I’ve heard that some providers spike data to take out stops on unhedged positions?

I shouldn’t touch spreadbets myself – prices are set by the counterparty to the deal whose interest is diametrically opposite to your own. They can do what they want, they can see all the stop losses, it becomes easy to manipulate small cap AIM stocks, very easy, and why so many people lose money spread betting on small cap AIM stocks. Why do you think the AIM market has such a bad reputation among many. Lots of collusion ? Spreads far too wide? Unexplained sudden drops and spikes?

If the spread bet companies lose 500K to short bets if the price swings to 6.25p, but they win 950K from the longs if it does, then they do it……they make 450K net profit and if they swing it back up before the shorts close, then they make even more as the short positions lose money when the price recovers, but the longs have already been stopped out. During that drop they also can sell the long positions closures on to newly placed long positions, therefore making even more money.

It is not spread betting provider who make the market but market makers. But if someone wants to sell a load, and nobody is buying they are within their rights to drop the bid out and increase the spread. This problem is usually limited to small illiquid caps and AIM stocks. Simple rules for AIM, only trade what you can pay for 100%. Don’t use too much leverage. Using that method you will not go far wrong and never be a “distressed seller” forced to take very low prices.

Spreadbet companies are like bookies. They hold a book and sell and buy such that all positions are covered, using peoples long positions to cover others short positions. Spread firms make good money on commission and rolling your positions. They want people to keep trading not losers as they will lose their customer base if clients lose money.

I have heard that spread betting providers trade against clients that they sometimes spike markets to triggers stops?

It is a fact that some spread betting companies sometimes have to take the other side of client trades. Some do this as a matter of practice, others don’t. There is nothing remarkably strange in this practice; spread betting providers act as a counter-party and they have to take the other side as principals.

It is worth noting here that these companies generally make their cut from the bid-offer spreads and financing fees on clients’ open positions. Having said that I have stumbled across stories in the past from upset clients claiming that the provider has moved prices against them to trigger their stop loss but this has never been backed up with solid evidence. Of course sometimes I’ve experienced problems when trying to exit a trade during volatile market conditions but providers do say that they may not execute deals instantly during fast market conditions.

To conclude I don’t believe that providers play with clients’ bets. This would take too much effort on their side and would open their book to arbitrage. The market is hard enough as it is and most traders who lose do so because of stupid mistakes.

When they’re losing on the unhedged exposure, how do you think they make it back? They spike data to take out stops on unhedged positions.

Spread betting firms do not ‘spike’ the data. The prices they use are market prices. If there is a spike it is usually because a large sudden order went through, or some new announcement or some price error. If the spike was not real then they would be breaking FCA rules if they enforced it.

“Funny no one ever complains to a spread bettingfirm when their limit is filled by mistake or that strange spike triggers their limit to be filled or an order that puts them straight in the money. There aren’t too many phone calls to spread betting firms yelling at them telling them to take that incorrect profit off their account and stop moving the markets in to the clients favour deliberately to fill all the limit orders.”

The spread betting field is now in a very saturated industry so the consumer will win; when one broker messes up and fools around the word soon gets out in places like this and they wont last unless they buck up their ideas. So for the old idea of “the broker takes the opposite side of the bet so wants you to lose” – this is long dead and buried. They want you to win so you keep trading with them, but yes the unhedged scatty leftovers on their books have to be kept like a regular bookie so check your stop loss takeouts and statements carefully.