Guaranteed stop losses: What are they and which CFD and spread betting brokers offer them?

If you are looking for a broker that offers guaranteed stop losses, we’ve put together a handy little guide on what guaranteed stop losses are, their advantages and disadvantages and also which brokers offer them.

First off, what is a guaranteed stop?

Guaranteed stop losses are a very effective way to manage risk when trading CFDs or spread betting. They are like normal stop losses but differ in that the price you set is guaranteed.

The main differences between stop loss types

There are a few different types of stop losses in financial trading

  • Market stop loss – this is triggered as a market order when your stop price is triggered. The advantage of this is that you will always be filled. The disadvantage is that if the market is thin or volatile slippage means it could be far from your stop price.
  • Limit stop loss – this is triggered as a limit order when your stop price is hit. The advantage is that your position will only be filled at your stop price or better. The disadvantage is that if the market gaps below your stop price it won’t get filled (if it’s a sell stop).
  • Stop loss to open – this is when you set an order to open a position when your stop price is hit rather than close one. The advantage is that you can open a position if the market starts moving the way you want it to.

The difference between guaranteed stop losses and normal stop losses

The clue here is in the name. You are guaranteed to get the price you set. No slippage, no partial fills.

Is there a guaranteed stop cost or premium?

Yes most of the time – this will be in the form of a widened spread. Most brokers charge slightly different amounts but it will be shown on the trade ticket when you enter the order. For example, IG guaranteed stop losses come with a 0.8 point premium for the FTSE 100 (see image).

CFD and spread betting brokers that offer guaranteed stops

Here’s a quick rundown of three decent brokers that offer guaranteed stop losses on their trading platforms:

  • IG – 195,000 active clients, founded in 1974 – the current market leader – 15,00 markets
  • City Index – 20,000 active clients, 12,000 markets – owned by Gain Capital
  • Spreadex – a smaller spread betting broker based in St Albans – excellent customer service

What are the benefits of g uaranteed stop losses and which brokers offer them?

Many spread betting platforms and CFD brokers offer guaranteed stop losses to help traders mitigate risks.

But what are guaranteed stop losses and how do they differ from the other types of stop?

Firstly, here are some spread betting brokers that offer guaranteed stop losses:

Secondly, let’s list the different types of stop with a quick explanation of how they work.

Market stop

If the price trades through your stop you order will be executed at the market rate.  So for example, if you had an order to sell £10 FTSE at 6500 and the market trades down sharply to 6490 your stop will be executed at the market rate. In other words your 6500 stop will be filled at 6490.

Limit stop

This means that when the price trades through your stop limit your order will be placed in the form of a limit.  For example, if your stop limit to sell £10 FTSE at 6500 was triggered by the same price move and the FTSE went down to 6490 a limit order to sell £10 FTSE at 6500 would be placed.  Your order would not be filled at 6490 so if the market fell further you would still have your position.  Your stop limit would only be filled if the market traded back up to 6500.

Stop to enter

This can be either a market stop or a limit stop and refers to using a stop as an entry point to go with the market.  Unlike a normal limit order which is traditionally used to take profits, by placing a sell order above the market, a stop limit order is often used by traders when they see a trend confirmed.  For example, if you are flat the FTSE, but think that if it reaches 6600 it will continue to go up and want to take advantage of that breakout.  If the FTSE is trading 6580 now, you put a opt to open so that a buy order will be activated when the market touches 6600.

Guaranteed stop losses

All this means is that the price that you set your limit at will be guaranteed. Unlike market stops where there can be slippage or limit stops when you may not get a fill, with a guaranteed stop no matter what the market conditions you will always get the fill you want.

There are disadvantages of course.  There is an extra cost for this, as the broker may widen the spread or charge a premium execution fee.  Also always check the terms and conditions of your specific spread betting broker as there may be circumstances where they are not applicable.

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