A quick note for UK-based readers who are using spread betting to try to profit from shares or other financial instruments.
I noticed in yesterday’s City A.M. newspaper here in London that the new-ish spread betting website shortsandlongs.com is offering £300 if you switch your existing spread betting account to them.
Another attraction is they claim to provide free guaranteed stops.
As I wrote in the first part of my look at stop losses last week, spread betting companies usually charge you extra for setting guaranteed stops, which is annoying as guaranteed stops have a definite role to play in preventing losses mounting when a price surprisingly ‘gaps down’.
Shortsandlongs.com was launched last Autumn, but it’s actually the property of a long-established spread betting firm called SpreadEx.
My own (dormant and little used) spread betting account is with another provider, and I’m contemplating doing the switch and documenting a few weeks of trading here on Monevator
Why? Well, some enthusiasts suggest that spread betting is a better way for private investors to take positions in stocks these days, especially if you’re a shorter-term trader (I’m not!).
The chief advantage is you don’t pay capital gains tax (though equally you cannot offset losses). There’s also the chance to employ leverage for the daredevils.
More sober investors seek to use leverage to gear up a small spreadbetting position but keep enough cash in a quick access savings account to cover the interest bill and any margin calls.
Spread betting carries a high risk to your capital and can result in you losing more than your stake. Do not start trading on the back of this post! You need to do lots of research for yourself, and if required talk to advisers. I cannot and will not take responsibility for any readers’ actions.
Sorry to be blunt, but I just wanted to let you guys know about the offer – I don’t want anyone starting spread betting on the basis of this post. While I understand the principles and risks, I’m a novice to spread betting myself.