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Best Australian ECN Brokers

By Will Ellis
Last Updated on January 4, 2024

Here’s the TL;DR: Electronic Communication Network (ECN) brokers directly access the most liquid markets, so they can offer you the shortest execution times and lowest spreads. 

But the biggest benefit is lower trading expenses seeing as most ECN brokers add just a flat charge on raw spreads.

To help you, the following ECN brokers have all been hand-picked due to their high degree of openness, excellent reputations, and competitive trading fees. Find one that fits you best, whether for educational resources or unique interfaces.

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Table of Contents:

ECN Brokers: Your Overview


So what’s the backstory? Forex markets trade in currencies from all around the world. It’s open for business around the clock, five days a week, and handles more than $5 trillion in daily trades. Due to the size of the forex market, several broker options exist, some of which provide access to an electronic communication network.

Book Definition 📚: ‘Electronic Communication Network’ is the full, complicated name. Traders in the foreign exchange market bypass traditional forex brokers and instead work with ECN forex brokers. An ECN forex broker matches your trade order with that of other traders on the network.

You’ll also find direct market access, or ‘DMA,’ provided by ECN forex brokers, allowing traders to purchase and sell currencies at the current market values. Prices are set by the network members based on supply and demand, with a negligible spread in most cases.

An Easy History Lesson 🧔: Take a seat, make a cup of tea, get your pipe ready, while I take you back to the beginning…

The explosion of the Internet in the late 1990s paved the way for the emergence of ECN forex brokers. In the past, banks and other financial organisations controlled the foreign exchange (FX) market, making it difficult for individual traders to participate directly in the market without going through a middleman. 

This led to lots of confusion about the margins and fees paid by the middlemen. And they were sometimes excessive.

To increase market transparency and price fairness, electronic communication network forex brokers were developed and made available to retail traders. To cut out middlemen, the technology created a decentralised foreign exchange market; directly connecting buyers and sellers. 

ECNs Today: As a result, these days, forex traders that care about transparency, low spreads, and rapid execution tend to use ECN brokers

But can you trust them? Beginner Pros and Cons 🚌


Pros

  • Relatively Small Margin of Error
  • Transparency
  • No Re-Quote
  • Market-Depth Access

Cons

  • Commissions
  • Minimum Required Deposit
  • Prior Experience Essential

Need a more in-depth pros/cons breakdown? Flash-jump to the buying guide…

Reviews: 6 Top ECN Brokers in Australia 📕


Now that you’re familiar with the broad categories of ECN brokers, we’ll explore specific providers. Taking into account the aforementioned criteria, we have selected the top ECN trading providers for your use. Let’s get on with our guide:

  1. Pepperstone — Our Favourite, Web-Slinging Fast Aussie ECN Broker
  2. FP Markets — Australia’s Runner-Up Top ECN Broker for Spreads
  3. IC Markets — Beginner-Friendly ECN Broker in Australia
  4. Fusion Markets — Low Rate AU ECN Broker (with Copy Trading Platforms)
  5. Admirals — Popular ECN Broker in Australia for Educational Resources
  6. Axi — Top Alternative Aussie ECN Broker

1. Pepperstone — Our Favourite, Web-Slinging Fast Aussie ECN Broker


Key Features:

  • Fastest execution times in tests
  • Expert configuration of MetaTrader 4
  • Support from Melbourne
  • Reduced spreads & commissions
  • Trading Products: Over 1200

Pros

  • Personalizable graphs 📉
  • Expert advisors
  • Easy, one-click trading
  • Lots of marketplaces

Cons

  • Requires sophisticated trading know-how 🗝️

Pepperstone’s spread calculator shows you directly that their ECN spreads are among the lowest of any Australian broker.

Slippage may be avoided by maximising execution speed. When market volatility is strong, ECN traders are more likely to make several deals. If the broker is unreasonably delayed, the trader may not obtain the advertised price. You need a speedy broker since slippage may be quite costly at times like interest rate announcements.

The Best Trading Platform: In testing on MT4, Pepperstone’s primary trading platform, they gave access to a complete spectrum of trading tools. These include TradingView, cTrader, and MetaTrader 5. These platforms, once again, boast improved ECN features that boost charting, Expert Advisor utilisation, and other algorithmic trading tools.  Capitalise.ai’s no-code automation with Myfxbook’s social trading features provide for a top-notch trading experience.

