The Inside Scoop into Finspreads...

Finspreads was set up in March 1999 by a team of six people with considerable experience in financial spread betting. Initially, backing was provided by Sporting Index, the biggest and most successful sports spread betting company in the UK. In May 2002, Sporting Index decided to concentrate on their core business and sold Finspreads to IFX Group PLC.

Mid-2006 IFX Markets (which operates Finspreads) was acquired by City Index in their quest to consolidate their position in the industry (Finspreads having a significant client base...) and expand their business horizons and thereby both City Index and Finspreads are now subsidiaries of City Index Holdings Ltd. The two companies are now under the same roof and share the same office floor and systems so although retaining the is all City Index driven. In addition to spread betting, IFX deals in FOREX, CFD's and commodities. The Group is a member of the FSA, and, for the purpose of spread betting, holds a bookmakers' license..

Newcomers who require (or think they could endure) a step-by-step guide to spread betting and who initially only want to dabble in small stakes might consider taking out an account with Finspreads. Finspreads, now part of the City Index group, claims to have well over 35,000 clients on its books making well over one million trades a year.

Clients can join on-line or by downloading an application form from the website and as usual the account is set up on either a debit or credit basis. You can open a spread betting account with as little as £100 with Finspreads, but you do need more in reality, I would think a minimum of £500. At Finspreads you can trade from as little as 50p a cent move, which is the approximate equivalent of 50 shares. Once up and running clients receive a weekly statement of all trades which have either closed or expired naturally.

As with most applications for a spread betting credit account, be prepared to contend with the necessary paperwork. Supporting documentation from other financial arrangements is required to prove you are worthy of operating such an arrangement. Finspreads offers a wide array of financial markets on which to have a spread bet either on-line or over the phone.

The majority of popular markets are available to spreadbet, as are all the stocks in the FTSE 100, 250, 350 and many other UK companies. We note that Finspreads currently quotes hundreds of US shares, including the 30 Dow Jones stocks and a large number of NASDAQ 100 and S&P 500 shares. You can also bet on the top stocks from Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, France and Switzerland. Indices, currency pairs and commodities are also available as spread betting markets, with indices being very popular bets. Included also in the market information sheet are bond and interest rates and commodities (including London wheat and, more intriguingly, US lean hogs, oats, corn, rice and soya). The next time a farmer complains about falling prices, make his day by pointing this out. Finspreads seem to push 'approachability' as one of their selling points - maybe more so than narrow spreads.

When clients make an initial application they also have the option of joining the Finspreads Trading Academy. This is an eight week patronizing course which, Finspreads says, is intended to help clients get a better understanding of spread betting. During the period, course notes are sent to clients through the post on various aspects of trading. Catch one of Sandy Jadeja's free sessions (note that this is really a plug for his course, as he gives you snippets from his full price course, all on Fib ratios) and you'll come away with a trading strategy, which has the potential to work (although you do need experience and still have to learn, patience, discipline...etc).

Applicants who take up this offer are allowed to make the bulk of their trades at 10p per point online (rather than the usual 50p per point) through the learning period as a means of limiting initial risks. The offer does not cover FTSE 350 shares, however, where the minimum bet stands at £3 per point. Note also that you can't place stops at this level, you have to go to 50p/point for that. You can open an account with them for £100 although £200 might be more appropriate, which is quite enough for rolling bets of 50 pence per point. If you lose that £200, think hard before adding more. If starting in this way remember not to count the pennies but the points... And do keep in mind that they don't really want bets under the £1 point level although they have never objected to my 10 pence bets (they cost more for them to admin than they can make). As a general rule, it is also worth noting that Finspreads imposes a higher trading minimum for its telephone bets (£2 per point and £3 in the FTSE 350) compared with internet transactions (50p per point).

They are an important investment tool. Losses are unlimited if you sit there like a chump running your losses forever and a day. You can always cut that position and take that loss. People do lose money because they do watch their positions go worse and worse and worse in the hope that things are going to improve. Sometimes, they have to just take their medicine and close that position.

Patrick Latchford - Managing Director at Finspreads (on stop losses)

General Points

  1. Platform is flash based.
  2. Full limits including 'guaranteed stop losses' are available.
  3. Buy or sell the share price of any company with a market value of over £50m in the UK, @ 100m in Europe and $1b in the US.
  4. Education: Training Academy Manual (explains about spreadbetting and how to use their platform). Can trade at 10pp during the initial 8 weeks.
  5. With Finspreads you can also place and adjust your stops anywhere (within limits) however they do not allow you to move too close normally approx 10%. Guaranteed stops can be applied when either selling or buying Indices (such as FTSE, Wall St, Standard & Poors and NASDAQ) and non-tech shares in the FTSE 100.
  6. As I have just stated above guaranteed stops are available on FTSE 100 equities, most indices and commodities and can be placed for an additional small charge. These charges will differ from stock to stock and market to market but you can find the required information using the ( i ) button next to the corresponding market. Generally you will find it is twice the stake on that position meaning that for instance if you had a £5.00 position on this market the charge for a guaranteed stop would be £10.00. Finspreads seem to charge 5 pips for guaranteed stops with a minimum stop distance of 50 pips for FX pairs.
  7. For rolling equity spread bets financing is charged at 2.5% over LIBOR if long and -2.50% under LIBOR if short. Note also that in the event of a short position's calculation producing a figure below zero (i.e LIBOR is lower is at a lower rate than what Finspreads charge), you will be charged this figure, rather than credited.
  8. For rolling currency bets, the daily financing is calculated by using the one day interest rate differentials for the two currencies concerned. Finspreads then apply the market rate premium or discount, together with their overnight charge which will have a minimum or maximum amount. Effectively, you receive financing if you have bought the currency with the higher interest rate or pay financing if you have bought the currency with the lower interest rate. The financing posting/adjustment will be made in one currency.
  9. Finspreads currently offers binary betting on the FTSE, Dow and oil price. Limit orders are available on these markets meaning that you can open positions at pre-determined levels or to lock in profits.
  10. White-label versions of Finspreads include iii and Self Trade.

