top of page

Types of Brokers for Traders & Investors: An overview

In the exciting and sometimes confusing world of financial markets, understanding the different types of brokers is crucial for making wise choices in your trading and investment journey. Whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting, having a grasp of these brokerage options will help you navigate the landscape confidently.

people computer learning, two girls and a man looking at screen intently


Stockbrokers help clients buy and sell stocks and other securities. They also provide investment advice and execute trades on different stock exchanges. Some well-known stockbrokers include Hargreaves Lansdown, Barclays Stockbrokers, and AJ Bell.

Forex Brokers

Forex brokers specialise in enabling individuals and businesses to trade currencies in the global forex market. Popular examples are Plus500, IG Group, and Oanda. IG Group and CMC Markets also function as Market Makers, offering prices for buying and selling different assets, ensuring liquidity for quick trades.

Investment Brokers

Investment brokers offer advice and assistance to clients for making investment decisions. They provide services related to portfolio management, asset allocation, and investment strategy. Notable names in this category include Charles Stanley Direct, Fidelity International, and Vanguard. These brokers focus on investment advisory services and may not necessarily operate as Market Makers.

Commodities Brokers

Commodities brokers facilitate trading in commodities like gold, silver, oil, and agricultural products. They help clients buy and sell commodity contracts on various exchanges. Examples are the London Metal Exchange (LME), Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), and CME Group.

Derivatives Brokers

Derivatives brokers focus on trading financial instruments derived from underlying assets, such as options, futures, and swaps. They assist clients in executing derivative contracts and managing risk exposure. Prominent examples include IG Group, CMC Markets, and Saxo Bank.

Wealth Management Advisors

Wealth management advisors provide comprehensive financial planning and investment services to high-net-worth individuals and families. They help with wealth preservation, tax planning, estate planning, and other financial matters. Noteworthy names in this field are UBS Wealth Management, JP Morgan Private Bank, and Rathbones.

At Chump Profit, our mission is to empower traders and investors like you with the knowledge you need to navigate this landscape confidently. In this overview, we'll break down the various types of brokers available in the UK, providing you with the tools to optimise your trading and investment strategies. We'll cover everything from liquidity providers that ensure seamless trades to multi-asset brokerages offering a wide range of opportunities. So, let's dive in and explore each type together.

Liquidity Providers, or Market Makers

Liquidity Providers, also known as Market Makers, are important in financial markets. They act as middlemen, offering prices for buying and selling different assets, which makes it easy for traders to make quick trades. IG Group and CMC Markets, which are also forex and CFD brokers, function as Market Makers, providing prices and facilitating trades for their clients.

Importance of Market Makers for Various Broker Types

Stockbrokers: Stockbrokers rely on Market Makers to ensure there is enough liquidity in the market for buying and selling stocks and other securities. When clients want to execute trades, Market Makers step in as middlemen, offering prices and ready to buy or sell the required assets from their inventory, ensuring seamless transactions.

Forex Brokers: In the forex market, liquidity is essential due to the massive volume of daily trades. Forex brokers like IG Group and CMC Markets partner with Market Makers to ensure there is always a counterparty available for each currency trade, making it easier for individuals and businesses to participate in currency trading.

Investment Brokers: Market Makers help investment brokers execute trades efficiently, ensuring timely asset allocation and portfolio management for clients. With Market Makers maintaining an inventory of various securities, investment brokers can quickly respond to their clients' needs and market demands.

Commodities Brokers: Commodities brokers often deal with physically delivered goods, and Market Makers play a crucial role in ensuring there are buyers and sellers available for each commodity contract. This facilitates smooth trading and efficient price discovery in the commodities market.

Derivatives Brokers: For derivatives brokers dealing with complex financial instruments, Market Makers provide essential liquidity, enabling traders to execute derivative contracts without delay. They ensure that there is always a counterparty available for each derivative trade, reducing market friction.

Wealth Management Advisors: Wealth management advisors rely on Market Makers to execute trades on behalf of their high-net-worth clients efficiently. Market Makers' ability to provide liquidity in various markets helps wealth management advisors implement their clients' investment strategies effectively.

How Market Makers Work

Market Makers are always ready to buy or sell a specific set of assets at the prices they quote. They do not necessarily own the assets they offer for trading. Instead, they maintain an inventory of these assets, ensuring they have enough on hand to quickly buy or sell when traders and investors want to execute their trades.

For example, when a trader wants to buy a certain stock, the Market Maker will offer a price for selling that stock. If the trader decides to proceed, the Market Maker will sell the stock from its inventory to the trader. Similarly, if another trader wants to sell the same stock, the Market Maker will buy it from the trader and add it to its inventory.

By keeping an inventory of assets and being willing to buy and sell at quoted prices, Market Makers ensure that there is always liquidity in the market, making it easier for traders and investors to enter and exit their positions quickly. This helps maintain a smooth and efficient trading environment for all participants.

ECN (Electronic Communication Network)

On the other hand, Electronic Communication Networks (ECNs) provide direct access to market liquidity, creating a transparent and competitive trading environment. Buy and sell orders are visible to all participants, and trades are executed automatically when matching orders are found. ECNs do not act as counterparties to traders' orders; instead, they connect buyers and sellers directly.

