Lesson 2: The Difference Between Exchange Traded and Over the Counter Markets
Lesson 2: The Difference Between Exchange Traded and Over the Counter Markets
In our last lesson we began the InformedTrades.com free video forex course with a look at the major characteristics that make the foreign exchange market unique in comparison to other markets. In today’s lesson we are going to continue this discussion with a look at Exchange Traded vs. Over the Counter Markets and how the fact that currencies trade over the counter affects us as traders.
When trading stocks or futures you normally do so via a centralized exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In addition to providing a centralized place where all trades are conducted, exchanges such as these also play the key role of acting as the counterparty to all trades. What this means is that while you may be buying for example 100 shares of Google stock at the same time someone else is selling those shares, you do not buy those shares directly from the seller but instead from the exchange.
The fact that the exchange stands on the other side of all trades in exchange traded markets is one of their key advantages as this removes counterparty risk, or the chance that the person who you are trading with will default on their obligations relating to the trade.
A second key advantage of exchange traded markets is that as all trades flow through one central place, the price that is quoted for a particular instrument is always the same regardless of the size or sophistication of the person or entity making the trade. This in theory should create a more level playing field which can be an advantage to the smaller and less sophisticated trader.
Lastly, because all firms that offer exchange traded products must be members and register with the exchange, there is greater regulatory oversight which can make exchange traded markets a much safer place for individuals to trade.
The downside that is often cited about exchange traded markets is cost. As the firms who offer exchange traded products must meet high regulatory requirements to do so, this makes it more costly for them to offer these products, a cost that is inevitably passed along to the end user. Secondly, as all trades in exchange traded products must flow through the exchange this gives these for profit entities immense power when setting things such as exchange fees which can also increase transaction costs for the end user.
Unlike the stock market and the futures market which trade on centralized exchanges, the spot forex market and many debt markets trade in what’s known as the over the counter market. What this means is that there is no centralized place where trades are made, instead the market is made up of all the participants in the market trading among themselves.
The biggest advantage to over the counter markets is that because there is no centralized exchange and little regulation, you have heavy competition between different providers to attract the most traders and trading volume to their firm. This being the case transaction costs are normally lower in over the counter markets when compared to similar products that trade on an exchange.
As there is no centralized exchange the firms that make prices in the instrument that is trading over the counter can make whatever price they want, and the quality of execution varies from firm to firm for the same instrument. While this is less of a problem in liquid markets such as FX where there are multiple price reference sources, it can be a problem in less highly traded instruments.
While the lack of regulation can be seen as an advantage in the above sense it can also be seen as a disadvantage, as the low barriers to entry and lack of heavy oversight also make it easier for firms offering trading to operate in a dishonest or fraudulent way.
Lastly, as there is no centralized exchange the firm that you trade with when you trade in an over the counter market like forex is the counterparty to your trade, so if something happens to that firm you are in danger of loosing not only the trades you have with that firm but also your account balance.
It is for these reasons that there is so much focus among forex traders as to which firm to trade with, with special attention being paid to the financial stability of the firm and the execution that they provide.
As we proceed through this forex trading course we will continue to gain a better understanding of the structure of the market and traders should be well prepared after going through those lessons to make an informed decision for themselves on this issue.
That’s our lesson for today, in our next lesson we are going to look at the structure of the forex market so we can gain a better understanding of who actually controls the market, so we hope to see you then.
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The Global-View Forex Forum is the hub for currency trading on the web. Founded in 1996, it was the original forex forum and is still the place where forex traders around the globe come 24/7 looking for currency trading ideas, breaking forex news, fx trading rumors, fx flows and more. This is where you can find a full suite of forex trading tools, including a complete fx database, forex chart points, live currency rates, and live fx charts. In addition, there is a forex brokers directory where you can compare forex brokers. There is also a forex brokers hotline where you can ask for help choosing a forex broker that meets your individual fx trading needs. Interact on the same venue to discuss forex trading.
The forex forum is where traders come to discuss the forex market. It is one of the few places where forex traders of all levels of experience, from novice to professionals, interact on the same venue to discuss forex trading. There is also the GVI Forex, which is a private subscription service where professional and experienced currency traders meet in a private forex forum. it is like a virtual forex trading room. This is open to forex traders of all levels of experience to view but only experienced currency tradingprofessionals can post.
Currency trading charts are updated daily using the forex trading ranges posted in the Global-View forex database. You will also find technical indicators on the fx trading charts, e.g. moving averages for currencies such as the EURUSD. This is another forex trading tool provided by Global-View.com.
The forex database can be used to access high, low, close daily forex ranges for key currency pairs, such as the EURUSD, USDJPY, USDCHF, GBPUSD, USDCAD, AUD, NZD and major crosses, including EURJPY, EURGBP, EURCHF, GBPJPY, GBPCHF and CHFJPY. Data for these currency trading pairs dating back to January 1, 1999 can be downloaded to an Excel spreadsheet.
Forex chart points are in a currency trading table that includes; latest fx tradinghigh-low-close range, Bollinger Bands, Fibonacci retracement levels, daily forex pivot points support and resistance levels, average daily forex range, MACD for the different currency trading pairs. You can look on the forex forum for updates when one of the fx trading tools is updated.
Global-View also offers a full fx trading chart gallery that includes fx pairs, such as the EURUSD, commodities, stocks and bonds. In a fx trading world where markets are integrated, the chart gallery is a valuable trading tool. Look for updates on the Forex Forum when the chart gallery is updated.
Global-View.com also offers a forex blog, where articles of interest for currency trading are posted throughout the day. The forex blog articles come from outside sources, including forex brokers research as well as from the professionals at Global-View.com. This forex blog includes the Daily Forex View, Market Chatter and technical forex blog updates. In additional to its real time forex forum, there are also Member Forums available for more in depth forex trading discussions.
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