Warning: Trading CFDs is high-risk and you may end up losing more than your initial deposit. Please make sure you fully understand the risks involved before you start CFD trading.
Core Spreads is a spread betting broker based in the UK that offers a streamlined trading experience. Founded on the idea that spread betting traders are overpaying for an over-elaborated service. Their ethos seems to be 'less is more', offering tight, fixed spreads across thousands of markets, whilst cutting out the analysis, news and other add-ons many brokers offer. The benefit of this approach is that the reduced overheads translate to reduced trading costs.
Core Spreads are very open about this and they themselves admit 'In areas like news, market commentary and trader education we recognise we can't be the best or the quickest (for example, specialists like Bloomberg, Reuters and the FT are much better at real time financial news than we could ever be)'. But as they put it, in doing so, 'we have a streamlined business model, allowing us to offer permanently tight, fixed spreads and noise-free trading.'
So what will these cost-cutting measures translate to for a trader? The majority of brokers out there will offer a spread of one point, whereas Core Spreads will quote 0.8. To put that into context, that is a saving of 20% on the spread price per trade. Over a matter of months or years, that will equate to thousands of pounds saved for a regular trader. And if you still feel the need for a paid-for technical and analysis platform, a good one can be purchased stand-alone with the money you've saved (and likely leave a bit left over).
Core Spreads simplified trading experience is also clearly matched by their simplified customer experience and aversion to the hard-sell. Core Spreads offers a one-click demo that really is as easy to get your hand on as it sounds. No email marketing sign-ups, telephone calls or any other bother. When you take their platform for a demo test-drive, you won't be harassed by salesmen trying to get you to fully commit to the real-money platform either. They let their streamlined service speak for itself, such is their confidence in the end-user experience. And we can see why, but more on that later.
Whilst not in-house created, the platform is very solid. Provided by Star Financial Systems, and called 'Swan'. It's a popular platform, used by thousands of traders every day. Offering all the features we have come to expect in recent years (watch lists, large range of order types etc.). Coverage of equities is comparable with other industry-leaders and stops at approx. the £100m market cap range. We found the platform intuitive to use and had all the functionality we needed. It was indeed a refreshing experience to not have all the 'noise' (as CS call it), associated with traditional platforms in terms of unnecessary extras hanging off it.
The headline: Up to £10,000. This is fast-becoming the industry-standard sign up bonus, but, as with most, is not simply 'money in your pocket'. You must complete a certain quantity of trades before it will be credited to your account. As competitive as the industry is, brokers are not simply throwing money away, and there are conditions to pretty much all sign-up bonuses these days. That said, it is still a competitive incentive to sign up with Core Spreads.
There is one entry on the FSA register for Core Spreads. Enhancing this, Core Spreads is an appointed representative of FINSA Europe, meaning there are experienced industry professionals who are regulatory responsible for the business and its activities.
As for any concerns you might have trading with a (at this point) smaller company, protection is there should the worst happen. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is there to give you confidence in the industry which ever broker you use. The FSCS scheme protects up to £50k and £85k of deposits as well as investments if a firm defaults.
If you are an active intra-day trader, Core Spreads is the obvious choice. What matters to any trader is the experience and the price. Core Spreads won't be beaten on price and unless your trading strategy entirely depends on the add-ons of another platform there really is no reason to not at least try their platform. As most traders have more than one account anyway, Core Spreads are perfectly positioned to offer index, FX and commodities in particular, in a stripped-back format that saves you money.