The Currency / Foreign Exchange market is the worlds largest and most dynamic market. Nearly $1.8 trillion is traded every day. The word Forex is derived from the words Foreign Exchange.
A Broker is an individual or firm that acts as an intermediary between buyer and seller. Forex brokers are firms that deal in foreign exchange. The foreign exchange market is quite similar to the equity markets, except that typical forex brokers do not charge a commission. However, forex brokers are required to have a license.
Forex brokers earn money from the spread (also called “pip”). The spread is the difference between the prices at which a currency is bought and sold. A pip is the smallest price increment in a currency. For example, in Euro/US Dollar (EUR/USD), a move from 0.9008 to 0.9009 is one pip. In US Dollar/Japanese Yen (USD/JPY), a move from 127.41 to 127.42 is one pip.
Forex brokers can be compared on the basis of the spread they charge. Most forex brokers publish live or delayed prices on their websites so that the investor can compare the spreads. It is, however, necessary to check if the spread is fixed or variable. Variable spreads appear small and attractive when the market is quiet, but when the market gets busy the forex broker widens the spread, meaning that the investor will gain only if the market is favorable.
Forex brokers are usually tied to large banks or lending institutions. This is because of the huge sums of money traded in the foreign exchange markets. Forex brokers are required to register with the Futures Commission Merchant (FCM), and are regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
A new trend among forex brokers is the emergence of online forex broke