Turn on, tune in and bet till you drop

SPREAD betters who get separation anxiety whenever they step away from their terminals no longer have to suffer in silence. With IG Index, the biggest spread betting provider in the world, today launching its brand new free iPhone app, more punters than ever can stay plugged in all the time.

IG Index is the third major provider to produce an application, with GFT having launched one earlier this year and City Index being the first to do so in October last year. And ETX Capital is also planning to jump on board – it has an app in development at the moment.

Although IG already has customised applications for use with other mobile devices, plus an optimised log-in for use on the iPhone, it was not open for use by non-clients. Nonetheless, the site, “PureDeal” handles over 45,000 unique users everyday, with 5m trades made each month since March.

Now, iPhone users with IG Index accounts can adjust their positions constantly throughout the day. Non-clients can also download the free app for the real-time stock updates – and, when the trading bug bites, sign up for an account through their phone. Judging by the performance of City Index’s app since its launch eight months ago, it could prove to be a profitable enterprise. City Index’s Josh Raymond says that 15 per cent of all the firm’s trades are now placed via mobile devices (up from 3 per cent before the app’s launch) and 90 per cent of those involve the iPhone. In other words, the market for mobile trading is huge.

And IG Index’s David Jones says that even for those who don’t want to place trades on the move, the app enables them to keep an eye on the markets: “It’s reassuring for people to have their trading account at their fingertips to check it,” he said. “It’s very easy to use and if people want a bit more information there’s Reuters news built-in as well as real-time charts. We’ve tried to design it both for a quick check and those who want to do a bit more research and work.”

With the potential for millions of trades to move from the desk to the palm of your hand, spread betting is likely to get faster. After all, if iPhone-addicted traders no longer have to wait to return to their desk before responding to news or tips, their non-mobile counterparts will be forced into reacting more quickly just to keep up.

But this is only the latest acceleration, as ETX Capital’s Mark Priest points out: “I think it’s sped up quite a lot already. Your average client is now much more sophisticated than he was 10 to 15 years ago.” Mobile trading is just another step along this timeline.

Which all means that the spread betting market is only going to get bigger, more liquid and more accessible – music to the ears of everyone in the business.