DMA brokers give traders direct access to exchange order books for better pricing and execution. We have ranked, compared and reviewed some of the best DMA brokers in the UK to help you choose the most appropriate account for your trading strategy.

Best DMA Brokers

Our picks for the best DMA brokers are based on over 7,000 votes in our annual awards, our own experiences testing the accounts as well as an in-depth comparison of the features that make them stand out compared to alternatives.

  1. Interactive Brokers – best DMA broker 2022
  2. Saxo Markets – excellent all-round direct market access coverage
  3. IG – widest market coverage and account types for DMA trading

Direct Market Access (DMA) Broker Reviews

In our DMA broker reviews, we highlight the pros and cons of each account, what markets you can trade in, how much it costs, and how they compare to the competition. We also explain what makes them different and tell you who they are most appropriate for so you can choose the best account for your trading.

Saxo Markets DMA Trading

Pros

✔️ Professional-grade trading platform
✔️ Integrated research and analysis
✔️ Excellent market range
✔️ Investment account options

Cons

❌ Maybe too advanced for beginners
❌ No investment accounts
❌ Major markets only

70% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Interactive Brokers DMA Trading

Pros

✔️ Institutional trading tools
✔️ Wide range of order types
✔️ Excellent research and analysis
✔️ Investment account options
✔️ Very low cost trading platform

Cons

❌ Desktop version too advanced for beginners
❌ Customer service slow
❌ US based

60% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

IG DMA Trading

Pros

✔️ Biggest market range
✔️ High levels of liquidity
✔️ DMA accounts
✔️ Investment accounts

Cons

❌ Customer service can be slow
❌ No futures and options
❌ Almost too big

Your capital is at risk. 73% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Compare DMA Brokers

Use our DMA broker comparison to compare each provider by account types, what you can trade in, and fees. We only include providers that are authorised and regulated by the FCA where your funds are protected under the FSCS and where customers have voted for them in our awards survey.

DMA BrokerDMA AccessDMA ExecutionAccount TypesMore Info


IG

Stocks: Yes
FX: Yes
Index: Yes
Commodities: Yes
Voice: Yes
Online: Yes
Strategy: Yes
Prime: Yes
DMA: Yes
Futures: No
CFD: Yes
Spreadbetting: Yes
See OfferYour capital is at risk. 73% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Interactive Brokers review

Stocks: Yes
FX: Yes
Index: Yes
Commodities: Yes
Voice: Yes
Online: Yes
Strategy: Yes
Prime: Yes
DMA: Yes
Futures: Yes
CFD: Yes
Spreadbetting: No
See Offer

Saxo Markets

Stocks: Yes
FX: Yes
Index: Yes
Commodities: Yes
Voice: Yes
Online: Yes
Strategy: Yes
Prime: Yes
DMA: Yes
Futures: Yes
CFD: Yes
Spreadbetting: No
See Offer

What is a DMA broker?

A DMA broker is a financial services firm that offer trading and investment services to it’s clients on a direct-market-access basis by connecting them directly to the exchange order books rather than buying and selling on their behalf.

What is Direct Market Access?

Direct market access, also commonly referred to as DMA, is a service offered on some platforms by brokers that enables trading brokers with sufficient experience to place buy and sell orders directly on the electronic facilities and order books of stock exchanges around the world.

Rather than placing trades through a Retail Service Provider, DMA brokers enable you to place trades directly the central market.

Direct market access is commonly used by investment firms and sophisticated traders as it allows for the implementation of strategies based on algorithmic trading and can help make the trading process more efficient due to the overall speed of execution and the lower costs associated with trades.

With a DMA trading, you may be better able to make the most of opportunities within the market, even if they are only short-term opportunities.

How to compare DMA Brokers

The best CFD brokers that offer DMA (Direct Market Access) tend to be well-established players with a mainly professional or institutional client base.

Trading CFDs via DMA gives a trader an edge over the more retail-focused CFD broker because they can buy at the bid and sell at the offer. Trader buy and sell orders go straight onto the order book and can be worked in a professional manner using order types such as iceberg, limit and market or limit stops.

It is particularly important to use a CFD broker that offers DMA if you are a large trader dealing in over the normal NMS (Normal Market Size) on the main markets or in illiquid markets where you don’t want to show your entire order in one go.  In smaller assets, big orders can move the market before you get a chance to get in.

If you are looking for an institutional account you can find a prime broker here.

All these brokers are well capitalised and have experienced brokers to assist with account set ups and look after their customers well.

DMA commission rates

If you are a big retail or institutional trader looking for a DMA provider you should be able to negotiate on DMA commission rates. DMA trading is different for every trade and whilst brokers will publish their commission rates online you should be able to get a high volume discount or rebate if you are putting enough business through.  After all, there are many DMA providers in the UK so a broker will want to keep you DMA business, rather than lose it to another direct market access provider because of excessive commission rates.

