Alpari was established as a company in 1998, and is best known as a Forex broker, though it also provides CFDs, spread betting, and precious metals trading services. It is headquartered in London and has offices in more than 20 countries, where it is a registered and regulated by the appropriate government authorities. The daily trading volume is nearly $10 billion, making it one of the largest online trading providers.
Its spread betting offering has been around for a couple of years and includes spread betting on 37 currency pairs, seven major indices, and important commodities such as precious metals and energy. The minimum deposit to open an account is £250, which is higher than some other spread betting providers, but it accepts bets as low as £0.10. It advertises spreads from 1.2 pips as though this is something special, but regular readers will know that many spread betting providers have focused on providing spreads lower than this to attract clients.
For the seasoned trader, one of the features of Alpari is that it uses the MetaTrader platform for spread betting. MetaTrader is an industry-standard, and there are many traders who are proficient at using it. It has the facility of running Expert Advisors, custom programs that can manipulate the data and give trading signals, as well as allowing custom indicators. If you are interested in this aspect, there are many discussion boards and resources to help you create your own Expert Advisors.
If you have an aversion to MetaTrader, Alpari has several other interfaces available, including mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and Windows. It does not have a BlackBerry version, but given recent events this may be irrelevant.
In addition, Alpari has free research tools and a learning centre that reflects their emphasis on the Forex market rather than general spread betting. As such, Alpari is probably better suited to the existing spread better rather than a complete novice.
Alpari has nearly 200,000 clients worldwide, and received several awards in the 2012, again for Forex products which are its main focus. As such, one wonders whether Alpari’s spread betting offering is intended mainly for those who are interested in the Forex market, but would prefer to trade in a way which avoids paying income tax or capital gains tax. The use of the MetaTrader platform would support this view, as this is the software of choice for Forex traders.
The support is generally responsive, and available with Live Chat, e-mail, and telephone. However, it only operates from 7 AM – 10 PM GMT Monday to Friday. Given the 24/5 Forex market, this is somewhat surprising.
Given the solidity of the company, Alpari is worth a look if you are trying to find a reliable spread betting provider. It is fully regulated by the authorities, which means that your money is safe. You need to be sure that it offers the markets that you want to trade, and compare the offered spreads on the financial instruments you intend to use to those of other spread betting providers.