Comparing the Benefits and Drawbacks of Different Liquidity Providers

Comparing the Benefits and Drawbacks of Different Liquidity Providers

When it comes to finding a liquidity provider for your business, there are a few different options to choose from. Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to carefully consider which one will be the best fit for your needs. This article aims to examine three of the most popular liquidity providers: banks, market makers, and ECNs. Using a comparison and contrast approach, we’ll show you each option’s pros and cons so you can decide which is best for you.

Why is it important to have liquidity providers?

A liquidity provider (LP) is a business or individual which provides capital to a firm that trades, invests, or manages money. Through the sale and purchase of securities in the market, they provide financial institutions and organizations with liquidity. They are vital to the functioning of these institutions, and without them, the financial markets would come to a halt.

The role of LPs is crucial because they provide the necessary capital to keep the markets active. It would be impossible to conduct business without them, and the economy would suffer as a result.

Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, as well as hedge funds and other financial institutions, are among the largest LPs. These firms are engaged in a variety of securities markets, including the trading of stocks, bonds, and derivatives.

Besides providing Forex market liquidity, these participants help to accurately price assets in the market. Their constant buying/selling of securities allows them to get a fair asset price. The goal is to make sure investors don’t overpay or undersell.

FX liquidity solutions play an important role in mitigating risk in the markets. By buying and selling securities, they help to protect other market participants from undue risk. As a result, the market remains stable, and investors don’t face unnecessary risks.

Now that we’ve learned what liquidity providers are and why they’re so important, let’s look at some of the most popular types of liquidity providers: banks, market makers, and electronic communication networks.


Banks are one of the most common types of LPs. Through their active involvement in the market by buying and selling securities, they contribute to the overall liquidity of the market. Liquidity is typically provided to markets by the banks’ trading desks.

It is common for banks to own a large amount of capital that can be used to buy and sell securities on the market. By doing so, they contribute to the stability of the markets and provide liquidity to them. Additionally, banks can price assets accurately due to the extensive information they possess about the securities they trade.

Another benefit of using banks is that they reduce the risk of fire sales. Banks may hold securities on their balance sheets for an extended period of time when they acquire securities in the market. Rather than selling the securities immediately at a fire-sale price, they will be able to find a buyer at a fair price.

Banks have some downsides.

Banks play an important role in providing liquidity to the financial system. However, they need to maintain high capital levels in order to do so. This is because they must maintain a certain amount of capital against their assets. A bank may be forced to sell assets if its capital levels fall below the requirement, which can cause market prices to fall sharply.

The bank’s services are usually fee-based. Using a bank as a liquidity provider may become expensive over time.

Therefore, banks, when they have a good capital structure and are well-regulated, are good choices as liquidity providers. Despite this, not every investor may find them an ideal option.

Market Makers

A market maker is an institution that buys and sells securities on behalf of its clients, generating revenue by charging commissions. If no one else is willing to buy or sell securities, market makers do so themselves to provide liquidity to the market.

A major advantage of market makers is that they keep markets liquid, which is crucial for investors who want to buy or sell securities quickly. Since market makers are willing to buy and sell securities even when other investors do not, they are also responsible for stabilizing market prices.

Other market participants can benefit from their protection when buying and selling securities. This ensures market stability and prevents investors from taking on excessive risk.

Typically, they charge less than banks in terms of fees. The reason is that they don’t need to keep a lot of capital.

The use of market makers has some disadvantages.

One such disadvantage is the possibility of manipulation. Their collusion can set prices by trading together and coordinating their efforts.

Furthermore, they are free to withdraw from the market at any time. As a result, if there is not enough liquidity available, prices will fall significantly.

Lastly, market makers generally require a minimum amount of capital to trade with them. Consequently, smaller investors may have difficulty accessing their liquidity.


An electronic communication network (ECN) allows traders to communicate directly with each other. ECNs facilitate liquidity by matching orders from multiple market participants.

An ECN provides anonymity to its users, which is a major benefit of using it as a liquidity provider. Trades executed on an ECN are not visible to other market participants. You and the size of your order cannot be tracked.

The ECNs are only available at certain times, which is one disadvantage. New York Stock Exchange ECN, for instance, is only available between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST.

Additionally, it may have a lower liquidity level than other types of liquidity providers. There is a reason for this since most ECNs have fewer participants than traditional stock exchanges.

Furthermore, ECNs usually require a certain amount of capital in order to trade on their platform. Due to this, smaller investors may have a hard time using them as their liquidity providers.

Which Type of Liquidity Provider Is Right for You?

In order to answer this question, you need to take into account your own individual needs and preferences. For those who want to keep their anonymity, an ECN may be the right choice for them. However, if you would like to save money, a market maker may be a better choice for you.

Having the appropriate capital to trade is also important. If your capital is limited, you may think about using an ECN. You may, however, find it more feasible to use a market maker if you have a large sum of money to invest.

The decision about which FX liquidity service to use ultimately lies with you. Be sure to take into consideration your personal needs and preferences before making any decisions.

Read More: An Introduction to the Concept of an Automated Market Maker