A-book/B-book brokers: what the difference is and how to make a right choice
Have you ever faced the forex A-book/B-book risk models while choosing a broker for trading? Or maybe you've wondered which of these models to choose for your own brokerage business? What kind of concepts are these? Who is a forex market maker? And how much do forex brokers earn? Let's figure out!
From the trader's point of view, forex trading looks relatively simple: you just need to press the button to open an order and see a confirmation of the transaction on the screen. But how does it work? In order for a trader's deal to be executed, there must be a counterparty in the execution chain: if someone buys an asset, then someone must sell it.
There are two types of broker operating technologies - A-Book and B-Book models, which differ in the way client orders are brought to the market. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Forex A-book model
A-Book model is the business model of a broker where all trader's orders are forwarded directly to the forex liquidity provider, who then redirects them to the interbank market.
A-Book broker gets commissions for a fixed volume of transactions (usually for 1 lot) or a spread markup. The broker in this scheme is only an intermediary providing financial services. The final counterparty is the traders placing opposite orders in the market, or a liquidity provider. This is the main advantage of the A-Book model - no conflicts of interests. The broker receives its commission irrespective of whether traders earn or lose their money. While perspectively both traders and the broker are interested in the successful trading. The more transactions traders make, the more commission their broker receives.
However, Forex is rarely that simple. A-Book model has its drawbacks both for traders and brokers. The broker needs to sign agreements with a liquidity provider (or with several of them), obtain licenses, provide technical support to bring client orders to the external market. It all costs time and money. Accordingly, the A-Book broker is forced to increase the mark-up to the spread to justify its costs.
Forex B-Book model
The B-Book model is a model, where the broker itself acts as a forex market maker, processing orders in house. In other words, traders' orders aren't displayed anywhere outside the broker's platform. There is no external liquidity pool. Obviously, a conflict of interest arises since the broker takes on not only the role of an intermediary, but also a counterparty. That's why the B-Book model is often wrongly associated with a fraud. In fact, Forex is unpredictable and the B-book model goes with both high profits and big losses.
The trader's earnings are equal to the broker’s losses. Therefore, dishonest brokers may be interested in setting non-market quotes in the terminal, spying on the set client stops and knocking them down with plugins in the server side of the platform to make the trader lose money. Unfortunately, there are many such “bucket shop” brokerage companies, but we won't dwell on this — we analyze forex brokers, not scammers.
If the broker behaves this way, it signs its own death warrant. Deceived clients won't remain silent and surely destroy the broker's reputation, which is actually a key for successful operating in Forex. It is long-term cooperation that rules the show.
To avoid the shortcomings of the A-Book and B-Book schemes, brokers came up with a hybrid model. This is one of the most frequent options among large brokers. Hybrid model means that the broker executes small transactions within its platform, while large transactions can be withdrawn to the liquidity provider and then to the interbank.
This model is an optimal solution for both brokers and traders, but a tricky one. The main headache for broker is to categorize traders properly. That’s where a special software comes into a play, tracking the amount of a trader’s deposit, the leverage used, the risk level of each transaction, the use or non-use of protective stops. All this data helps the broker to determine which of the 2 models (A-Book or B-Book) to use for executing an order.
Сomparison of A-Book and B-Book brokers' profitability
Perhaps after reading all the information above, you have a logical question: which broker earns more A-Book or B-Book one? Which model should I personally choose for my business to reduce my brokerage risks? There is no definite answer to this question. It all depends.
Statistically, the profit of an A-Book forex broker is less, but more stable. It is well known that 80-95% of traders lose their initial deposit within 6 months, which plays into the hands of the Forex B-book broker. But don't forget about unforeseen circumstances that regularly occur and make B-book brokers suffer huge losses, often for many months in a row.
We conclude that none of the schemes can be a panacea for losses. You must decide which business model to choose for you, depending on your business plans and strategies. The same goes for traders who choose their broker. Everything is very individual.
