The online world of spread betting

Web-based applications are fuelling a boom in spread betting, writes Simon Read

The latest technology is opening up spread betting to more people more of the time. With iPhone apps and similar software for other devices, such as Android and BlackBerry phones, traders can now bet whenever and wherever they want; apps for the iPad and other tablets are expected to be released this year, too.

The ability to make spread betting trades on the move means people can keep more closely in touch with markets and act more quickly when they spot opportunities. It's why the key spread betting companies are at the forefront of these advances.

"The mobile developments going on in the industry at the moment are pretty exciting," says Angus Campbell, head of sales at Capital Spreads, whose firm has just launched an iPhone app. "Mobile phones are now so sophisticated that clients can access their web-based emails and all sorts of useful programmes and information."

He says there has been a major increase in demand from people wanting to access their spread betting account on their mobile. "It's understandable. If you're a regular trader, you want to be able to monitor your positions as much as possible. It simply allows you to manage your portfolio better. The more you can keep on top of your deals, the better informed you are."

Capital Spreads is just one of many firms that have launched such apps in recent times and Campbell says they've invested in the new technology to benefit clients. "The good news is that the extra technology won't impact the cost of client dealing," he explains.

Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index, agrees that new technology is changing the way spread betters operate and helping to shape the future of the industry. "The past year has seen a gigantic leap in the advancement of mobile technology and this will undoubtedly continue to be a key theme this year that attracts new business," he says.

His firm launched its live trading iPhone app back in October 2009 and upgraded it last year to include streaming charts with multiple technical indicators and real-time news feeds.

Since then the firm has launched the trading app on Android mobiles. The move has made a massive difference, says Raymond. "Mobile trading is, quite frankly, huge. In the space of just one year from our launch of our City Trading app on iPhone, the average amount of trades we took on mobile compared to all other platforms grew from just 2 per cent to almost 20 per cent – a huge rise in such a short space of time. We fully expect the launch on Android mobiles to increase the average past the 20 per cent mark this year with the mobiles gaining popularity so quickly."

The firm says that on average a quarter of its clients currently use its mobile trading platforms. "This emphasises the high demand for mobile trading and just how important it is for firms to stay ahead of the game in mobile technology," says Raymond.

Of course if you prefer to sit in front of your computer and trade, the existing technology is always being improved and tweaked, not least to open up opportunities to new markets.

"At the moment, the ability to do mobile trading is just an additional tool," explains Campbell. "The majority of trades are still being done over the internet." The relatively young spread betting industry saw its deals done over the phone back in the 1990s, but quickly embraced the new technology offered by the internet to improve the dealing experience for clients.

"Nowadays we seldom get clients ringing to trade," says Campbell. "It's just so easy to do it through the internet and now through mobile telephony, that there's no need to talk directly to us, especially with all the help and guidance clients can get online."

As well as exploring the uses of new technology, the spread betting companies are looking at new markets for traders. "A lot of people are starting to look towards exchange traded funds," says Campbell. "It's something that we are investigating and looking at in the same way that we would for anything that a client demands."

Many clients have already moved on from betting on the traditional stock market indices – the FTSE 100, Dow Jones and so on – to currency. Foreign exchange can be highly volatile, which gives spread betters plenty of opportunities to take positions on whether their chosen currency will rise or fall.

With the latest technology you don't even need to stick to traditional sterling against US dollar or euro trades. Most spread betting companies will offer up to 50 currency pairs whether it's pounds sterling against the Japanese yen, or the Swiss franc against the Australian dollar.

There's also a move away from trading traditional commodities, such as gold and oil. Seasoned spread betters are looking to other commodities to make a killing, including cocoa, coffee, sugar, wheat and pork bellies. In short, anything traded has a moving price and you can bet against which direction that move will be. And armed with your Android or iPhone, you can now do it anywhere, whether waiting for a train or at your desk.

Spread betting is set to become more popular and easy to use in the next 12 months and many of the major firms are now looking to expand their business overseas. Spread betting is massive in the UK and Ireland for historical reasons. It began here because of the tax status: spread betters pay no capital gains tax on their profits. But the attraction of the deals is just as strong for overseas traders.

For instance London Capital Group – the owner of Capital Spreads – expanded abroad in 2008 when it bought, the Gibraltar-based spread betting company.

"We're aiming to expand globally now," says Campbell. "We're already in Australia and are working on a multi-lingual platform, which will help service business from outside the UK."

people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Money is slipping through our fingers: the UK is falling behind other countries in the amount we put away

How to save money: UK is crashing down the European league table for putting money away

The UK has slipped to 11th in the latest European league table of savers. Rob Griffin checks out the best options

Energy firms found guilty of bad practice could have licences revoked under Labour government

Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, says a Labour government would create a new energy regulator

A student's guide to financial survival: You don't have to drown in debt at university

Fresh from A-level delight, the moment does not have to be soured by students resigning themselves to thousands of pounds worth of debt in three years' time. Rob Griffin sees how to pass the university challenge

'Dismal' eurozone data sparks concerns

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi is under pressure to launch promised stimulus before the EU slides further
Love but not marriage: property is one area where cohabiting couples are in danger of losing out

How couples can protect their financial interests when cohabiting

People who simply live together cannot assume they have the same rights to each other's assets as spouses or civil partners. Michelle McGagh sees how they can protect their financial interests

India could be jewel in the crown for investors

With a new government and an ambitious prime minister, the country offers the prospect of strong returns. But there may be hiccups ahead, warns Simon Read

Child Maintenance Service to replace Child Support Agency - but is it better?

Reforms to the vexed question of child support payments by absent parents mean extra charges for both sides. Neasa Macerlean reports

Barclays's new life insurance heralds a revolution on the high street

The new product marks a shift towards 'clear, straightforward and standardised' banking products, says Simon Read

How to protect your assets if the stock markets begin to head south again

Are you worried about your portfolio? Nick Paler asks fund managers and investment insiders for advice
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

    Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

    £85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

    Technical Software Consultant (Excel, VBA, SQL, JAVA, Oracle)

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...

    SQL DBA/Developer

    £500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering