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A contract for difference, or CFD, is a type of financial derivative where two parties enter into a contract speculating on whether the underlying instrument will increase or decrease in price. If a trader or investor ‘buys’ the underlying and the instrument increases in value, the seller must pay the difference between the current value and the value at the contract’s end to the buyer. If, however, the underlying instrument decreases in value the buyer must pay the price difference to the seller.  In essence, the buyer is taking a long position while the seller is taking a short position.

When CFD trading, you can act as either a buyer or seller, depending on whether you think the underlying will rise or fall in value. If the underlying falls in value after you have sold the asset (that is, taken a short position), you would make money. If it were to rise in this instance, you would lose money.

The ability for investors to take part in the market place, without requiring ownership of an asset, has led to the increasing popularity of CFDs with investors. As a leveraged product, they can be traded with only a small percentage of the amount needed to enter into the contract. Investors are able to hold a much larger position than their capital would otherwise allow, which has the ability to amplify gains as well as losses. It allows investors to speculate on instruments that they would not otherwise be able to include in their portfolio.

The simplicity of the product, which affords access to investors of all levels, has also contributed to its increasing popularity.

Contract for difference are quoted with two prices. The bid (sale price) is first, then the offer (purchase price).

For example, consider stock X, which is quoted at 9/10.

Long positions:

Long positions are taken when you believe the stock will increase in value.

If a buyer purchases 1000 equity CFDs of company X, he will pay £10 per share. While this would amount to £10000, the buyer only needs to put up a percentage of that (depending on the required margin percentage). For instance, if the margin percentage is 20% the buyer will need £2000 to open the position. A commission will also be charged.

If the price has increased, the buyer may choose to close the position.  If the new quote is 11/11.5, the buyer will now sell at the bid price of £11 per CFD. He will receive £3000 (margin plus £1000 profit), or a £1 per share gross profit for the CFDs. The buyer may also choose to keep the contract open, if he believes the underlying asset will continue to increase in value.

Short positions:

The investor will sell 1000 CFDs for £11 per share, amounting to £11000. Required margin, using the same 20%, is now £2200. If stock X has fallen, the seller may choose to close the position. This will require buying the same number at a lower price. If CFDs for stock X are now quoted at 9/10, the seller will buy 1000 contracts at £10 to close the short position, and make a £1000 gross profit.

In the early 1990s, contract for difference were used almost exclusively by hedge funds and institutional traders in the United Kingdom. Now, they are now used in many markets around the world, and can be created based on many different types of underlying assets. In the above example, “X” may in fact be a share, an index fund, a commodity, interest rates or bonds. As they are over-the-counter (OTC), contracts can often be specified to the particular wants and needs of an investor.

Three distinct methods of CFD trading:

  1. Through a market maker, who will define the terms of the contract including include the margin rates and underlying instrument. The market maker is also known as the provider.  This is over-the-counter (OTC), meaning trading is done directly between two parties.
  2. Through a Direct Market Access model (DMA), where the underlying assets are directly purchased on the underlying exchange.
  3. In Australia, CFDs may also be traded on an exchange.

As with any financial instrument, there are certain risks associated with this type trading. Primarily, these include market risk, liquidity risk and counter party risk.

Although volatility is often sought after by traders of CFDs, market risk also results from market volatility with the potential for an underlying asset of a CFD to drastically alter in price. However, stop loss orders may help control risks associated with the volatility of the underlying volatility. A stop loss order will trigger the actions to close the contract if the asset falls below a certain price. Of course, if CFDs are not available in the market at the price, the order cannot be filled which is referred to as ‘slippage’ or ‘gapping’. This risk can be mitigated by using guaranteed stop-losses, which guarantee you a worst-case-scenario price.

The market most closely resembles the futures and options markets, but with several differences. Unlike options and futures, CFDs do not have an expiry date. Rather, it is up to the investor to choose when to close the contract. Another difference is that CFD trading is primarily done outside of an exchange.

The main advantages of this type of trading include:

* Access to underlying market without needing to own specific instrument, available on several instruments, and across nations.

* Ability to trade on margin and create leveraged positions. This offers investors the opportunity to increase profits, but also increases risk.

* Low transaction costs. Most providers operate through a commission.

* High levels of personal control, because you are able to trade both long a short, and trade outside of regular exchange hours in some markets.

* Market is highly transparent.

* No time limit on positions. As the investor, you choose when to close a position. One should note that a CFD can be an open contract for long period of time, but is more commonly used as a short-term instrument.