MT4 is Pepperstone’s primary trading platform. We really like MT4, and you can log in to your ECN Razor Account with Pepperstone without ever leaving the site. Among MT4’s benefits are:

  • ✔️ Personalizable graphs
  • ✔️ Expert Advisors
  • ✔️ Easy, one-click trading
  • ✔️ Lots of marketplaces

Since MT4 is so widely used, we recommend Pepperstone as the best broker for trading on the platform.

2. FP Markets — Australia’s Runner-Up Top ECN Broker for Spreads


Key Features:

  • First-class regulations
  • Insurance if the broker goes bankrupt (TOCs apply)
  • The company has been around since 2005
  • MetaTrader and cTrader products are available

Pros

  • High-liquidity ECN access 🔥
  • Easy and quick account setup and money transfer
  • Great tools for self-learning

Cons

  • Few products to choose from
  • Web and PC platforms are old

FP Markets is not a true ECN broker, but it does provide ECN pricing since it receives its data in real-time from its liquidity suppliers. 

You benefit from tighter ECN spreads and better execution with less slippage and rejections than with many pure ECN brokers. 

On that note, FP Markets’ Forex pricing is competitive with Pepperstone and other top ECN brokers, with typical spreads for EUR/USD at 0.1 pips, GBP/USD at 0.2 pips, and USD/JPY at 0.1 pips. The minimum deposit is simply 100 AUD, and the commission is only $6 USD for every round-turn lot.

FP Markets is a leading Australian forex broker, and in 2020 they won the Best Broker in Australia award. Most transactions are completed in under 40 ms thanks to our cluster of Equinix servers, making us much quicker than other ECN brokers. This makes FP Markets a great choice for automated trading strategies like scalping when using the Metatrader platforms.

Your Top Trader Resources Overviewed: Firstly, so, why are they so strong platform-wise? FP Markets enhances the popular MT4 trading platform with a dozen specialised trading features. Tick charts and a Mini Terminal optimised for scalping are available to FP Markets’ customers in addition to the standard MT4 indicators. 

Essential for any scalper is the ability to automatically purchase and sell orders, a task made much easier by the Stealth Order capabilities. Setting up notifications was another one of the MT4 Trader Toolbox’s advanced features that we found useful. For thorough market analysis, we also like the Sentiment Trader function and the Trader Toolbox Connect app.

Quick ECN Order Filling and Competitive Spreads: FP Markets’ rapid execution, lack of requotes, and low latency are just a few of the ways in which the broker caters to scalpers and day traders. Also, the spreads at FP Markets are among the lowest in the industry. FP Markets is not our top pick, but it offers competitive spreads and may be compared to industry leaders like Pepperstone and IC Markets.

According to FP Markets’ website, the typical spread for trading EUR/USD is 0.1 pips and the typical spread for trading AUD/USD is 0.2 pips. And we found that for all the main currency pairings, FP Markets can get spreads as low as 0 pips.

Fast execution, ultra-low latency, and low slippage are guaranteed because to FP Markets’ servers’ location inside the Equinix NY4 data server.

3. IC Markets — Beginner-Friendly ECN Broker in Australia


Key Features:

  • Multiple licences and awards 
  • There are both demo and Islamic accounts
  • Serves all types of traders and styles 
  • Traders have several ways to fund
  • No fees for making a deposit or taking money out

Pros

  • Some of the best market regulators 
  • Lots of information for people just starting out 📚
  • Keeps client money safe by putting it in separate accounts

Cons

  • Islamic account has fees on top of the normal ones 🕌
  • Some limits on leverage

When starting off, IC Markets is possibly the best ECN broker: When compared to other ECN brokers, IC Markets stands out for its friendliness towards novice traders. 

IC Markets provides access to a library of instructional materials, independent market research reports, and webinars presented by industry professionals. Technical assistance for the MT4 platform and other questions is available around the clock from the helpful staff at IC Markets.

What’s more, IC Markets provides three MT4 accounts with different spreads (two Raw Spread Accounts and a Standard Account). Raw Spread Accounts have a nominal $3.50 fee, but the average spread on the EUR/USD is under 0.1 pips. Spreads on the Standard Account begin at 1 pip, but there is no commission involved. With 25 separate liquidity sources powering its pricing, IC Markets offers substantial liquidity and some of the tightest spreads in the business.

