Spread Betting Broker Summary
Spreadex.com is one of the lesser known companies in the spread betting business, becoming active in 1999. Since then, the company has extended its product offerings to include things like sports betting and casino betting while at the same time being one of the more innovative in terms of their promotional tie-ins.
One example can be seen in their Jet Miles program, which allows customers to actually earn flight miles with each trade. While this is not something that is generally seen in the spread betting industry, it does show an effort to “think outside the box” in terms of what the company is looking to offer its clients. Spreadex also makes credit offerings to approved clients, and this is a feature that will be viewed as beneficial to potential investors who want to establish larger trading positions without liquidating their current assets.Here, however, we will focus on the company’s forex offerings specifically, to see how Spreadex.com stacks up to the competition in what is quickly becoming a heavily saturated industry.
Trading Markets Offered
When looking at the range of markets that is offered by Spreadex.com, most of the typical areas are covered: individual stocks (to include AIM stocks), stock indices, forex currency pairs, options, commodities, bonds, interest rates and ETFs are all available for trade. Spreadex is one of the few firms that make the AIM stock offering available and there is some flexibility in order prices if the client make the proper arrangements.
But in addition to this, Spreadex.com looks to expand its target demographic by allowing clients to bet on sports games and fixed odds bets as well. This can all be done from the same account, so there is some variation here when compared to brokers that separate these different categories. Overall, however, the range of markets is limited compared to most of the industry competition, so traders looking to add positions in some of the more exotic currencies or commodity types will likely be disappointed. But this will be less of an issue to those looking to trade the most common asset types.
Since Spreadex is one of the newer companies on the scene, one of the common worries is whether or not the trading platform is efficient and when looking at the platform choices offered by Spreadex, some weaknesses can be found. The first issue to contend with is trading efficiency, which is always a question for web based trading platforms. Looking at third party trading reliability statistics for Spreadex.com, we can see that there are some weaknesses relative to the competition, despite the fact that Spreadex won an efficiency award in 2011 from the Investment Trends CFD and Spread Betting report. Investment Trends is not a well established name in the business, however, so this should not be viewed as much of a supportive factor.
Platform choices do extend into the mobile arena, as Spreadex offers an iPhone app for trading. Those users with an Android phone, however, will be disappointed as there is no app offering for these users. Overall, Spreadex.com’s platform offering should be viewed as below average, given the lack of downloadable software and singular mobile applications.
One of the strengths at Spreadex is their willingness to expand their special offers and promotional incentives. The downside, however, is that most of these incentives are directed toward their sports betting clients. Specifically, Spreadex currently offers a spread free sports bet after a client has made 3 earlier bets, and two 100GBP football bets for new customers. For other markets, Spreadex offers a refer a friend program, worth 50GBP for each new client that signs up for a Spreadex account. These are limited offerings for traditional spread betting clients, as most of the company’s focus is clearly on sports betting.
Additional promotional offers are provided to loyal trading clients, with anniversary and birthday offers (a free £50 in risk free trades) and this extends to client events that are centered around popular events such as the Ryder Cup. This is a relatively diverse set of promotional offerings when compared to most of the competition so it is clear that Spreadex is focused on attracting new clients as well as maintaining its relationship with its older clients.
Not surprisingly, Spreadex does not place much attention on instructing and training its client base. Because of this, its “Learning Center” is more of a “Daily Research Center” where traders can see market news analysis and technical charting articles. The best offerings in this area include the Daily and Weekly trading updates that look to cater to traders of long and short term time horizons. There is a charting analysis section as well, so this area will give traders an idea of common pricing levels to set individual trades.
Other than these areas, all that is offered is the “Economic Calendar” and “Economic Diary” which simply shows traders a list of upcoming macro economic releases, and the results from previous releases. This should be viewed as a red flag, however, as every major broker offers the same reports to clients without necessarily touting it as a benefit. Essentially, if a company is highlighting an offering that is mostly delivered as standard, it shows that their total offerings are generally weak versus the competition.
In addition to this, Spreadex is making use of the latest developments in social media, which includes a detailed Twitter feed that describes positive and negative variances in certain stocks, or sends messages when markets are experiencing changes in volume levels. Part of this feed includes trader commentary and in the future the company plans to use this resource to send messages to traders that will act as alerts for new technical trading patterns as they unfold in addition to a personal brokerage service for its clients.
One of the stronger offerings of the Spreadex product is the charting package, which is surprisingly efficient for a web based platform. The design is clearly laid out and easy to access from the account page. A charting icon appears next to each of your open trades, making it easy to monitor your profit and loss records and move back and forth to the charting area itself. All of the commonly used technical indicators are available and the price action itself can be viewed in a variety of ways (not only line charts and candlesticks), making prices easier to visualize and trends easier to spot.
Site Strengths/ Weaknesses
The weaknesses in the Spreadex offering are abundantly clear. These come mostly from the lack of learning tutorials, platform trade limitations (no downloadable software) and relatively small range of markets (aside from shares). Spreadex is a relatively new company and a large part of its focus is placed in areas that are not completely devoted to traditional financial markets. At this stage, it is unclear whether or not Spreadex will be able to become one of the leaders in the industry and in order to do this, they will need to devote more resources to training traders and expanding its platform offerings.
Strengths at Spreadex can be seen in their willingness to cater to a variety of client demographics and in their surprisingly easy to use charting package. Traders that are interested in betting on a wider variety of events will see benefits in the Spreadex platform designed to handle sports bets as well as those of traditional trading markets.
Looking broadly, Spreadex has a ways to go before they can claim a space as one of the major market providers in the spread betting industry. There are many attempts by the company to highlight features that are commonly available from other brokers, and this is typically a red flag for investors looking for new broker providers. In order to improve on this, Spreadex will need to expand on its availability of financial asset markets and look into developing new platform strategies in order to match up with the industry competition.