Updated: 01/03/2024

Best ECN Forex Brokers: Trading with Direct Market Access

Best ECN Forex Brokers in Based on our thorough review process, we have identified the following…

Best ECN Forex Brokers
11 Nov 2022
WRITTEN BY Chad Smith
EDITED BY Henry Hicks
REVIEWED BY Henry Hicks

Table of Contents

Best ECN Forex Brokers in 2024

Based on our thorough review process, we have identified the following brokers as the best ECN forex brokers:

Pepperstone

  • Competitive spreads
  • Fast trade execution
  • Many trading platforms
  • Limited educational resources
  • No fixed spread
  • Customer support can be improved
Learn More

BlackBull Markets

  • Robust trading technology
  • Multiple account types
  • Best Client Security
  • Limited educational resources
  • High minimum deposit
  • Customer support can vary
Learn More

Vantage

  • Competitive spreads
  • Many Instruments
  • Many trading platforms
  • Limited educational resources
  • Customer support responsiveness can vary
  • High Minimum deposit
Learn More

AvaTrade

  • Many instruments
  • Friendly platforms
  • Multi-Regulated broker
  • Inactivity fees may apply
  • Limited educational resources
  • Customer support response varies
Learn More

XM

  • Low Trading Fees
  • High Bonuses
  • Copy Trading
  • Average forex and stock index CFD fees
  • No investor protection for non-EU clients
Learn More

As the forex market continues to evolve, the demand for reliable and transparent Electronic Communication Network (ECN) brokers is on the rise. ECN brokers provide a direct link between individual traders and liquidity providers, ensuring that traders get the best possible prices through an advanced mechanism that matches buy and sell orders in real time. This article will delve into some of the best ECN forex brokers in 2023, including Pepperstone, Blackbull, Vantage, AvaTrade, and XM.

These top ECN forex brokers have been carefully selected based on a variety of factors such as trading platforms, customer service, fees, and regulatory standing. Each broker has its unique attributes and advantages, offering an exceptional trading experience tailored to suit the diverse needs of forex traders. By diving deeper into their features, you will gain valuable insights to make an informed decision when choosing the best ECN forex broker to partner with.

Whether you are a newcomer or an experienced trader, these leading ECN forex brokers will provide you with all the necessary tools and resources for optimal trading performance. To help you navigate the rapidly changing forex landscape, this article will offer a comprehensive comparison of these top players in the industry, all working towards ensuring your success in the world of forex.

Key Takeaways

  • Top ECN forex brokers, including Pepperstone, Blackbull, Vantage, AvaTrade, and XM, offer unparalleled trading experiences.
  • Each broker’s unique attributes such as customer service, platforms, and fees help traders make informed decisions.
  • A comparative analysis of the best ECN brokers will assist you in selecting the ideal partner for your forex trading journey.

Understanding ECN Forex Trading

Electronic Communication Networks (ECNs) have revolutionised the world of forex trading, bringing increased transparency and competitive pricing to the market. Through an ECN, you can access a wide range of forex trading platforms and trading tools to help you make informed decisions. In this section, we will explore the benefits of ECN trading and some of the best ECN brokers in the industry. (more on Wikipedia)

An ECN broker acts as a bridge between your trading orders and the liquidity providers which comprise banks, financial institutions, and hedge funds. When you place a trade through an ECN, the broker simply passes your order to the interbank market, thus allowing you to be matched with an appropriate counterparty. This process ensures minimal interference, providing you with the most competitive quotes and tight spreads. Simply put, ECN Forex Brokers offers instant results with optimal performance and high internal liquidity, as they bridge willing buyers and sellers with the most affordable prices in the market. You can read more about it on Investopedia.

One of the key differences between an ECN broker and a traditional market maker is the pricing mechanism. With an ECN broker, you get true market pricing as they do not manipulate the bid-ask spread to generate profits. Instead, these brokers earn from transaction fees or commissions, aligning their interests with yours to execute your trades at the best possible prices.

Popular trading platforms, such as MetaTrader, have gained popularity among ECN brokers due to their range of features, advanced trading tools, and customizability. When selecting an ECN broker, make sure they support your preferred trading platform, as well as any specific tools you may require.

