City Index Review
City Index and City Trading are registered trademarks of GAIN Capital UK Ltd. The spread-betting, CFD and forex broker is registered and regulated in the UK. The company was established in 1983 and was one of Britain's first spread betting firms. Through City Index, traders have access to more than 12,000 assets traded in various global markets. Their trading platforms run smoothly via the online, desktop or MT4 applications.
City Index doesn't charge commissions on trades (except CFD stock trades at 0.1% commission), rather they require traders to pay the spread (difference between bid and ask) to enter and exit positions. The spreads are industry competitive, making this broker a viable option for day traders and longer-term traders alike. That said, some trading vehicles – such as daily CFDs and spread-betting (not based on a futures contract) – are more favorable for short-term traders as opposed to long-term traders. This is because these types of assets incur nightly financing charges at the LIBOR rate +2.5%. This is effectively interest charged on positions. While the rate isn't typically a problem on its own, if a position is highly leveraged then the daily interest payments can erode the account capital quickly.
One of the key advantages of City Index is that traders have a number of options for how they take trades. For example, taking a spread-betting or CFD trade on a futures contract, or trading spot forex, can reduce or eliminate (or even pay you each night) the cost of nightly financing charges. CFDs and spread betting also allow for tailored risk exposure, in which traders can decide exactly how much they wish to risk. The downside of spread betting or CFD trading is that nothing is actually owned; traders are betting on price direction without physically owning the underlying asset.
In this broker guide we'll introduce you to some of the key features available to City Index clients, including account management, news and analysis tools, trading platforms, tradable products, educational resources and customer support.
Learn more about City Index's platform by following our Brokerage User Experience Review. Scroll down for a detailed look at what City Index offers. Get to a specific topic even faster by clicking on the name of the section in the nav bar on the left.
Welcome Page - City Index Corporation is a CFD, spread-betting and forex trading company. It also provides a host of educational resources. City Index caters to clients around the world, except residents of the U.S., from its head office in London (Gain Capital UK). Clients can access their trading account and trade, via web-based or downloadable platforms. Trade pricing is transparent, with no commissions (except CFD stock trades, which incur a 0.1% commission) and only an industry-competitive spread charged on transactions. Traders can open accounts with as much or as little capital as they wish, and leverage is provided at a rate of up to 400:1, although this varies based on the asset being traded.
Portfolio & Account Management
Account Management - Upon opening a demo or live account through CityIndex.co.uk, traders will be given a username and password. To access trading and account information, click the LOGIN button along the top of the website. Upon logging in, traders can see their current account balance – and current profits and losses (once trades have been made) – along the top of the online platform. Cash shows the amount of money that was in the account prior to any currently open trades, and which currency the cash balance is in (GBP, USD, EUR). Net Equity is the Cash balance plus or minus any unrealized profits or losses on current trades. P&L-Unrealised is the current profit or loss on open positions. Total Margin is the amount of capital being used to maintain the current position (this is not a loss). Trading Resources is Cash minus Total Margin plus/minus the P&L. To deposit or withdraw funds, to update personal information or to access historical account statements, click on the icon in the upper right corner that looks like a person inside a circle. A window pops up providing all these options.
Account Navigation - City Index provides more than 12,000 assets to trade. Along the left side of the online trading platform is the Market window. The assets are grouped into major categories such as Metals or Equities. Click on the "+" to reveal assets within the category. Continue to do this until you find the asset you are seeking. The Market Search box can also be used. Click the star icon next to the asset name to save it to a Watchlist. Watchlists (and Popular Markets) show price quotes for assets you have "starred", and are shown in the center of the platform.To open a chart, click on the down arrow (dropdown menu) next to an asset and select Open Chart. This dropdown menu also provides fundamental and technical analysis, news, market information and the ability to set alerts. To trade an asset, click the buy or sell buttons to open up a trading window. Along the bottom of the platform traders can see their current trades via the Open Positions tab, their pending trades via the Active Orders tab, as well as Price Alerts, Order History and Trade History. To alter the web platform settings, click the icon with three horizontal lines in the upper left corner. Here traders can set up how they want the platform to function and look, including default trade quantities (position size) for various assets. Different layouts, called Workspaces, can also be edited and saved via this menu.
News & Market Insights
Market News & Analysis - City Index provides access to news on its website, as well as within the trading platform (discussed next). News on the website is accessed via the Market News link on the main menu along the top of the site. The Market News includes articles and commentary by City Index staff. The articles are grouped into Indices News, Shares News, FX News, UK News and US News, as well as a category for pertinent ongoing news (such as an upcoming election). Click on any of these links to get stories related to that category. Near the top of this page are some other links, including Week Ahead or other timely news events.
