By Chris Cammack Author Information Updated: July 2, 2020

ECN (Electronic Communication Network) Forex brokers are popular because they have direct market access, lower trading costs, and without conflict of interest that come with market maker brokers.

An ECN broker uses a lighting-fast FIX protocol to identify available pools of liquidity in the market, thus reducing trading cost and slippage. Some brokers, however, will offer an ECN account option alongside other STP or market maker accounts.

As there is no single best ECN broker for every trader, we have highlighted the best overall ECN broker while featuring brokers that excel because of their regulation, wide platform support, educational material or excellent trading conditions.

These are the best ECN Forex brokers in 2020.

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  • Broker
    FXTM

    FXTM  - Best ECN Broker

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    1110.50
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 10
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    FXTM is an award-winning ECN/STP broker popular with beginner traders and experienced traders alike. Its popularity is due to the very wide range of accounts types, from instant execution accounts with very low minimum deposits to ultra-low spread ECN accounts - MT4 is supported across all account types and MT5 is available on the ECN accounts. An Islamic option is available for all account types but only on the MT4 platform.

    With recognition from the FCA and CySec, excellent training material, and 24/7 customer support, FXTM is a great broker for all traders.

    Pros

    • Good for beginners
    • Excellent education
    • Well regulated
    • Low minimum deposit

    Cons

    • Expensive withdrawals
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Cent Account 1.5 pips None Instant USD 10 Account Details
    Standard Account 1.3 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
    ECN Zero Account 1.5 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details
    ECN Account 0.1 pips $2.00 Market USD 500 Account Details
    FXTM Pro Account 0.0 pips None Market USD 25000 Account Details
  • Broker
    HotForex

    HotForex  - Most Trusted Broker

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    FSCA FSCA
    DFSA DFSA
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 5
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    HotForex is an award-winning, global broker and has a reputation for client satisfaction. 

    Trading conditions are varied across four account types, but spreads are generally tight (and are often zero pips on the market execution account). All accounts are also available as Islamic accounts, and HotForex also offers copy-trading and managed accounts.  All clients have a dedicated account manager, and deposits and withdrawals are free no matter the funding method.

    HotForex has managed to attract a broad-based global clientele by offering multiple language capabilities and has a dedicated Malaysian team.

    Pros

    • Low minimum deposit
    • Tight spreads
    • Well regulated
    • Good range of accounts

    Cons

    • Limited base currencies
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Micro 1.0 pips None Market USD 5 Account Details
    Islamic 1.0 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    Premium 1.0 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    Auto 1.0 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details
    Zero 0.0 pips $3.00 Market USD 200 Account Details
    HFCopy 1.0 pips None Market USD 300 Account Details
    Premium Pro 1.0 pips None Market USD 5000 Account Details
  • Broker
    OctaFX

    OctaFX  - Best Research

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 50
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    OctaFX is a client-focused, international broker with a loyal following of Malaysian traders. The website is fully translated into Bahasa Melayu and OctaFX are always running competitions and promotions for Malaysian clients; these include a 50% first deposit bonus, demo trading contests with cash prizes and frequent lottery giveaways (prizes include scooters, laptops and other gadgets).

    An Islamic option is available for all account types and new traders will like the excellent analytical section and range of useful trading tools such as AutoChartist, copy trading and an account monitoring service that lets beginners learn anonymously from successful traders. Trader education for beginners is well-presented and platform support is almost unbeatable, with MT4, MT5 and cTrader all offered.

    Pros

    • Great platform choice
    • Fast and free withdrawals
    • Copy trading accounts

    Cons

    • Limited education
    • Restrictive account types
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    cTrader ECN 0.0 pips $3.00 Market USD 100 Account Details
    MT4 Micro 0.4 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    MT5 Pro 0.2 pips None Market USD 500 Account Details
  • Broker
    IronFX

    IronFX  - Best Trading Conditions

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 100
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    With a huge range of account types, a good micro account and leverage up to 1:1000, IronFX has something for everyone. A globally-recognised Forex broker with award-winning education and market analysis, IronFX has recently introduced market execution accounts with ultra-low spreads.