The following ECN brokers are consistently ranked among the best in the industry:

  • Pepperstone: Highly trusted and offering razor accounts with 0.0 pip spreads on selected major and minor pairs, and a commission of $3.50 per traded lot, per slide.
  • BlackBull Markets: Known for exceptional customer service, this broker scores 9.1 out of 10 in that category and offers competitive pricing.
  • Vantage FX: Combining diverse trading platforms, low-cost trading solutions, and a fast execution infrastructure for forex and CFD trading.
  • AvaTrade: Offers multiple trading platforms and trading tools, strong educational resources, and an array of trading instruments.
  • XM: Provides a wide selection of trading platforms and instruments, and boasts excellent customer support and tight spreads.

In conclusion, understanding the advantages of ECN forex trading is crucial for making informed decisions in the forex market. To get the best out of your trading experience, carefully evaluate the top-rated ECN brokers and their offerings, ensuring they align with your trading needs and preferences.

Comprehensive Analysis of Pepperstone

Pepperstone, a reputable and well-regulated broker, has been serving clients in the foreign exchange market since 2010. Having obtained its regulatory licences from reputable organisations, including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, Pepperstone ensures that your funds and trading activities are protected.

When it comes to trading platforms, Pepperstone provides you with access to a variety of options, including the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5). Additionally, you can utilise the cTrader platform, which offers advanced charting and trading tools tailored to enhance your trading experience.

As a trader, the minimum deposit required to open an account with Pepperstone is favourable at $200 or its equivalent in your local currency. This enables you to start your trading journey without hefty initial investments.

Pepperstone is renowned for its fast order execution, owing to its robust infrastructure and access to deep liquidity from top-tier providers. Moreover, the broker offers a competitive commission structure, generally starting at $3.5 per 100,000 units traded, escalating depending on the type of account you choose.

The spreads offered by Pepperstone are consistently tight, with EUR/USD typically having a spread as low as 0.0 pips. However, it is worth noting that spreads can vary depending on market conditions, liquidity, and the platform you trade on.

When it comes to trading instruments, Pepperstone provides an extensive range, including over 70 currency pairs and other assets such as indices, commodities, and cryptocurrencies. This variety allows you to diversify your trading portfolio and access multiple opportunities across different market sectors.

To ensure a seamless trading experience, Pepperstone also offers a user-friendly trading app that you can download on your mobile devices. This enables you to trade on the go, manage your positions and monitor the markets from the palm of your hand.

In summary, Pepperstone maintains high levels of trust and reliability, demonstrated by its impressive Trust Score of 95 out of 99. Offering a wide range of trading assets, competitive spreads and commission structures, as well as access to leading trading platforms and mobile applications, Pepperstone is undoubtedly an excellent choice to meet your trading needs.

In-depth Review of BlackBull Markets

BlackBull Markets is an ECN forex broker offering competitive trading conditions and a diverse range of financial instruments. In this section, we will explore the key features of BlackBull Markets to help you decide if this broker is a good fit for your trading needs.

BlackBull Markets is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of Seychelles, ensuring a secure and reliable trading environment. With a Tier-1 authorisation (Highly Trusted) and an overall Trust Score of 77 out of 99, BlackBull Markets is considered an average risk for trading.

As an ECN broker, BlackBull Markets provides direct access to the foreign exchange markets for fast execution and lower spreads. The broker offers competitive spreads from 0.1 pips and a commission of $6 per round turn, which is in line with other top ECN brokers.

You can trade a wide range of financial instruments, including more than 60 currency pairs, as well as commodities, indices, and cryptocurrencies. BlackBull Markets also stands out among its competitors with over 23,000 equity CFDs and access to direct share dealing from 80+ global stock exchanges.

The trading platform provided by BlackBull Markets is the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4), which offers an intuitive interface and robust trading tools for both beginner and experienced traders. Additionally, the broker offers its clients access to a variety of advanced trading tools for enhanced market analysis and decision-making.

With BlackBull Markets, you can take advantage of their high-frequency market (HFM) data feed for accelerated and accurate price information. This helps improve your trading experience and increases the chances of making informed trading decisions.