News Headlines (Platform) - News, from a variety of sources, is also available within the trading platform. To open a news window, click on the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner of the platform. Scroll down to Components and select News Headlines. Click on any headline to see the story (same window). Look for specific news using the search box. For example, type "Forex" in the search box, and hit Enter, to see news headlines related to the currency markets.
Stock Market Reports (Platform) - Market Reports give a summary of the day's major news stories, for various global markets. To open a Market Report window, click on the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner of the platform. Scroll down to Components and select Market Reports. Click on any headline to see the story. At the top of the Market Reports window is a dropdown menu. Click on it to access market reports on various global markets including the U.S., the U.K., Japan, Europe, Australia, gold and forex.
Research - Research tools are also available once inside the trading platform. To access technical and fundamental analysis, click on the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner of the platform. Scroll down to Research and select Technical Analysis or Fundamental Analysis. This will open a new browser window. The research includes assets to watch that meet certain fundamental or technical criteria. The different tabs on these pages provide access to different tools. For example, the Technical Event Screener on the Technical Analysis page provides a way to screen for assets with technical trade setups. The Featured Value Stocks on the Fundamental Analysis page shows stocks that have upside potential based on company growth/profitability. Technical and Fundamental research can also be accessed by clicking the down arrow (dropdown menu) next to an asset. Some of these features are only available to clients with live accounts (not demo).
Economic Calendar - An economic calendar shows scheduled events and data releases for countries, companies and commodities. To see major scheduled news/data events, click on the Market News tab on the main website (discussed above), then click on the Economic Calendar icon. Scroll down to see all the events scheduled. Events with a red dot are the most significant, typically causing large price moves in related markets. Alter the time zone, if needed. Click on any event to learn more about it. See the previous data point for the release along on the left, along with the consensus (what is expected this time) and the actual numbers once the data is released.
Charts & Technical Analysis - Upon logging in on the website to access the trading platform, click on the down arrow (dropdown menu) next to any asset and select Open Chart. Click the maximize button in the upper right corner of the chart to make the chart full screen. Change what is shown on the chart (asset name) via the Market box in the upper left. Alter the time frame of the chart by using the dropdown menu to the right (5 minute, 1 hour, etc.). To the right of that are some settings, including the ability to show orders and trades on the chart, as well as the option to add indicators to the chart. Next is the chart type; use the dropdown to select from candlesticks or a host of other chart types. If you like the way a chart looks, click the save button, give it a name, and you can pull that chart up later. Just above the chart are buy and sell buttons. Click on one to open a trade window. A default quantity for trades can also be set using the Quantity dropdown menu. Moving the mouse on the chart will produce a crosshair. Hold it over a price bar to see the information on that bar, including the open, high, low and close.
Technical Indicators - On a chart, add a number of common indicators, such as Average True Range (ATR), Bollinger Bands, MACD, moving averages and rate of change (ROC). Do this by clicking the indicator button situated on the main menu above the chart. Upon selecting an indicator, alter the setting of that indicator in the pop-up box to the right. Click Apply to add the indicator to the chart. To delete an active indicator click the trash can next to the indicator, located in the upper left corner of the chart.
Order Entry - Click the buy or sell buttons on a chart (or anywhere on the platform) to open a trade window. The trade window provides a lot of options, located under three tabs: Trade, Order and Alert. Under the Trade tab, select whether you are buying or selling. Input the price and quantity. If using a limit, stop or trailing stop, input those values as well. The entry price will already be set at the current market price. Choose a Good Till date, which is how long the order will stay active. If you want to enter a trade at a different price than the current market rate, click the Order tab. Features are the same as the Trade tab, except the entry price is blank and can be altered to the trader's choosing. Click Add Order to execute the order/trade. Use the Alert tab to be notified when an asset reaches a specific price. Input the alert price and an expiry, then click Set Alert.
Desktop Platform - The desktop platform is similar in many ways to the online platform, but with more features and more customization options. The Desktop platform is downloaded and run off the client's computer. One of the key features of the desktop platform is being able to trade directly from the charts. Adjust trade levels by dragging the orders shown on the chart. The desktop platform has more indicators and extensive drawing tools. Also, choose from more chart types, including Point and Figure. Desktop charts are fully customizable and can be saved for easy viewing next time you log in. Clicking the Research and Analysis button will open up all the technical and fundamental analysis features that are on the web platform.
