Financial Markets

A financial market is any marketplace where buyers and sellers participate in trading financial assets such as equities, bonds, currencies and derivatives. Banks interact with the markets every day and are at the centre of many transactions.  

Market Overview
Financial markets can be found in nearly every nation in the world - some trade trillions of dollars a day. Usually the market forces of supply and demand determine the prices of the securities that are traded. However, not all markets operate in exactly the same way. Some financial markets only allow participants that meet certain criteria, others are less regulated. Some trade through a central exchange, others do not.

Stock Exchanges
Stock exchanges are places where companies' shares, bonds and other securities are issued and traded to the public. Stock exchanges are highly regulated and only those which meet strict criteria can list or trade. Brokers, who interact with stock exchanges, are often employed by banks. They can assist companies to issue stocks and trade securities.

The Foreign Exchange Market (Forex)
The Forex is the global financial market where currencies are bought and sold. Unlike stock exchanges, the Forex is not highly regulated and traders deal with each other directly using online platforms (like websites) rather than at a central exchange. The banks are the biggest users of the Forex because they operate all over the world and have to make transactions in many different currencies.