To summarise, BlackBull Markets is a reputable ECN forex broker regulated by the FSA, offering competitive trading conditions and a wide range of financial instruments. The broker provides traders with access to MetaTrader 4, advanced trading tools, and a high-frequency market data feed for improved trading efficiency.

Detailed Inspection of Vantage

As a forex trader, Vantage is an attractive option due to its highly trusted status and regulatory framework. Vantage is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) which ensures a high level of financial security for your funds. The broker offers both MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 trading platforms, giving you the choice to use the one that suits your trading style best.

When starting your journey with Vantage, you’ll be pleased to know that there is no minimum deposit requirement. This allows you to begin trading with a comfortable amount for your financial situation and risk tolerance. In terms of fees, Vantage has competitive forex spreads – the average spread for the EUR/USD currency pair is 1.4 pips.

One of the key features you’ll want to consider is leverage. Vantage offers a maximum leverage of up to 500:1 for professional clients, and 30:1 for retail clients as per FCA regulations. This gives you sufficient flexibility in your trading, whether you’re aiming for higher profits or looking for a more conservative approach.

As an ECN broker, Vantage focuses on providing fast and precise execution for your trades. Their ECN (Electronic Communication Network) infrastructure connects you directly with liquidity providers, allowing for better market prices and faster order processing. This is especially important if you’re a scalper or a high-frequency trader looking for the best possible trading conditions.

When it comes to commissions, Vantage offers competitive rates which depend on the type of account you choose. Their ECN account features a commission of $3 per lot per side, while their STP account operates on a commission-free model with slightly wider spreads.

Lastly, funding your Vantage account is straightforward, offering multiple payment options such as bank wire transfers, credit/debit cards, and e-wallets like Neteller and Skrill. Withdrawals are generally fast and easy, and non-trading fees are lower when compared to some competitors.

In summary, Vantage offers a comprehensive trading experience with its trusted regulatory framework, advanced trading platforms (MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5), competitive fees, and flexible leverage options. Coupled with their ECN infrastructure, Vantage is a solid choice for forex traders seeking a reliable and efficient trading environment.

Thorough Assessment of AvaTrade

AvaTrade is a well-regulated ECN forex broker, holding licenses from various regulatory bodies such as FSCA, ASIC, IIROC, FSC, FSA, and CBI. This impressive regulation makes AvaTrade a secure and trustworthy broker for your trading needs.

When it comes to trading platforms, AvaTrade provides support for the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platforms, giving you a choice between the two depending on your preferences. Both platforms are available as desktop versions and as mobile trading apps, enabling you to trade on the go.

In addition to offering a secure and reliable trading environment, AvaTrade also provides comprehensive research resources to assist you in making informed trading decisions. They offer various research tools such as market news, trading signals, and economic calendars. The broker aims to cater to both beginner and experienced traders with their extensive educational materials and resources.

AvaTrade’s fee structure is quite fair, with competitive spreads and no commission charges on their standard accounts. The specific spreads you’ll encounter depend on the type of account and instrument you choose to trade. While trading CFDs, the spreads will vary based on the underlying asset and market conditions. This broker offers fixed spreads, providing more certainty for your trading costs.

One of AvaTrade’s highlights is its wide range of instruments, which includes forex, commodities, indices, stocks, and cryptocurrencies, all available as CFDs. When trading with AvaTrade, you have access to an extensive selection of trading instruments, allowing you to diversify your portfolio.

AvaTrade focuses on providing a seamless and user-friendly trading experience through its proprietary trading platform, AvaOptions. This platform offers an advanced level of customisation and risk management tools, meeting the needs of both beginners and seasoned traders. Additionally, you can trade forex, indices, equities, and crypto using the MT4 or MT5 platforms.

To summarise, AvaTrade is a highly regulated, secure, and trustworthy broker with a competitive fee structure and an impressive range of trading instruments. Their trading platforms, both proprietary and third-party, cater to the needs of different traders. Furthermore, AvaTrade’s research and educational resources ensure you are well-informed and prepared to navigate the markets confidently.

Intricate Evaluation of XM

XM is a well-regulated forex broker, providing you with a secure and reliable trading environment. The company is overseen by multiple international regulators, ensuring that your funds are protected and trading practices are fair.

