The forex market is a global market place where all claims on foreign currencies are settled. There is no physical building to house it or is there an official exchange. Most of the business is conducted between banks, but you as an individual have access to this market via brokers, on more or less the same terms as any other participant. It is close to being a 24-hour market and usually has great depth and liquidity. It is easy to start with limited capital and the brokers are willing to allow you to trade multiples of your capital. In entering into a forex trade, you have the possibility for unlimited profit. You also have the risk of unlimited loss. Very few people make a living at forex - and this is not by luck - they have worked at it and done the preparation correctly. 90% do not and they lose. If you do not go about trading in the right way, YOU WILL INEVITABLY LOSE!
In the past few years
the forex market has undergone a metamorphosis. Ten years ago, there was no Internet trading. The wholesale market was essentially a market between the banks and if you wanted to trade, you were at the mercy of what the bank wanted to quote you-spreads (the difference between buying and selling rates) was wide and the transparency or price discovery (where the actual price is) poor. The banks at that time had just started trading electronically, which in itself was a revolution.
The Internet has changed that.
A new 'strata' of operators, the FCM (Futures Commodity Merchant), or brokers have developed trading platforms (one of which was based on my 'Trader Trainer' simulation). This is truly a revolution: The normal 'retail' investor has access to almost the same spreads, the same transparency and the same liquidity as the banks, large corporates and professional investors. Free charting services are available and demo accounts to test strategies and systems. Unbelievable levels of leverage are available and real time position reporting is a reality.
In addition, innovation has led to 'derivatives' such as spread-betting and 3rd-generation options being offered and mini-accounts for the very small investor.
has there been so much opportunity to the individual trader to profit from this global dynamic market. On the other hand, the same opportunity to lose substantial amounts of money is there. The forex market is essentially unregulated (although banks, brokers, advisers and introducing brokers have to be regulated by the national regulatory body - NFA in the U.S, FSA in the United Kingdom, etc) and there are many traps to be avoided. For example, ask a professional trader what level of leverage he uses - I can tell you that it is not 100 to 1! Ask the same professional trader what is an acceptable annual return is - and that is not 100%.
What can I do for you?
If you are new to forex or trading in general, you will probably want some answers to questions you have from a source that is not trying to 'hook you up'. You will probably want to know whether you have any aptitude for trading, or at least, what you have to do to prepare yourself. Then, you probably want to know how to get started-what platform to use, how to manage your money and most importantly, the techniques that will ensure your success. You will most likely want to share your successes and undertake post-mortems on your off days.