Independently minded publishing

The Financial Spread Betting Handbook, 3rd edition

The definitive guide to making money trading spread bets

By Malcolm Pryor

Paperback £24.99 / $35.00
eBook £21.99 / $29.95
Buy now

The Financial Spread Betting Handbook, 3rd edition

The definitive guide to making money trading spread bets

By Malcolm Pryor

Jacket text


Financial spread betting is a huge industry. But who wins and who loses at this game? What do the winners do that differs from the losers? That is what this book is about.

Malcolm Pryor uses the model of climbing a mountain to explain a disciplined, winning approach to spread betting. First a base camp must be established. This includes getting set up with the right corporate data, charting and accounts software, deciding what to bet on and what your time frame should be, learning the nuances of operating an account, controlling risk, and learning from other people’s mistakes. Many spread bettors don’t even get this far.

Next, we start climbing the mountain; this means having strategies that are right for us. The whole of this section is devoted to illustrating strategies which can be used for spread betting, for example trend following, counter-trend strategies and delta-neutral strategies such as pairs trading.

Finally, we make our assault on the summit of the mountain. This is where the winners set themselves apart from the losers. Issues covered here include trade planning, record keeping, performance reviews, more on risk management, psychology and continual development.

In this substantially revised and enhanced third edition, you will benefit from:

– Updated details about computer hardware, trading software and price data products to reflect technological changes and new products coming to market.
– Updated information about product spreads to reflect the changed spread betting and market environment.
– Refreshed and improved information about spread betting firms’ product offerings, order types, and approach to pricing and hedging.
– Numerous other revisions and improvements throughout, to bring everything up to date and enhance clarity.

Spread betting is great fun; almost anyone can enjoy the odd bet now and again. But if you want to make money from spread betting then it must be taken seriously and a disciplined, tactical approach is required. This book is the essential guide to get to the top of the mountain.

About the author

Malcolm Pryor is a member of the Society of Technical Analysts in the UK and has been designated a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.

He is a director of a consultancy practice and is an expert at several games, including bridge, where he has held the rank of Grandmaster or higher since 1996.

He provides one-to-one coaching for traders, details of which can be found at


Praise for the first and second editions

“The clue to the book’s usefulness is contained in the title: Handbook…This is because the mountain climbing analogy is apt: climbing a mountain means you don’t go from base camp to the summit in one step (you’ll probably forget to pack the thermal underwear and oxygen mask). You have to start at the bottom and work your way up. So too with this book. This is not just a book about spread betting, it’s also a strategy of how to apply spread betting to your investments… [It’s] something you’ll frequently dip into to clarify a point or refresh your memory. Even if you’re not an investor but someone who, say, has…a knack for predicting the outcome of sporting events – but are wary of fixed odds betting, then spread betting is a Godsend and you’ll find this book extremely useful.”

– Martin Fagan,

“This book really is a must for anyone who wants to spreadbet and indeed for experience spread bettors too because there are some excellent advanced strategies in here.”

– Robbie Burns,

“It is an ambitious task to write a comprehensive handbook about a trading method, but The Financial Spread Betting Handbook does not let the reader down. Many will find it useful, from keen beginners to more experienced spread bettors.”

– Shares magazine

“This leading guide to trading well justifies its second edition.”

– Money Maker magazine


Preface to the 2017 edition
Risk Warning

PART 1 - Base Camp
1. Choosing A Spread Betting Firm
- Origins and growth of the market
- Selection criteria
- The 6-Stage Plan for opening an account

2. Getting Set Up - Computer Hardware And Software
- Hardware
- Internet connection
- General software
- Backing up

3. Trading Resources
- Trading software
- Price data
- Websites

4. What Do Winning Spread Bettors Bet On?
- Markets
- The 3 key tests
- Differences between the spread betting firms
- Personal observation

5. Choosing A Spread Betting Type
- Types of betting
- Differences between the spread betting firms

6. Timescales For Spread Bets
1. Extremely short timescale
2. Short timescale
3. Medium timescale
4. Long timescale
5. Very long timescale

7. Pricing and Hedging
- Do they really want you to win?
How spread betting firms work out their prices
How competitive is the market?
Do they hedge?
Future developments - a wish list

8. 10 Common and Really Expensive Spread Betting Errors
1. No edge
2. No planning
3. Wrong bet size
4. No risk management
5. Mistiming exits
6. Out of control
7. Not in tune with the markets
8. Running before walking
9. Emotionally unstable
10. Not taking responsibility

9. Keeping Losses Small - The Stop Loss
- Stop or no stop?
- Near or far?
- Automated or mental?
- Instant or delayed?
- Techniques for placing stops
- One more useful approach - the time stop
- Two tips
- Moving stops

10. Spread Betting Order Types
- Time stop
- Are some orders better than others?
- What's on offer in the market?

11. Practical Issues
- Order placement
- Automated stop orders
- Dispute resolution
- Funds transfers
- Keep abreast of your margining position
- Congratulations!

PART 2 - Climbing The Mountain

12. Finding A Strategy That Works For You
- What do you like?
- Technical analysis is excellent for spread betting
- The basic choice: trend or countertrend strategies?
- Or delta neutral strategies
- Master one strategy first

13. Spread Betting Strategy I - Betting On A Trend - Trend Identification
- Basic concept - using spread betting to ride a trend
- Break outs or pullbacks?
- How to identify trends

14. Spread Betting Strategy I - Betting On A Trend - Selecting A Bet
- Simplifying trade selection - the weekly shortlist
- Simplifying trade selection - identifying daily set ups
- Taking the trade - entry triggers
- A new approach to short listing

15. Spread Betting Strategy I - Betting On A Trend - Bet Size
- Taking the trade - the right size of spread bet

16. When To Exit A Bet
1. The bet goes against us
2. The bet goes nowhere
3. The reason for the bet disappears
4. The bet goes our way

17. The Re-entry

18. Spread Betting Strategy II - Betting On Reversals
1. Buying support and selling resistance
2. Betting on candle patterns
3. Betting on gaps
4. Betting on divergence

19. Spread Betting Strategy III - In And Out Within A Day
You need the time to do this
Finding intraday bets
Betting as company results come out
Betting on false break outs
Betting on blow offs
Betting on indices and currencies intra day
Binary betting

20. Advanced Strategies
Pairs trading

PART 3 - The Route To The Summit

21. The Right Strategy For You
- Character
- Account size
- Beliefs
- Attitude to risk

22. Staying In Control - Planning
- Annual trading plan
- A week in the life of a successful spread bettor

23. Staying In Control - Record Keeping

24. Staying In Control - Regular Reviews
- Monthly review
- Annual review

25. Staying In Control - Risk Management, Again
- Staying in tune with the markets
- Monitoring positions
- Margin control
- Managing total exposure and leverage
- Net long/short
- Diversification
- Standing aside
- Counterparty risk
- Exceptional events
- Contingency planning

26. Developing A Winning Attitude
- Profile of the successful spread bettor
- 10 Rules for Profitable Spread Betting

27. Continual Development
- Books
- Seminars

- Examples of Basic Bets
- Spread Betting Glossary
- Support and Resistance
- Betting via Exchanges
-- How it works
-- Benefits and risks of this type of betting


Published: 20/03/2017
Edition: 3rd
Pages: 240
Formats: paperback - ISBN 9780857195951
ebook - ISBN 9780857195968
Media enquiries

If you’d like to get in touch with the author for interview or comment, or you’d like a review copy of this book, please contact us at or call +44 (0)1730 233870.


For information on available rights, please contact

Bulk purchases

We offer discounts for bulk purchases. Please contact for a quote.