The UK forex traders can have access to the world’s top ECN brokers with no dealing desk execution. The ECN forex brokers will give the UK residents lower GBP/USD spreads, direct market access, price feed transparency with interbank bid and ask price, no markups and instant trades.
Compare the top ECN Brokers for the UK forex traders below.
By Justin Grossbard / Updated: Saturday, February 15th, 2020
Top 6 UK ECN Brokers For UK Forex Traders
Find the top 6 UK ECN brokers with the best MetaTrader 4 platform, best NDD execution model, the largest range of currencies and CFDs, most liquidity providers and best spreads below:
Pepperstone – Best MetaTrader 4 + 5 ECN Broker
FxPro – Best No Dealing Desk Forex Broker
AxiTrader – Largest Range Of Currency Pairs + CFDs
IG – UK Broker With The Most Liquidity Providers
Swissquote – Best Variable Spread Broker (No Commission)
FxPro – Best ECN Broker Demo Account
Pepperstone – The Best UK MetaTrader 4 + 5 ECN Broker
Pepperstone has its origins in Australia, but since 2015 it’s operating its London-based office to serve clients from both the UK and Europe. Pepperstone’s UK office is located in the heart of London at 70 Gracechurch St. London, United Kingdom EC3V 0HR. Like all ECN brokers we’re dealing with an entity that abides by the standards and rules imposed by the local regulatory watchdog and more:
Pepperstone UK branch is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with registration number 684312
Pepperstone AU headquarters is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) with AFS license number 414530
According to our research, Pepperstone is the best UK ECN Metatrader broker due to its superior financial services that come in the form of:
Lightning-fast execution speed of 60 milliseconds (and 30ms for Australian traders)
Best bid and ask pricings (GBP/USD spread start as low as 0.44 pips)
Powerful trading tools (Smart Trader Tools and Autochartist)
One trading account gives UK traders access to both MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5
Trading platforms available to download for desktop, Mac OS, mobile trading (iOS and Android), tablet trading and including a web trading app
Our team of industry experts will highlight the main Pepperstone features that recommend this ECN broker the top choice for the UK traders.
Pepperstone offers Low-Cost Pricing ECN Account
At Pepperstone, UK traders can benefit from tight forex spreads with no markups (available on the Pepperstone Razor Account). The bid and ask prices are derived from a wide range of liquidity providers. The multiple sources of liquidity providers allow Pepperstone to supply UK forex traders with the best raw spreads. For a quick spread comparison offered by UK ECN forex brokers study the table below.
Average Spreads (02/01/2020)
If you’re looking for the lowest spread ECN brokers in the UK, the top choices are Pepperstone and IC Markets. On the other hand, among the ECN forex brokers examined, CMC Markets has the worst spreads. The EUR/USD spread is 0.805 pips respectively 2.793 spread on the GBP/USD pair.
Pepperstone also keeps the commissions extremely competitive. Pepperstone UK has introduced transparent ECN commissions, which are determined by the trading platform used and the trading account currency:
MT4 Razor account commission of GBP 2.29 per one standard lot traded (or GBP 4.59 round turn). The USD-based trading account charges a commission of $7.53 round turn.
MT5 Razor account commission of GBP 2.29 per one standard lot traded (or GBP 4.59 round turn). The USD-based trading account charges a commission of $7 round turn.
ECN Forex Brokers with Fast Speed
The benefit that comes with true ECN forex brokers is that you can trade with fast order execution speed. Pepperstone is able to offer UK forex traders the ability to trade through MT4 and MT5 trading platforms with fast speed. On a daily basis, Pepperstone executes $12. 55 billion worth of trades. Most orders are filled in less than 60 milliseconds.
Our team of experts used third-party scripts to test the market order execution speed. The speed testing results confirmed that Pepperstone is the best forex broker in the UK. The Australian-based broker boosted an 85-millisecond average execution speed.
Our order execution speed comparison among the best ECN forex brokers in the UK can be seen below.
