There is no doubt that Forex providers are the backbone of the FX industry. Electronic money markets have taken hold, making it easier to buy and sell currencies throughout the day and night through quote services provided by market makers.

Market participants generally view Forex liquidity providers as inherently good since their absence would hamper trading activity. Nonetheless, some sources question whether they are necessary for a dynamic market to function efficiently. Since these firms rely on transaction fees to make money, there has been criticism of perceived conflicts of interest.

Who are liquidity providers?

Companies that provide liquidity to traders on behalf of banks are known as liquidity providers or LPs. Even if 100 customers try to take the other side of their offer at once, the best liquidity providers keep enough capital in reserve to continuously offer bids and asks without running out of money. Due to this, liquidity providers play an essential role in the market because one firm cannot manage all trades alone - and conflicts of interest are a potential problem. The liquidity providers are generally categorised into four categories: brokers, banks, multibank pools (MFBs), and electronic communication networks (ECNs). The purpose of these groups is to fill the gaps between large organisations.

What do they provide to the industry?

Through the processing of transactions, FX liquidity providers serve the primary purpose of connecting buyers and sellers. Their income is derived from transaction fees paid by traders executing orders. Nonetheless, it is disputed whether these transaction fees benefit market participants or contribute to a rise in spreads because the same order flow could be handled without the help of these fees. Due to high trading volumes, LPs sometimes pull out of the market or "turn" to deal with so many orders that they can't cope, meaning traders that require quotes may be unable to find them.

Do they have any negatives?

Because it would be challenging for participants to trade without LPs, LPs are considered good guys within the FX market. But lately, these businesses have come under fire for alleged conflicts of interest and concerns about how much capital is kept in reserve. According to others, transaction fees are calculated as a percentage of the value of the trades made between the buyer and the seller, encouraging LPs to manipulate price movements by executing their trades before those of other participants. The LP would profit by driving the market higher and lower than it otherwise might be, which may result in severe issues if there were several buys and sell orders at only marginally different prices.

Furthermore, there is the issue of how much capital these firms should hold in reserve. During periods of high volatility, there must be enough build-up to prevent the system from turning. Despite this, too much LP activity would consume their profits, posing a severe risk for merchants who depend on them for fulfilment.

Are they necessary for trading to function at its fullest?

There is no doubt that LPs play an essential role in ensuring that the marketplace functions at maximum efficiency. If they didn't exist, traders would have trouble entering and exiting trades at their convenience because they might not find an LP willing to take their other side of the trade. Despite this assertion, many people feel the liquidity provision is no longer about serving a valuable purpose but making money. When working with LPs, participants must always be on their guard when expecting prices to behave predictably and consistently because there are too many conflicts of interest within the industry.

Can there be bad actors within the industry?

Although there isn't much evidence that LPs are misbehaving, many traders are nevertheless sceptical of their worth and impact on the market, especially in light of all the wealth held in reserve. Another issue is whether these companies will offer liquidity during times of crisis or restrict access to currency quotations as a result. There is debate about whether brokers should be given this responsibility rather than third-party suppliers that profit from every transaction.

So, are liquidity providers in Forex beneficial or useless? On the one hand, everyone who has been involved benefits extensively from these companies' role in connecting buyers and sellers. However, there are some valid concerns regarding the amount of capital they should be obliged to hold on hand and whether or not their incentive structure promotes fraud. Additionally, there is a chance that they will altogether leave the market at times of severe volatility, which would prevent traders from getting quotes when they most need them. Given the industry's heavy reliance on intermediaries and the fact that practically every part of it has merits and cons, it is probably advisable to approach LPs cautiously.