What is direct market access (DMA) in trading?

Many traders and investors prefer direct market access (DMA) because it enables them to deal directly onto the order books of major exchanges. Learn more about DMA and how you can access it with IG here.

Start trading today. Call +65 6390 5133 or email accountopening@ig.com.sg. We’re here 24 hours a day, from 9am Sunday to 10pm Friday.

Contact us: +65 6390 5133

Start trading today. Call +65 6390 5133 or email accountopening@ig.com.sg. We’re here 24 hours a day, from 9am Sunday to 10pm Friday.

Contact us: +65 6390 5133

What is direct market access (DMA)?

Direct market access (DMA) is a way of placing trades directly onto the order books of exchanges. DMA offers greater visibility of the market, while IG’s L2 Dealer technology aggregates prices from multiple exchanges. However, it is usually recommended for advanced traders only – due to the risks and complexities involved.

How does DMA work?

DMA enables you to interact with stock or currency exchanges directly – bypassing any aggregation of over-the-counter orders – so you can choose the price you want to deal at. With IG, you can access DMA through:

CFD trading on shares and forex

CFD trading on shares and forex enables you to go long or short on prices without taking ownership of the underlying assets. When you place a trade, IG takes the position in the underlying market and you receive a CFD with us.

DMA examples

CFD trading DMA example

Let’s suppose that you wanted to trade shares via DMA. You would search the L2 Dealer platform for the best price available to either buy or sell the underlying market. Then, you would place an order and your broker would do a quick check to see if you had enough margin to open the position. The necessary checks only take a few seconds, after which your order will be placed directly onto an exchange’s order books. There, you can see other market participants’ orders and gauge market sentiment for your chosen asset.

What markets can you trade with DMA?

Over 16,000 shares

Execute your orders against multiple liquidity venues, including primary exchanges, multilateral trading facilities (MTFs), dedicated market makers and dark pools.

More than 80 forex pairs

Deal without a middleman and get better pricing, higher liquidity, faster execution and more control over trades.

How to start trading with direct market access

To start trading with direct market access:

  1. Open an IG account and fund it any amount
  2. Choose your trading platform. You can choose between IG’s mobile platform (only on iOS), IG's trading platform or L2 Dealer – IG’s downloadable DMA platform for advanced traders

Pros and cons of DMA trading

Pros of DMA


All orders are visible to the entire market, which enables market participants to effectively gauge market liquidity.


DMA creates an equal playing field between different market participants – making it possible to see other traders’ movements and effectively gauge market sentiment.

Competitive pricing

Prices are gathered from a wide selection of global banks, stock or currency exchanges and liquidity providers, securing competitive prices.

Cons of DMA


There is a possibility of increased risk due to DMA’s complex nature. This is why it is usually recommended to advanced traders only.

Low liquidity

While a smart order router provides far better DMA liquidity than single order exchange offers, it is still less than when trading over the counter with IG.


DMA is generally stricter, with rules on repeat dealing, or deal rejections if trading outside the normal market size.


What is the definition of DMA in trading?

DMA in trading is short for ‘direct market access’, which describes dealing directly onto the order books of major exchanges through a trading (DMA) broker. DMA offers many benefits but may only be suitable for advanced traders.

How can you trade with direct market access?

You can trade with direct market access via L2 Dealer platform. You can also trade with DMA via the IG mobile platforms for iOS if you have set up your permissions by speaking to one of our consultants over the phone.