One advantage of trading with XM is the low minimum deposit requirement, which makes it accessible for all traders. You can start trading with a minimum deposit of just $5, ideal for beginners looking to dip their toes into forex trading.

XM offers popular trading platforms such as MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), providing you with a user-friendly and feature-rich environment for your trading activities. Multiple currencies are supported, allowing you to trade a diverse range of markets, from major currencies to exotics.

In addition to forex trading, XM also provides opportunities to trade cryptocurrencies and engage in stock trading. This versatility makes XM a suitable choice for traders interested in branching out and exploring various markets.

When it comes to spreads, XM operates on a spread-only model, which means you pay no commission. The spreads are competitive, providing you with favourable trading conditions. However, it’s essential to take into account any additional fees and charges that may be incurred, such as overnight financing and inactivity fees.

One aspect to consider is the availability of a user-friendly and responsive trading platform. With XM, you can access trading resources and execute trades seamlessly, ensuring an efficient trading experience.

In conclusion, XM is a legitimate and well-regulated forex broker that offers competitive spreads, a low minimum deposit, and access to popular trading platforms. If you are looking for a reliable broker to diversify your trading options and experience user-friendly trading conditions, XM could be a suitable choice.

Comparison of Selected Forex Brokers

As you explore the world of forex trading, it’s essential to have an understanding of the top ECN forex brokers. In this section, we’ll compare five well-known brokers: Pepperstone, Blackbull, Vantage, AvaTrade, and XM. Additionally, we’ll mention a few other notable brokers throughout the discussion where relevant.

Pepperstone is highly regarded in the industry, with a Trust Score of 95 out of 99. They offer razor accounts with ECN-like pricing, featuring 0.0 pip spreads on selected major and minor pairs. Commissions amount to $3.50 per traded lot, per side. There is no minimum deposit requirement at Pepperstone, and they provide multiple payment options.

BlackBull Markets has a Trust Score of 77 out of 99, categorising them as average risk. They have a broad asset selection with over 23,000 equity CFDs and 60+ currency pairs. Limited cryptocurrency pairs are also available. Like Pepperstone, they offer spreads from 0 pips.

Vantage is another broker with competitive trading conditions, offering a range of forex pairs with tight spreads and low commissions. They provide access to a wide variety of ECN trading platforms and have garnered a reputation for excellent customer support.

AvaTrade focuses on providing a user-friendly trading experience, allowing users to trade a variety of assets, including forex, commodities, and cryptocurrencies, on their proprietary platform. They offer competitive spreads, with support for MetaTrader 4 and 5.

XM is known for its range of trading instruments, including forex, indices, commodities, and cryptocurrencies. They offer spreads as low as 0.1 pips, an extensive education centre, and support for MetaTrader 4 and 5.

While considering these brokers, you may also want to explore other options in the market, such as FP MarketsIC MarketsEightCapFINACOMTickmillFOREX.comInteractive BrokersFXTMeToroOandaRoboForexMultiBank, and HYCM. Each of these brokers has its unique features and offerings, so you’ll want to thoroughly research and compare them to find the best fit for your trading needs.

Customer Service and Education

As a forex trader seeking the best ECN brokers, you should also consider the quality of customer service and educational resources provided. Each of these brokers offers a wide range of support services and materials to help you with your trading journey.

Pepperstone prides itself on its award-winning customer support, which includes 24/5 live chat, email, and phone support. You’ll find an extensive library of forex education resources on their website, including webinars, market analysis, strategy guides, and an economic calendar to keep you updated on key market events.

Blackbull Markets also delivers excellent customer service, providing multiple channels for problem resolution and trading-related enquiries. They offer educational materials in the form of articles, news updates, and technical analysis. Although their forex education offering may not be as comprehensive as some competitors, their research tools and economic calendar can be valuable for your trading strategies.

Vantage ensures that you have access to professional customer support via live chat, email or phone, and educational resources in the form of video tutorials, webinars, market analysis, and trading tools. The Vantage Academy offers a wide range of courses and educational materials, ensuring you have a clear understanding of forex trading fundamentals and advanced strategies.

