UK forex traders have access to some of the world’s top ECN brokers with no dealing desk. ECN forex brokers give the UK traders access to lower spreads like GBP/USD and direct market access for price transparency so there are no markups.
Compare the top ECN Brokers for the UK forex traders below.
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Find the top 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 was established in Australia, but since 2015 it has operated a London-based office to serve clients from 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 watchdogs and more:
According to our research, Pepperstone is the best UK ECN MetaTrader broker due to its superior financial services that come in the form of:
Our team of industry experts will highlight the main Pepperstone features that recommend this ECN broker the top choice for UK traders.
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.
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:
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.
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 peace of mind directly on the interbank spot rates.
View Full Pepperstone Review >>Visit Pepperstone >>
The overall rating is based on review by our experts
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 show that the brokerage trading firm operates lawfully and your funds are safe.
No dealing desk execution is superior for the following reasons:
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:
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:
FxPro is not a true ECN broker because it matches some 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.
FxPro is not a true STP (Straight Through Processing) broker, but at the same time, they are using 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).
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:
Compared to other UK-based forex brokers, FxPro comes in third place for both market order and limit order execution speed. Only Pepperstone and FP Markets can boost award-winning execution speeds.
The wide range of asset classes, fast order execution speed, reduced slippage and tight regulation has boosted FxPro on the top of the list for the best forex brokers with no dealing desk execution models. Check the top five reasons to choose the FxPro trading account here FxPro Review and learn why FxPro is one of the best spread betting platforms UK. 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.
Open a demo account >>Visit FxPro >>
For this ECN Brokers UK review, we assess the forex brokers with the most currency pairs and CFD instruments for online trading. Our in-house methodology of ranking forex brokers revealed that Axi (formally AxiTrader) is the best option for the UK market participants. Axi range of financial instruments and markets to trade include:
In total, the UK retail traders can have direct access to 145 currency pairs and CFDs. Axi blends together the bid and asks quotes from multiple sources of liquidity providers. This allows Axi to have low spreads that can start from as low as 0.0 pips. However, the typical average spreads found with the Axi trading account are:
Note* Trading CFDs and forex trading on Axi Pro account come with a commission fee of GBP 4.50 per side per one standard lot (or $7.00 commission round turn trading costs).
Not all MetaTrader 4 trading platforms can bring advanced trading capabilities. However, Axi 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 Axi creates a trading environment that is suitable for scalping.
Overall, Axi can be the one-stop trading partner for UK residents seeking trading CFDs and forex trading from one single trading platform. Axi MT4 standard account and Pro account don’t require an up-front initial deposit. This is a positive as you can start testing your trading strategies without risking which is the case for the best UK forex brokers.
Open a demo account >>Visit Axi>>
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:
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.
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:
Note: Forex DMA is only available for UK professional traders such as investment managers, fund managers, forex analyst who make a salary in the financial field.
To qualify for an IG professional account, UK residents must meet at least two criteria from the following requirements:
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:
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 June 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.
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.
Open a demo account >>Visit IG >>
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
Open a demo account >>Visit Swissquote >>
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 assessed, we checked whether 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.
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 flexible demo accounts with custom balances.
FXCM demo account gives potential clients the chance to 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.
View FXCM Review >>Visit FXCM
Compare Forex Broker has reviewed ECN brokers for forex traders from across the entire 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:
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 2021.
ECN stands for Electronic Communications Network and it’s a 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 for quotes from a wide range of liquidity providers such as tier-one banks, licensed financial institutions, authorised brokers, etc.
We can distinguish two types of liquidity providers:
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:
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.
Justin Grossbard has been investing for the past 20 years and writing for the past 10. He co-founded Compare Forex Brokers in 2014 after working with the foreign exchange trading industry for several years. He also founded a number of FinTech and digital startups including Innovate Online and SMS Comparison. Justin holds a Masters Degree and an Honours in Commerce from Monash University. He and his wife Paula live in Melbourne, Australia with his son and Siberian cat. In his spare time, he watches Australian Rules Football and invests on global markets.