One of the most critical decisions in trading the forex market is choosing the right broker for you. This can make the difference between success and failure in trading the Forex market. There are a number of factors to be considered when choosing a forex broker.
1) Regulation – Safety of Funds
Are the client funds insured and to what extent of that insurance. Many online brokers operate under tight regulatory environments imposed by regulatory authorities of countries in which brokers are licensed in. Some countries forex trading regulation is more stringent than some other countries especially off shore countries. Countries such as Australia, Canada, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States have dedicated monitoring of forex brokers. Always check to verify which regulatory authority the broker is regulated by. If you can not find the information on their web site make sure you contact them before by signing up to trade with them. If the broker is not regulated by any regulatory authority or licensed by a reputable authority then I would recommend you find another online broker.
2) Execution of Trade
Find out what a prospective forex broker exercises in the way of business models. For example, are they more of an electronic communication network or market maker? Does the broker offer automatic execution for trades? If not, how fast is order execution on average? Do they offset client trades? How much can you trade without requesting a quote? These are all good questions to ask a prospective broker.
3) Trading Platform
Is the trading platform downloadable or web based? And can handle high volume during a fast moving market. Although a given platform may run well on normal days, you're not going to know for sure how it performs on fast days until you see it in action. Does it offer important order types such as Limit and stop orders as well OCO orders. Also how many currency pairs you can trade and what other services does the platform provide. As a minimum it should offer charts and breaking news that affects the currency markets as well as a demo account to get the feel of the trading platform before trading live.
4) Account Size
Some brokers have minimum account trade size that you have to trade and also some brokers will not allow you to adjust the standard lot traded. Also some have mini and standard accounts in which to trade and require a minimum account opening balance to trade.
Forex brokers make their money from the spread. In forex trading, the tighter the spread is, the better. However it is important to find out whether the broker spread is fixed or variable. A fixed spread means the spread does not fluctuate and is the same day or night. Some brokers use a variable spread, which may seem narrow and tight while the market is quiet, but when things get volatile they can widen the spread which requires the market to move greater in your favor before you start to make a profit. I prefer fixed spreads, although slightly larger than the variable spreads, when things get volatile they can be narrower than the variable spread. Over the long term they can be safer.
Does the broker charge missions or are they built into the spread as with most market makers?
Find out what your broker's margin requirement is. Some brokers have different margin requirement for standard and mini accounts? Also does the margin requirement change for different currency groups or days of the week?
As forex trades 24 hours a day it is important to find out what kind of support the broker offers. Do they offer phone support 24 hours a day or just email support. The broker should be offering 24 hours support and also able to provide orders over the phone just in case you lose internet connection at a critical time.
Comparing online brokers on these factors will help you make the right decision when choosing a broker for you. With the power and speed of the internet today, it is not hard to choose the right broker for you. When you have found the right one try them out by using their demo account before signing up with them.