AvaTrade boasts a dedicated customer service team available 24/5, with multiple contact channels, including live chat, email, phone, and even social media. Their educational offering is strong, featuring a comprehensive trading academy that includes video tutorials, articles, eBooks, webinars, and market analysis from industry experts. Additionally, AvaTrade also offers a set of trading tools, including an economic calendar, to help you stay ahead in the market.

XM is known for its excellent 24/5 customer support, featuring live chat, email, and telephone services to assist you in various languages. Their educational offerings cater to both beginners and experienced traders, covering a range of topics such as webinars, video tutorials, market analysis, and an economic calendar. Furthermore, XM offers various research and analysis tools to enhance your trading experience.

In conclusion, each of these ECN forex brokers provides a high standard of customer service and educational resources. Be sure to explore their offerings to find the best fit for your trading requirements and goals.

Trading Platforms and Tools

When choosing a top ECN forex broker, it’s essential to consider the trading platforms and tools they offer. Familiarising yourself with the available platforms and their features can significantly impact your trading experience.

Pepperstone provides a variety of trading platforms, including the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), as well as cTrader. These platforms cater to different trading styles and strategies, with advanced charting tools and a user-friendly interface. Pepperstone’s trading platforms are available on desktop and mobile devices, ensuring you can trade on the go with ease.

BlackBull Markets also offers MT4 and MT5, along with TradingView for charting and analysis. They have integrated the Autochartist plugin, which enhances your trading experience by providing actionable trading signals. Their platforms are accessible via desktop and mobile, with a trading app available for both iOS and Android devices.

Vantage supports both MT4 and MT5, enabling you to choose the platform that best suits your trading needs. They offer various trading tools, including advanced charting, customisable indicators, and one-click trading. Vantage also has a mobile trading app, making it convenient for you to monitor your positions and execute trades from anywhere.

AvaTrade boasts a range of trading platforms, including MT4, MT5, and their own proprietary platform, AvaTradeGO. This platform provides a user-friendly interface, advanced charting capabilities, and a set of customisable trading tools, perfect for beginners and experienced traders alike. Their platforms are available on desktop and mobile devices, allowing you to trade from any location.

XM primarily uses MT4 and MT5 for their trading platforms, known for their advanced features and customisation options. With XM, traders can benefit from a range of trading tools such as technical indicators, automated trading systems, and advanced charting functionality. For those who prefer trading on the move, XM also offers mobile trading apps compatible with iOS and Android devices.

In short, the best ECN forex brokers ensure that you have access to a variety of trading platforms and tools, making your trading experience more efficient and adaptable to your preferences. Be sure to explore the offerings of each broker and select the one that fits your trading style and needs.

Trading Fees, Commissions and Spreads

When choosing the best ECN Forex brokers, it’s essential to consider trading fees, commissions, and spreads, as these can impact your overall trading experience and profitability. In this section, we’ll discuss these aspects for the top brokers, including Pepperstone, Blackbull, Vantage, AvaTrade, and XM.

Pepperstone is known for its ultra-tight forex spreads with commission fees at $7 per round turn. The Standard account offers zero commissions, and spreads start at 1.0 pips for EUR/USD.

Blackbull offers a competitive pricing model, providing tight spreads as low as 0.1 pips with no dealing desk. Their commission fee is $6 per round turn for the ECN Pro account.

Vantage boasts highly competitive forex spreads, starting from 0.0 pips for the Raw ECN account. Commissions are $6 per lot (round turn) for the Raw ECN account, while the Standard STP account has no commission fees.

AvaTrade presents two pricing models, one with fixed spreads and the other with floating spreads. The fixed spreads start at 0.9 pips for major currency pairs, while the floating spreads start at 0.7 pips. No commissions are charged on trades for retail clients.

XM offers both variable spreads and fixed spreads. The variable spreads start at 0.1 pips for major forex pairs, and no commissions are charged on the XM Zero account. Meanwhile, fixed spreads start at 1.7 pips for the Standard and Micro accounts.

It’s worth noting that some brokers may also charge an inactivity fee if your account remains dormant for a specific period. Make sure to go through each broker’s fee structure to understand better the costs associated with your preferred trading style and platform.