Note* The ECN speeding test was conducted using FX spot orders that are executed at the best available market prices. We also conducted the tests via a MetaTrader 4 demo account.
Summary – Why Pepperstone is the Best ECN Forex Broker
The automatic price improvement technology used by Pepperstone coupled with the above-mentioned tools and features made this true ECN broker the best forex broker in the UK. Pepperstone doesn’t interfere with the bid and asks prices because it doesn’t operate a dealing desk. With no middleman between the UK retail investors and the foreign exchange market, you can trade with the peace of mind directly on the interbank spot rates.
The overall rating is based on review by our experts
10 / 10
10 / 10
10 / 10
7 / 10
Range of Markets
8 / 10
10 / 10
The Best No Dealing Desk Broker Is FxPro
UK based traders who want unfiltered access to the forex market can opt to conduct their business through a No Dealing Desk (NDD) forex broker like FxPro. Headquartered in London, FxPro operates across 173 countries worldwide. FxPro also has 4 industry licenses (FCA, CySEC, FSCA and SCB) which indicate that the brokerage trading firm operates lawfully and your funds are safe.
Our team of industry experts will outline why online trading with forex brokers that run a No Dealing Desk model is superior. We weighed into our proprietary scoring system the following features:
Trade execution speed (FxPro advertise 11.06 milliseconds average execution time)
The sophisticated order execution engine
Reduced slippages (negative slippage on only 12.53% of FxPro client orders)
No requotes (98.60% of client orders are executed at the desired price)
Access to 7 major markets including cryptocurrencies
VIP trading account dedicated to high-volume UK traders (comes with reduced spreads – 30%)
Decent trading commission of $4.5 per side (only applied to currency pairs and metal trading via the FxPro’s cTrader trading platform)
How FxPro No Dealing Desk Execution Model Works?
To understand how your orders are processed by FxPro our devoted team of experts has put to the test if FxPro is a true ECN broker or not. Unlike dealing desk brokers who mark up the wholesale price feed, ECN brokers are able to offer raw spreads. After conducting a real-time spread comparison our rigorous process concluded that the spread size offered by FxPro is higher. Most UK ECN brokers are able to keep the spread lower.
For example, the GBP/USD spread depends (fixed spreads and variable spreads) on the trading platform used and the execution model:
MT4 market execution model with a spread of 2.0 pips (live spread as of 02.11.2020)
MT4 instant execution model with an average spread of 2.52 pips
MT5 market execution model with an average spread of 2.52 pips
cTrader market execution model with an average spread of 1.02 pips + $4.5 per 1 standard lot
The total costs offered by FxPro are more comparable with market maker forex brokers. This begs two questions that our experts at Compare Forex Brokers will answer:
Is FxPro an ECN broker?
FxPro is not a true ECN broker because it matches some of the client orders internally. In the electronic communication network environment, the forex brokers pass the orders to their liquidity providers. FxPro can be considered a hybrid type of ECN broker as there is no dealing desk intervention.
Is FxPro an STP broker?
FxPro is not a true STP (Straight Through Processing) broker, but at the same time, they are using the STP technology with their order execution engine. FxPro uses its price aggregator Quotix, which is co-located inside the Equinix FX Ecosystem (LD5 London or Amsterdam).
ECN Brokers Real-Time Speed Test
FxPro claims its price engine is ultra-fast, as orders are executed in less than 11.06 milliseconds, with up to 7,000 trades processed each second. Our team of experts tested the fast order execution speed claim and found the following real-time ECN execution speeds:
For instant orders (market orders) the tested execution speed was 110 milliseconds
For limit orders, the tested execution speed was 110 milliseconds
Compared to other UK-based forex brokers, FxPro comes in the third place for both market order and limit order execution speed. Only Pepperstone and FP Markets can boost award-winning execution speeds.