MetaTrader Platform - Used by many forex brokers and traders, MetaTrader is a third-party software provider. It is a downloadable program that traders can customize to their liking. After downloading and opening the platform, input the login credentials provided by City Index. The MT4 platform is available for forex trading only. To make a trade, right-click on a chart or double-click on a currency rate. Enter the specifics of the trade you want to take in the pop-up window. Turn on one-click trading by right-clicking and choosing One-Click Trading from the menu. This will activate a small Buy/Sell button that you can use to make instant transactions. To customize the platform click Tools > Options. Go through each tab to customize the platform. Use the Trade tab to set defaults for one-click trading. MetaTrader uses City Index price data, but is not affiliated with City Index. For specifics on how to use the MetaTrader 4 software, see the Meta Trader tutorial.
Accounts & Products - With City Index, traders have more than 12,000 assets to trade via spread betting, CFDs, forex or option contracts on these instruments. For spread betting, traders have access to 21 global stock indexes, thousands of shares/stocks, more than 80 forex pairs, more than 25 commodities, five different metals, 12 bond markets, three interest rate markets, and options trading on all of these. All the same assets are available for CFD trading. Forextraders have access to 81 forex pairs. Traders can choose which type of account they wish to open. Spread betting offers tax-free trading in the U.K., no commissions and fixed risk per point (chosen by trader). A CFD account is also commission free, except on shares (0.1% commission), but the risk per point is determined partially by the asset being traded, not by the trader. A forex account is for people who want to trade forex exclusively, buying or selling actual currency (not via CFD or spread betting, which are synthetic products).
Spreads and Margins - Whether spread betting or trading CFDs, margin on indexes starts at 0.5% (200:1 leverage). Margin on shares is 4% to 5% typically, forex pairs require 0.5% margin, commodities are 1% to 3% (10% on Carbon Emission Futures), metals are 0.5%, bonds are 0.25% to 1% and interest rate products have a 0.25% margin requirement. Margins may be increased as position sizes grow. For example, if buying more than 1,000 CFDs, the margin requirements double. If risking more than 10£ per point on a spread bet, the margins also double and could increase further on larger bets. City Index states that it uses the actual market price to create the spread on CFD stock trades (which incur a commission), and offer slightly wider spread on commission-free spread betting stock trades. Indexes typically have a spread of 1 point, with some instruments slightly higher. Forex spreads start at 0.5 pips and vary pair. Spreads across the other assets vary drastically, mainly because the underlying assets move in different increments and are priced very differently. See the Pricing and Charges page for a full breakdown on the spreads of all the assets offered.
Education & Resources
City Index Education - City Index provides a wide-range of educational content, including trading basics and introductions to all of the assets it offers (CFDs, spread betting, forex and options). Access educational articles by hovering over the Education link on the main menu of the homepage. There you will see links to various courses. Click on the Education link to see more articles. The Education section is broken down into topics or chapters. Click on a topic to learn more about it. Within each topic, often more chapters will appear along the right. For example, if clicking on Technical Analysis, a brief introduction on technical analysis will appear. Along the right are more chapters on technical analysis, where traders can learn more and dig deeper. Also on the main Education page are topics such as CFD Trading, Spread Betting and Forex Trading.If this is your first time hearing about these products, these links provide access to more articles describing what these produces are, and how to trade them.
Spread Betting Education - Spread betting is a very customizable and easy-to-understand concept, which is one of the reasons it is popular outside the U.S. Spread betting involves risking a certain amount of money for each point an asset moves. The direction that the price moves – and how many points it moves – determines the profit or loss. City Index provides extensive education on spread betting. After clicking on the Education link, select Spread Betting from the topics along the right. This will open up an introductory article on spread betting. More chapters will also appear along the right; click on these links to learn more about a specific aspect of spread betting. If this is the first time you have done spread betting, it is recommended that you read all these articles before starting to trade.
City Index Support - Access City Index support through the Contact US link, located at the top of the homepage, then click Help and Support. Alternatively, click Help and Support near the bottom of any page on the website. The Help & Support page provides a list of tutorial and online resources to answer most questions. Click on a topic to read answers to frequently asked questions. If a question is not covered in the guides provided, at the bottom of the page is a phone number, email address or Live Chat link to contact City Index directly.
Live Chat - Live chat is one of the most direct ways to get an answer to your query, or to resolve an issue. To access live chat, click on the Live Chat link at the bottom of the Help & Support page. To initiate the live chat, enter your name, email address and whether you are a new or existing client. If all the customer support representatives are busy, your request will be placed in a queue. When a represented is available, you will be asked what you need help with.