In summary, considering trading fees, commissions, and spreads while selecting an ECN Forex broker is crucial for your success in the market. By understanding how each broker’s pricing model works, you can make a more informed decision that aligns with your trading preferences and overall strategy.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

In your journey to find the best ECN forex brokers, you have explored several options, including Pepperstone, Blackbull, Vantage, AvaTrade, and XM. Each of these brokers offers a unique combination of features that cater to various trading needs.

As you evaluate forex trading platforms, consider the importance of social trading capabilities. Some brokers, like eToro, provide seamless integration with social trading features. By incorporating social trading into your strategy, you can benefit from the insights and expertise of fellow traders.

When it comes to ECN brokers, pay attention to commissions, leverage, and execution quality. Some brokers offer competitive commission structures and high leverage, allowing you to maximise your trading potential. Additionally, efficient execution can greatly impact your overall trading experience.

For a diverse trading portfolio, examine the range of financial instruments available across the top forex brokers. Look for those offering a wide variety of stocks, CFDs, futures, and other trading instruments. The availability of options like SFC-regulated instruments or an IRA account might be useful for expanding your investment horizons.

Regulation should also be of paramount importance in your decision-making process. Ensure that the broker you choose is subject to stringent regulatory oversight by reputable authorities to guarantee the security of your funds. For United States-based traders, verify that the broker complies with local regulations.

Lastly, consider the ease of mobile trading as well as the resources and tools available on the platform. This will help you make informed decisions and successfully navigate the dynamic world of forex trading. By carefully considering these factors, you should be well on your way to selecting the best ECN broker that suits your individual trading needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Blackbull Markets compare with Vantage FX for ECN trading?

Blackbull Markets and Vantage FX are both highly trusted ECN brokers. Vantage FX has an overall Trust Score of 90 out of 99, while Pepperstone holds a Trust Score of 95 out of 99. While both offer competitive pricing, it’s essential to compare their platforms, trading tools, and customer support to determine which broker better suits your specific trading goals and preferences.

What makes AvaTrade’s ECN account stand out?

AvaTrade offers an ECN account that provides traders with tight spreads, fast execution, and access to deep liquidity. This enables you to trade on market-leading prices while improving your overall trading experience. Additionally, AvaTrade also offers an intuitive trading platform, a wide range of trading instruments, and professional customer support to match its ECN account offering.

Is XM’s ECN account suitable for high-frequency trading?

XM’s ECN account provides excellent trading conditions with tight spreads, low latency, and fast execution. These conditions are ideal for high-frequency trading strategies, such as scalping. Additionally, XM supports MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms, which are widely used by high-frequency traders due to their customizability, advanced charting tools, and access to Expert Advisors (EAs).

Which factors should I consider when choosing an ECN forex broker?

When choosing an ECN forex broker, consider factors such as regulation and trustworthiness, trading conditions (spreads, commissions, and execution speed), supported trading platforms, the range of available trading instruments, available leverage, customer support, and the broker’s educational resources. It’s vital to select a broker that caters to your specific trading needs and preferences while providing a secure and transparent trading environment.

How do I determine the authenticity of an ECN broker?

To determine the authenticity of an ECN broker, check their regulatory status by verifying their licence with the relevant financial authorities in their jurisdiction. Additionally, do thorough research on their offerings, look for online reviews from professional traders and industry experts, and examine their trading conditions, such as spreads and order execution. Test their platform with a demo account before committing to real trading to ensure a genuine ECN trading experience.

What are the main advantages of using Pepperstone as an ECN broker?

Pepperstone is a top-rated forex broker offering ECN-like pricing. They provide razor accounts with 0.0 pip spreads on selected major and minor currency pairs. The commissions amount to $3.50 per traded lot, per side. Additionally, there’s no minimum deposit requirement with Pepperstone, and they support multiple payment types, making them a convenient choice for various traders.

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Chad Smith

Chad Smith is the Director of Research & Analysis here at ForexBrokerListing.com. Chad previously served as an Editor for a number of websites related to finance and trading, where he authored a significant number of published articles about trading and the impact of technology in transforming investing as we know it. Overall, Chad is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher with more than 15 years of trading experience, and you can find him teaching his dog how to trade in his free time.

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