City Index Review 2018

By Darren Brazer  | January 24, 2018

City Index is a London-based spread-betting and CFD trading provider that gives its clients access to 12,000+ global markets.

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Overall Rating

3.9/
5.0
Products & Fees
4.4
Trust
2.2
Special Features
3.0
Desktop Experience
4.5
Mobile Experience
4.2
Customer Support
3.8
Research & Insights
4.3
Education
5.0

City Index Fast Facts

City Index was established in 1983 and has become one of the world's leading spread betting and contract for difference (CFD) trading providers. It now has trading in more than 12,000 global markets, including shares, commodities, forex, indices, and Bitcoin. City Index offers traders several platforms, all free, including its advanced platform, AT Pro. Mobile applications are also available for iOS and Android devices. Users can create demo accounts and explore a wide range of educational material on the City Index website and YouTube channel, learning and practicing without risk.

City Index's parent company is Gain Capital Holdings, which also owns other well-known trading brands, such as FOREX.com and Finspreads. Gain Capital Holdings is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and must meet its standards for financial reporting and corporate governance. Spread betting allows U.K. clients to trade tax-free, because no capital gains tax is imposed on profits. The same or similar tax-benefits may apply to clients from outside the U.K. but they will need to check. Both CFD trading and spread betting allows clients to trade U.K. stocks without paying stamp duty as the underlying asset is not owned.

pros

  • Multiple Platforms
    Web, mobile (iOS and Android), and downloadable platforms available, all free for both live and demo accounts
  • Regulation
    Regulated and authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Global Markets
    Trading in 12,000+ global markets, including stocks, indices, forex, and Bitcoin
  • No Minimum Account Size
    Free accounts, with no minimum initial deposit requirement
  • Customer Support
    Client services team available 24/5 via chat, phone, or email
  • Margin Trading
    The same market exposure with only a small fraction of the trade value. Margin starts from 0.5%

cons

  • Stock CFD Commissions
    Higher-than-average stock CFD commission costs. Minimum commission $25 for U.S. shares
  • No U.S. or Canadian Accounts
    Accounts are not available in the United States or Canada
  • Account Security
    Two-factor authentication not available for extra security
  • No Ownership
    With spread betting and CFD trading, you don't own the underlying asset
  • No Money Management Accounts
    Account managers cannot manage funds using software that allows pooling of investments from various clients
1983
Established
$945 Million
Gain Capital Holdings Client Assets
(as of December 2017)
12,000+
Trading Instruments

Products & Fees

4.4

Spread betting and CFD trading with City Index is commission-free except for CFD trading in shares. The commissions for shares CFDs are more expensive than average, and the minimum charges are high. Additional spread is added to the market rate for spread betting on shares. The spreads are tight on indices and forex, better than the market average. It's worth noting that forex is not traded on the spot market but rather as a CFD or spread bet. Overall, City Index is competitive on certain markets but not on others. However, it does provide an excellent selection of tradable products (12,000+), including shares, commodities, forex, indices, bonds, and Bitcoin. Account deposits and withdrawals are free in most cases. Be aware that there's a GBP 25 per month inactivity fee on accounts inactive for 12 months or more.

  • EUR/USD
    0.5 pips
  • GBP/USD
    0.9 pips
  • USD/JPY
    0.6 pips
  • S&P 500 CFD
    0.4 points
  • FTSE 100
    1 point
  • WTI Crude Oil
    $0.05
  • Gold
    0.3 points
  • U.S. Treasury Notes
    0.02 points
  • Bitcoin
    from $50
  • CFDs (U.K. shares)
    0.1% (GBP 10 minimum)
  • CFDs (European shares)
    0.1% (GBP 25 minimum)
  • CFDs (U.S. shares)
    0.15% ($25 minimum)

Trust

2.2

Trust is where City Index fares worst in our rating system, because of its lack of protections beyond what is required by regulators. For example, there are no second-layer security options like two-factor authentication, and the site does not use encrypted cookies. However, City Index does have more than 30 years of experience as a trading provider and is part of Gain Capital Holdings, a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

GBP 50,000
Default Insurance (City Index)
(If City Index defaults, any shortfall of funds of up to GBP 50,000 may be compensated for under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)).

