Trading Site Review: Capital Spreads – Spread Betting Review

Important Facts 
  • Regulatory Authority: Financial Services Authority (FSA UK)
  • Instruments: Indices, Stocks, Forex, Commodities, Futures 
  • Features: Easy to use platform and resources for new traders, comprehensive demo account 
  • Minimum Deposit: Dependent on Instrument being traded 
The Platform 
The Capital Spreads platform is web based but is fast, easy to use and clear. It is possible to quickly search the various instruments on offer and place bets without any hassle. The charting tools on offer are pretty reasonable, though they don’t offer lots of advanced charting techniques they are functional and allow you to do some on the fly charting analysis. The platform is also available on Mobile in both applications for the iphone and android based phones. Which is good allowing to trade on the move, it’s just a shame that there is no application for Blackberry’s. 
Special Features
Not much special here compared with Capital Spreads competitors which offer similar educational programs and other features. Trailing Spreads are available on Capital Spreads, something that is not offered by all Spread betting providers.  
Other Features 
The site seems to have some good educational features and tools for traders which is always welcome. Including an economic calender and some other quite useful features. The demo account on offer is also pretty good mimicking a real money account very closely (only difference being Stop Losses are automatically guaranteed on demo). Will there are some nice features there is nothing that will particularly blow your mind.   
Capital Spreads offer some very competitive spreads, I would say that the vast majority of Spread on offer at the site are competitive with the best Spread betting providers around. Having a site which offers great Spreads is always a plus. Though some Capital Spreads competitors offer better Spreads on some major indices, though the difference is not huge. 
Customer Service 
The Customer Service offered by Capital Spreads is generally considered to be top notch. With Customer service available 24/5 when the markets are open. Disputed trades are normally resolved fairly and the company is very transparent with all of its dealings. The company is run by London Capital Group which also operates some other companies which also have good reputations. 
Regulatory Authority 
Capital Spreads is based in the UK and is regulated by FSA, its parent company London Capital Group has had no serious run ins with the regulator. The only blemish on their record was problems with client contracts which was resolved all the way back in 2005. I would say Capital Spreads would be one of the safer places to put your money. 
Overall, I would offer a broad recommendation to Capital Spreads if anyone was to ask me my thoughts on the company.

Trading Site Review: Plus500

Important Facts 
  • Regulatory Authority: Financial Services Authority (UK), on the 17th October 2012 Plus500 was fined a total £200,000 by the FSA further details can be found here.
  • Instruments: Selection of Stocks, Forex Pairs, Indices, Commodities, ETFs 
  • Leverage: Up 50 to 1
  • Unique Features: Unlimited use demo account, a large selection of instruments and £20 free
  • Minimum Deposit: £100 
The Platform 
Plus500 offers both a web trader and downloadable desktop application for your trading needs. While these offerings are both pretty basic, there is still a selection of tools to analyse the technical data available on the platform. The platform is very easy to use and would be suitable for newbies and experienced traders alike. The platform is also available as both an android and Iphone application allowing you to trade on the go. While the lack of sophistication may not be to everyone’s tastes the platform is perfectly functional. It is a shame there isn’t support for Metatrader as this also denies you the opportunity to use Expert Advisors. It should also be noted that the desktop program is slightly buggy, though overall I quite like the platform. 
Special Features 
Plus500 is devoid of special features if I’m totally honest. Though it is clear that Plus500 is more interested in providing a crisp easy to use interface for it’s clients rather than providing gimmicky  features. I suppose it can be argued that the fact that Plus500 offers an unlimited demo account with 20,000 of play money is good for those who want to try their luck at trading CFD’s without taking a risk. While its not really a feature Plus500 also offers a £20 free no deposit bonus which is always nice, though the kind of trading you will be able to do with that kind of the amount will consist of only a couple of contracts.
Other Features 
Plus500 offers a large number of instruments that one can place trades on including commodities, forex, stocks, Indices and rather interestingly ETFs. This gives a nice range of instruments for those who wish to trade in variety of markets and allows lots of potential of hedging ones positions. 
The Spreads on offer at Plus500 are pretty reasonable allowing a decent profit to be made on correct calls. Though the competitiveness of the spreads does vary from instrument to instrument with some instruments being less competitive than others. Shopping around you could probably find more favorable spreads on another platform, but the difference wouldn’t be that huge. 
Customer Service  
The one major criticism that seems to be launched against Plus500 is poor customer service. Before you can make your first withdrawal a certain number of anti money laundering measures need to be taken essentially they just need to verify that you are who you say you are. There seems to be quite a backlog of these requests so it can often take a while for your withdrawal to be completed successfully.  
Regulatory Authority 
Plus500 is regulated by the FSA in the UK allowing it to accept customers from all members of the European Union. FSA regulation is generally considered to be the gold standard of European Regulation. The Plus500 FSA entry can be found here.  
Overall Plus500 represents a good platform for CFD trading with a nice crisp simple interface. FSA regulation is another positive of Plus500 which makes feel safer having funds in Plus500 account. To find out more you can visit Plus500 or download their client to start trading. 

