The cTrader forex trading platform, the focus of our discussion, is owned by London-based cTrader Limited and has been specifically created with ECN brokers in mind, which sets it apart from all the other platforms on the market. The platform was developed by Spotware Systems, the financial technology firm behind a number of sophisticated products for the forex industry. The company’s niche is forex platforms that work with ECN brokers and can integrate with other financial systems.

As the cTrader platform became more popular, it began to steal market share from MetaTrader 4, which had dominated the market until the arrival of cTrader. I believe that cTrader is the stronger of the two and that MetaTrader 4 users would be well served by migrating over to cTrader. Let me explain why.

The use of ECN trading has spread like wildfire in recent years. The reasons for that are obvious: traders can deal directly with liquidity providers, effectively bypassing intermediaries and other such third parties; settlement turnaround times are significantly reduced; and, with prices being more up-to-date, the trader is mitigated against the effects of lag time and slippage.

The cTrader is a further improvement on the advantageous situation offered by ECN trading. Making use of Direct Market Access (DMA), the trader submits orders directly to the order book, bypassing any middlemen and third parties. This was once the exclusive privilege of broker-dealers and market makers. The old model put the trader at the mercy of the broker, who would offer a price quote that the trader could either accept or reject; rejection meant that no trade could take place. By providing access to Level II market depth, the emergence of Direct Market Access put an end to this, leveling the field for everyone else and allowing other market participants to connect directly to the order book. The trader can now gauge the market depth on any security and calibrate orders accordingly, without having to put up with the take-it-or-leave-it model of the past. The cTrader, therefore, offers considerable advantages over MetaTrader 4 and is also attractive to large-volume traders and scalpers. You also can use CTrader for arbitrage trading.

While MetaTrader 4 was perfect for broker-dealers, retail investors and other brokers were looking for alternatives that would enable them to connect directly to interbank market exchanges. That’s where MetaTrader 4 ECN Bridge comes in. The platform has made it possible for retail investors to connect to all the interbank market exchanges on MetaTrader 4. As it wasn’t possible for orders received by MetaTrader 4 to be transmitted to market makers via ECNs, developers have come out with straight-through processing software for MT4 that made it possible for traders to submit orders directly to a market maker and get a confirmation right away.