For instance, fpmarkets is a reputable platform in the UK that grants direct access to the forex market, providing transparency and fairness for all participants.

sales banner for Fpmarkets, ECN forex/CFD broker, "#1 value global forex broker* forex, shares, commodities & indices, man holding a phone

Specialist Brokerages

Specialist brokerages focus on specific asset classes or industries, providing tailored insights and opportunities for traders with specialised interests. For example, GreenTech Investments is a UK specialist brokerage that exclusively deals with environmentally friendly and sustainable companies, enabling investors to contribute to a greener future while achieving financial objectives.

CFDs (Contract for Difference)

CFD trading allows speculating on asset price movements without owning the underlying asset. CFDs offer leverage, allowing traders to control larger positions with less capital. However, higher leverage also means higher risk, requiring careful risk management. With CFDs, you do not own the actual asset. Instead, you are speculating on the price movements of the asset.

For example, Admiral Markets Brokerage is a reputable CFD broker in the UK, offering access to various asset classes. With leverage and short-selling opportunities, Admiral Markets Brokerage provides a dynamic trading experience for informed traders and investors.

Multi-Asset Brokerages

Multi-asset brokerages offer access to a diverse range of asset classes, promoting portfolio diversification as a risk management strategy. By spreading investments across various asset classes, traders can reduce the impact of market volatility on their overall portfolio. Multi-asset brokerages cater to investors who want a comprehensive investment experience and access to various markets.

For instance, Hargreaves Lansdown is a well-established multi-asset brokerage, providing a user-friendly platform with access to stocks, bonds, commodities, forex, cryptocurrencies, and more. Hargreaves Lansdown Brokers helps traders and investors diversify their investment portfolios with ease.

green and blue sales pop up banner, Hargreaves Lansdown is a trusted investment platform that operates under the full regulation of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

History and Evolution

The UK's brokerage industry has evolved significantly with technological advancements and regulatory changes. Electronic trading platforms like ECNs revolutionised trading, offering real-time data and seamless execution. Specialist brokerages emerged to cater to specific interests, and CFDs introduced unique trading opportunities.

Market Maker or ECN?

When it comes to choosing between a Market Maker and an ECN broker, traders should consider several factors to determine which one is better suited to their trading style and objectives.

Market Maker Pros

1. Instant Execution: Market Makers often provide instant execution of trades, which can be beneficial for traders who want quick and seamless trade execution.

2. Fixed Spreads: Market Makers typically offer fixed spreads, which means traders know the cost of their trades upfront and can plan their strategies accordingly.

3. Guaranteed Liquidity: Market Makers ensure liquidity by acting as counterparties to their clients' trades, meaning there is always a buyer or seller available for each trade.

Market Maker Cons

1. Potential Conflict of Interest: As Market Makers take the other side of traders' positions, there might be a perceived conflict of interest, as the broker could profit from traders' losses.

2. Requotes and Slippage: In volatile markets, Market Makers may provide requotes or execute trades at slightly different prices than expected, leading to slippage.

3. Limited Transparency: Some Market Makers do not display the full market depth, which could limit traders' visibility into the true market conditions.

ECN Pros

1. No Conflict of Interest: ECNs provide a non-dealing desk model, eliminating any conflict of interest, as the broker does not take the other side of the trade.

2. Transparent Pricing: ECNs offer full market depth and transparent pricing, allowing traders to see the actual bid and ask prices from multiple liquidity providers.

3. Tighter Spreads: ECNs often offer tighter spreads, especially during peak trading hours, which can result in lower trading costs.

ECN Cons

1. Variable Spreads: ECN spreads can vary depending on market conditions, leading to potential increased trading costs during high volatility.

2. Commissions: ECNs typically charge a commission for each trade, which adds to the overall trading costs for traders.

3. Slower Execution: In highly volatile markets, the speed of execution on ECNs may be slightly slower compared to Market Makers due to the need for price aggregation.

The choice between a Market Maker and an ECN depends on the individual trader's preferences and trading style. Traders who value instant execution, fixed spreads, and guaranteed liquidity may find Market Makers more suitable. On the other hand, those seeking transparent pricing, tighter spreads (especially during high-volume periods), and no conflict of interest may prefer ECNs.

As always, it is crucial to thoroughly research and compare different brokerages, considering their services, fees, reputation, and regulatory status, to make an informed decision that aligns with your trading goals and risk tolerance.

Types of Brokers

At Chump Profit, we are committed to empowering traders and investors with knowledge. Understanding the different broker types available in the UK - from liquidity providers ensuring smooth trades to multi-asset brokerages offering diverse opportunities - is crucial for optimising trading and investment strategies to achieve your financial goals.

Before choosing a broker, educate yourself on the various types, consider your objectives, risk tolerance, and preferred style, and research reputable brokerages aligned with your needs. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the dynamic world of trading and investment, embarking on a rewarding journey to financial success. Happy trading and investing!

Trading and investing carry financial risks and could lead to partial or complete loss of funds. Invest only what you can afford to lose and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have doubts about your investment choices.


bottom of page