Trading Site Review: Anyoption

Important Facts 
  • Regulatory Authority: Listed Company in Cyrpus 
  • Instruments: Over 50 Asset Classes, including Commodities, Indices, Currency Pairs & selected Stocks 
  • Unique Features: Simple Platform & Binary Options Demo Accounts available. 
  • Minimum Deposit: £100/$100/100 euros 
The Platform 
Anyoption Binary Options platform is one of the simplest to get to grips with on the market. A simple chart and the option to determine whether the asset class is going to move up and down. The returns from a particular bet are also extremely easy to determine, the return from the option is presented to the user as a percentage. So if you had bought $100 of options you might be presented with a 30% return signalling that if your option entered the money how much return you would make. This makes trading binary options on anyoption a breeze.  
Special Features 
anyoption is a bit light on the ground when it comes to special features. One outstanding feature which could be argued is special to anyoptions is the range of options available to trade. Compared with some of its competitors anyoption offers a wider range of instruments with some Binary Options providers sticking mainly with commodities. The other nice feature offered by anyoption is the ability to open a demo account, which is particularly useful when it comes to Binary Options as many users will not have had experience using Binary Options in the past.  
Option Contract Returns 
The returns that are on offer from the Binary Options contracts on anyoption are particularly impressive. With returns on offer of up to 70% and a 15% refund on trades which expire out of the money. To my eyes these kind of returns seem to good to be true and make me a little wary of the site. There is also the ability to lock in profits and roll contracts which are outside the money forward both coming with a premium to pay.
Customer Services 
There have been complaints by some on the internet that customer services at anyoption aren’t particularly great. I have seen numerous complaints about withdrawals from the site being particularly slow. The other issue along these lines is that it only possible to make one withdrawal a month without being charged a quite significant admin fee. Again this may be another cause for concern for many. 
Regulatory Authority  
This is the part of the deal that makes me extremely nervous and concerned about the legitmacy of The site is registered to a company based in Cyprus called anyoption Payment Services Ltd., but there is no mention of any regulatory authority which governs anyoption’s activity. Another alarming thing is that they are not listed on Cysec’s list of liscenced members, which suggests to me the Cypriot address is actually a mailbox held for a company based outside of Cyprus and the EU. This leads me to believe that anyoption could potentially be a scam and therefore should be avoided at all costs.
The jury is out on the legitimacy of anyoption, I would personally avoid placing my funds with the company. 

Book Review: The New Market Wizards: Conversations with America’s Top Traders

Having already taken a look at the original book written by Jack D. Schwager and written a review, I decided to read the follow up and also do a review. Again the book is particularly well known and follows the format of the first book which sees Jack D. Schwager interview a variety of different traders about there trading experiences and their overall approaches to trading. 

The new market wizards is written several years after the original in 1991 and follows the format of the first book. Jack D. Schwager interviews numerous different traders, who trade different instruments using different trading styles. This helps me at least get some good insight into what the difference is between a normal trader and trail blazer. Being interviews the quality and usefulness of the interviews vary quite significantly, with some of the participants being very cagey about their methods and techniques. This leads some of the book feeling slightly like dead space.  
The real strength as with the first book is the insight that the book gives one into the mind of a successful trader. The Market Wizards books are quite unique in the fact that they give you a one on one insight with some of the worlds most successful traders, something that would not be possible for the average individual trader. Being published a few years later on the than the first the book has more on computer trading with several interviews featuring some of the early pioneers of computer trading.  
While the book can’t be championed for its originality like the first one, the book again makes a very good read which I would recommend to anyone who wishes to become really serious about trading. Though I wasn’t sure what to make about the chapter about the psychology of trading towards the end of the book which I felt was filled with a little bit too much Psychobabble. Apart from this the book again was a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. 
The New Market Wizards represents a great buy, those who have the original and don’t have time for another tome could probably give this a miss but otherwise I would recommend this to anyone who was interested.  