Summary – Why FxPro is Among the Best Forex Brokers with NDD Model
The wide range of asset classes, fast order execution speed, reduced slippage and the tight regulation has boosted FxPro on the top of the list for the best forex brokers with no dealing desk execution models. Check here top five reasons to choose the FxPro trading account: FxPro Review. Please note that in order to gain access to a demo account, you need to follow the standard procedures associated with opening a live trading account and submit your legal documents.
The Most Currency Pairs And CFDs Are Offered By AxiTrader
For this ECN Brokers UK review we assess the forex brokers with the most currency pairs and biggest range of CFD instruments. Our in-house methodology of ranking forex brokers revealed that AxiTrader is the best option for the UK market participants. AxiTrader offering list of financial instruments and markets to trade include:
80 currency pairs (major, minor and exotic pairs)
CFDs on metal trading (17 metal pairs that include Gold, Silver and Platinum)
Commodity Cash CFDs (2 pairs US crude oil and the UK crude oil)
Index Cash CFDs (17 global indices from across 4 continents)
Index Futures CFDs contracts (14 tradable instruments)
Cryptocurrency CFDs (6 crypto pairs including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Dash and Bitcoin Cash)
In total, the UK retail traders can have direct access to 145 currency pairs and CFDs. AxiTrader blends together the bid and asks quotes from multiple sources of liquidity providers. This allows AxiTrader to have low spreads that can start from as low as 0.0 pips. However, the typical average spreads found with the AxiTrader trading account are:
0.44 pips on EUR/USD
0.85 pips on GBP/USD
0.40 pips on EUR/GBP
Note*Trading CFDs and forex trading on AxiTrader Pro account come with a commission fee of GBP 4.50 round-turn per one standard lot (or $7.00).
UK Forex Brokers with Price Improvement Technology
Not all MetaTrader 4 trading platforms can bring advanced trading capabilities. However, AxiTrader combines its wide pool of liquidity providers (global banks and financial institutions), its dedicated collocated infrastructure and fibre optics to provide UK forex traders with improved price technology.
The ECN trading liquidity can give UK-based traders a superior advantage, especially during volatile times when the exchange rates can suddenly move. The price stability offered by AxiTrader creates a trading environment that is suitable for scalping.
Summary – UK ECN Brokers with Biggest Range of Markets
Overall, AxiTrader can be the one-stop trading partner for UK residents seeking trading CFDs and forex trading from one single trading platform. AxiTrader MT4 standard account and Pro account don’t require an up-front initial deposit. This is good as you can start testing your trading strategies without risking your hard-earned money.
For our ECN Brokers UK review, we assessed the forex institutional liquidity providers that are included by the UK forex brokers and discovered that IG Markets has the biggest liquidity providers. Our team of FX experts has conducted a detailed analysis of the best UK ECN forex brokers to see who has a better relationship with the FX liquidity providers.
IG Markets unites liquidity providers of around 12 financial institutions and world major banks, including:
Global banks (tier one banks)
Non-bank liquidity providers
Licensed investment companies
All these liquidity providers compete equally to give UK-based traders the best available bid and ask quotes. In theory, the more forex liquidity providers supply their feeds, the more competitive the spreads are.
Forex Brokers with Dedicated DMA Trading Platform
IG DMA passes client orders directly to the liquidity providers via their dedicated L2 Dealer platform. This proprietary trading platform was developed in-house by IG experts and it can give UK traders direct market access to:
Trading CFDs via Shares DMA
Forex trading via Forex Direct
Note* Forex DMA is only available for the UK professional traders. To qualify for an IG professional account, UK residents must meet at least two criteria from the following requirements:
Significant trading activity in the past year
Financial instrument portfolio exceeding €500,000
Relevant work experience in the financial sector
The L2 Dealer DMA platform offers a superior technological solution for both CFD trading and forex trading. Besides gaining access to top ECN liquidity providers, the IG DMA platform offers the following advantages:
Share trading with prices derived directly from stock exchanges, market makers and MTF dark pools
Market depth directly from the London Stock Exchange LSE
Order book that consolidates the bid and asks quotes
Complex order types, including pegged, fill or kill, execute and eliminate, good for auction etc.
