In the last decade the spread betting market has developed and changed, almost beyond recognition as the market matures and develops, making finding the best spread betting companies an even more difficult task. In the last decade many new entrants have joined the market, expanding the range of products available, and with some spread betting companies now diversifying into binary betting and fixed odds, the opportunities for trading are growing all the time, with competing services overlapping and blurring the edges of spread betting techniques. Added to this, many of the large forex brokers are now entering the market, with the most recent being FXCM which has now acquired ODL Securities in London to further expand its spread betting platform and client base. At the same time, the spread betting industry as a whole is now firmly regulated, ensuring that the risks and dangers of spread betting are fully explained, and as a result, all spread betting firms now offer variety of free training courses and seminars, along with a plethora of trading tools and market reports to help you in your trades. Without exception, the key word is education, and coupled with increased competition amongst the financial spread betting companies, this is all good news for you as a potential client. So let’s look at all the spread betting companies currently available. All these companies offer the usual range of markets including shares, stocks, commodities, forex, indices and bonds, so unless there is something particularly interesting to note, then I will leave the markets as being self explanatory for the purposes of this review.

IG Index

Igindex – one of the oldest of the spread betting companies, which started life in 1974, having been founded by Stuart Wheeler who saw the opportunity to develop a market spread betting gold. Since then, the company has become IG Group which incorporates IG Index and IG Markets. IG Group is a publicly listed company on the London Stock Exchange with the ticker IGG.L. The company employs around 600 worldwide with offices in London, the Far East, and Australia, with new offices planned for Europe soon. The company offers spread betting 24 hours a day, on their PureDeal trading platform which is browser based and also mobile compatible for IPhone and Palm Pre, and the company has recently introduced an IPhone dealing service for its mobile clients. The company offers a limited risk trading option, where downside risk is limited, but upside profits remain unlimited – an interesting and unique feature. For index betting, the FTSE 100 is quoted even when underlying markets are closed. The minimum bet size is £1 per point with a deposit margin between 10% and 75% with no account minimum. A demo account is available. Finally, IG Index have also recently introduced binary betting to their platform and I have included the link here – the first of many no doubt as the binary betting and options markets begin to expand into the spread betting world. The Reuters news feed is standard within the trading platform.

City Index

Like IG index, City Index has been around for many years having started life in 1983. In the last decade the company has made significant changes  both in terms of product range and also company acquisition, adding CFD trading to its portfolio in 2001, and buying Finspreads, IF Markets and finally FX Solutions in 2008. City index is now part of Intercapital Private Group which includes Garban Intercapital, all part of ICAP plc a FSTE 100 company. The trading platform is browser based once again, and mobile compatible. There is a financial spread betting demo account available, with no minimum deposit required. The company provides 24 hour dealing, and the margin deposit is between 10% and 100%, with a minimum bet size of £1.

CMC Markets

CMC markets is part of the CMC group, and has been around since 1989, having been founded by Peter Cruddas, who is still actively involved with the company. Goldman Sachs have recently bought a share in the company which employs over 1000 people worldwide. Their trading platform is available in three different versions, namely browser based, desktop or mobile, but interestingly the company does not offer a demo account, and to open an account there is a minimum deposit of £200 required. The margin deposit is between 1% and 20% and the minimum bet size is £1. The company offers 24 hour trading, and at present has some financial spread betting promotions, including 5 days of ‘risk free trading‘ ! – there are strings attached but worth a look anyway – the link is here.

Capital Spreads

Capital spreads - Of all the spread betting companies listed here, I find Capital Spreads the most interesting. The company has been around since 1996, but really only entered the spread betting market in 2003 and is now part of London Capital Group, which also acquired Prospreads in 2008. The reason that I find them interesting is simply that they have developed a unique and low risk approach to the spread betting market, which I believe is both revolutionary and visionary. In simple terms the company only allows its client to bet with an automatic stop loss on every trade, minimizing losses as a result. In addition 20% of your funds are ring fenced to protect the position further. Now many in the spread betting forums dislike this practice – personally I think it is an excellent trading system for spread betting. However, if you are a professional trader the company also offers Prospreads, with some unique trading opportunities for large size traders. The company offer 24 hour trading, a demo account is available and there is no minimum deposit required with deposit margins of between 3% and 15%.