Book Review: Binary Options Fixed Odds Financial Bets by Hamish Raw

Today we are going to look at Binary Options: Fixed Odds Financial Bets by Hamish Raw. As I’ve discussed before Binary Options has become a significant OTC market place and seems to be growing by the day. Hamish Raw’s book looks to tap into this growing market, it should be noted that Hamish Raw’s book can not been seen as an introduction being aimed towards a more sophisticated reader and my review will proceed with this in mind. 

From the book it appears that Hamish Raw is an ex open outcry options trader, who has moved away the floor and moved his attention towards trading Binary Options. This expertise is clear to see when reading the book, with Hamish Raw delving into some quite complex subjects throughout the course of the book. I would recommend that the reader comes armed with at least some basic Options knowledge before attempting to read this book. While Hamish does explain how a Binary Option bet works he doesn’t do it in a particularly introductory way, which won’t be a problem for more advanced readers. 

The real strength of Hamish Raw’s book lies in the technical information and charts relating to the pricing of Binary Options. The book contains some quite complicated formula and will be of real value to those with a mathematical bent. The book should also be praised for how comprehensive it is going through all the subjects covered in exquisite detail providing plenty of graphs it accompany the subject matter. I personally the found both the chapters on Hedging and Trading Binaries very beneficial.  

All in all Binary Options: Fixed Odds Financial Bets by Hamish Raw, represents a tour de force in providing solid technical information about the workings and pricing of Binary Options. The book is not for those who want an introductory tour of the field, but rather either for those with significant trading experience or those who already have a grounding in options.

Book Review: More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and The Making of the New Elite

While this book isn’t directly related to individual trading derivative trading it is defiantly  worth a review, as what is done by many individual derivative traders has similarities to the way that hedge funds trade. In recent times there has been a tirade of books examining the hedge fund industry. Today we are going to take a look at More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and The Making of the New Elite. 

The book is beautifully researched with Sebastian Mallaby having done vast amounts of research which is also referenced in the significant appendix. Looking at the history of hedge funds and how they operate Sebastian Mallaby does an excellent job in explaining the ways that successful hedge funds gain an edge over the market. Sebastian Mallaby’s prose should also be regarded as excellent explaining complicated ideas and issues well without dumbing down what is being talked about. As some one who is interested in trading I found the book thoroughly gripping and thought provoking and made me think about the way I myself trade.  
Detailing the earliest hedge fund managers and they acquired an edge, to the high tech trading houses using computer trading, Mallaby details how Hedge Funds have developed and innovated. The book provides many insights into the strategies that have been used by various hedge funds throughout there existence and provoked some new trading ideas within myself. As well as this the book can been seen as somewhat sympathetic look at hedge funds with Mallaby explaining how hedge funds aren’t quite the bad boys as the media often paints them out to be.  
Anyone who is interested in Investments and how finance works in the 21st Century should read Mallaby’s More Money Than God. More Money Than God is a trip through Hedge fund history that I thoroughly enjoyed. A great book that I have to give 5 out of 5.

The Five Best Demo Accounts?

When you start out in Trading it is always good to get as much practice trading on demo accounts before you risk real money. Having tried numerous different demo accounts with different trading sites, I’m going to list what I feel are the five best demo offerings out there on the internet. The sites I’m recommending for demo accounts differ from those I would recommend for real trading accounts. The list is in no particular order and is divided between CFD’s and Financial Spreadbetting providers. 