Leverage and margin:

If you are trading with a DMA provider, it’s assumed that you are a sophisticated trader. And as such you should get better margin rates than retail traders. However, for DMA trading on futures the underlying exchanges will have their overnight margin rates they will charge the broker. It’s unlikely you will get better rates than this. However, you may have to pay more. So when comparing DMA margin and direct market access leverage rates check what your broker charges for retail trades against the exchange websites. If you are trading stock CFDs with DMA access your margin rates are at your brokers discretion and depend on a lot of things like single and multiple position exposure, derivatives hedging and trading experience.

DMA Direct market access

Not all DMA brokers provide access to every market. So when you trade with a direct market access provider make sure you double check that you can trade everything you want beforehand. Opening a DMA account with a broker is not as simple as opening a spread betting account so get it right the first time.

Opening a DMA account

To open a DMA account you will need to contact a broker which offers this service. Like opening any normal trading account you will also need to provide proof of identity like a passport or driving licence, your bank details, an email address and contact details. However, keep in mind that DMA trading is usually for more experienced investors, professionals and institutions. It may not be suitable for traders with little experience.

All of the brokers in our comparison are authorised and regulated by the FCA

DMA providers will normally ask questions about your experience levels to ensure you understand the risks of this type of trading.

You will also need to consider your strategy for trading on the markets through DMA, due to the speed of trading, human error or failings in computer software may increase the risk of losses.

A sensible risk management strategy is essential before you begin.

Pros of DMA (direct market access)

The main advantages of direct market access trading platform is that you get clean pricing directly from the exchange order book. You can place your DMA orders directly on the exchange and get in between the bid and offer price.

  • Speed of execution of trades
  • Better prices due to fewer middle man cuts
  • Lower potential for human error by a broker acting on your behalf
  • Anonymity can be higher for

Cons of DMA (direct market access)

Some of the main disadvantages of direct market access trading platforms is that if you are familiar with spread betting or using a CFD broker that widens the spread rather than charging a commission there is an added layer of administration because you have to include commission in your profit and loss calculations.

  • Commission charges to factor into profit and loss
  • No tax benefits of financial spread betting
  • High minimum account size

Overall list of direct market access trading platforms (DMA brokers)

  1. Saxo Markets
  2. Interactive Brokers
  3. IG

We provide a list of direct market access trading platforms so you can compare DMA brokers here to choose a broker which best suits your needs. All of the brokers here offer Direct market access and cater for larger private and institutional accounts. Our comparison tables and matrix only include brokers which offer DMA trading and are regulated by the FCA.

Best DMA futures Broker

Saxo Markets is the best DMA broker for futures trading as they offer DMA futures on 300 contracts across 16 future exchanges. Saxo Markets has won “best futures broker” in our awards three out of the past four years.

The previous best DMA futures brokers we have worked with have been:

For more information on futures trading platforms, you can compare futures brokers here.

Best DMA options broker

Saxo Markets is the best DMA options broker as it offers options trading on over 30,000 stocks and indices across 60 exchanges. Saxo Markets has won “best options broker” in our awards three out of the past four years.

The previous best DMA options brokers we have worked with have been:

Best DMA CFD broker

Saxo Markets is the best broker for trading DMA CFDs as it offers CFD with direct market access on over 9,500 shares, indices and commodities. Saxo Markets has also won “best CFD broker” in our awards for the past four years running

The previous best DMA options brokers we have worked with have been:

  • 2021: Saxo Markets
  • 2020: Saxo Markets
  • 2019: Saxo Markets
  • 2018: Saxo Markets

DMA CFDs (offered by CFD brokers that offer professional accounts) are for when you have a big account and work big orders or are trading on a high-frequency basis.

If that’s the case then your trading strategy requires you to be inside the bid/offer spread.  So the better price of your fills will be lower than the cost of your commission.

Unlike spread betting however, you will have to pay tax on gains with DMA CFDs. If your account is big enough to warrant trading with DMA CFDs then you will probably be doing it in a tax efficient manner already anyway.

Compare the best CFD trading platforms here

Best DMA Forex broker

Saxo Markets is the best broker for trading forex DMA as they offer on-exchange forex futures and options compare to other forex brokers like IG and CMC Markets that only offer DMA forex to institutional clients as a prime offering.

Most forex brokers don’t offer DMA because you have to be trading in significant size. However, if you want a DMA forex broker you need a futures broker because the Forex market does not operate like the stock market with order books and centralised regulated access. There are some platforms that offer DMA for forex brokers. But if you really want to work forex orders through DMA you can trade CME currency futures with a futures broker.

You can compare the best forex trading platforms here

Best direct market access broker for UK shares

IG is the best DMA broker for UK equities according to our broker matrix as they offer access to the most UK shares. With IG you can also trade UK shares as a spread bet or CFD where other DMA stock brokers do not.

