Forex is a scam!
I studied and practiced for quite awhile and as soon as I went live those MM make sure to go against your trade-they along with the big banks make the money.
I feel they analyze your deal and make sure to go against it.
This is something I received from an obviously disgruntled now ex-forex trader yesterday. He’s not the first to make that statement, and I’m sure he won’t be the last. I’ve been involved in the forex market as a trader and/or analyst for more than a decade now, so I think you can figure out where I stand on the subject.
The primary argument folks who make the scam claim put forward is that fact that forex brokers take the other side of your position in their market making actions. They thus conclude that said brokers are trading against you.
First of all, not all forex brokers are market makers. Some are ECNs. They simply pass your orders through into the market like a stock market broker does. Since they don’t act as market makers and take no positions they do not earn the spread, so they make their money from commissions instead.
Oh, and by the way, not all stock market transactions are straight pass throughs to the exchange either. Some brokers act as market makers in certain stocks, so if you trade those stocks through them they are doing the exact same thing as the non-ECN forex brokers do. I don’t think anyone ever calls that a scam. Further, the whole basis of the interbank market – and all OTC markets – is transactions between buyers and sellers and market makers. In interbank forex, the banks are the market makers, both with and amongst each other and with the funds and companies that are their customers.
On top of that, there are market makers in all markets. They are the ones who provide steadily liquidity by always being ready to provide a quote and take the other side of a trade. Without them the markets would operate much less smoothly. As a rule, market makers in all markets look simply to make the spread over and over and over again. They don’t generally look to take positions, but rather to be net neutral.
Forex brokers who act as market makers operate in basically the same fashion. They are just offsetting customer longs and shorts against one and other. Do they sometimes have an overbalance? Sure. In such cases they have internal processes which determine whether they keep the exposure or whether they offset in the market. Different brokers handle things different ways in that regard.
One of the other arguments scam claimers make about forex brokers is that they run people’s stops. Guess what? That gripe has been in the markets for years – all markets. For traders in the futures pits are supposedly notorious for that kind of action. Here’s the thing, though. The markets and market makers exist to facilitate transaction flow and make their money from it. They are going to do whatever makes sense to increase that flow. That periodically could include running stops.
That sort of action, though, is a bit easier in the futures pits than in the widely dispersed forex market. Brokers and dealers generally keep their prices tightly in line because if they don’t they can lose business. As such, stop running is not something easily accomplished. It would take a highly coordinated effort among a wide array of market makers to do that kind of thing.
In most cases, the claims of stop running coming from forex traders is nothing more than people getting burned by putting their stops too close to the market and getting taken out by normal volatility.
The question I would ask for anyone who is making a claim of forex being a scam is whether they can demonstrate a trading system with a meaningful track record of success and that they followed said system as designed. A lot of traders spend a relatively short period of time in demo trading and make good returns with no real proven method, then find that things are very different when it comes to real money. This is more about the trader than the broker.
The idea that your broker looks at your specific open positions – out of the many thousands of trades that might be open at a given time among all their customers – and make decisions based on it is egotistical and self-centered in the extreme.
If you really have a problem with market making forex brokers then trade through an ECN.
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About the Author
John Forman, author of this blog, has traded for more than 20 years, is a professional market analyst, and authored The Essentials of Trading. He is an active participant in trading forums, consults for trading related businesses, as published literally dozens of trading articles, and has been quoted in a number of books and in the media.
** See John’s full bio.