Financial Spreadbetting Demo Accounts 
Capital Spreads, is a financial spreadbetting company with a good industry reputation. Capital Spreads also offer CFD’s but as far as I’m aware only a Spreadbetting Demo account is available. Capital Spreads demo account is very easy to sign up to and is very representative of   the real experience on offer with Capital Spreads. A wide array of instruments are available to trade. While possibly not the easiest platform for a complete newbie to use, I envisage it being no real trouble for those interested in trading. The platform offers a some good charting features and the demo account comes loaded with a £10,000 play balance, which I believe can be topped up at points if you perform poorly. A highly recommended demo account for all those interested in financial spreadbetting.
GFT a very highly regarded provider of several different instruments offers demo accounts for a variety of different instruments. I have personally used GFT’s Spreadbetting demo account which is particularly easy to use making closing and opening positions a breeze. The charting capabilities aren’t as comprehensive as those offered on the Capital Spreads web trader but it’s not really that big a deal. Again the array of instruments on offer is particularly impressive with there being everything from indices to commodities. The only downside of the GFT demo account is that it only available for 30 days and that if you provide a phone number when registering you will get a marketing call sent your way pretty sharpish. 
CFD Demo Accounts 
Plus500 is a high profile CFD provider with lots of advertising for the site found online. While the site has received highly mixed reviews in terms of trading with real money, the demo offering that Plus500 offers cannot be matched by many other providers. Setting up a demo account is a breeze with very little information needed. The Plus500 trading platform is basic but very easy to use and any newcomer will to CFD’s should be able to get trading within minutes. The best thing about the demo account is the fact you are provided with a £20,000 play balance and an unlimited time frame to experiment. Even though I don’t trade real money with Plus500, I still use my demo account to place trades to test signals and models I have created. There is also a large array of instruments that can be traded on the site. The only downside that I can see to Plus500 is the software is ever so slightly buggy. Download Here 
eToro again is another high profile CFD provider. Again the demo offering that is offered by etoro is very good for a newbie wishing to try his hand at trading using a demo account. Again setting up a demo account is easy and you are give an $10,000 play account to play around with. The platform is easy to use and is particularly suited to those who haven’t had much experience trading. I would be happy to trade a money account at etoro. The only complaints that can raised against the demo account that is offered up etoro is the small amount of instruments that you can trade on eToro. With etoro primarily being a provider of Forex CFD’s, though a few commodities are also on offer. Not much to complain about in terms of the web trading or the platform offered by eToro.  
CFD & Spreadbetting Demo Accounts 
Onto the final member of the five, CMC Markets who offer both CFD trading and Financial Spread betting demo accounts to potential customers. The offering provided by CMC markets has to be thoroughly congratulated. The signing up process is a breeze not requiring much effort at all on behalf the user. Again CMC like you would expect from such a major well regarded player offers a vast number of instruments. Personally I feel CMC offers the most comprehensive range around. The CMC platform is a breeze to use and I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to take a go at trading using a demo platform. The only downside is that the financial spread betting platform is only open to clients in the UK. 

Book Review: The Diary of a CFD Trader: How to Make Serious Money from Contracts for Difference

Here at Made To Trade were back with another book review. This time a book about CFD Trading, it seems that there are many more books around for Spread Betting opposed to CFD Trading. This may be due to the very recent rise of CFD as a financial derivative product aimed at individuals rather than Hedge Funds. Today the book being reviewed is Catherine Davey’s The Diary of a CFD Trader: How to Make Serious Money from Contracts for Difference. 

The book is written by Catherine Davey who claims to be a serious CFD Trader as well as a financial journalist. Catherine Davey does appear to have some of the credentials that you would hope from a person who writes a book with ‘How to make serious money from contracts for difference’ in the title. Catherine has written numerous articles on CFD trading and also is a member of the Australian Professional Technical Analysts Association and also holders a Masters of Business in specialized in Applied Finance. All good so far.  
The first problem with the book comes from the fact that it is written as a diary while the publishers blurb also claims that it makes an excellent introductory read for those new to CFD Trading. For the life of me I don’t see why any new CFD Trader would want a book that charts the emotional up’s and downs of trading so much over the nitty gritty information that is so valuable for a newbie to CFD trading. While some of the experiences that Davey goes through are quite enthralling it hardly makes for the best introduction to the concept of CFD trading and the tools needed to be successful in CFD Trading. 

