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 0800 195 3100 or email newaccounts.uk@ig.com. We’re here 24 hours a day, from 8am Saturday to 10pm Friday.

Contact us: 0800 195 3100

Start trading today. Call 0800 195 3100 or email newaccounts.uk@ig.com. We’re here 24 hours a day, from 8am Saturday to 10pm Friday.

Contact us: 0800 195 3100

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 in two ways:

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. Note that DMA on forex is only available to professional clients via Forex Direct.

Share dealing

Share dealing enables you to buy stock and take ownership of it. You’ll own the stock for as long as you hold it. When placing an order to buy, our smart technology will show prices aggregated from multiple exchanges and highlight the ‘best’ price.

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.

Share dealing

If you want to buy shares outright via DMA, you would search the L2 Dealer platform, the share dealing web platform or the mobile app for the best price available to buy. You would need to have the full amount of money required to open the position in your account. As with trading, your order will be placed onto an exchange’s order books where you can see other activity and analyse market sentiment.

What markets can you trade with DMA?

Over 12,000 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. To trade forex DMA, you’ll need to qualify for an IG professional account.

How to start trading with direct market access

To start trading with direct market access:

  1. Open an IG account and fund it with a minimum of £1000
  2. Choose your trading platform. You can choose between IG’s web-based or mobile platform (share dealing only) or L2 Dealer – IG’s downloadable DMA platform for advanced traders*
  3. Open and monitor your first position

* Note: you will have to call IG to request DMA access for mobile trading.

Pros and cons of DMA trading

Pros of DMA

Visibility

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

Transparency

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

Complexity

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.

Stringency

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

FAQs

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.

You can trade with direct market access via IG’s web-based trading platform (share dealing) and L2 Dealer platform. You can also trade with DMA via the IG mobile platforms for iOS and Android if you have set up your permissions by speaking to one of our consultants over the phone.

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.