Chris tells what you need to succeed in financial spread betting. He tells things as they are without mucking around and pretending that things are different than they really are.
When you're first getting into spread betting knowing what equipment and information you need to trade successfully can be a bit of a head scratcher. With a gazillion vendors out there trying to relieve you of your shilling it's easy to blow your hard earnt on things you think you need or short cuts to riches.
In reality getting into spread betting is simple and you only need a hand full of things, many of which you will probably already have or can get for free.
Things you NEED.
Spread betting account (Duh)
Compare them here: http://www.financial-spread-betting.com/spreadbetting/compare-spreads.html
Bank account in your name with a debit card in your name. (To credit and withdraw funds)
Computer & Internet connection.
A4 pad of lined paper for your trading diary (all good traders have one)
Point one is obvious and there are a glut of firms out there offering accounts. I've tried them all but always keep coming back to IG Index. The platform is slick, the spreads are good, huge range of equities, execution is good and they have never made an error on my account. My second favourite spread firm is Intertrader not quite the range of shares on offer but a nice easy to use platform none the less.
To add funds to a spread betting account you will need a UK bank account in your name with a debit or credit card to add or withdraw funds. Be mindful that account providers often have minimum withdrawal amount that can be as much as £100. You can not use someone elses card to fund your account -- something to do with money laundering regs.
With the dealing platforms being on-line you will obviously need a computer and a reliable broadband connection. Nothing fancy required just solid equipment that doesn't crash, lag or drop out whilst your dealing or researching. It will just make your trading harder than it has to be and when you are just getting into spread betting it could put you off.
All good traders keep a trade diary. It's just a bog standard A4 paper pad where you do all of your research and plan your trades and deals. I will go into keeping a trading diary in more detail at in another post.
Research material is where you can waste a significant amount of money. Data feeds, level 2 feeds, tip sheets and magazine subscriptions all suck up cash. If you're trading with a couple of thousand pounds, subscriptions, will just eat your returns for dinner.
There are some free options out there.
I used ADVFN and London South East every day for news and information. ADVFN can be a little bit spammy so I tend to lean towards London South East when looking for company data. Both offer free accounts. Most spread betting platforms will have a research section too -- IGs is particularly good and also free to use.
Things to AVOID if when you're first getting into spread betting.
Multi monitor set ups (expensive and unnessasary unless you are a hot shoe day trader)
Level 2 data subscriptions (profit killer on small accounts)
Dedicated trading computers (no need)
Share scanning software (profit killer on small accounts)
Trading forums & bulletin boards (posters will mess with your mind)
I'll give a special mention to internet trading forums and and bulletin boards. These places are ok for picking up trade ideas or gauging general market sentiment and you occasionally come across some knowledgeable posters but take anything you read on these forums with a massive pinch of salt as most posts tend to turn into willy waving contests.
TOP TIP: When signing up for any financial trading related website get yourself a dedicated e-mail address just for signing up to stuff as you will often get spammed half to death by some service providers.
But most importantly -- keep it simple. It's all to easy to get suckered in this industry.