How do you know if a spread betting company is any good? There are so many websites out there trying to refer you to certain companies based on the commission they receive that trying to find an honest review is a lot more difficult than it should be. Well, here’s an end to all that.
I am a full-time spread bettor and this is my honest review of City Index.
I tried to make my review as fresh, relevant and as visual as possible so, as part of my reviewing process, I actually signed up to each of the spreadbetting companies I reviewed and deposited money in each to actually go through the process of trading with them.
I scored each company based on these factors (which I felt were important to me in deciding who to trade with):
- How financially robust the company was in itself
- How easy it was to open a new account and get up and running
- How suitable they were for new traders
- How good the trading platform was (speed, reliability and charts)
- How easy it was to deposit and withdraw funds
- How much extra market information was available
- How competitive they were with their spreads
- If they offered other apps for smartphones/tablets etc.
- If they offered any incentives to trade with them
City Index Review : From a Spreadbettor’s Perspective
City Index had a pretty good year in 2013. They tried to drum up interest in their trading platform by running a £100,000 trading competition which was filmed in London. It pitted several novice traders against one another for the big prize. As it happens, I am actually a friend of the eventual winner, John Walsh, and you can follow him on twitter here.
City Index pitch themselves as “one of the world leaders in spread betting and CFD trading” and they boast a solid history. Established in the UK in 1983 they say they have grown to become one of the leading providers of contracts for difference, FX and spread betting over the past 29 years.
Financially, (and you need to know this to make sure your deposits are safe) City Index Limited are privately owned by IPGL. Here are their summarised 2012 financials from Companies House available online from Company Check.
Although a year out of date, they look financially robust enough to be considered safe to deposit with.
How Easily Can You Start Spreadbetting With City Index?
The account opening procedure with City Index was excellent. You’ll find the application form easy enough from the homepage on the site. The application form itself is straightforward with no questions that were too difficult for a simpleton like me to answer.
During the application process there is a very clear effort to build a relationship with novice traders because the application form specifically asks if you’d like to start trading with an account that will allow you to use small position sizes for the first 4 weeks. This is a bonus if you are thinking of starting with a small trading account, but for most people who want to do this, 4 weeks simply isn’t long enough to allow you to grow your account in a managed way.
As a small account trader, you need longer to build up your account or you end up taking larger risks in order to see more fruitful growth and this, inevitably, will lead to you blowing up your account.
About 10 minutes after signing up, I received my welcome email with my account details and a link to login to the trading platform.
Further efforts towards building a true client – broker relationship happened when, about 2 hours after signing up, I received a phone call from my account manager to run through some ‘account policies’ with me.
Once your account is open and you successfully login at City Index, you are presented with the trading platform – which is also where you control your deposits/withdrawals.
The deposit process is very simple – if you have a UK debit card. If you plan on using a credit card, you will incur an additional deposit charge 1.5%. There are also cheque and BACS funding options but for ease and speed of setup, you’d be best off using a debit card.
The Trading Platform
The platform itself is simple to use and relatively straightforward. You can search for markets with a search function, but I found this works a lot smoother if you actually know the code of the market you’re looking for. When searching for company names, it wasn’t that good.
There is a wide range of markets, including all the major and several minor indices and currency pairs, commodities and equities from all continents. These are searchable with a simple drop down menu at the top of the platform.
The live price feeds are refreshing constantly which makes you feel like you are at the tip of the action.
The spreads were comparative to those offered by IG Index on all of the major markets that I looked at – specifically indices, metals and shares.
In general, the platform did ‘what it said on the tin’, but having used several others, I can say that the City Index platform felt more sluggish and sometimes seemed to take longer than expected to update or place orders however, this fact alone did not put me off trading with them.
Extra Market Research
Depending on your style of trading, you may or may not want access to extra market information like news, sentiment, event dates etc. My style for example, prefers to stay away from all news and analysis – even twitter – to ensure that when I trade, I am trading via my own decision-making process and not someone else’s.
City Index do offer extra market information in the form of news and advanced charting functionality along with general information like price, volume and summaries.
They also have an ‘audio link’ which lets you listen to the latest market commentary from industry ‘experts’ and analysts. These may be great extras for you if this suits your style of trading.
Incentives for New Accounts
With fierce competition, many spreadbetting companies offer incentives if you open a new account with them. In City Index’s case, at the time of writing, there were no incentives available but this could change at any time with the promotional strategy of the company. Because of this, the lack of incentives has affected the final review score.
However, because promotions can change quickly depending on promotional activity, I have created a dedicated spreadbetting offers page that I will update weekly with the latest offers. Before you open your account with any spreadbetting company, make sure you check the spreadbetting offers page here first as you could be missing out on £100s worth of joining incentives.
Mobile Trading Apps
Of course, in this day and age, no trading platform would be complete if you couldn’t place a trade whilst skydiving via your mobile device, so I have also awarded scores for the availability of mobile apps. Please note that this score is only for the availability of apps, and does not score the apps themselves.
City Index are one of the leaders when it comes to mobile apps and have therefore scored exceptionally well here. They have mobile trading apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile.
City Index are a robust, versatile spreadbetting provider who provide competitive spreads, good support for new traders with a demo account as well as comprehensive charting for advanced traders.
They are let down by the quality of their trading platform which, whilst suitable for purpose, leaves you feeling uncertain and a little low on confidence. However, having said that, the ease at which accounts are opened and the good support for small account holders makes them a good choice for novice traders.
Overall Score: 71%
- Compare City Index to other spreadbetting companies
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