FXCM

FXCM – a big player in the Forex spot market and now building its financial spread betting uk base with the recent acquisition of ODL Securities in London. The portfolio is rather limited at present, although of course a wide range of currency pairs are available. At present it is not clear which trading platform will be adopted as the two companies integrate their IT function. One big plus for FXCM is that they offer a no dealing desk execution service for their clients, so you are not trading against the broker.

The above five represent the major spread betting companies currently in the UK. They are not necessarily the best, but they are the biggest with long track records and plenty of capital behind them, so they are considered a good bet financially! Below are all the other spread betting companies which currently make up the rest of the market:

  • GFT - another company that has come from the world of FX. However, where GFT differs from FXCM is in its portfolio of products which are extremely wide and include equities ( unlike FXCM at present). The spreads quoted by GFT are also very low at a minimum of 0.3 per point/pip. They have recently introduced an interesting new product which is the VIX , which provides trading opportunities in hedging with equities and other indices. The trading platform is available both in desktop and browser versions.
  • Prospreads ( now owned by Capital Spreads) – the platform for professional traders with a professional direct dealing platform to match. Large deal size only.
  • Finspreads the company started in 1999, and was subsequently acquired by IFX Group in 2002, with IFX then acquired itself by City Index in 2006.
  • Intertraderthe company is in fact owned by PartyGaming, a FTSE 250 company and runs its operation under the London Capital Group label. The company offers its spread betting clients a unique service which is a loyalty scheme, which in effect reduces the spreads, providing a rebate of up to 10%.
  • Cantor Indexpart of the Cantor Fitzgerald group. The company has been around for 50 years with a 10 year track record in the spread betting industry. They have tried various markets over the years, but have recently gone back to their roots in the financial markets.
  • MF Global Spreads - another of the US companies – this one is part of MF Global Holdings which is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange. They do welcome small bets but don’t actually say what size so you will need to check with them direct. They also have a spread betting promotion at present which is a free bet on the FTSE 100 which lasts for a day – as always conditions apply but worth a look!
  • Delta IndexOne of several Irish spread betting companies which are relatively small compared to the others above. Interestingly they also offer contracts for difference as part of their product portfolio. Remember that these companies are not regulated by the FSA.
  • Worldspreads LimitedFollowing a recent management buyout the company is now called MarketSpreads – a very small player which started in Ireland in 200, and employs around 30 people. Like Delta Index the company offers CFD’s along with the spread betting products.
  • Pan IndexAnother of the Irish companies which offers 24 hour trading as it specialises in the Far East markets.
  • ODL – now owned by FXCM
  • Spread Co – a new player to the spread betting market
  • Etrade spread bettingnow owned by TD Waterhouse
  • ETX Capital - the company has been around for over 40 years, having originally started life as Monecor. The company offers a wide range of products and services including Contracts for Difference.
  • Shortsandlongs – one of the new breed of spread betting companies and one I particularly like as they offer a FREE guaranteed stop loss with all their trades. The company is owned by Spreadex so has the pedigree of this company backing it – well worth a look although the web site is an interesting color!
  • Spreadexa spread betting company with a long pedigree and one which has strong roots in both sports and financial spread betting.
  • PaddyPowerTrader – the last of the Irish companies and one that has been around in the sports betting world for many years and is quoted on the London Stock Exchange. The financial spread betting platform is another from the London Capital Group stable.

I hope you find the above list helpful and if you would like more details on all the above spread betting companies then simply follow the link here for a more exhaustive analysis and information on each company. Finally may I wish you very succes with your financial spread betting, and please do keep in touch as I enjoy hearing from all my regular readers, and thank you for visiting my site -  kind regards Anna