A spread can be termed as the difference the asking price (buying price) and the bid price (selling price). Financial spread betting is an investment option/vehicle that enables investors to invest in shares and stocks while at the same time making speculations on the probable changes in the financial markets. It’s a binary bet where the investor hopes to gain in the future for the present investment.
The foreign exchange (forex) market is a highly volatile market which means that investors need a hedge to shield them from making losses whenever the market is not favorable. Spread betting is a way of gaining maximum benefit from a forex market considering that it’s a very liquid market (turnover in the US has hit the trillion mark). The leverage is important because unlike the other markets like stock trading, the forex market is not subject to the bearish and bullish markets. Thus there may be a tendency of the brokers taking advantage of this to exploit clients. The spreads can be fixed or variable. The fixed spreads are safer as they cannot be manipulated by brokers. In order to gain from trading in forex market, the spreads should be as low as possible. Thus there is need to compare the spreads offered by different forex brokers.
Financial spread betting offers many benefits to the investors. Like most terminal incomes from trading in securities, the capital gains from spread betting are not liable to taxation. So if an investor sells shares at a price higher than he bought them, this amount will not be charged at all. However, capital losses cannot be offset against one’s tax liability. Being a derivative, no stamp duty is chargeable.
The financial spread betting offers investors with a wider range of markets where they can invest. The underlying asset can range from stocks, bonds as well as import and export products. The investor can also indulge in the forwards and futures market.
It also allows the investors to go long or short such that they can sell or buy the underlying asset in line with the market forces; i.e. sell when prices are high and buy when the prices are low. Thus if the underlying asset is stock, the price changes in the stock market will determine whether the investor goes long or short.
Operating a financial spread betting account requires lower levels of capital as the product is usually leveraged. Thus investors are able to trade shares of whichever the underlying asset is at margined prices because the spread betting is offered at a percentage margin thus the investor will only pay the margined price for the shares. For instance, if shares were trading at $50 and the margin rate is quoted at 10% then the investor will buy the shares at a reduced price of $5.