    For beginners who want to learn to trade on either the MT4 or MT5 platform, and experienced traders looking for strong international regulation, IronFX is an excellent choice in a broker.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads
    • Wide range of assets

    Cons

    • Expensive withdrawals
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Live Fixed Spread 2.2 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
    Live Floating Spread 1.1 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
    Live Zero Spread 0.0 pips $18 Instant USD 500 Account Details
    STP/ECN No Commission 1.7 pips None ECN/STP USD 500 Account Details
    STP/ECN Zero Spread 0.0 pips $7.50 ECN/STP USD 500 Account Details
  • Broker
    Pepperstone

    Pepperstone  - Best Overall Broker

    REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    DFSA DFSA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 200
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Founded in 2010, Pepperstone is an Australian ECN broker known for tight spreads, fast trade execution and broad trading platform support. As our highest rated pure ECN broker, if you want to pay a small commission for tighter spreads, you won't find much better than Pepperstone.

    Pepperstone's award-winning 24-hour support provides the foundation for its excellent customer service, where personalised assistance is available via a number of methods. It won the fastest-growing company award (2014) in Australia, from BRW Magazine and in the same year, emerged as the winner of the Governor of Victoria Export Awards cementing its reputation as a serious contender in the industry.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads
    • Great platform choice
    • Wide range of assets

    Cons

    • High minimum deposit
    • Limited market analysis
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Razor 0.0 pips AUD$ 7 ECN USD 200 Account Details
    Standard 1.0 pips None ECN USD 200 Account Details
    Swap-free 1.0 pips None ECN USD 200 Account Details
  • Broker
    FP Markets

    FP Markets  - Best Education

    REGULATED BY
    ASIC ASIC
    CySEC CySEC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 100
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    FP Markets is a great Australian broker with simple account options and an exciting set of tools for traders with higher minimum deposits. Bonus schemes, including deposit and no-deposit bonuses, are frequently available and Islamic accounts are available on both the MT4 and MT5 platforms.

    Spreads are tight, even on the Standard Account, and the lack of dealing desk intervention for all accounts removes any concern over conflict of interest.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads
    • Good range of accounts
    • Great customer support

    Cons

    • Expensive withdrawals
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Standard IRESS N/A pips $10 AUD min, then 0.1% STP USD 1,000 Account Details
    Platinum IRESS N/A pips $9 AUD min, then 0.09% STP USD 25,000 Account Details
    Premier IRESS N/A pips No min, then 0.08% STP USD 50,000 Account Details
    RAW 0.0 pips $3.50 STP USD 100 Account Details
    Standard 1.0 pips None STP USD 100 Account Details
  • Broker
    Admiral Markets

    Admiral Markets  - Best Education

    REGULATED BY
    ASIC ASIC
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 100
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Founded in 2001, Admiral Markets offers reliability, market leadership and modern trading. Most Admiral Markets customers have free access to Trading Central - providing independent market insight and technical analysis - and the company has one of the best cryptocurrency offerings on the market; additionally, the Islamic MT5 Account is one of the best swap-free accounts available.

    A global presence, a large international client base, flexible trading accounts and competitive trading conditions have attracted both beginner and experienced traders to the brand.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Excellent education
    • Wide range of assets

    Cons

    • Expensive withdrawals
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Trade.MT4 0.5 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    Trade.MT5 0.5 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    Zero.MT4 0.0 pips $1.8-$3.0 Market USD 100 Account Details
    Zero.MT5 0.0 pips $1.8-$3.0 Market USD 100 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    B.V.I FSC B.V.I FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11000
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 150
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    InstaForex is an award-winning and well-regulated broker offering a wide variety of account types with good trading conditions and a copy-trading service. With three market execution accounts, one of which is specifically built for scalping, and two instant execution accounts with no minimum deposit (both of which are available as Islamic accounts), InstaForex will appeal to a wide range of traders.

    The market analysis and education sections feature regularly updated content for traders of all experience levels and MT4 is fully supported via download and webtrader.

    Pros

    • Wide range of assets
    • Copy trading accounts

    Cons

    • Limited market analysis
    • Limited education
    • Wide spreads
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Cent.Eurica pips 0.03%-0.07% Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Cent.Standard 3 pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Insta.Eurica pips 0.03%-0.07% Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Insta.Standard 3 pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Islamic pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    DFSA DFSA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 5
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    AxiTrader is an Australian ECN broker with tight spreads, no minimum deposit and a focus on creating a comfortable environment for serious traders. Axitrader has received strong industry recognition for their professional setup including Best MT4 Broker 2018 (Compare Forex Brokers Australia) and Best MT4 Provider 2018 (UK Forex Awards).