What you need to know

City Index is a trademark of Gain Capital UK Limited. All retail clients' money is kept segregated from City Index's funds in separate accounts. Compensation of up to GBP 50,000 may be available to clients in the event of liquidation, through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) fully regulates and authorizes City Index.

Special Features

3.0
Special Features

City Index offers several different platforms for private investors and traders. These include mobile applications for Android and iOS, a web browser-based platform, an advanced downloadable desktop platform, and the widely used MetaTrader 4 platform. Every platform is free to clients, including those with only demo accounts. Another nice feature is "guaranteed stop loss orders", which, for a small premium, offer protection against slippage and price gaps by ensuring that stop losses trigger exactly where set.

"One-Click Dealing"
Trade Fast-Moving Markets
"AT Pro"
Free Advanced Trading Platform
Deal Through Charts
Trade Directly From the Charts

What you need to know

Having a range of platforms ensures that City Index clients can access their accounts in a way that's convenient for them. They can monitor positions, research markets, and open or close trades when needed on their chosen device. MetaTrader 4 accounts are separate, focused on forex, and will not sync with City Index's other platforms. Some clients might require additional tools for trading and research, such as more fundamental information or technical indicators, but overall the platforms' offerings are solid. City Index does not allow money management accounts.

Desktop Experience

4.5
Desktop Experience

City Index offers three options for desktop trading platforms: Advantage Web, AT Pro, and MetaTrader 4. It's quick and easy to download and set up these platforms. Traders can easily create watchlists, monitor positions, and execute trades using different order types.

Pros

Even City Index's advanced platform AT Pro is free, as are the browser platforms Advantage Web and MetaTrader 4. Layouts can be customized on all the platforms, and the color schemes can be changed on MetaTrader 4 and AT Pro to suit your preferences. AT Pro and Advantage Web have prebuilt workspace layouts, such as Chart Focus and Quick Trader, that you can quickly switch between to save the time of adjusting everything yourself. If you create a custom workspace, you can save the layout for future use. You can drag and drop results from Market Search directly into your watchlist, which is convenient and prevents excessive clicking. Another nice feature is that logging out of the AT Pro platform produces a warning notice if your positions don't have stop-losses. Placing trades is easy. Execution is fast on all the platforms, and can be done through the charts or in one click if you choose. There are lots of different chart types and time frame options, and you can have multiple charts open at the same time in different sizes.

Cons

There is a slight lag to the charts on the Advantage Web platform when you zoom in and out or adjust a chart. If you want to view regulatory news on stocks, you may need to use other sources, as only Reuters news articles are available on the City Index platforms. Customization of the Advantage Web platform is limited to the layout, as the colors can't be changed. Unfortunately, volume data is not available for any tradable assets on any platform. RECOGNIA, a research portal, can be accessed from the AT Pro and Advantage Web platforms but opens as a separate page. There's no button to quickly add a trade idea found on the research portal to your watchlist on the platform.

Mobile Experience

4.2
Mobile Experience

There are two mobile trading platforms to choose from: the City Index app and the MetaTrader 4 app, both of which are available for iOS and Android devices. The City Index app will sync with the AT Pro and Advantage Web desktop platforms; the MetaTrader 4 app syncs only with the MetaTrader 4 desktop platform. Trades can be opened, closed, monitored, and adjusted within either mobile platform. Funds can be withdrawn from and deposited into your account using the City Index app.

Pros

The City Index app has a user-friendly layout that is fast and responsive when navigating your way around, looking at charts, placing trades, setting alerts, or creating watchlists. All charts are in real time, and there are many different options for chart types, time frames, and indicators. The City Index app also syncs with the desktop platforms AT Pro and Advantage Web. The MetaTrader4 app is fast and responsive, shares many of the features of the desktop version, and syncs to it. Both mobile platforms allow clients to trade while on the go if they are connected to the internet and have an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.

Cons

You cannot log in to City Index on a mobile web browser, only through an app. This may be an issue if you were using somebody else's mobile device and didn't want the hassle of downloading and installing the app. There is no option at this time for fingerprint login, and you can't reach the Recognia portal through the City Index app.

