any time, as well as providing additional flexibility. However, liquidity is lower outside traditional operating hours, which may make it more difficult and expensive to buy and sell.

Choosing The Best ECN Brokers

The best ECN broker for you will depend on multiple factors including what you want to trade, how regularly you want to trade, and in what volume. Here, we explain how to identify a true ECN broker and provide a list of factors to consider when opening an account.

True ECN Brokers

First, determine if the broker is a pure ECN broker. Some brokers are ECN-only brokers, while some offer different account types.

True ECN brokers should have narrow spreads. You can check this by picking a forex pair and comparing the spread with other ECN brokers. Additionally, the fast execution of trades is another indicator of an ECN broker.

Be aware that ECN brokers are very similar to STP brokers, who also have no dealing desk. However, ECN acts as a central liquidity hub, unlike STP which routes the trader directly to the liquidity provider. Admiral Markets is an example of an STP broker rather than a true ECN broker.

Location

UK-based ECN brokers are recommended. Advantages of trading with a UK-based broker include guaranteed English-speaking customer support and no foreign currency charges if depositing in GBP.

Regulation

Traders should use FCA-regulated ECN brokers. The Financial Conduct Authority has many regulations in place to protect UK clients, such as the segregation of broker and client money. Additionally, the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCS) will cover up to £85,000 of funds should the broker become insolvent.

Note, you won’t normally find regulated ECN brokers with no deposit bonus deals.

Spreads

ECN brokers usually have low spreads, even with low minimum deposits. Pepperstone is an ECN broker offering some of the lowest forex spreads, starting at zero pips (average 0.09 pips) for EUR/USD with their Razor Account. However, this is in exchange for a commission, unlike their Standard Account that primarily makes money through spreads.

Deposits & Withdrawals

Brokers often have minimum deposit requirements depending on the account type with micro accounts typically offering lower limits. FXTM is an ECN broker with a low minimum deposit requirement of £10. It’s also possible to trade using ECN brokers that have no minimum deposit requirements, such as Pepperstone.

Make sure to check withdrawal requirements including fees and timescales. Withdrawal times should be no longer than a few days.

Markets

Ensure your ECN broker offers the virtual instruments you’re looking to trade. Forex is the most popular market for ECN trading, but it’s possible to trade CFDs too. ECN brokers offering binary options are rare.

Best UK ECN brokers

Leverage

With the best FCA-regulated brokers, leverage is limited to between 1:30 and 1:2, depending on the asset. For high leverage limits, traders may consider ECN brokers regulated outside the UK. For example, RoboForex is an ECN broker that offers leverage up to 1:500.

However, we recommended sticking with UK-regulated brokers to reduce the risks that come with using high leverage. FXTM and Pepperstone are some of the best UK-regulated ECN brokers, that also offer the highest leverage in line with the FCA limitations.

Platforms

The trading platform is the software you’ll use to facilitate trades. Some brokers offer a proprietary platform, while others lease third-party software such as MetaTrader. Often, ECN brokers will offer more than one platform option. IG and Pepperstone are good ECN brokers that offer the MT4, MT5 and cTrader platforms via web, tablet and mobile.

Consider if the platform is intuitive and whether the charting and indicator functionality supports your trading strategy. A demo account is a great way to test this first.

Final Word On ECN Brokers

ECN brokers provide traders with direct access to markets that can result in competitive spreads, though traders should be aware of commission fees. FCA-regulated ECN brokers are highly recommended for traders based in the UK, offering multiple protections for clients looking to enact high-volume scalping strategies, for example.

FAQs

What Is An ECN Broker?

The simple definition is that ECN brokers are non-dealing desk brokers that use electronic communication networks to provide traders with direct access to forex and stock markets. Receiving quotes from multiple market participants means spreads are often more competitive than at traditional brokers.

What Is The Difference Between ECN Vs STP Brokers?

ECN and STP are both forms of no dealing desk brokers. However, STP brokers route the trader directly to the liquidity provider, unlike ECN, which acts as a central liquidity source for all market participants.

What Are The Top 5 ranking UK Forex ECN brokers?

IG, Pepperstone, Axi, FXTM and Forex.com are some of the best UK-regulated forex ECN brokers. See our list and comparison above for other reliable options.

What Is The Difference Between Forex ECN Brokers Vs Market Makers?

A market maker is a dealing desk broker, which defines its own quote to generate profit from the bid-ask spread. ECN brokers receive quotes directly from market participants, meaning spreads are more competitive. However, a commission is charged per trade.

Which ECN Brokers Offer MetaTrader?

Forex.com and Axi offer the industry-recognised MT4 forex platform. Pepperstone, IG and FXTM also offer its multi-asset successor, MT5.