Monday, April 07, 2008

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Forex - Choosing the Right Broker

There are a mind boggling number of forex brokers available to choose from. Choosing the right broker is the most important decision you can make for your forex venture. Here is a checklist of what you need to be looking for.

1. Regulation. Just because a broker is available does not mean they are regulated. You may want to check first what country your broker is registered in. Some countries have lax laws regarding forex brokers. In the US, brokers are regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or the National Futures Association. If a broker is regulated, then they must regularly submit financial reports to these organizations. If these reports are not submitted, then they can be fined, or shut down. Any person can view these financial reports (similar to publicly traded companies). This regulation also give the investors avenues to pursue if there are any issues with the broker.

2. Company customer service. Check and see if there are any complaints about the forex broker with the Better Business Bureau. If there were complaints, see how the company resolved these complaints. Call or email the broker with any questions. You should not feel uncomfortable doing this, as they will be holding your money. The broker should be courteous and respond quickly to any and all questions. Does this particular broker have a lot of discrepancies between the price the trade was requested at and the actual value? This is called 'slippage' and can lead to the loss of funds if it is rampant. Some brokers will compensate you for the slippage, others do not.

3. Trading options. Not all forex brokers offer the same types of platforms, spreads or leverage. You need to decide which options are the most important to you. Some things to think about regarding options are: Commissions - does the broker take a commission and a spread? Make sure the spread is small enough to compensate for the commission. Spread - what spread is offered? Does the spread vary depending on the time of day, or is it always constant? Margin - is there a maximum amount of leverage allowed by the broker? Scalping - what is the broker's policy on scalping? Some brokers will put your account on manual execution if you scalp. This means that all your transactions have to go through a live person to be executed, which will slow down your trades and possibly keep you from getting some trades. Platform - what type of platform does the broker offer. Is it easy to use and understand? Does the platform perform quickly enough to execute trades instantly?

4. Demo account. Does the broker offer a demo account to practice with? And does the demo platform perform exactly like the live version? A demo account is a great way to test the platforms and see if you like the features the platform offers before actually sending them any funds.

Running a checklist on all the brokers you want to check out should narrow down your options and help you choose the best broker for you!

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Forex Trading


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