Customer Support

3.8

City Index has a good support network in place for both existing and prospective clients. Its client services team is available 24/5 (Monday through Friday) by online chat, phone, or email.

What you need to know

Live chat can be started by clicking the Live Chat link on the website's menu bar at the top of the page. Simply enter your name and email address and whether you are a new or an existing client, and an agent will usually be with you shortly. It can take longer (more than 30 minutes) to get connected to an agent late at night, but at other times it can be quick. There is also a useful Help and Support section on the website, with topics like Opening an Account, Platform Support, and Costs of Trading. The Help and Support section is in FAQ style, and it's easy to navigate.

Research & Insights

4.3

City Index provides research tools on its website, trading platforms, and mobile applications, including tools for both fundamental and technical analysis. City Index has also partnered with Recognia to create a research portal where you'll find featured trade ideas, market screeners, analyst views, valuation tools, and more. Real-time news is provided by Reuters and available on the trading platforms.

Real-Time News
View financial news and market reports directly from the trading platforms
Customizable Charts
Choose your time frame, chart type, colors, and indicators, and trade directly from charts
Indicators and Studies
Make use of more than 80 indicators, plus an assortment of drawing tools
Value Screener
Find global shares that meet your fundamental and value criteria
Value Lookup
Search for key value information on individual shares from around the world
Our Analysts
Get insights from City Index's global research analysts

Pros

City Index has some useful research tools, like its economic calendar and earnings release dates, that can help you plan for the trading week ahead. Using charts and reading price action is a major aspect of research for many traders. City Index offers a broad range of global markets, and all the charts on its platforms are in real time and free, even for demo accounts. The charts are easy to use and customizable with different indicators, time frames, and drawing tools. Trade ideas may be found using the different sections of the Recognia research portal.

Cons

While the research tools are acceptable, many traders might prefer to use other sources with more extensive or specific tools. For example, there are two separate screeners, one fundamental and one technical; you cannot combine the two, and the criteria you can choose from for each are limited. The fundamental and financial information for stocks is also limited, and you can't see a company's regulatory news. Unfortunately, City Index does not offer a volume indicator, a popular tool that's incorporated into many trading strategies. Traders who want to use volume will need to use charts elsewhere.

Education

5.0

There is a lot of educational material on City Index's website, covering a range of topics for both new and experienced traders. Topics include introductions to spread betting and CFD trading as well as the various tradable markets, such as shares, forex, indices, commodities, and Bitcoin. There is also content around building trading strategies, such as planning trade entry and exit points, fundamental analysis, technical analysis, and running profits. You will find helpful videos, illustrations, and examples throughout the content.

Trading Academy Series
Learn the Markets
(Eight aspiring traders compete to win GBP 100,000)
Attend Webinars
Get Insights on Trading and the Market Outlook

What you need to know

You can find the Training tab at the top of the page on the menu bar of City Index's website. The drop-down menu gets you to specific educational sections quickly, or you can click the Training tab itself to go to the education homepage and navigate your way around from there. Links to relevant educational content can be found throughout City Index's website, and there's also a search box, so finding what you need is usually quite easy.

Bottom Line

City Index is a user-friendly spread-betting and CFD trading provider with 12,000+ tradable markets. Opening an account is easy, and there are no minimum deposit requirements. All the trading platforms are free, and there is no charge to deposit or withdraw funds. Other benefits include being able to go short as well as long, access to margin, guaranteed stop losses, demo accounts, and free real-time charts.

Commissions for trading CFD shares are quite expensive, but City Index is competitive on trading costs in other areas, such as forex and indices. The large selection of spread-betting markets will appeal to clients from the U.K. and other countries where trading them is tax-free. City Index is not available to U.S. or Canadian clients, because of their countries' financial regulations. However, residents of most countries around the world can open an account. It's a shame City Index doesn't offer a volume indicator, and it would be good if it could add two-factor authentication for extra security. Overall, though, City Index is a good all-around trading provider for both beginners and advanced traders.

Darren Brazer
Reviewed by Darren Brazer

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