Forex broker vs stock broker

Just curious, who makes more, forex broker or stock broker, assuming they have the same amount of clients? I mean is the spread the only way forex broker get their money? thanks

Forex dealers will make the spread on price, as well as on the interest rate differential. Brokers will generally only make money on commissions. Given that many of those commissions are flat rate, it would seem that forex brokers could have it better since they will make more money on larger transactions.

I have not gathered much about the retail forex dealer side since they are not required to follow the same disclosure and price transparency rules as NASD member firms and don�t publicly release operational figures. I have received no reasonable answers on how “dealers” are compensated aside from company statements posted on the dealer websites. I assume it is a commission based on the “spread revenues” generated. For the sake of discussion and for your consideration, I don’t think being a [U]stockbroker[/U] is directly comparable to being an [U]order taker[/U] either on a forex desk or an equity desk.

If you don�t care about stocks, then this is a good place to stop reading.
I encourage any actual stockbrokers out there to feel free to chime in! (If you are an RR, I hope you�ve disclosed your forex trading to your firm. :slight_smile: )

When you think of a stockbroker, what image comes to mind? Do you picture a slick-haired twenty-something wearing suspenders and an Armani suit sitting behind a desk all day cold calling and filling out order tickets a la Bud Fox? (BTW � Apparently blue horseshoe likes Anacott Steel again!) If you think of Goldman, Merrill, or Morgan as stock brokerages in that old-school salesman sense, think again. It�s a brave new world! Top-tier brokerages make far more money from prop trading and deal making than they ever will from commissions.

National, regional, and discount brokers are focused on asset gathering these days. Yes, the salesman earns a commission on the initial product sale; however, the emphasis is in bringing all of the client�s financial business to the brokerage. That would include things like annuities, insurance, retirement products, mutual funds, mortgages, money markets, and credit cards. “Stockbrokers” don�t often recommend individual stocks these days. Trading commissions are only a small piece of the puzzle.

Funguy, you asked which of the two financial professionals stands to make more money given an equal number of clients. I suggest that today�s stockbroker has far more opportunities to earn income by managing a client�s overall finances than a forex broker does with his sole offering. It’s worth considering if you’re making a career choice. :wink:

Best of luck in your trading.

Forex Brokers are in a much different position than Stock Brokers. A forex Broker only enters the market when the total BUY on a currency is greater than the total SELL (or vice versa). Usually they try to keep BUY=SELL so they have no risk if the market goes up or down. If they can do this, they earn the full swap on every trade. If the broker isn’t in the market and a new person posts a trade and they loose (or they make someone else loose) then the broker earns their loss as direct profit.

Most brokers also have a spread on the swap payments. For example, swap pay of $13, swap charge of $16.50 on USDJPY. If the broker is neutral in the market (no position because BUY=SELL) then they earn $3.50 * total lots open.

Very advanced traders use an ECN for trading. ECN charge a flat fee and earn rates similar to stock brokers. An ECN should have no position in the market, shouldn’t guarantee fill, and shouldn’t have fixed spreads. Most brokers have a Dealing Desk who guarantees filled orders, manages position in the market (aiming for neutral) and manually adjusts spreads during news time or off market hours.

Typical fees for ECN: 0.5-1 pip round trip with an average spread of 1 pip on 8-12 currencies.
Typical fees for Broker: 3-6 pips each direction, as low as 2 pips on majors.

Dukascopy, FXAll, HotspotFX, MBTrading, Currenex, CME are examples of ECN. Sometimes the minimum deposit is $400, sometimes it is $50-100k

FXDD, Alpari, FXCM, FXLQ, IBFX, NorthFinance, Oanda, etc are all examples of brokers who enter the market and use a Dealing Desk. IBFX claims to not have a dealing desk and this is “technically true” because they outsource it to FXLQ. (I have the NFA registration details to back that up.)