ECN Trading Servers Are Reliable And Quick ⚡: All IC Markets customers enjoy consistent, ultra-fast ECN trading thanks to a worldwide network of strategically situated trading servers. We have shown that IC Markets is capable of providing both favourable trading conditions and low spreads.

Connecting customers’ trading platforms to the extensive liquidity pools of partner liquidity providers, MT4 Bridge is a cutting-edge pricing aggregator.

The servers are situated in New York, namely in the Equinix NY4 data centre, which is in close proximity to the MT4 bridge. As a result, fills are more reliable and slippage is reduced.

4. Fusion Markets — Low Rate AU ECN Broker (with Copy Trading Platforms)


Key Features:

  • Orders can be made faster and at better prices per volume ➕
  • Faciscalping; orders are carried out quickly
  • Due to the low prices and fees, scalping is possible
  • Broker with licences from the ASIC and the VFSC
  • Spreads and fees that are low

Pros

  • Very quick trade execution
  • Spreads begin at 0 pips
  • Low minimum deposit

Cons

  • No protection against a negative balance ❎
  • Your account is closed after 90 days of inactivity

Established in 2017 in Melbourne, Fusion Markets is an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) registered ECN broker offering zero minimum deposit support for MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. 

Fusion Markets not only provides a wealth of resources for analysing the market, but also a number of copy-trading options.

It provides one of the biggest Forex social trading communities in the world with its Fusion+ copy trading platform, which is only accessible on a proprietary trading platform. It also offers Duplitrade and Myfxbook Autotrade.

Overall: Fusion Markets ranks among the world’s best low-cost brokers for ECN trading. Its Zero Account has no minimum spread for trading EUR/USD and just 4.5 AUD in fees. The only real negatives are the lack of instruction and the small selection of CFDs (albeit 85 Forex pairs, much more than most brokers) so novices will need to go elsewhere to learn the ropes.

5. Admirals 🚢 — Popular ECN Broker in Australia for Educational Resources


Key Features:

  • 10 strong base currencies to choose from
  • Only a $1 minimum payment
  • Excellent refund program 💵
  • Many assets can be traded as either CFDs or real assets

Pros

  • Over 3,900 CFD products that you can trade
  • You can buy real stocks 📈
  • There are MetaTrader systems for trading

Cons

  • Not every type of account lets you trade in every item

With low minimum deposits, low spreads, and minimal fees, Admirals’ ECN accounts on the MT4 and MT5 platforms are hard to resist (two accounts). 

In addition, all traders get free access to Trading Central and receive first-rate training from Admirals. There are two MT4 and MT5 ECN accounts available from Admirals Markets. Simply, spreads for MT4 accounts start at 0 pips, and commissions range from $1.80 to $3.00 per lot. 

One lot of trading EUR/USD at no cost. While the MT4 account round-turn fee is 5 USD, which is on the low end for ECN brokers. When compared to regular MetaTrader, the trading widgets, charts, and indicators in Admirals’ MetaTrader Supreme version for MT4 and MT5 are far more robust. 

Admirals provides a top-notch education package, beginning with the no-cost Zero to Hero programme that teaches complete trading novices the ropes in only 20 days. Admiral’s onboarding process is kind and instructive, and the firm often hosts informative webinars to complement it. 

Solid Education: All customers have easy access to cutting-edge educational resources, such as Trading Central, which provides invaluable trading insights, and intermediate and advanced trading courses for seasoned professionals.

6. Axi — Top Alternative Aussie ECN Broker


Key Features:

  • There are many trade platforms to choose from
  • Low spreads are available everywhere
  • No minimum deposit requirement
  • Orders made in a flash

Pros

  • Low minimum deposits
  • Close margins

Cons

  • Latest tools for trading

Axi is an ECN broker that supports MT4, has excellent trading tools, and has straightforward account choices; it was developed by traders, for traders.

Axi offers the best ECN MT4 experience, complete with a suite of MT4 tools, the highlight of which is the MT4 NexGen plugin. 

In addition to a more user-friendly terminal window and an automatic trading diary, MT4 NexGen has a sentiment indicator and a correlation trader. Axi’s pricing algorithm integrates with more than 20 liquidity providers, resulting in reduced instances of slippage and requotes for traders. The minimum spread for a Pro Account is 0 pips (plus a fee of $7 USD).

