Spread-betting companies step up provision of educational resources

Liam Ward-Proud asks six leading trading firms about the services they offer to both novice and expert traders

The number of firms offering spread-betting services has boomed in recent years. This has led to a reduction in transaction charges and tighter spreads for traders. A lesser-known benefit of this increased competition, however, is the expansion of the educational and research tools provided by the leading platforms.

Today, traders of all levels can tap the expertise of senior market strategists on topics as diverse as the basics of forex markets, how to trade on MT4, and advanced technical analysis.

But the expansion of the content on offer to traders is not the only thing that has improved. In addition to the wide variety of physical seminars held in London and across the country, spread-betters can access a host of resources to inform their trading decisions from the comfort of their own computer terminals.

The availability of webinars, interactive tutorials, live chart generators and trading floor news summaries means traders can have all the information and tools they would ever need at their fingertips. Here is an overview of what’s on offer from some of the providers.

IG David Jones

■ Six week Introductory Programme covering the basics of spread-betting. Allows beginners to trade at 50 per cent of the normal minimum trade level for the first two weeks.

■ Frequent webinars led by chief market strategist David Jones. Covers the main trends in financial markets, and encourages trader participation through questions and answers.

■ Insight Centre offers up-to-the-minute market analysis and trading tools, including live charts, market commentary from the trading floor, and a key economic events calendar.

■ IG’s David Jones: “We offer education in many different formats, running regular seminars at our head office in Cannon Street, and twice-weekly live online webinars, looking at the markets and key levels to watch in the days ahead. It is a really wide range of topics – from a basic introduction, through to commodities, thinking like a trader, and forex. I do think we have an extremely comprehensive education suite for clients and non-clients alike.”

CMC MARKETS Craig Inglis

■ Wide range of video and text resources, spanning introductory and advanced topics. Includes expert guidance on interpreting data from specific releases, such as US non-farm payroll figures.

■ Frequent webinars led by senior market analyst Michael Hewson. Covers the key financial trends of the day and discusses any key questions traders may have.

■ Up-to-the-minute market commentary and analysis, outlining the day’s financial news and providing analysis of key economic events.

■ CMC’s Craig Inglis: “We have a multi-pronged approach, using seminars, webinars, videos, 1-2-1 tuition and written content, as every trader consumes information in a different way. The next phase is switching from an educational role to a trader development service. It gives existing traders of all levels of experience valuable market insight, to help beginners develop to an expert level of technical proficiency.”

Alpari James Hughes

■ Currently developing a new education portal to be structured into four tiers, gradually increasing in sophistication. Each module has a corresponding video and pdf.

■ Frequent webinars and seminars led by chief market analyst James Hughes. Covers the key themes affecting traders, with participants encouraged to pick the brains of the market analysts.

■ Research tools such as Trading Central and Autochartist offer market analysis, plus an economic calendar and regular financial news briefings.

■ Alpari’s James Hughes: “Our education offering is designed to give clients, whatever their knowledge levels, something they can use in their trading life. Whether they’re starting from scratch, or just need clarification on a specific trading term, we think we have something for all traders. We know there is no magic system to trading, so we aim to give everyone the ability to learn something new in the way they want to learn about it.”

FXCM Brendan Callan

■ Wide variety of video guides, interactive webinars, and weekly in-house seminars covering all levels of expertise. Includes principles of risk and money management as well as lessons on technical analysis.

■ DailyFX Plus service gives account holders automated buy/sell signals for key currency pairings, supplemented by a weekly expert article outlining the prospect for selected currencies.

■ Range of charting packages for different trading strategies, offering customisable tools and metrics. Key events detailed in the economic calendar.

■ FXCM’s Brendan Callan: “One of the advantages of FXCM’s business model is that we benefit from successful traders. We are heavily focused on providing educational services to our clients to help them become better traders. In April 2012, FXCM was recognised by Investment Trends as the broker with the best Online Education Materials, which include free educational guides, videos, online courses, live events and seminars.”

City Index Joshua Raymond

■ Currently developing the Trading Academy Live portal. Its content will take traders from beginner to expert level under the guidance of City Index’s market experts.

■ Frequent interactive webinars led by market strategists Joshua Raymond and Ashraf Laidi. Provides up-to-date market insights and research tools including statistics and infographics.

■ Trading Academy, the Apprentice-style online series, gives novice traders capital to trade with. Viewers can learn from the guidance of the hosts and the mistakes of the participants.

■ City Index’s Joshua Raymond: “We base our education on two fundamental propositions. First, traders should possess full knowledge of the products they will be trading – they should be aware of the structure and risks that are involved. Second, we aim to equip traders with the essential skill set to react to financial news and develop a trading strategy of their own. Our tools cater for all the ranges of experience.”

Capital Spreads William Nicholls

■ Learn Centre provides how-to videos for traders, covering introductory and advanced topics. It also offers interactive trading tutorials and a glossary of financial terms.

■ Frequent interactive webinars and news videos led by dealer Jonathan Sudaria. Covers the key trends in financial news and any particular issues that the experts believe will move the markets.

■ Daily Market Comment and the live Market Squark both provide a continuous stream of information for traders.

■ Capital Spreads’s William Nicholls: “Capital Spreads offers a number of opportunities to learn about financial markets – wherever there is demand, we intend to supply. Alongside Learn to Spread Bet seminars and webinars for beginners, we also cater for more proficient traders. Every day we post a morning and afternoon market wrap-up on the website to point traders to the most pressing issues and opportunities.”