A market maker is a firm, usually a brokerage firm, who actively quotes two-sided markets in a particular security, providing bids and offers (“asks”) along with the market size of each. Market makers provide liquidity and depth to markets and profit from the difference in the bid-ask spread.
Each market maker displays buy and sell quotations for a guaranteed number of shares. Once the market maker receives an order from a buyer, they immediately sell off their position of shares from their own inventory. This allows them to complete the order. In short, market making facilitates a smoother flow of financial markets by making it easier for investors and traders to buy and sell. Without market making, there may be insufficient transactions and fewer investment activities.
A market maker must commit to continuously quoting prices at which it will buy and sell securities. Market makers must also quote the volume in which they’re willing to trade along with the frequency of time they will quote at the best bid and best offer prices.« Back to Glossary Index