Professional Iceberg orders aimed for big orders to be divided into smaller sizes
Trading directly from the price ladder
Customizable DMA interface
Access to over 16,000 financial instruments to trade
No manual intervention
What are the Total Costs Trading via DMA Platform?
At IG DMA there is no dealing desk intervention. UK-based traders execute their orders with no additional markups on the spread. The forex prices are quoted directly from IG’s liquidity providers. The IG typical average spreads are 0.165 pips for EUR/USD respectively 0.589 pips for GBP/USD (according to the data compiled for the 12 weeks ending 19th March 2019).
While IG Markets doesn’t mark up the spreads for the DMA account, it charges a commission based on the volume traded in the prior month. UK forex traders can expect to pay $6 in commissions per every 100,000 units traded (based on $100 million volumes traded.). Traders need to generate at least $500 million in volume to benefit from more competitive spreads. For this type of trading volume, the forex commission drops to $3 per side. With Pepperstone and IC Markets you can get lower forex commissions without the need to generate such a high trading volume.
Note* For share trading, besides the regular fees, you may be liable for paying exchange data fees.
Summary – IG The Best UK Broker with the Most Liquidity
The IG DMA account is equipped to give UK traders direct market access to trading forex and CFDs. Due to the strong relationship with the leading providers, IG Markets can offer UK traders fast order execution speed of 14 milliseconds. IG is a trustworthy name with a rich history and infrastructure to satisfy the needs of the most sophisticated UK traders. You can download the L2 Dealer platform for free available for desktop and mobile trading.
With more than CHF 30.5 billion in client assets, Swissquote has been awarded for its competitive trading conditions and transparent pricing policy. Compared to other UK ECN brokers, Swissquote ranked on top of our star scoring system for the best variable spreads. The Swissquote offering includes 4 account types, but there are only 2 retail investor accounts, namely:
Premium Account – spread starts from 1.3 pips and a minimum deposit of $1,000
Prime Account (the most popular) – spread starts from 0.6 pips and a minimum deposit of $5,000
Both of the retail investor accounts have 0 commission trading. Swissquote offers variable spreads on over 130 currency pairs and CFD instruments (precious metals, stock indices, commodities and bonds).
Note* Swissquote Elite and Professional accounts charge the raw spreads coupled with the typical ECN commission.
What are the Typical Variable Spreads Offered by Swissquote?
Our team of FX experts conducted a detailed comparison of the variable spreads offered by the UK best forex brokers and concluded that Swissquote has the best offering. Typically the variable spread accounts have no commissions on trades or any other additional fee. UK traders can expect a minimum spread of:
1.0 pips for both EUR/USD and GBP/USD on the Prime account
1.3 pips for both EUR/USD and GBP/USD on the Premium account
Risk Warning: Please note that depending on the market conditions the floating spreads can widen considerably. The table below compares the market maker spreads offered by UK forex brokers with spread-only accounts.
Benefit from Fast Order Execution and Flexible Leverage
With Swissquote you can benefit not only from the reduced variable spreads but also from fast forex execution speed and flexible leverage. Swissquote client orders are filled 97% of the time with an average execution speed of 27 milliseconds. The Swissquote execution model can boost the following additional advantages:
15% of client orders get price improvements (positive slippage)
63% of client orders receive NO slippage
12% of client orders receive negative slippage
Swissquote also offers flexible leverage that can start from 1:30 for forex trading and can go up to 1:400 if you are eligible for the professional account. The table below compares the different levels of leverage offered by Swissquote.
Summary – Best Variable Spread Forex Brokers
The only disadvantage of the floating spreads is that the bid and asks prices can widen in times of financial markets distress. The UK-based traders can open a Swissquote trading account in over 15 supported funding currencies. Three bespoke trading platforms (MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and Advanced Trader) await Swissquote clients to conquer the financial markets.
FXCM offers the best demo account that mimics perfectly the same conditions that can be found with a live ECN trading account. Every online broker, we surveyed was checked if they offer demo accounts as an integrated tool of their trading platform. Trading complex instruments such as Forex currency pairs and CFDs carries a high-risk level.
