Regular readers will know that I have spread betting accounts with most providers. This is not only for journalistic reasons (so I can write about them) but also because their slightly different offerings means that they can be useful in different scenarios.

I don’t have to choose just one spread betting provider, and I prefer not to, but if I did have to choose just one… do you know which one it would be? Well, no doubt you will have guessed from the title that it would be spread betting provider formerly known as IG Index and now re-branded simply as IG.

IG Index, founded in 1974 by Stuart Wheeler the well-known political activist and compulsive gambler, was the first financial spread betting company in Britain. It was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2000 but went private again in 2003 as Wheeler sold his entire remaining holding to raise funds to renovate a castle. In May 2005 IG Group was publicly floated again and is now a member of the FTSE 250.


– advanced and easy-to-use platform called PureDeal gives one-click dealing and fast execution on thousands of streaming prices
– Reuters news and a professional-level charting package
– binary betting
– dedicated trader education resource
–  extra-low daily spreads: 0.1% per side on major shares
– over 7000 shares, plus indices, forex, commodities and more
– deal anytime, anywhere, with round-the-clock support
– Price Alerts which, via email or SMS message, helps traders keep track of their chosen instrument(s) all through the trading day
– iPhone dealing
– Trailing Stops which track profitable positions automatically and close them should the market move against the trader
– trading directly from charts using DealThru Charts. Traders “drag and drop” opening orders onto charts and adjust them with a mouse. The orders are displayed as lines and are activated when breached
– trading Exchange Traded Funds. ETFs give exposure to less well-known markets, such as the MSCI Brazil Fund, tracking Brazil’s leading shares, or the China 25 Tracker
– a credit account available to U.K. residents who are prepared to show evidence of £5000 liquid funds, and whom IG can classify as experienced investors

Widest Range of Markets

I’m quite keen on trading individual equities or “stocks”, especially the smaller more obscure stocks that could turn into ten-baggers overnight but whose low prices allow me to start each position with very little risk. IG offers the widest range of individual equities that I have seen on any spread betting platform.

Guaranteed Stop Orders

Providing they’re used appropriately, I’m a big fan of guaranteed stop orders that limit risk to an absolute level when prices “gap down” in volatile markets, and IG support those guaranteed stop orders.

Trades on Charts

I find it enormously useful to visualise my actual and prospective trades directly on charts, and IG charts automatically display those live trades and pending orders. I also like to see my live trades’ attendant stop orders on charts, and to adjust those stop levels — for example to visible support levels — simply by dragging my mouse. Again, IG makes it easy.

Trade Analysis

IG provide a “P&L Breakdown” report that shows exactly how much money was made on each closed trade, taking account of any daily rolling financing charges paid out and any dividends received during the life of the trade. It’s particularly useful for analysing my position trades.

Android App

I standardised on Google and the Android mobile phone platform just as the spread betting companies jumped aboard the iPhone bandwagon. Whether your phone is iPhone or Android, IG offers a mbile trading app that is one of the best and most stable that I’ve seen.

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

To help you with your spread betting, here are the wise words that David Jones, Chief Market Strategist at IG and author of Spread Betting the Forex Markets, offered as a contribution to my Better Spread Betting book:

It’s a misconception that spread betting – and trading in general – is all about day trading, glued to the screen around the clock agonising about every one point move up in the FTSE or one penny move down in the price of marks and Spencer. It doesn’t have to be that way – most of our clients have normal jobs where they can’t watch the screens all day long.  I would suggest it is easier (I would never say easy) to try and forecast a market over hours/days/weeks rather than seconds and minutes.  You don’t need to sit there jumping in and out of the Dow 50 times a day. There is no reason why you can’t run your trades over a longer term time frame – using wider stops to give the market time to move in your favour and adjusting your bet size accordingly.  I think this “bigger picture” approach to the market can help resolve some of the stress and frustrations encountered by many of us when we start.


I’ve documented some of the very good reasons why I choose to trade with IG, and these could be good reasons for you to choose IG too. So what are you waiting for? See what IG can do for your trading.