A cost to consider when holding spread betting positions overnight is financing. Financing refers to the interest that you have to pay or that would be credited to you when you leave a spread betting position open overnight. You will be charged a financing cost (interest) if you have a long spread betting position and you leave it open overnight.
Buyers of a spread trade are charged funding for each day they hold the position. The interest charged on a spread betting position is usually based on the three-month London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) plus a fixed mark up of 2% or 3% per annum. At the time of writing Libor was standing at 0.75% so a spread betting company that charged a 2% premium over Libor would charge a rate of 2.75% over a yearly holding period. Thus, if you held £15,000 in exposure to a share like British Airways on a £1,500 margin deposit this would cost you about £1.13 a day. To offset against this cost there is the 0.5% stamp duty saving and ‘no taxes on profits’ part but the financing charge is the reason why sometimes it is said spreadbets are mostly for short and medium-term trading as opposed to holding for the long term.
Note also that you will be credited a financing benefit if you have a short spread betting position that you leave open overnight (although at present this isn’t applicable due to very low global interest rates). The financing cost and benefit are calculated and charged or credited to your trading account on a daily basis. The financing charge/benefit is normally computed based on the total amount of your spread betting position, not on just the margin requirement.
“When you trade on margin and hold a ‘buy’ bet position overnight, you have to pay a financing charge because you are effectively borrowing money to keep that position open.”
How much does overnight financing cost?
As financing is applied on your full position size it is essential you keep this rate low. Professional traders know how important this aspect is as every single expense adds up over time. Unfortunately some financing rates are as high as the BOE base rate plus or minus 3% and you should steer clear from providers who charge you over 2.5%.
Capital Spreads Policy: ‘Overnight financing is a relatively small debit or credit of interest to your account when you hold a position in a Rolling Daily contract overnight. As a general rule positions held past 10.00 pm UK time, incur an overnight financing debit or credit. If you buy and sell your position in the same day and do not hold past the 10.00 pm cut off you will not be debited or credited any financing, irrespective of how large your position is. This means you could trade a £1000 position or a £200,000 position and so long as you close the position by the end of the day you won’t incur any financing charges.’
Note: Most spread spread betting providers will use 360 days as opposed to 356 days in the calculations as this is the European standard. The LIBOR and LIBID rates are similar to the RBA borrowing and return rates in Australia.
Financing Share Bets: How are Rollovers Calculated?
Adjustments are calculated on the basis of official interest rates plus an additional margin, say 2.5%. For ‘buy’ bets, this financing rate will be a specified level above the London Overnight Inter-Bank Rate (Libor) and the amount will be debited from your account. For ‘sell’ bets, this rate will be a specified level below Libor and the amount may be credited to your account.
Please note that this adjustment may however be positive or negative. In particular, at times of low interest rates, the adjustment on a short position may be negative. For daily rolling futures positions, there is a rolling adjustment of one index point per day.
For rolling share bets, the daily financing is calculated by multiplying the value of your bet (ie your stake times the overnight closing price of the bet) by a daily financing rate.
Example: Buying Shares
You buy Vodafone at 125p for £10 per point. The underlying value of your position is 125p x £10 = £1,250.
Assuming LIBOR interest rate is 3%, and adding the additional 2.5% = 5.5% pa. Divide by 365 days = 0.015% per day If you multiply the daily rate by daily exposure i.e. 0.015% x £1,250 = £0.19 charge
Example: Selling Shares
You sell Vodafone at 124p for £10 per point. The underlying value of your position is 124p x £10 = £1,240.
Assuming LIBOR interest rate is 3%, and subtracting the additional 2.5% = 0.5% pa. Divide by 365 days = 0.0013% per day.
If you multiply the daily rate by daily exposure i.e. 0.0013% x £1,240 = £0.016 receipt.
The above process is applied in exactly the same way to rolling Cash indices and gold spot contracts.
Financing Currency Bets
How are FX rollovers calculated? The principal behind FX rollovers is that you receive the deposit interest of the currency you are long of and pay the borrowing cost of the currency you are short of. For rolling currency bets, the daily financing is calculated by using the one-day interest rate differentials for the two currencies in the pair you’re betting on.
In other words you receive interest on the currency you have effectively bought and pay interest on the currency you have effectively sold. For example if you had bought sterling-dollar rolling bet, the daily financing charge is the sterling one-day deposit rate minus the dollar one-day borrowing rate.
If the interest rate of the currency you are long of is higher than that of the currency you are short of you will receive money.
If the interest rate of the currency you are long of is lower than that of the currency you are short of you will pay.
In the wholesale market this interest rate differential calculation is expressed as a points adjustment (positive or negative) relative to the currency spot rate.
Our adjustment is currently: Long IR – Short IR – 2.5% This result may be positive or negative.
Interest Rate GBP 3.20% and USD 3.35% Spot rate 1.5300 Per £1 long: (3.20 – 3.35 – 2.5) x 15300 / 365 / 100 = -1.11
Per £1 short: (3.35 – 3.20 – 2.5) x 15300 / 365 / 100 = -0.99