You can sign-up for FREE and claim your practice account
Up to $50,000 in virtual money
Risk-free trading environment, practice forex trading risk-free
Trade on the live feed prices
Trade popular currency pairs, gold, silver and CFDs
Choose from multiple trading platforms (Trading Station and MetaTrader 4) available on desktop, web trader and mobile
Note* The only downside found on the FXCM MT4 demo account is the maximum account balance restrictions to $50,000. Other ECN brokers and STP brokers are more flexibledemo accounts with custom balances.
Summary – Best ECN Trading Account to Practice Trading Risk-Free
FXCM demo account gives potential clients the chance to effectively test the financial services offered by ECN forex brokers. The demo account also permits UK FX traders to learn how CFDs work before risking their hard-earned money. FXCM’s trading platforms are fully equipped with all the tools to satisfy the needs of all traders. Click the link below if you want to sign up for your free MT4 demo account.
Overall, Pepperstone Is The UK Best ECN Forex Broker
Compare Forex Broker has reviewed ECN brokers for forex traders from across the whole world and knows the anatomy of a good ECN broker. Our best-in-industry methodology for reviewing online Forex brokers revealed that if you’re a UK-based trader, the best ECN forex broker is Pepperstone.
London is the world’s second-biggest financial centre and as a financial hub, it tends to attract the best of the best ECN forex brokers. In this regard, there are many attractive options to lure retail investors into Forex trading. If you’re still unsure which ECN broker offers the best financial service, our team of industry experts will highlight all the critical aspects that make Pepperstone the best UK ECN forex broker:
Lowest Raw spreads (EUR/USD spread as low as 0.16 pips)
Fastest market order execution speed (85 milliseconds) among the top 10 ECN brokers in the UK
Second fastest limit order execution speed (100 milliseconds) among the top 10 UK ECN brokers
Trading on the most popular forex platforms (MT4, MT5 and cTrader)
Lowest ECN based account commissions (GBP 2.29 per side)
The active trader program gives attractive rebates up to 15%
Deposit and withdrawals with no additional fees
Deposit protection up to GBP 85,000 per eligible person under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Award-winning customer support service
A full and detailed review of Pepperstone trading features, including the range of trading platforms, available instruments for trading, spreads and fees, the quality of trade execution, customer service and much more can be found here: Pepperstone Review 2020.
What Is An Electronic Communication Network (ECN Broker)?
ECN stands for Electronic Communications Network and it’s a piece of technological solution used to provide forex traders direct market access. The Electronic Communication Network (ECN) technology is only used to match orders between traders. Typically the ECN brokers consolidate the bid and ask quotes from a wide range of liquidity providers such as tier-one banks, licensed financial institutions, authorized brokers etc.
We can distinguish two types of liquidity providers:
ECN (Electronic Communication Network)
MTF (Multilateral Trading Facility)
Since the Forex market doesn’t operate from one single exchange, but rather from multiple venues aka liquidity providers, we can distinguish the following type of structure:
Top Level we have tier-one liquidity providers like Deutsche Bank, Barclays Capital, JP Morgan, Citi, etc.
The second level is comprised of liquidity pools such as EBS, FXall (Thomas Reuter), Currenex, Integral, KCG Hotspot, CFH Clearing, and LMAX Exchange
Retail Brokers can act as market makers
Unlike an electronic communication network brokers, the MTF protocol is used by the STP brokers. The STP brokers will protect the UK traders from slippage.
The first advantages of the ECN forex brokers are that the bid and ask spread is much tighter. Compared to market maker brokers, the ECN brokers will charge a typical fixed or variable commission. This feature eliminates any conflict of interest between the broker and the trader.
Risk Warning: Trading over-the-counter using high leverage products carries a high risk of losing money. Trading Forex is not suitable for all retail investors so before you risk your money, make sure you understand how CFDs work. Only invest money you can lose.