While Catherine does have considerable success during the four month trading experience outlined in the book (turning $13,000 into over $28,000). Her trading strategies aren’t the particularly useful to those who wish to trade CFD’s in the current economic climate, it is clear from the book and how she is trading that the book was written during the middle of bullish markets before the 2008 financial crash and Davey’s outlook on CFD trading is hugely influenced by this. One positive of the book is that is short in length and might appeal to those who aren’t interested in reading weighty technical tomes. Though if your not interested in technical information and are much more of an emotive person it is questionable whether CFD trading is really for you.  
Overall I wouldn’t recommend this book to those who want an introduction to CFD trading there are much loftier and better books on the market for this. As well as literally endless amounts of quality online resources. Though some may find the emotional roller coaster element of this book engaging. I would give this book a 2 out of 5 Overall. 

Book Review: Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders

We at made to trade are back with another book review. This book has be around for a long while now and has become an almost legendary book within trading circles. While not specifically written for those with an interest in CFD & Spread Betting (which is the main focus of this blog), it features interviews with extremely successful traders in a variety of different areas. This provides very useful insight for those who wish to enter the world of successful trading.  

The book was written Jack Schwager, a very successful trader in his own right. He is currently running the Market Wizards Hedge Funds for the Fortune group and is based in London. He is also known for a number of other significant books, including The New Market Wizards and other books on more technical aspects of trading. These have also received some very good reviews and may be of interest to some. Jack Schwager also holds a M.A in Economics from the very prestigious Brown University.  
The basic premise of the book is quite clear and the format works well. It sees Jack Schwager interviewing several prominent investment figures from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Including some very big names in the world of trading. A real positive part of Jack Schwager’s book is the style in which he undertakes the interviews. Schwager gently pressures the interviewee’s into revealing lots about their trading strategies and tactics. While not all the situations are relevant to  today’s economic climate the many insights that they provide are. The quality of the individuals interviewed is exceptional.
The strength of the book is the overall insight that the book gives you to the mind of some of the worlds most successful traders. It cant really be overstated how valuable this kind of insight is. It’s the kind of insight that many individuals are willing to pay significant sums to attend seminars and the what not. This insight is available to you a book which is now widely available at very reasonable prices. Searching the internet for reviews of the book you will be confronted with reams of positive reviews. 
Overall I would say this book is a must have, if you have the spare cash and an interest in trading you should purchase this book. The only criticism I could offer would be that many readers of my blog may feel they might benefit from purchasing a book which allows them to get to grips with their chosen derivative field over this more general book. I give Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders a 5 out of 5. 

Book Review: Spread Betting the Forex Markets: An expert guide to spread betting the foreign exchange markets

For the first time here at Made to Trade, we are featuring a review of a book. From time to time we will either review a product or book here which is related to trading and spread betting. The world of trading is a washed with resources that promise you insight into how to make money from financial markets. Here we hope to cut the truth from the bullshit and help you pick the resources that will be beneficial to your trading efforts. 

Today the featured book Spread Betting the Forex Markets: An expert guide to spread betting the foreign exchange markets by David Jones. The book is written by David Jones who is in fact not a trader but rather a technical analyst who rose to prominence in the world of Forex. While a few may be put off by the fact the book is not written by someone who traded but rather an analyst, I feel this represents no problem. In fact being analyst probably gives you a broader base and better written skills which are key in writing a book. Also not to forget that analysts are the ones providing traders with information in order to make informed decisions.

David Jones should be commended for his efforts in writing the book. The book represents a very good introduction into both Spread Betting and its use in trading Forex. The book is clearly and concisely written so that anyone could pick it up and garner significant knowledge of the subject matter. It is in this area where the book really excels and makes it an excellent buy for those looking to learn more about the subject matter.

The book includes great information on how intraday positions are rolled over and how the costs associated with this can affect the profitability of your position. Also Davids advise to use simple momentum indicators to indicate where a Forex position is headed, is invaluable. 

Though I said the fact that David Jones is analyst rather than trader didn’t take away from the book. The one point where this fact is evident and that is in the sections which deal with trading strategies. It’s not that these sections are bad but rather that they only offer up basic strategies and don’t offer some more of the complex strategies. Though this book seems to be pitched at quite an introductory level so this doesn’t present too much of a problem.

I would highly advise the purchase of this book to people who wish to garner more information on Spread betting, in particular to how you can use it make money from the Forex markets. I would overall give the book a high 4 out of 5.