As an Axi trader, you’ll have access to a variety of resources, including MT4 NexGen. Among them are PsyQuation, an artificial intelligence diagnostic that monitors your trading style and guides you towards more lucrative deals, and AutoChartist, a powerful automated technical analysis tool. In addition to MT4 hosting, you may use a virtual private server to run any trading algorithms you choose.

Best Aussie ECN Broker 📕: Your Buying Guide


ECN Brokers: What Do They Do?

In contrast to Market Maker brokers, who deal with transactions on their own books, Electronic Communication Network (ECN) brokers link their clients to a pool of liquidity providers.

ECN brokers act as the link at the hub of this communication system. Other participants in the network include AA-rated Australian banks, hedge funds, and brokers based in Australia.

When a customer puts an order with an ECN broker, the broker polls the other participants in the network for pricing information and then offers the trader with the best available spread for the requested trading volume. 

As for ECN brokers’ spreads, these are sometimes as low as 0 pips since liquidity providers in the network are vying for your business.

Advantages of ECN Brokers 💵


✔️ ECN forex brokers provide competitive spreads because they cut out the middleman and link traders up directly with other market participants. ECN brokers are able to provide their customers with low spreads since they just collect a commission for their services.

✔️ Since ECN forex brokers follow the middleman model, they do not take the role of market maker, thus the name. Instead, they only provide a meeting place for market players to do business with one another. In this way, both the broker and the trader are protected from any appearance of bias.

✔️ The price and execution of ECN forex brokers are very transparent. Traders can view the ask and bid prices of other users on the network thanks to the depth of the market. This ensures that dealers get competitive pricing.

✔️ Since ECN forex brokers provide direct market access, requotes are seldom an issue for traders. Without worrying about their broker rejecting their orders or altering the price, traders are free to make transactions at the best available pricing.

✔️ Traders can observe the buy and sell orders of other network participants thanks to the depth of the market made available by ECN forex brokers. Traders may use this data to make smarter trading choices and better price their orders.

Overall

In comparison to traditional forex brokers, ECN forex brokers provide unprecedented levels of openness, speed, and economy. They’re great for dealers who place a premium on open markets and honest dealing.

Disadvantages of ECN Brokers ⚖️


❎ Trading costs might be increased by the commissions that certain ECN forex brokers impose on their clients. The spread, which is already little, is added to that. When comparing the prices of various ECN forex brokers, traders should take the commission into account.

❎ When compared to other kinds of brokers, ECN forex brokers often have a larger minimum deposit requirement. This might make using an ECN forex broker challenging for inexperienced retail traders. Many traders can’t afford the $10,000 or more that some brokers demand as a starting deposit.

❎ ECN forex brokers are not always the best choice for regular traders with modest balances. Low spreads and access to market depth are great for big-volume traders, but the fee may be too costly for smaller accounts. Making a profit may be challenging because of this.

❎ ECN forex brokers are not a good fit for novice traders because of the expertise level required. Traders unfamiliar with the FX market may feel overwhelmed by the direct market access and depth of the market. 

Overall

In order to take advantage of the possibilities presented by an ECN forex broker, traders need to have a solid grasp of the market and the ability to read the order book. 

ECN Broker Key Features


When compared to traditional forex brokers, ECN forex brokers have many advantages. ECN forex brokers often have the following characteristics:

📖 ECN forex brokers provide their clients with a selection of trading platforms to accommodate their individual preferences. These websites often have a wide variety of order types, real-time market data, and sophisticated charting capabilities.

📖 Trades made with an ECN forex broker are processed instantly thanks to STP (straight-through processing). This eliminates the need for a broker’s mediation by sending orders straight to the market. This facilitates the timely and accurate completion of deals.

📖 ECN forex brokers link traders to other market players via an electronic communication network (ECN). Traders may buy and sell currencies at the current market values thanks to the ECN’s direct market access.

📖 Traders can observe the buy and sell orders of other network participants thanks to the depth of the market made available by ECN forex brokers. This aids dealers in obtaining optimal rates for their transactions.

📖 Orders placed with ECN forex brokers are completed at the most favourable market pricing thanks to market execution. Because of this, all deals are executed at optimal pricing.

