MARKET MAKERS. Their Black Arts Exposed!

Black Magic Voodoo Lounge

Their Black Arts Exposed

The blog has been absolutely inundated with emails asking for information on the MM’s and their Black arts. A lot of complaints about not being able to buy or sell on lows and highs on the recent big spikes in xel,Pele Npe etc have led us to put this piece together from various sources.

It’s a very interesting read so eyes down.

Many people want to know more about Market Makers, ECN Brokers, and how to choose a fair Forex Broker.  They also want to know whether or not it is possible to trade successfully with a Market Maker, a retail Broker who will offer them higher leverage than an Electronic Commerce Network (ECN) Brokers.  Let me elaborate on these matters.


First of all, yes, it is challenging, but still possible to trade successfully in the artificial trading environment created by Market Makers, more with some than with others, who create or “make” their own market.  From hence comes their name, “Market Makers,” all of whom offer trades from their own liquidity pools, instead of from the true inter-bank market.  However, Successful trading with a Market maker is more challenging and of higher risk.  To trade successfully with these retail Market Makers or with any counter trading Broker or their liquidity provider who, in a conflict of interest, controls the trade platform they provide to the trader, requires an understanding of the counter traders position, their financial motivation, their self-preservation tactics, and how to best compensate for them.  Only with this knowledge, together with a proper knowledge of trading, can the trader learn to win enough of the time, and for long enough, to become a successful trader in the artificial Forex market provided by counter trading brokerage services, whether through their personal dealing desk or directly through the dealing desk of their liquidity provider.


Of course, since the client’s/trader’s trading successes are the counter trader’s or Market Maker’s losses, the higher the account leverage offered to the trader from the counter trader/Broker, the greater the risk for that Broker, and therefore, the more tactical interference that Broker will create in order to protect his interests. If you are among the few who are still successful enough at high leverage trading, despite the usual tactical sabotage from the Market Maker, most, if not all Market Makers will eventually resort to more drastic measures to protect their interests, even if they end up being threatened with complaints to the Financial Services Authority  (FSA) which could result in an investigation for unethical or dishonest Broker Dealer practices.  No Broker wants an investigation, so this is how the Brokers more drastic self-preservation methods will likely unfold.


The successful account is flagged as a high risk account.  With this account, the Market Maker will go so far as to strategically interrupt the data-feed signal to delay trade closes for seconds or minutes.  Instead of cutting signal, sometimes the Broker will lock up the trading platform, entirely.  This prevents active winning trades from closing at significant market turning points in a profit, and allows the Market Maker to force the winning trade into a losing position before unlocking the platform so that it must be closed out at a loss, sometimes even a margin call.  Either of these methods, among others, is very profitable to the Broker.


If and when the trader complains, the Broker will likely claim that it is due to freak or periodic liquidity issues that are beyond his control and that the client must accept this as part of the risks of trading the Forex.  The Broker hopes that the trader will fall for this lie, accept responsibility, and give up the fight, which is exactly what most naive traders do.  If that deception doesn’t work, then the broker may claim that there is nothing that he can do about it, hoping still that the client will still give up the fight.  Many do just that.  For those clients who still persist, he may try to accuse the client of using some kind of an unethical trading edge and that he simply cannot allow unethical clients to be successful, or to trade any longer with their firm.  If the client is now persistent, angry, and smart enough to threaten filing a complaint with the FSA, the Broker will likely shift his tactical position to negotiating a settlement, offering a small fraction of the amount lost, instead of the prospect of wading through a long drawn out investigation from the FSA that may or may not result in a favorable decision for the trader.  Most remaining traders cave in at this point and accept some kind of offer to make an adjustment to their account, restoring 10 to 30 percent of their loss.  After all, the Broker will reason with the client, if you are good enough to get this far with your account, then you could build it all back again faster, and much more, before you would ever get an answer to your complaint to the FSA, right?  Wrong!


This might all make perfect sense, accept the trader is somehow never able to experience the same kind of result with that broker service, either due to tactical maneuvering from the Market Maker to prevent success, or by a combination of that, and the new emotional interference in the mind of the trader who is never able to completely mentally accept the injustice of the settlement. Eventually, the trader finally realizes that the Broker new at the time of the settlement that this client/trader’s account would forever more be flagged as a high risk account, to be regularly sabotaged, never again to be allowed to become so successful.


Of course the Broker will have also had the trader sign a release, waiving the Broker of all responsibility, and even promising to never speak of this “freak” or “unfortunate” incident, and of the settlement, to anyone else.  This probably also includes a clause agreeing and to never file a complaint about the incident to the FSA. Alas, the complaint to the FSA would probably have been a more profitable choice, even if the investigation did take many months.  Then again, greater persistence may have resulted in a much higher settlement offer from the Broker, perhaps even a full restoration of the losses in question to the traders account.  Now that the client has capitulated, the Broker must now decide whether or not to continue allowing the client to trade an account with his firm.  If he decides to allow the client to continue trading, it is only because the Broker wants a chance to get his settlement money back.  frankly, it is better to take your money and go somewhere else.


With this in mind about the nature of the Market Maker, once you are able to build a sizeable enough account with a market Maker, it is best to transition to an ECN Broker.  The ECN Broker does not take the counter trade position against you. This changes their incentive to do all they can to help you become a long-lasting successful trader. Your long and successful trading experience is how they will make more money.  In a few cases, there are ECN Brokers, or their Introducing Brokers (IBs), who will allow rather small initial account sizes, offering mini accounts with 10K unit sizes with fractional lot trading for flexibility.  ECNs make a spread fee and a commission valued at about 1 extra pip per trade in the market, but their commission, in addition to their more reasonable spread rate, is still well worth it.


You must watch out, however, for those Market Makers who attempt to present themselves as ECN Brokers by claiming to have no dealing desk, and to not take the counter trade position against you.  Some of these retail Brokers are still Market Maker like wolves in ECN sheep’s clothing.  They sub-let or delegate their Market Maker tactics to another, or they simply choose to represent their liquidity provider’s interest who is the one really offering the trade and who also controls the trade platform, spread rate variations, and the power to manipulate the trade platform and the artificial market against the trader, by design, to sabotage their trades.  Don’t be fooled.”

Penned by



Lets hope that helped to enlighten and answer most of the queries.






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No Responses

  1. jm says:

    Sorry but this is fairly irrelevant for your intended purpose. The article is about trading forex on brokers’ dealing platforms – buying and selling equities through market makers on the LSE is a different system altogether unless you are trading through derivatives or spread betting. A lot of private investors simply don’t understand how market makers on small cap or AIM shares work; despite a lot of theories about holding back prices or ‘tree-shaking’, most market makers hold very small amounts of stock and make money from the spread rather than rapid movements. Lots of private investors selling and buying small amounts can move the price rapidly as market makers come off the bid and offer due to having small amounts in supply; they tend to make markets in many shares at the same time and can’t investigate all the reasons for buying and selling frequency.
    Following significant news, market makers don’t know any more about what the price ‘should’ be than anyone else, it is left to the market to decide, and this is reflected in the rapid movements in share price when the market is undecided in the value of the news presented.
    I wont go into further detail but at the end of the day it is up to investors to decide whether the share price is over, or under-valued and make their trading decisions accordingly. I understand people can be annoyed when they believe share prices are being manipulated but it happens far less than people realise.

    • Brokerman says:

      I’ think you’ll find that what goes on in Forex is widely reflected through-out the market.
      It is a general fact the Market Makers can walk up or walk down stock with a concerted market effort. Deliberately delaying trades on the sell as well as they buy side can and does effect a stock’s true trading reflection. How many times have investors been locked out of the market when trying to buy or sell? Retail punters are consistently locked out of their trading platforms at crucial buy and sell oppotunities. Of course the MM’s always deny manipulation and will often quote that the market is moving just too fast forgeting the fact that millions of trades take place over the course of any one trading day. All trades occur in Nano seconds and LSE trading programmes can compute literally billions of equations in the blink of an eye. I recently spoke to Jarvis investment re ‘ this very problem. “MM’s consistently close their internet trading desks” The often quoted; “it’s just a tech’ glitch” or “coincidence” doesn’t hold any water whatsoever especially when these coincidences ALWAYS favour the Market Makers and NEVER the Retail Investor.

      Good post though.


      • jm says:

        Oh I completely recognise that investors requesting quotes through their broker are denied them at times of high volume. Illiquid SEAQ stocks are only have a handful of market makers dealing a small amount to retail investors at a time; you can imagine the situation if they are flooded with buy orders. It is the case that both parties are trying to take advantage of one another; retail investors are wishing to take advantage of slow reacting market makers and buy or sell stock at a better price than the market has adjusted to, and market makers are trying to protect themselves from just having bought or sold large amounts at a disadvantageous price. The retail investor can be a lot quicker to react – If the market maker was constantly being taken advantage of, they wouldn’t make that market. They may refuse to provide quotes for a retail stockbroker when the market is moving unusually quickly, therefore showing an error on your dealing platform or stockbroker’s website when you ask for a quote.
        On the matter of order book stocks, upon which some of your favourite companies are dealt on, the chance of market maker collaboration in manipulating the price is fairly low as anyone can effectively make the market by selecting their own price at which they are happy to buy and sell, providing they have direct access.
        Appreciate your response,

  2. LT says:

    Email, Dan

  3. Anthony says:

    Hi Dan. Nice piece. Still not looked into BHR? trying to bring it to your attention before the world is tipping it at double what it is today. Today’s RNS seriously de-risk’s the latest project and I recommend investors start taking this small cap seriously. hope you find time to take a look.


  4. Eric says:

    PELE is going down for the last two days.

    When do you think this stock will go mad like XEL? Any idea?

    on 9th Nov it went up 25% and then going down for the last two days? Coming back to the figure of 38 to 40P where it was for sometime.