Over-the-counter (OTC) Forex Brokers

Richard Montana | November 2, 2022

The foreign exchange market is one of the most popular OTC markets. An over-the-counter (OTC) market is a decentralized market in which market participants trade stocks, commodities, currencies, or other instruments directly between two parties and without a central exchange or broker.

All forex trading activities are conducted off exchanges via a dealer network. This means that forex trading is decentralised and can take place 24 hours a day, rather than being tied to an exchange’s open and close times.

What is an OTC forex broker?

An OTC forex broker provides trading of assets that are not available on a centralised exchange. Technically this means that every retail FX broker can be considered an over-the-counter broker, due to the nature of online retail forex trading.

Market participants, therefore, trade assets directly between themselves (without the need to go through a central exchange). OTC transactions are conducted electronically, which is more convenient (and usually cheaper) for traders and investors alike.

Online retail FX trading is the most popular OTC market, where trading occurs between a network of banks and brokers, instead of on an exchange. An OTC forex broker is the intermediary, issuer and custodian of the products (CFDs) offered to trade on its trading platform.

The OTC market is fully managed by the counterparties involved in it. This means that you can get different price quotes depending on the OTC forex broker that you use. There are non-dealing desk brokers and dealing desk brokers. Generally speaking, you can get superior pricing, quicker execution speeds and greater transparency when using an ECN forex broker.

When you trade OTC with a trading provider, you’ll usually see two prices listed: a single buy price, and a single sell price. This differs from on-exchange trading, where you will see multiple buy and sell prices from various different parties.

How do OTC markets work?

In an OTC market, there is a counterpart, a natural person or legal entity that sets its own price ranges. This is what’s called a market maker. The potential buyer or seller will contact this counterparty, usually through an intermediary or broker, and if they’re interested, they will buy at the sale price (bid) or sell at the purchase price (ask). Prices set by market makers are negotiable, unlike on an organized market.

What are the advantages of an OTC forex broker?

  • Trade forex around the clock
  • Get trades executed instantly
  • Trade from your desktop and mobile devices
  • Access to lots of trading tools and educational content
  • Maintain control over all of your trading activity
  • Low cost trading with minimal deposits required
  • Flexibility in the contract conditions

What are the disadvantages of an OTC forex broker?

  • Lack of professional advice
  • Inexperienced traders can lose out
  • Additional dangerous due to leveraged positions
  • Unsupervised and lack of regulation
  • The price does not have to be public
  • Lower liquidity levels

Who are the best dealing desk forex brokers?

There are hundreds of OTC forex brokers that you can trade currencies online with. The majority of them will offer a great selection of major, minor and exotic currency pairs. Below you can see a selection of our best OTC forex brokers.

Broker
Rating
Regulated
Min. Deposit
Founded
Max. Leverage
1.
AvaTrade Review

ADGM FRSA, ASIC, BVIFSC, CBI, FFAJ, FSCA, IIROC, JFSA

$100

2006

1:400

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
2.
IG Review

ASIC, BaFin, CFTC, DFSA, FCA, FINMA, FMA, FSA, FSCA, JFSA, MAFF, MAS, METI, NFA

$250

1974

1:200

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
3.
IC Markets Review

ASIC, CySEC, FSA, SCB

$200

2007

1:500

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
4.
Pepperstone Review

ASIC, BaFin, CMA, CySEC, DFSA, FCA, SCB

$200

2010

1:400

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
5.
XM Group Review

ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, IFSC

$5

2009

1:888

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
6.
FP Markets Review

ASIC, CySEC, SVGFSA

$100

2005

1:500

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
7.
XTB Review

CySEC, DFSA, FCA, FSCA, IFSC

$1

2004

1:500

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
8.
BlackBull Markets Review

FMA, FSPR

$200

2014

1:500

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
9.
Eightcap Review

ASIC, VFSC

$100

2009

1:500

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
10.
Forex.com Review

ASIC, CIMA, CFTC, FCA, FSA, IIROC, JFSA, NFA, SFC

$100

2001

1:50

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

Conclusion: should I use an OTC forex broker?

If you are looking to trade forex online by yourself, then you will need an OTC forex broker. Over the counter markets have registered exponential growth over the past two decades to the point that, in many cases, they exceed organized markets in volume of transactions. At first, only large funds and financial institutions participated in them, but now, thanks to the development of new technologies, anyone can access these markets through forex brokers.

About the Author

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Richard Montana
Richard has many years of experience in broker research, testing, analysis and reviews. He knows what to look for through years of trading himself with different brokers and listening to the feedback of others.

Review Methodology

For all of our broker reviews, we research, validate, analyse and compare what we deem to be the most important factors to consider when choosing a broker. This includes pros, cons and an overall rating based on our findings. We aim to help you find the best broker according to your own needs. You can read more about our review process.


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