Bunhill: Spreading it wide

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The Independent Online
WANT a free bet? All you have to do is sign up for a seminar on Friday (other features include Professor Patrick Minford). The bet comes in the course of an explanation of 'spread betting' by Toby Brereton, formerly a guru for Sporting Life, now employed by the seminar's sponsor, the IG Index.

This is where professionals go when they want a serious bet, on the level of the Footsie, sterling, or German interest rates, at some future date.

For example, you can decide the dollar's rate against the mark in three months' time as against the IG quote of DM1.60-1.80. If you think the dollar will increase in value you bet, say pounds 1 a pfennig on it going above DM1.80. If the dollar is at DM1.95 you get pounds 15, whereas you'd lose the same amount if it were DM1.45, 15 pfennigs below DM1.60.

It gets worse: IG Index's founder, Stuart Wheeler, and his political advisers have set a value on every job in the government, from the Prime Minister, worth 100 points, down to 25 point for lesser posts. You bet, not on the exact job that a given politician will hold in six months' time, but on the level of job he or she will hold. So if you think that John Redwood (Secretary of State for Wales, 25 points) will move up, you bet on him.

To help the punters, Alan Clark will be giving his tips at the seminar. What is more, Stuart Wheeler reckons he may be really indiscreet. So even if the tips don't come off, the stories could be fun.