Market Maker Vs STP Broker

Category: Broker Guides | Author: Trading Brokers | Date: April 22, 2024

In trading, understanding the different types of brokerage models can make a significant impact on your trading experience. Two commonly discussed models are Market Makers and STP Brokers. But what exactly do these terms mean? And how do they differ from each other? In this article, we will explore the contrasting worlds of Market Makers and STP Brokers, shedding light on the key differences between these two popular brokerage models. So, buckle up and join us as we delve into the intricacies of Market Makers and STP Brokers, unraveling their unique characteristics, pros, and cons. By the end, you’ll have a clearer picture of which model aligns best with your trading goals and preferences.

What is Market Maker Broker

A Market Maker is a brokerage firm or institution that provides liquidity by facilitating the buying and selling of financial instruments. Market Makers play a vital role in ensuring the smooth functioning of the market by creating bid and ask prices for a wide range of securities. Their primary function is to provide continuous liquidity, allowing traders to enter and exit positions efficiently.

Pros of Market Makers

  • Tighter Spreads
  • Guaranteed Trade Execution
  • Continuous Liquidity
  • Market Depth (visibility into order book)
  • Price Stability
  • Market Making Strategies

Cons of Market Makers

  • Potential Conflict of Interest
  • Wider Spreads during High Volatility
  • Limited Pricing Transparency
  • Potential Order Rejections
  • Limited Order Book Transparency
  • Execution Quality Variations

What is STP Broker (Straight Through Processing)

An STP Broker is a type of broker that operates under a different model. As the name suggests, STP Brokers employ straight-through processing, which involves routing client orders directly to liquidity providers or the interbank market. The role of an STP Broker is to act as a facilitator, connecting traders with liquidity providers and ensuring speedy execution of trades.

Pros of STP Brokers

  • Direct Access to Interbank Market
  • Lower Spreads
  • Faster Trade Execution
  • Enhanced Transparency
  • No Conflicts of Interest
  • Diverse Liquidity Pool

Cons of STP Brokers

  • Possibility of Slippage during High Volatility
  • Limitations on Certain Trading Strategies
  • Dependency on Liquidity Providers’ Pricing and Availability
  • Commission Fees
  • Dependency on External Providers
  • Limited Market Making Services

Comparison between Market Maker and STP Broker

When comparing Market Makers and STP Brokers, several factors come into play:

  1. Order Execution: Market Makers operate by executing trades internally within their own system. When a trader places an order, the Market Maker matches it with an opposing order from their own inventory or with other traders within their network. This internal matching allows for immediate execution of trades. The Market Maker ensures that there is continuous liquidity by being ready to buy or sell securities at any time.  However, STP Brokers work differently by routing trades externally to liquidity providers or the interbank market. Instead of executing trades within their system, STP Brokers connect traders directly with liquidity providers, who act as counterparties to the trades.
  2. Spreads: Market Makers have the flexibility to set their own spreads for the securities they offer. They typically aim to profit from the spread, which is the difference between the buying and selling prices. During periods of high market volatility or low liquidity, Market Makers may widen their spreads to protect themselves from potential losses or to manage their risk exposure. On the other hand, STP Brokers aggregate prices from multiple liquidity providers and offer competitive and tight spreads to traders. The spreads offered by STP Brokers are influenced by the prices obtained from liquidity providers. Traders can benefit from narrower spreads, potentially resulting in lower trading costs.
  3. Conflict of Interest: Market Makers face a potential conflict of interest due to their dual role as both a market participant and a counterparty to trades. As a counterparty, Market Makers may have an incentive to trade against the positions of their clients. In contrast, STP Brokers aim to minimize conflicts of interest by routing trades directly to liquidity providers. By acting as a facilitator rather than a counterparty, STP Brokers reduce the potential for the broker to trade against the trader.
  4. Trade Execution Speed: Market Makers offer immediate trade execution since trades are executed internally within their own system. This allows for quick order fulfillment and reduces the risk of execution delays. Market Makers maintain their own inventory and are prepared to buy or sell securities instantly. On the other hand, STP Brokers leverage their direct access to liquidity providers for faster trade execution. The execution speed of STP Brokers depends on the connectivity and infrastructure of the liquidity providers they work with. By connecting traders directly to liquidity providers, STP Brokers aim to achieve efficient order processing and timely execution.

Which Should You Choose: Market Maker or STP Broker?

When it comes to choosing between a Market Maker and an STP Broker, the decision boils down to your individual trading style and preferences. Consider your trading strategy – if you engage in scalping or high-frequency trading, an STP Broker’s fast execution and competitive spreads may be more suitable. However, if guaranteed trade execution and continuous liquidity are your priorities, a Market Maker might be a better fit.

Take into account the spread and commission structure offered by each type of broker. Market Makers often provide tighter spreads, but be mindful of potential spread widening during volatile market conditions. STP Brokers, on the other hand, aggregate prices from liquidity providers to offer competitive spreads.

The size of your trades is also a factor to consider. Market Makers are typically more adept at handling smaller trade sizes, with their immediate execution and continuous liquidity. For larger trades or specific liquidity requirements, the direct access to the interbank market offered by STP Brokers may be more advantageous.

Lastly, Evaluate your risk tolerance and comfort level with potential conflicts of interest. Market Makers, acting as both participants and counterparties, may face conflicts that could raise concerns about trade execution fairness. If transparency and minimizing conflicts of interest are important to you, an STP Broker may be the preferred choice.


In conclusion, understanding the differences between Market Makers and STP Brokers is vital for traders seeking to make informed decisions when selecting their preferred brokerage model. Ultimately, traders must carefully evaluate their trading needs, preferences, and risk tolerance to choose the most suitable model for their individual requirements. By considering these factors and weighing the pros and cons of each model, traders can optimize their trading experience and enhance their chances of success in the financial markets.

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