Neither A-Book nor B-Book model guarantees a successful business or a profitable trade. These models are just tools for doing business, and your personal benefit depends only on how professional you can use these tools.
Forex trading provides you with unlimited opportunities for success and financial well-being, if you approach running your business responsibly, acquire patience and use business models that are suitable exact for your purposes.
Interested in forex A-book, B-book? Read an interview with Vasily Alexeev for Forbes.
In the previous article, we wrote that UpTrader Forex CRM has a useful system for controlling fund deposit and withdrawal. In short, it allows you to flexibly configure the approval settings for withdrawal requests though a variety of parameters. The system lets you control the requested amount, the departments that approve the withdrawal, which managers are allowed to approve the requests, whether account details are mandatory, whether or not the CEO approves the requests and many more. All these settings are extremely useful and allow the broker to protect themselves from many unpleasant situations. Only a few of our clients take advantage of these features, while they are available in UpTrader Forex CRM completely free of charge. We highly recommend using them! As an illustration, we would like to share with you a recent case from one of our clients’ operations. Thanks to a well-configured withdrawal control system, the broker team noticed that something was wrong, quickly reacted to an unusual situation, and prevented a large-scale case of fraud.
The company asked us to change the names of the client and the manager and not to mention their own name, but allowed us to tell their story in detail.
John is a professional trader who regularly withdraws profits from Company X. That is why no one was surprised when he sent another request to withdraw his profit for the previous month. The finance department was ready to approve it, but the withdrawal control system was set in a way that all large requests over $10,000 must also be approved by the client's personal manager.
When Casper, John's personal manager, contacted him, he immediately suspected that something was wrong. John's voice sounded unusual. Casper always builds relationships with each client, so he started the conversation with small talk and asked how John's children were doing. John replied that everything was okay and that they were at school. But Casper knew perfectly well that John's youngest child was born only a few months ago, which meant that he was talking to somebody else!
A few days later, it turned out that the hackers were able to create a duplicate of John's SIM card and used it to hack into his account. Thanks to the fact that his broker used the UpTrader withdrawal control system, John was able to keep his monthly profit, and the company prevented reputation losses. It allowed the company to maintain a trusting relationship with their clients and to ensure the safety of their funds.
"The Planet of Vogons"
In this user case, we will talk about a medium-sized Ukrainian broker who has been working in forex for many years, has an extensive departmental network and a complex withdrawal control system. Before adopting the UpTrader withdrawal control system, the company processes were barely automated.
The broker N started working on the Ukrainian market many years ago. At that time, the broker only had clients from Ukraine and the CIS. The withdrawal approval was coordinated by two people: the dealer and the CFO. The process was manual but smooth and fast. Then the broker began to grow, got foreign clients, then foreign partners, and launched several types of affiliate programs.
Each affiliate program has its own conditions for the accrual and payment of affiliate fees. In some cases, additional conditions can exist for different partners within the same program. The broker also allocates bonuses for the deposits. It means, for instance, that if a client came to the broker through a Vietnamese partner who works for the lots, and deposited 5,000 dollars to the account, they get a bonus: + 100% of the deposit for 1,000 dollars. According to the terms of the bonus, for every 100,000 units of currency traded, they kept $3 for themselves. The broker then must pay the bonus for this client to the partner without taking into account the bonus funds and the funds received from the bonus trading, remove excess lots and draw up the balance. Imagine then that such a client requests a withdrawal.
All the numbers were compiled manually. As a result, 6 departments, the secretary and the CEO of the company were engaged in approving requests for the broker. First, the withdrawal had to be approved by the client’s personal manager to make sure that the request was not a scam. Then the request fell in the partner relations department’s lap, because they needed to make sure that extra lots did not get into partner payments. Then, in some cases, they had to contact the dealer to make sure that everything was traded according to the rules. Next, the application went to the compliance department, which may find that the client has not fully completed KYC and that they need to finish the process (the client corrects errors and resubmits the request, and it follows along the same path). Then the application went to the finance department, which once again verified the numbers. And finally, the secretary manually collected problematic requests and took them to the CEO for final approval.