📖 Direct market access, straight-through-processing (STP), market execution, exposure to the full depth of the market, and several trading platforms are among the most notable aspects of ECN forex brokers. These enhancements aid in providing traders with easy access to fair and open markets.

Conclusion


ECN forex brokers are preferred by seasoned investors due to their transparent trading platforms and direct access to the market. There are, however, significant downsides to these options, including fees and hefty initial deposits.

Each of the top Australian ECN brokers reveals that each broker has unique selling points. We recognise that the foreign currency market may be complex for traders with varying levels of expertise throughout the world.

If you’re from Australia, it’s best not to use a broker that operates outside of Australia’s regulatory framework. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) regulates ECN brokers, therefore we recommend working with one of them. Going overseas to find a broker with the biggest leverage is seen as riskier. 

But we’ve listed the top Australian forex brokers that provide the greatest leverage permitted by ASIC. Opening a demo account with a potential forex or CFD broker is a great first step towards determining whether or not they are the right fit for you before committing to one. You can further mitigate risk by selecting a broker that offers negative balance protection.

⭐ Pepperstone: the Lowest Spreads of Any ECN Broker: Once again, Pepperstone, the well-known Australian broker, provides two basic accounts with ECN execution, support for the MetaTrader 4, 5, and cTrader platforms, and ASIC regulation. Scalpers and customers using MT4’s expert advisers will appreciate the very fast order execution time of less than 50 ms.

Two different accounts are available on Pepperstone, both of which feature low, floating spreads and ECN execution. The average spread on the EUR/USD pair is 1.09 pips, and the Standard Account doesn’t charge any fees. The Razor Account’s round-turn cost is 7 Australian dollars, yet the average spread on the Euro/Dollar is only 0.09 basis points, putting traders as near as possible to the genuine market pricing.

Pepperstone’s Smart Trader Tools for MT4 is a collection of 28 expert advisors and indicators that come together to boost trade management and execution. Autochartist, an advanced addon that does pattern recognition auto-detects trading gaps where returns can be made based on cost movements, will also be made available to all traders users.

FAQs


What are the Distinctive Features of ECN and STP?

Electronic Communication Network (ECN) and Straight-Through-Processing (STP) are two trading models with many similarities but one key difference: how orders are routed. 

All in all, STP brokers execute by transmitting customer orders directly to an external liquidity provider, whereas ECN brokers execute by matching client orders placed on the exchange. 

That is, the STP broker has the option of working with a variety of liquidity providers. Banks, hedge funds, and other important market players are all represented by the ECN broker, who functions as a type of hub. The level of service and the depth of the markets transacted will determine the victor.

Methods for Identifying a Scam ECN Broker

Many reputable and trustworthy ECN brokers exist, but unfortunately, there are also scammers and phoney options. Among the many methods available for determining whether or not a broker is legitimate are:

❌ Brokerage services are not supervised. Brokers who have passed the necessary regulatory requirements deserve respect and credibility. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the primary watchdog in Australia. These are all ECN brokers that are registered with ASIC.

❌ The quality of the broker’s website is quite low. A red flag should be raised if a broker has a subpar website. False claims of “guaranteed” returns, the absence of a contact number, and a lack of necessary background and legal information are all red flags. A trustworthy broker will see the benefits of a well-designed website and provide resources to maintain it.

❌ Client feedback has been poor. A red flag should be raised right away if there are either many unfavourable customer reviews or none at all. You may learn a lot about a broker’s reliability by reading their reviews on Trustpilot, a renowned review website.

❌ There is no interaction between client and broker. Finally, you should not invest with a broker that does not react to your questions by email, chatbot, or social media.

Are ECN Brokers or ECN/STP Brokers Preferable?

There is less slippage and a quicker execution time with an ECN/STP broker compared to a pure ECN broker.

Your order is sent instantly using the Financial Information Exchange (FIX) protocol with STP (Straight Through Processing), the transaction mechanism. Trade execution times are shortened, slippage is minimised, and traders always obtain the best possible price thanks to the FIX system.

Brokers can employ a variety of strategies, including being the counterparty at times and relying on an external liquidity source at others, while still adhering to the STP protocol. While this results in less slippage, it can create a potential for bias in certain deals. A hybrid broker provides the greatest flexibility and is the best solution in most situations.

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