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Risks of CFD Trading

Feb 5

CFD Trading Risks and Risk Management Strategies

CFD trading involves a range of risks and risk management strategies should be adopted by both new and experienced traders. These can include the use of a stop loss order, CFD risk-management controls such as position sizing and understanding technical analysis.

CFD trading is a great way to earn money in a fast-paced environment without owning the underlying asset, but it also comes with its share of pitfalls. In this article, we will explore some of the common CFD trading risks and risk management strategies you should consider before deciding to trade them.


Leverage trading is an important feature of CFD trading that allows traders to take positions in financial instruments without having to commit the entire capital required to buy them. This can result in significantly higher profits or losses, depending on how much leverage is used.

However, leverage can also magnify the risk of losing money, so it’s important to understand leverage and risk management strategies for CFD trading. These include using stop losses and taking advantage of diversification to minimise the impact of downswings in a specific sector or market makers.

In order to trade leveraged CFDs, you will need to put up a certain amount of money called margin. This will be used to open and maintain the position you’re trading. The amount you’re required to deposit will vary based on the leverage ratio and your account balance.

The leverage ratio for CFDs is generally between 5:1 and 50:1, though this can be higher depending on the type of strategy you’re trading. For example, scalpers can use leverage ratios of up to 50:1, while trend following traders prefer higher ratios in the range of 1:3 but not in crypto trading.

Traders should consider their risk profile and the type of strategy they’re planning to adopt before setting a margin ratio. Low leverage amounts are more appropriate for beginners, while experienced traders can use higher amounts to increase their profit potential.

A trader’s leverage ratio is calculated by multiplying the margin amount (the amount of capital that the trader has available) by the leverage percentage. For example, a leverage ratio of 50:1 means that a trader can control 50% of an asset with only $1. Margin is an important component of leverage trading, as it’s a key indicator of how much equity is left in your account.

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to keep your leverage ratio at around 1% to 2% of your total trading capital. This is because losses in leveraged CFDs can be large, and it’s a good idea to use a stop loss strategy if you’re unsure about the size of your trade.

Market volatility

Market volatility is a measure of how far prices will move in either direction from their average over time. It is a good indicator of the state of the market and overall investor sentiment. It can be influenced by many outside factors, including world events, policy changes from the Fed, and other markets.

Volatility can also be caused by specific events within an industry or sector, such as a major weather event in a region where oil production is important, or a change in government regulation that affects a company’s costs. These changes can result in a rise or a fall in the price of stocks in that particular industry.

There are a variety of ways to measure market volatility, but most experts use monthly returns from the S&P 500 stock index (or another similar benchmark) as their primary gauge. They calculate the standard deviation between each month’s return and the year’s average to see how much each month differed from the other months.

These numbers can be used to determine the level of risk in a given market, and they’re often used as a benchmark for traders to make decisions about investing. A high reading on the VIX, for instance, means that investors are worried about the overall level of risk in the market.

While volatility can be a negative indicator, it’s essential to remember that this is an inherent part of investing and shouldn’t send you into panic. Fortunately, there are strategies you can employ to navigate this rocky terrain and stay on track with your financial goals.

One strategy is to ensure that your online trading is fully diversified, meaning that you don’t put too much of your capital at risk on any one trade. This is known as the 2 per cent rule, and it’s a basic tenant of risk management that should be implemented throughout your entire CFD trading journey.

Another strategy for managing risk in the CFD market is to be aware of how much leverage you’re using on your trades. This is an important aspect of risk management that should be taken into account whenever you’re making a trade, as it can have the potential to amplify your losses and increase your risks significantly.

Negative balance protection

Negative balance protection (NBP) is a risk management strategy that limits a trader’s losses to the total amount of funds deposited in a CFD trading account. In highly volatile markets, large and sudden price movements may cause traders to lose more money than they have deposited into their accounts.

NBP is offered by brokers that are regulated by various regulatory bodies, such as the FCA, CySEC and ASIC. The regulation requires that brokers offer NBP, as well as other important security measures, such as fund segregation and dispute meditation.

However, many brokers do not offer negative balance protection to retail clients. This is usually because they run a 100% STP model and are subject to more risks than the firms that operate a broker-neutral or net-spread model.

Traders should also check the regulations that govern a broker’s policies, such as the maximum leverage available to traders and the minimum margin required for trading with CFDs. The maximum leverage is often 30:1 or higher, while the minimum margin is a small percentage of the value of a single trade.

Some brokers have started offering NBP to new customers as a way to attract them, but this practice should be avoided. This is because once the grace period is over, you will be liable for any negative balances that are carried by your account.

One example of a broker that offers NBP is IC Markets, which is registered with the CySEC and ASIC. IC Markets’ global branch is also regulated by the Seychelles Financial Services Authority. This is a good sign that IC Markets is dedicated to protecting its clients and does not provide services in countries where it is prohibited by law.

The FCA has also imposed rules on CFD brokers to protect their clients from negative balances. These rules are in place to prevent spread betting and CFD brokers from being liable for clients who have lost more than they deposited in their accounts. The CHF cap removal debacle in 2015 highlighted the need for this protection, as it prevented spread betting and CFD clients from owing their brokers money due to massive losses on their accounts.

Counterparty risk

Counterparty risk is a common concern among investors who trade CFDs. Every financial transaction requires a counterparty on the other side of the deal. Typically, these are financial institutions that provide the goods or services to buyers. In centralized markets, they operate in a clearinghouse environment and ensure that each party receives their items on time. In decentralized over-the-counter (OTC) markets, such as Forex, brokers and liquidity providers take over that role.

The problem with these types of transactions is that the providers may not be able to fulfill their obligations. In some cases, the provider may even go bankrupt. Fortunately, there are some ways to mitigate these risks.

Before you begin trading, be sure to research your CFD broker thoroughly. This will include checking their reputation and their client money protection policies. Then, consider how much leverage you want to use.

You can also ask for a demo account before you start trading. This is a great way to assess your risk tolerance without losing any money. It will also help you to avoid any unnecessary losses that can occur when you begin investing with real money.

When trading CFDs on margin, be extra cautious because this allows you to magnify your returns but at the same time increases your losses. This is due to the fact that you are using a percentage of your total deposit as collateral for opening and maintaining your positions. If you lose a lot of money, your entire capital can be at stake.

To minimize this risk, find a provider that has market connections. This will ensure that you can access the best bid-offer spreads and execution speed.

Moreover, make sure that you only trade with the highest quality CFD providers. This will help to limit your exposure to risks such as counterparty and client money risk.

A good CFD provider will be transparent with you about their risks and offer risk management strategies to reduce the impact of these problems. They will also be able to provide you with a risk warning document that will highlight any relevant risks and potential outcomes.