There are many UK brokers offering direct market access, but not all are the same. Choosing a direct market access UK broker is really dependent on your relationship with the broker and the commission rates you’ll receive. If you are a start-up hedge fund looking for direct market access in the UK you will need a prime broker.

Best direct market access broker for US stocks

Interactive Brokers is the best DMA broker for trading US stocks, IBKR are US based but take on non-US residents through their international offices.

Best DMA broker for day trading?

The best DMA brokers for day trading are the ones that offer fast access to the markets, low commission and a wide range of markets and assets to trade based on your needs, as well as FCA regulation. Compare DMA brokers in our table to get the best one for you.

Best Direct Market (DMA) spread betting brokers

If you want to get inside the bid-offer you need to be trading with direct market access (DMA). However, this is a tricky thing to do if you want a spread betting broker to provide direct market access.

The reason is quite simple. The mechanics just don’t work. Spread betting is over the counter (OTC), in that it is conducted off-exchange and structured as a bet. There is no exchange to access and the quotes provided by the spread betting brokers are based on the prices in the underlying exchanges.

It is possible to spread bet with DMA, although it’s all about relationships. You can ask your dealers at brokers like IG or Spreadex to work order in the market for you. However, you will need a big account and a good relationship with your account executive to get the service.

DMA Trading FAQs

Do IG offer DMA Trading?

Yes, IG offer direct market access trading. You can find out more about their account offering here. Other brokers like Saxo Markets & Interactive Brokers also offer it.

How is DMA Regulated?

All of the brokers we include in our comparison are authorised and regulated by the FCA.

What is DMA stock trading?

DMA stock trading means buying and selling shares on stock exchanges like the LSE with direct market access. It enables clients to place bids and offers directly on the exchange order book.

Are DMA brokers for beginners?

No, DMA trading platforms are not suitable for beginners. Leveraged trading is a high-risk form of speculation and generally, it’s only economical using a direct market access provider if you are trading with over £50,000 and are a regular and experienced trader.

How do I get access to DMA trading?

You need an account with a Direct Market Access broker for DMA trading. You can use our comparison table of DMA brokers to compare direct market access accounts.

What does DMA stand for?

DMA stands for Direct Markets Access

Can you trade DMA as a spread bet?

Yes, you can spread bet with direct market access, although it’s all about relationships. You can ask your dealers at brokers like IG or Spreadex to work order in the market for you. However, you may need a big account and a good relationship with your account executive to get the service.

What’s the difference between Direct Market Access (DMA) spread betting, CFD trading ?

If you’re a trader and are considering upgrading from spread betting to a DMA broker here is a quick summary of the main differences and if it really matters.

  1. DMA is not tax free – One of the main advantages of using a spread betting broker for trading is that profits are tax free.  As your trades are structured as an amount per point move bet they are not subject to capital gains tax.  So if you are a profitable trader acting in a personal capacity you have to weigh up whether or not paying tax on profits is more important than direct market access. You can’t trade DMA through spread betting, you will need a CFD broker.
  2. DMA prices are much tighter – This is true, with DMA you get direct market access to the underlying exchange. So if for example you are looking at trading Anglo America on the LSE the prices are: DMA: 644.5/644.8 versus Spread betting (IG review) 644.5/646. But with DMA it actually gets better because you can put your buy or sell orders inside that spread to make the prices even tighter.  Obviously, if you want to buy at 644.6 instead of 644.8 (as is offered) and there are no sellers you won’t get filled.  But you do have the opportunity for better pricing.
  3. No admin versus DMA commissions – One of the great things about spread betting is that all the costs are built into the spread. But with DMA, your broker will charge you a commission as an extra line on your statements.  You also have to manually factor this into your profit and loss when you open and close the trade. Direct market access also comes with high minimum ticket commissions so if you are a small trader it’s not worth it as the minimum commission for DMA will probably be around £10 in and out so if you’re planning on scalping you’ll have to make more than a few points to break even.

Trading with direct market access (or DMA) enables you to place your orders direct with the exchange through a broker. Which means instead of having to buy at the offer (the higher price) and sell at the bid (the lower price) you can be the bid and be the offer.

So you work limits and buy at the lower price and sell at the higher price.

Of course, this is only the case if there is a seller willing to hit the bid or a buyer willing to lift the offer with market orders.

If you are trading with spread betting without DMA then you will have to buy/sell at your spread betting brokers quoted prices. As the broker will widen the market spread to incorporate commission.

With DMA trading you work a limit at a price and your order is in the market, so you are filled at your price when it trades. Brokers will add a commission on the trade when you buy and sell.

It’s basically a preference thing really. Spread betting has the advantage of being neat and tidy. You see a price, you deal and that’s that. No tax, commission or admin. You just work your profit and loss from your buy and sell price

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