Alpari UK Introduce MetaTrader 4 Spread Betting

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It's been quite a long wait, but Alpari UK have announced today that they are now the second broker to offer automated spread betting using the MetaTrader 4 platform to UK residents. According to their news release:

Tax free* Forex trading is now available on the MetaTrader 4 platform with Alpari (UK). Financial spread betting allows traders to bet on whether the price of an asset will rise or fall with additional benefits including the exemption of income tax, capital gains tax and stamp duty*.

The asterisk leads to the usual disclaimer about how:

Any profits you make from spread betting are completely free of capital gains tax, stamp duty and income tax (for UK residents). UK tax laws are subject to change and individual circumstances may vary.

Alpari are thus now in competition with the recently rechristened GKFX (formerly Smart Live Markets) for the business of UK residents who like the idea of automatically generating tax free profits using MT4 expert advisors, not to mention the likes of larger brokers such as GFT and FXCM who currently offer automated spread betting using their proprietary APIs rather than via MetaTrader.

Alpari tell me their new spread bet accounts work rather like an FX only version of their existing Classic accounts, but with the additional benefit of "micro-lots". In spread bet parlance the "minimum bet" on the new Alpari accounts is 10 pence per pip (which is the same as GKFX), but with no upper limit on bet size.  Currently it seems there is no way to transfer cash from an existing account to a new spread bet account, so if the idea of tax free trading with Alpari appeals to you then you'll have to stump up the minimum deposit of £250 from your credit card before you make your first trade. Note that the only "assets" Alpari spread bet accounts cater for, for the moment at least, are 34 forex pairs.  If you want to trade indices or commodities tax free then you'll need to look elsewhere.  One other significant difference from a GKFX spread bet account is that Alpari are offering their usual floating spreads instead of GKFX's (mostly) fixed spreads.

Following today's announcement there's finally a bit of competition in the UK MetaTrader spread betting marketplace. Now I'm wondering if GFT or FXCM will be tempted to join in the fun anytime soon?

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