Spread betting vs brokerage

Discussion in 'Trading' started by Dr Who, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. Dr Who

    Dr Who

    Now I quite appreciate that most people's gut reaction will be to keep well away from those nasty companies that offer spread betting on financial instruments because the whole concept is tinged with the dirty world of gambling but before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, let me have my say.

    Most day traders here will be trading using an interface such as NT that's connected to a brokerage house and they'll be buying and selling such things as E-Minis and so on with probably as narrow a spread as they can get as retail traders. And that's great and I hope they are all doing well out of it. Some will be and some won't.

    As we all know, the further you move from the actual marketplace, the worse your spreads and prices will be, so once you get to spread betting companies, they'll probably be as big as they can get, particularly if you're talking about IG Index.

    However, some track the markets pretty closely and LMAX and Tradefair offer reasonable prices. But the big advantage you get with spread betting is that you pay no commission or tax (in the UK at least) because you are engaged in gambling rather than trading. So, once you factor in commission the prices you're getting through a broker don't look quite so good and if you're successful, particularly if you're very successful in your trading, then not having to pay tax makes an enormous difference and I suspect makes the argument to move to spread betting very strong.

    I would be interested in hearing the opinions of others, particularly those who have experience of trading/betting using both methods and/or those who have done the comparative maths.