Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Avoid Temptation of Making Net Trading Too Fast and Furious; Spread Betting

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Avoid Temptation of Making Net Trading Too Fast and Furious; Spread Betting

Article excerpt


INTERNET trading is becoming as essential a weapon in private investors' armoury as the share prices page of their favourite newspaper or the hushed conversation in the pub about the state of the stock market.

According to Apcims, the stockbrokers' trade body, 27.5% of all private-client execution-only trades in the fourth quarter of last year were done via the net. The figure for the first quarter of 2001 is thought to have been around 33%.

Spread betting is in the grip of a similar trend - with a rising proportion of financial and sporting bets placed online and bookmakers scrambling to develop more-user-friendly internet trading systems than their rivals.

The bookie with its nose in front at the moment is Financial Spreads, which claims to be taking 60% of its bets via the net rather than over the telephone.

Financial Spreads' system quotes live prices on shares and stock indices, then gives the punter eight seconds to make either an up-bet or a down-bet from that price. Bets can be very small, if the customer wishes - with stakes of as little as 1p a point accepted.

Breathing down Financial Spreads' neck is Cantor Index, under managing director Lewis Findlay. It takes 34% of its bets over the internet and plans within the next few weeks to increase the number of live prices it quotes online from 150 to more than 1000.

IG Index was the first bookie to offer online trading. In the six months to last November, it took 14% of its financial bets and 25% of its sporting bets that way. Its current system involves the customer holding a two-way conversation over the net with an IG dealer.

Among other bookmakers, City Index is this week launching an interactive system to enable customers to arrange bets with its dealers over the net, while Sporting Index and Spreadex are likely to unveil online products in the months ahead.

Internet spread betting has advantages - investors can place bets from the privacy of their computer, without having to call a dealer. They can see the price at which they are trading in black and white and track the performance of bets minute by minute. …

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