Beginner’s guide to ECN brokers: what they are, how they work, and are they right for you?
Choosing the right Forex broker is one of the crucial steps when starting your trading journey. No matter how much you invest in your education, how you monitor the fluctuations of the market, and how well you understand fundamental and technical analysis, at the end of the day, the platform you trade on will influence your bottom line. Whether it’s the spread or the commissions you pay, the Forex broker will, to a certain extent, determine how much you make from trading.
By default, most Forex brokers are STP brokers. STP stands for (Straight Through Processing), which means that they give you all the tools you need to trade and act as middlemen between the trader and the liquidity provider. STP brokers are the most common, and many people who do Forex trading don’t feel the need to replace them with something else. You can definitely grow your wealth by signing up for an STP broker, and if you are happy with your current broker, there is no need to change it just yet.
However, STP brokers do have their limitations, and there may come a time when the trader wishes to negotiate trading positions directly with liquidity providers, without a middleman. And that’s where ECN brokers come in.
What are ECN brokers?
Without getting too technical, an ECN broker gives traders direct access to liquidity providers so that they can negotiate their own prices. ECN stands for Electronic Communication Network – that’s the network they use to facilitate contact between the two parties, without getting in the way. Thanks to this direct contact, you get a series of benefits: you have more transparency, there are better trading conditions, price manipulation is limited, and you can even trade outside of normal hours. However, like most things in Forex trading, switching to an ECN network is a highly subjective choice. Before you say goodbye to your STP broker, you need to understand both the pros and cons of ECN brokers, if they can match your trading strategy, and, perhaps most importantly, how to choose an ECN broker that really stands by its promise.
Pros and cons of ECN brokers
Trade outside normal market hours
Compared to standard brokers, ECN brokers are more flexible, and they allow you to trade outside the regular market hours.
More favorable prices
Usually, with ECN brokers, you have tighter bid-ask spreads, which means that you can execute trades at better prices than usually available. Plus, trades are executed immediately because there is no middle man.
Although not all traders want to be anonymous, some do – particularly the ones who prefer making larger transactions. ECN brokers can offer that.
The broker won’t trade against you.
No matter if you win or lose a trade, the ECN broker still gets their commission, so they have no conflict of interest to work against you. STP brokers, however, can work against the client’s best interest by manipulating prices. Plus, the ECN broker will also give you access to real-time price information as well as the pricing history, so it’s virtually impossible to be fooled.
As beneficial as ECN brokers might be, they have their drawbacks, and these drawbacks will affect you if they don’t match your trading strategy. The most important con you should know about is that all the benefits of ECN brokers come at a cost – and a high one at that. ECN brokers ask for higher fees and commissions compared to regular brokers. These commissions are usually fixed, which can be a good thing, but if you execute a lot of traders, all of those fees can really add up and affect your profitability.
What’s more, the deposit requirements are higher for ECN brokers, and that can be really discouraging. Many traders argue that the ECN platforms aren’t too user-friendly, and it’s difficult to get accustomed to this type of trading, but it’s important to keep in mind that ECN brokers aren’t for beginners. If you’ve only traded for a couple of months and you’re still not very used to it, it’s normal for an ECN broker to look more complicated, which is why, when you’re starting out, it’s best to stick with STP brokers.
Keep this in mind when choosing an ECN broker.
ECN brokers offer favorable terms, but they’re not as easy to find. For example, there are few ECN brokers for US clients, which means that you’ll have to do more research to find one, perhaps even look offshore for options. That’s because the regulatory environment is stricter in the US, and brokers have to abide by harsh terms and conditions. Offshore brokers can offer better terms, even if they’re not regulated in the US.
They should, however, be regulated. The problem with unregulated ECN brokers is that they can be regular STP brokers trying to fool their clients. If you don’t do your research, it’s possible to open an account with what you believe is an ECN broker, only to discover that the trades are very slow and that there are many requotes. A requote happens when the broker is not able to execute the trade based on the price you entered. To avoid unpleasant surprises such as this one, the first thing to do is check whether the broker you chose is regulated. If they are, that means their services are legit and, if you try to scam you in any way, you can file a formal complaint, and your rights are protected by the law. If they’re not regulated, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a scam, but you’re not protected in any way, and there is a chance you might be putting your money at risk. When in doubt, always check online reviews and comparisons. If a broker isn’t what they say they are, users will complain about it immediately, and you’ll avoid a potential scam.
