A lot of people in the UK seem to trade forex pretty well. I've seen a few documentaries of traders who do surprisingly well despite the stereotype. The key here is that they also seem to be consistent.
I think a lot of the reputation came from the 'old days' when you could lever up 400:1 with relatively little money. The industry has gone through several rounds of regulation which has slowed that down a bit. I used to work at one of the largest forex brokers out there and will admit that for a long time there were some bad characters in the business. There were brokers actively offsetting trades (probably still) and others that had questionable liquidity at times, but much of that has changed for the better. Regulation has prevented US brokers from offering high leverage, and the massive loss posted by FXCM during the Swiss franc de-pegging led to much higher margin requirements.
In my experience I've received fair quotes from FX Brokers and actually found it easier getting the fills at the prices I was going for than vs the exchange. As others have mentioned, spot FX allows you to trade a multitude of lot sizes which is great for managing risk if you know how to adequately do that. The lot sizes on the exchange are big for a small trader and the mini-fx exchange traded contracts have less liquidity in my experience. For any new trader I usually recommend a small fx account over futures because you can learn quite a bit with a small amount of money - money which you will lose in your first few tries at trading.
With regards to information disadvantage: yes sometimes the prices on the spot were laughably different from what was trading on the exchange, but usually only in times of extreme volatility. I found these to be opportunities in the rare instances I saw a big divergence.
I see no reason to distrust forex. I've been trading the spot market with Oanda for the last year, their spread (at least on EUR/USD and USD/JPY) almost always stays pretty tight. I've had almost no issues, and being that you get to trade whatever size you want instead of fixed contracts has made much better at maximizing a small account. ~50% return in a year and no one has cheated me out of getting to my profits as I see fit.
There are crappy brokers in every market. Avoid them no matter what you trade.
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Those who seek to gamble can do so in stocks, bonds, futures, options, forex and what not.
Important thing to understand about gamblers though, is that thrill and excitement are the crucial factors for them. Steady and consistent returns that will make any rational trader happy are boring for gamblers. No fun in that. Those extreme emotions are more easily generated with high-leveraged products that offer the possibility of multiplying gambler's capital as quickly as possible. The associated risks are usually ignored and discarded.
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Gambling is a very complex state of psychology, and excitement and thrill are just a few of the symptoms.
However, in trading the gambling part manifests itself, in my personal opinion, in the need to see spontaneous results.
You would see many traders that say they are trigger happy, yet would not step a foot in a casino.
This stands to show that excitement and thrill is not what motivates them.
I do agree that leveraged products do intensify certain feelings.
Overall I like your points because if traders are conscious of pitfalls they may start being more observant of their behavior and hopefully improve upon them.
Thee is a substantial risk of loss in futures trading. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
PM with any questions about optimusfutures (800) 771-6748 (561) 367 8686. THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS IN FUTURES TRADING.
Last edited by mattz; September 1st, 2016 at 09:10 AM.
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