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A trader is a person who buys and sells financial assets in any financial market intending to benefit from trading operations. A trader mainly differs from an investor by time horizon as a trader would hold assets for a shorter period of time and tries to capitalise on short-term trends.
Traders are either professionals working in a financial institution or a corporation for salary or contractually agreed bonus, or self-employed individuals. They buy and sell financial instruments traded in the stock markets, derivatives markets and commodity markets, comprising the stock exchanges, derivatives exchanges and the commodities exchanges. Many fresh investors turn to Forex market in hopes of making a quick fortune. Unfortunately, the prevailing majority of these individuals fail to turn a significant profit and even lose money, having no clear trading strategy to match their personality and trading goals. However, an increasing number of highly competitive discount brokerages make this cost less of an issue, while electronic trading platforms have tightened spreads in the foreign exchange market. Another obstacle that can get in the trader’s way is disadvantageous tax treatment of short-term capital gains in some countries.
The largest players in the Forex market are institutions, or institutional traders, and investors. Institutional money accounts for the majority of Forex trading, estimated to be approximately 94.5% of the market volume. Large financial institutions tend to provide a trading environment for traders to buy and sell a wide range of products on behalf of the company. Each trader is given a contracted limit of a position they can take, the position's maximum maturity and how much of a mark-to-market loss they can have before a position must be closed out. In this case, the company has the underlying risk and keeps most of the profit, while the trader receives a salary and bonuses. Most individual traders have their own account and trade from a home office, employ a discount broker and use electronic trading platforms. Their limits depend only on their own cash and credit, and if they make a profit, they can keep all of it for themselves.
An individual or a company that executes a trade at lower prices than full-service brokerage price, but provides no investment advice is called Discount Broker. Previously, when the internet was not available to everyone, only wealth traders could afford broker service and participate in currency trading on the stock market. However, working with a discount brokerage can provide cheaper access to investments. This can lead to better decisions and bigger profits. At the same time, investors cannot get as much of a detailed service as they would with a full-service brokerage. Many discount brokers offer margin accounts that allow the customer to use leverage to purchase securities. This means the account holder can take a loan from the broker to make investments.
A trading platform, also known as an online trading platform, or an electronic trading platform, is a computer software program used to match currency buyers and sellers in the spot and execute transactions within the financial markets. Forex platforms allow traders to register to the trading world and follow the rules set by financial institutions. This type of software allows an individual to place orders for various investment means through a financial intermediary such as a bank, broker, or exchange.
Short-term capital gains have a big disadvantage as they are taxed at a regular income tax rate. Long-term capital gains on most items are taxed at either 0%, 15%, or 20% and require the underlying instrument be held for a minimum of one year.