Thus, one request could take 5 days, 10 days, or two weeks to get approved. Needless to say, everyone was tired of it. Not only did this situation take up a lot of time and resources, it still did not prevent the company from making mistakes. Ultimately, the broker adopted the UpTrader withdrawal control system. It helped automate calculations, divide clients into groups, set conditions for calculating an affiliate program for different groups, and automate some of the withdrawals that do not require additional attention. A system of quick notifications pinging the team about new requests was set up, and the request statuses became visible in the CRM.
Now even the most complex requests take 1-2 days to approve. At the same time, the number of errors in calculations decreased significantly. As an additional bonus, the broker was able to take a closer look at the terms of affiliate programs and, in some cases, it became obvious that it was extremely unprofitable for them to continue working under the conditions they previously set themselves. The broker removed all unprofitable programs, freed up a lot of resources, and significantly increased their income from affiliate programs.
Launch market analytics feed in your Forex CRM
Which extra services do you offer your clients? If you think that a trading terminal, fast fund withdrawal, and copy trading services are enough to keep your clients loyal and satisfied, then you may not know your clients very well or have never tried to offer them something else.
One of the UpTrader brokers broadcasts a daily stock market analytics feed and technical analysis to its clients right in their personal account. Its CEO kindly allowed us to analyse their data for 2021. We considered two client groups: those who read analytics and those who do not. The results speak for themselves.
In 2021, customers who read analytics deposited on average 15% more per customer compared to those who did not use this tool. The median bill was 25% higher. At the same time, their trading volume increased by 230%!
Do you want the same results? Easy-peasy!
Daily up-to-date market analysis available in the trader’s room might increase the trading volumes of your company, resulting in more potential profit. This tool is already integrated into the UpTrader Forex CRM, however, only a few of our clients use it for additional sales.
Every day, market experts collect information, prepare materials, and publish technical and fundamental market analysis used by thousands of traders around the world.
This tool is already available to you in UpTrader Forex CRM. To begin broadcasting the feed, contact our support team, and you will gain access to an excellent tool for increasing sales and loyalty of your customers starting tomorrow.
Withdrawing funds from trading accounts is a very important part of business, because there are plenty of underlying issues that can cause serious reputational consequences for a broker and stress for clients. Fraud, stop-outs, withdrawal requests for a bigger amount than available equity, mismatch of payment details, problems with payment systems, KYC/AML non-compliance and a lot of other problems.
To avoid these problems and make withdrawals without risks for a broker and fast for a client, it is better to follow a certain procedure, where every step is under control of your departments. Your Forex CRM must have flexible settings of an approval withdrawal system.
The UpTrader team has developed a flexible withdrawal approval system that is integrated in UpTrader Forex CRM. For example, you can set it up so that your CEO will be making final approval of withdrawal requests of certain big amounts. You can set up this rule for all requests or only for those that are already approved by lower-ranking staff. It’s up to you. It is very important to verify your client with a KYC check, confirm payment details, to do this just direct all requests through a Compliance department. In some cases you might need requests approved by a phone call, so that you are sure that requests are submitted by a real client, not a scammer, so you can set up obligatory manager calls.
All these settings can be easily added in UpTrader Forex CRM.
UpTrader Forex CRM has the following settings you can use:
1. Approval depending on request amount
Withdrawal control is a standard and necessary procedure for financial broker security, but this doesn't have to prevent traders from withdrawing and depositing money quickly. For example, you can allow to withdraw all requests under $100 without additional checks. It means any withdrawal under $100 will occur automatically, but in a case you want to manually approve any amount, you can do it.
2. Know your client system in your Forex CRM.
Establish a rule that requests of any amount are directed to a Compliance department to complete KYC procedures.
3. A withdrawal amount is larger than the client’s deposit
If you hedge risks and use a hybrid model and a bridge, you probably need to control trading activity especially in an important market news period to control financial risk.
If you have special needs related to withdrawal approval procedures, write to [email protected] and we will see what we can do for you.