    An Islamic option is available on both trading accounts, as is free AutoChartist; and a free VPS service once you hit a minimum trading volume.

    Pros

    • Low minimum deposit
    • Wide range of assets
    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads

    Cons

    • Poor customer service
    • Limited demo account
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    MT4 Pro Account 0.1 pips $7 Market USD 5 Account Details
    MT4 Standard Account 1.0 pips None Market USD 5 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    ASIC ASIC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 200
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    IC Markets is one of the few ECN brokers that is truly good for beginner traders; trader education and customer service are both top-notch and with free access to Trading Central - an excellent third-party analytics provider - new traders will feel very welcome indeed. IC Markets runs frequent bonus schemes, some especially for Islamic traders, with commission-free trading on Islamic accounts during Ramadan. 

    IC Markets also offers support for all three leading trading platforms so experienced traders looking for a good ECN broker with the best trading conditions and fast execution should be tempted too.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads
    • Wide range of assets
    • Great platform choice

    Cons

    • High minimum deposit
    • Limited market analysis
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    RAW - cTrader 0.0 pips $3.00 Market USD 200 Account Details
    RAW - MetaTrader 0.0 pips $3.50 Market USD 200 Account Details
    Standard - MetaTrader 1.0 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details

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Open

Do I need an ECN Broker?

To understand what an ECN broker is we first need to understand what a dealing desk is and why ECN brokers don’t have one.

Broker with dealing desks are often called market makers because they are the market – when a market marker present a trader with a price, this is a price that has been created internally by the broker.

If the trader accepts the price offered, they are dealing with the broker, not with other market participants, and the broker will be the counterparty to the trade. In essence, the broker is betting against the trader – if the trader loses money on that trade, the broker is going to profit.

There is an obvious conflict of interest inherent in this business model and, for this reason, some traders prefer to have a neutral party as a conduit for their trading.

Market makers tend to not take a commission on trades, instead they make money through the spread – which they will artificially widen. Markets on a dealing desk platform are often less volatile – a disadvantage to scalpers – and slippage (a change in price between confirming a trade and the trade being posted) can be an issue.

But how are ECN brokers different?

The clue is the name: ECN (Electronic Communication Network). ECNs rely on a network of other market participants to take the other side of Forex trades. When you post a trade with an ECN they will find a third-party to be the counterparty, this removes the conflict of interest that exists with a market maker.

ECN brokers will charge a commission for this service (as they cannot profit from your trade), but spreads tend to be much tighter than with market makers. At times of market volatility on major currency pairs, you will often see spreads disappear entirely, down to zero pips. 

Another acronym you will often see in combination with ECN is STP (as in ECN/STP). STP is a method of the transaction – with STP your order is sent directly to the counterparty through the Financial Information Exchange (FIX) protocol. The FIX protocol decreases trade execution time, reduces slippage and ensures that traders get the best available pricing.

Conclusion

So, while ECN brokers do not have the inherent conflict of interest present with market makers, there are larger trading risks involved and commission will always be charged on your trades. You will also often find that true ECN accounts will require a higher minimum deposit – putting them out of reach of a lot of new traders.

Are ECN brokers objectively better than market maker? I don’t believe this to be the case. All those we work with are trustworthy and well-regulated and broker choice is always down to personal preference. Whether you go with an ECN broker or a market maker, as long as you use our recommendations you will be in safe hands.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors as it carries a high degree of risk to your capital: 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. 

Forex and CFD transactions involve high risk due to the following factors: Over-leveraging, unpredictable market volatility, slippage arising from a lack of liquidity, inadequate trading knowledge or experience, and a lack of regulatory protection for clients.

Traders should not deposit any money that is not disposable. Regardless of how much research you have done, or how confident you are in your trade, there is always a substantial risk of loss. (Learn more from the FCA or from ASIC)

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Our State of the Market Report and Broker Directory are the result of extensive research on over 100 Forex brokers. The explicit goal of these resources is to help traders find the best Malaysian Forex brokers – and steer them away from the worst ones – with the benefit of accurate and up-to-date information.

With over 150 data points on each broker and over 3000 hours of research and review writing, we believe we have succeeded in our goal. 

In a world where trading conditions and customer support can vary based on where you live, our broker reviews focus on the local trader and give you information about these brokers from a Malaysian perspective.

All research has been conducted by our in-house team of researchers and writers, gathering information from various company representatives, websites and by sifting through the fine print. Learn more about how we rank brokers

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Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors and comes with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
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