How FX brokers work - behind the scenes of order execution


The way a broker handles its clients' orders is influenced by its infrastructure model. There are several models, but among the most well-known is the distinction between STP (straight through processing) and MM (market maker). What are the basic differences between these models and why it is something traders should be interested in, will be explained in this article by our CEO, David Varga.

CEO Purple Trading - David Varga

Differences between STP and MM brokers

It should be noted that brokers use different infrastructure configurations to execute transactions.

STP vs MM broker porovnání

STP brokers 

act as an intermediary in transactions with their clients. The principle is simple: our server receives the client's order and then transfers it to the liquidity provider. The operation is performed in milliseconds. The broker's profit in each transaction consists of a commission or a spread, which is the result of a margin added to the base spread.  

Market Maker (MM)

MMs have their own liquidity and provide it to their clients, acting as the only counterparty to their orders. Transactions thus take place in the so-called internal book. Market makers often also exist on the basis of so-called hybrid models. In these, the broker transfers part of its clients' transactions to liquidity providers. The MM broker may thus have an incentive to "get rid" of its profitable clients by sending their orders to an external entity.

For STP brokers, much also depends on the type of liquidity provider they use.

  • The first type of liquidity provider may be another broker or a bank executing transactions as a Market Maker.
  • Second, some liquidity providers may also operate like an exchange (officially known as an MTF or Multilateral Trading Facility), bringing together market participants in the form of a trading exchange.
  • And third, a liquidity provider may be a Prime Broker or Brokerage. In this model, liquidity providers collect prices from the interbank market, combining the liquidity of many different financial institutions. This allows them to choose the best possible price - an option rarely available to retail brokers. Although Purple Trading has experience with all three of these models, we use the second and third types of liquidity brokers.

Despite not being the cheapest, they guarantee peace of mind and a lack of common technical problems.

Market Maker (MM) brokers provide their own liquidity and are the only counterparty to clients' orders. Transactions are then settled within the so-called internal book. There are also hybrid models in which the broker transfers part of the clients' transactions to the liquidity provider. This type of broker tries to "get rid of" profitable investors by sending their orders to an external entity. So if you happen to make money, the broker probably has its eye on you!

Although I have my doubts, I think it is possible to find an honest MM broker; but unfortunately, honesty is often difficult to prove before the event. MM brokers have access to certain tools that allow for increased slippage, can set minimum stop loss level intervals, or interfere with client transactions in many other ways.

How do we know which model the broker uses?

There are several ways of identifying the model used by the broker. STP brokers tend to publish a list of liquidity providers and execution statistics on their website, such as average spreads, execution time and slippage distribution - which you can also find on our website. MM brokers are usually not as transparent about their activities.
You can also check what license the entity holds: if the broker does not have a "dealing on own account" license, it means it is not a Market Maker. In the case of Purple Trading, the CySEC regulator's website states that we are only licensed to "accept and transmit orders", "execute" and "manage portfolios".  
The final check is the MiFID II regulation, according to which investment firms in the European Union must disclose information on the execution of client orders - under the RTS28 report. A simple check shows that last year, Purple Trading used four different liquidity providers.

Who to choose

There is no one good choice for everyone. The STP is possibly the best choice, however a solid Market Maker could be a good idea for some investors. MM brokers can offer you low costs, fixed spreads and swap-free accounts. However, investors must bear in mind that this perfect situation will end when they start making money. Therefore, if you are serious about trading and are looking for a long-term partner to provide you with the best service on the market, choose an STP broker. As STP brokers, we are unable to compete with MM brokers in terms of spreads, etc., but we can encourage clients to trade with us by providing a professional, reliable and transparent service.
Read the whole interview on

As a broker based on a pure STP model, we can offer you the following conditions

STP account commissions

  • No commission per traded volume
  • Spreads from 1,3
  • Suitable for position traders

You can choose an STP account when creating a trading account in your Purple Zone.


ECN account commissions

  • Comission per lot*

  • Spreads from 0.3

  • Suitable for intraday traders

Spreads directly from our liquidity providers + direct access to the interbank market. You will receive the standard ECN account automatically once you have opened a real account with us.

*  This commission differs according to the acquired status of trader, see the table below.

a a
0.3 0.01 lot Yes 1:30 and 1:500
1:30 Retail clients
1:500 Professional clients
a a
0.3 0.01 lot Yes 1:30 and 1:500
1:30 Retail clients
1:500 Professional clients
a a
0.5 0.01 lot Yes 1:30 and 1:500
1:30 Retail clients
1:500 Professional clients
a a
0.5 0.01 lot Yes 1:30 and 1:500
1:30 Retail clients
1:500 Professional clients
a a
0.07 0.01 lot Yes 1:20 and 1:100
1:20 Retail clients
1:100 Professional clients
DAX (Index DE40)
0.6 0.01 lot Yes 1:20 and 1:50
1:20 Retail clients
1:50 Professional clients
SP (Index S&P500)
0.3 0.01 lot Yes 1:20 and 1:50
1:20 Retail clients
1:50 Professional clients
CL (Oil WTI)
Lowest spread on the market
+ Zero commission
0.03 0.01 lot Yes 1:10 and 1:20
1:10 Retail clients
1:20 Professional clients
3.29 0.01 lot Yes 1:1 a 1:1
1:1 Retail clients
1:1 Professional clients

Open an account and trade with us!

Your capital is at risk.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76.60 % of retail investors lose their capital when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.