Comparing some Popular Market Spreads at Finspreads

Shares: Varies by share price
FTSE 100: 2 points
Wall Street: 4 points
EUR/USD: 2 points
GBP/USD: 3 points

Good Points

  1. Good flash-based platform ideal if you are a beginner.
  2. The Finspreads Trading Academy will allow you to trade at a minimum of 10p per point for the first 8 weeks on all products except for FTSE 350 stocks after which you can trade 50pp +
  3. Very easy-to-use dealing platform allowing you to place an order, stop and limit on one ticket. You can also link tickets so you can hedge within a channel and OCO. Can also place stop losses out of hours.
  4. Spreads are okay but generally wider than some other spread betting firms. I find them particularly good for USA commodities.
  5. A new auto-rollover function allows clients to roll over their futures contracts at expiry by simply clicking on a button. Other nice features include the scope to view all the open positions in a particular contract separately or in aggregate, and to be able to close them in any order, regardless of when they were opened.
  6. Charting package (available only to clients) includes heat maps for in-depth analysis and monitoring of the live movement of Finspreads prices with tick charts, available across all their markets. The charts allow clients to plot directors' dealings and technical indicators. Included also are companies' fundamentals, so clients can access historical financial statements and forecasts. Up-to-the-minute news is also available for account holders through Dow Jones newswires and clients can also receive a daily market information bulletin and daily text message service
  7. Finspreads publishes a useful technical analysis report on the public area of its website each Monday that highlights the important points to watch in the week ahead. There is also a calendar showing forthcoming scheduled company announcements and major economic news.
  8. Finspreads seems to be pretty good for updating markets at opening times, I am watching the opening bell most mornings and they always change at 8 on the nose.
  9. Offers regular seminars to help spread bettors learn about technical analysis - those who have attended the introduction seminar, or who have simply taught themselves the first steps in charting, can attend further seminars on intermediate and advanced technical analysis. While seminars are on a fortnightly basis in London, Finspreads also goes around the country on a quarterly basis holding them in other major cities and towns.

Bad Points

  1. Not the best spreads or margin requirements around. e.g. 10% on BP, 15% on RIO; which may not necessarily be a bad thing in the current hyper-volatile market conditions.
  2. A delay of one or two minutes is not uncommon when attempting to place an order.
  3. Reported slow filling times for orders which can work against you especially when you need to close out larger single trades. Breaking the single trade into smaller trades can help overcoming this problem. Also, there is usually a small delay between your order being executed and it showing up in your open positions but when the market is moving fast it can take several minutes. You can use a guaranteed stop to get you out of a position but not in to a position.
  4. Volatile times can lead to a 'Price Indicative'' situations meaning you can't trade ->> I do not object in any way to any spread betting firm protecting themselves in fast running markets...etc but customers should be able to access phone or internet in order to close out win or lose positions, if a genuine fault happens and phones are undermanned the firm should lay the risk and make reasonable settlements to those affected.
  5. Reports of stops getting tripped if the market gets close to your stop resulting in bad fills. Can be stopped out of trades when they should not have triggered in or out (as long as you call them this can be corrected).
  6. Reported disconnections from site. Finspreads really need to iron out platform reliability problems.

City Index versus Finspreads

Both City Index and Finspreads now share the same underlying platform. At the present time only CityIndex offers iPhone dealing, also with Finspreads one can only spread bet but with City Index you can trade both spread betting and CFDs. Finspreads may be better suited for investors that are new to spread betting as it allows you to place spreadbets for as low as 10p for the first 8 weeks. On the other hand with City Index for the first 4 weeks you can bet in stake sizes of 25p per point (via the 'Learn to Trade' programme). Margins and spreads on both platforms are identical.

Good platform for those of you starting out as it allows you to place spreadbets with lower stake sizes. News, Charts and Technical analysis tools are nice but an execution platform with data which is actually there when you need it is important too.

Finspreads, a division of City Index Ltd.
Moorgate Hall
155 Moorgate
United Kingdom

Client services and queries: 08000 96 96 20 or 020 7150 0400 (Mon-Fri: 08.00-20.00 GMT)

Trading desk: 08000 96 96 25 or 020 7150 0500 (Sun 21.30- Fri 21.15 GMT)

Illustrating Rolling Trades on the Finspreads Platform

See a very good video introduction to Finspreads by downloading the file by clicking here and open it (its in a winzip file) using your Internet Explorer (its a flash video which Microsoft Internet Explorer should be able to read). Please remember to support us by clicking on the advertiser banners - this consumes a lot of bandwidth and we need your support since everything on this site is free.

List of codes and stock names by Finspreads:

My list of codes and stock names by Finspreads.
Platform Trading Guide (pdf)
Orders Guide (pdf)
Binary Betting Guide (pdf)
Finspreads Market Information Sheets (pdf)
Share list with R.I.C. Codes (pdf) offered by Finspreads

If you are located in the UK you can request a free no obligations brochure about Finspreads and the latest products and services they offer by clicking here

Read and Write Customer Reviews about Finspreads

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