The Ultimate Guide to the Essential Social Skills in Business
Effective communication and strong relationships are essential for success in the workplace. One factor that can greatly influence these qualities is emotional intelligence, often abbreviated as EQ. EQ refers to the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Research has shown that individuals with high levels of EQ are better equipped to handle stress, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively with others (Chamorro-Premuzic & Sanger, 2016).
Research has consistently shown that emotional intelligence (EQ) is an important predictor of job performance and success in the workplace. EQ is comprised of a set of skills that allow individuals to recognize, understand, and regulate their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. In addition, individuals with high EQ are better able to communicate effectively, build relationships, and navigate complex social situations. As a result, they are often viewed as effective leaders and collaborators, and are more likely to achieve their personal and professional goals.
In fact, a number of studies have demonstrated the significant impact that EQ has on job performance and success. For example, one study of 85 upper-level managers found that those with higher EQ scores were rated as more effective leaders by their subordinates (Law, Wong, & Song, 2004). Another study of 151 employees found that those with higher EQ were more likely to be promoted within their organization over a five-year period (Carmeli, Brueller, & Dutton, 2009). These findings highlight the importance of EQ in the workplace and suggest that developing these skills can lead to significant benefits for both individuals and organizations.
According to a study conducted by TalentSmart, a leading provider of EQ assessments, EQ is responsible for 58% of success in all job types (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009). In contrast, IQ only accounts for about 4% of success in the workplace. This suggests that EQ is a crucial skill set for individuals in any professional field. Fortunately, EQ is a skill that can be developed and honed over time with practice and awareness.
There are several key components of EQ that are particularly important for success in the workplace. These include:
Self-Regulation: This refers to your capacity to recognize and control your emotions. Sometimes treating them when they arise may be necessary. Understanding how to manage your anger is essential. However, it can also cover how to control the feelings you’ll experience.
Self-Awareness: This implies recognizing and understanding your own feelings. Do noisy places make you nervous? Do other people talking over you make you angry? Knowing these truths about yourself shows that you are working on your self-awareness. Being conscious of yourself is necessary for this phase, which can be more complex than it sounds.
Socialization: This category focuses on your capacity to manage social interactions and direct relationships. It doesn’t entail dominating others but knowing how to work with others to achieve your goals. This could entail presenting your ideas to coworkers, leading a team, or resolving a personal disagreement.
Motivation: Strong motivators include external forces like money, status, or suffering. Internal motivation, however, plays a significant role in Goleman’s concept. By doing so, you demonstrate your ability to control your cause and initiate or continue initiatives of your own volition rather than in response to external demands.
Empathy: It’s equally critical to be sensitive to others’ feelings. This may entail learning to identify different emotional states in individuals — for example, can you tell the difference between someone at ease and someone anxious? — but it also requires comprehension of how other people may react to their current situation. Empathy is one of the essential traits in business and business leadership.
A thought leader in this space, Michael Ventura has built a career advising organizations on the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. In his book, Applied Empathy, Ventura highlights the value of empathy in business and provides strategies for developing and applying this skill set. With two decades of experience as a leader, facilitator, and educator, Ventura’s work has made impact in with prestigious institutions such as Princeton University and the United Nations as well as corporate clients such as Google and Nike.
Through his work, Ventura advises leaders to focus on the development of EQ in order to help individuals improve their communication, collaboration, and leadership skills, ultimately leading to greater success in the workplace. Experts like Ventura continue to support the growing body of research on the value of EQ in business, and the evidence that organizations who invest in the EQ of their teams help to create a more empathetic and successful professional environment.
And it’s worth noting that EQ isn’t just important for individual success in the workplace, but also for overall organizational success. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that EQ was a better predictor of success than IQ or technical skills in the workplace, and that teams with higher levels of EQ tend to be more effective and productive (Boyatzis, Goleman, & Rhee, 1999). By cultivating a culture of empathy and emotional intelligence, organizations can improve their overall performance and create a more positive work environment for their employees.
In conclusion, emotional intelligence is a crucial component of success in the workplace, and individuals and organizations alike should prioritize the development of these skills. The ones that do not only develop a leading edge in their category, but also become a meaningful place to work for their teams. And in today’s rapidly changing talent landscape, the retention of highly capable, emotionally intelligent leaders is one of the greatest keys to unlocking success.
Boyatzis, R. E., Goleman, D., & Rhee, K. S. (1999). Clustering competence in emotional intelligence: Insights from the emotional competence inventory (ECI). In R. Bar-On & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), Handbook of emotional intelligence (pp. 343-362). Jossey-Bass.
Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart.
Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Sanger, M. N. (2016). Does employee happiness matter? Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 3(2), 168-191.
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