* CFDs offer hedging opportunities to increase safety of overall portfolio Accendo Markets has its own unique trading platform, providing a simple user interface, live pricing, current open positions, trading tools and charts, and live news feeds. These attributes allow you to take advantage of the many opportunities provided. You will also have access to information and trading opportunities provided by Accendo Markets’ analysts provided to help increase your knowledge of trading.

CFDs vs Spread Betting

CFD trading and spread betting are both popular trading products in the UK. Both are derivatives which provide the holder with exposure to an underlying market, such as shares, share indices, commodities or currencies. In recent years, the market has seen an increasing number of UK investors learning how to trade online.

Contracts for difference are favoured over spread betting by experienced and professional traders as they provide pricing benefits over spread betting. Additionally, there is no expiry date on a CFD contract.

Of course, spread betting remains very popular in the UK. This is largely due to the tax benefits and simplicity of trading. The novice trader can gain access to underlying markets, using leverage, for as little as £1 per point. To trial the spread betting  platform, visit our spread betting demo application page.

Our offering is extensive. You can trade shares, commodities, indices and currencies, including:

* Large cap shares via , NYSE, Nasdaq, European and Australian contracts

* Many other global shares

* A large range of CFDs on shares with smaller market capitalisation, subject to availability

* Gold, silver, wheat, oil and a vast range of other commodities

* ETFs

* All major and exotic currency pairs

* All major and exotic stock indices, including the UK 100 , Dow Jones, S&P 500, Dax, CAC 40 – plus many more

Both CFDs and spread betting mean that you gain indirect exposure to the underlying market on a leveraged basis. All of the markets on offer can be traded online, on desktop or mobile, via your trading platform at the touch of a button.

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Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

4.81 Average

156 Reviews


I have found Accendo staff very helpful,,and informed. I have traded with you for some years now and have no regrets. Keep up the good work!

Posted 3 years ago

Shaun D

since signing up for Accendo I have had two traders, Mark and Sam. I have found both of these to be very informative about how CFD's work and they have made it very easy for me. Since working with Sam (last four months) my trading knowledge has improved and I can make more informative decisions about which Company's to invest with. Keep up the good work Sam.

Posted 3 years ago


I am very happy with the service I get from Accendo Markets and in particular Amrit Panesar. He is very professional and pleasant to speak to and this counts for a lot.

Posted 4 years ago

Shreekant P

Its a good site for dealing stocks worldwide and having good staff.

Posted 4 years ago

Nick W

Krishan Appiah is one of the most dedicated / informative broker I have ever had.

Posted 4 years ago

Thomas I

Since I have been trading with Accendo Markets I have experienced much greater success than has been my experience with other trading companies mainly due to the help given by, what I consider to be my terminal with the trading floor, Mark, who has been most helpful in reminding me of the progress of my positions throughout the day and keeping me in touch with those positions so that I can more easily make successful trades when appropriate instead of missing out on opportunities through lack of attention. He draws my attention to the situations and enables me to make profitable trades. I am very happy with the situation at the moment and am enjoying the experience. Thomas Irving.

Posted 4 years ago

Kartik A

Accendo markets keep me connected with the market and its very well followed by Mr. Krishan Appiah ,which helps me to take certain decision on time.

Posted 4 years ago

Peter p

I have been trading with Accendo Markets and James Abbott my account manager for coming on 5 years now, James Abbott the senior trader of Accendo Markets provides me with up to minute information when I need it and find him very easy and professional to deal with. Whenever I need to trade or am not sure about anything James is always their to help with any queries I may have. The Accendo Platform I find very easy to use and navigate although it has been slightly changed over the years but definitely for the better. Personal when I do trade 90% of the time, I rather telephone call to place my trade dealings and if James is not there to take my call I find others at Accendo like Sam, Lee take my trades and are. All in all everyone at Accendo Markets are amazing to deal with and my relationship with Accendo is just as I like it. Peter Petrou

Posted 4 years ago

Mrs. J

"Our Trader, Aymen Azizi, has been nothing but attentive to our every need throughout our long relationship with him. No issue is too small, full explanations on all our questions."

Posted 4 years ago

Brian R

I have been with Accendo for a long time now, ten or twelve year's, probably more . As I told Sam (my trader) I thought that CFDs were better than sex . I stopped trading for a few years and only started back about a couple of months ago. But it is as if I had never been gone , so to speak. Sam has helped me every step of the way, at my age one forgets things. I have only praise for Accendo and as far as I am concerned the platform is the best . Now I am back trading at 71 years of age, I might even try sex again. Brian Robertson.

Posted 4 years ago

Jim W

I understand how to make a profit with CFDs. I am restricted by the range of companies I have knowledge of. Although, I am not sure that is a big problem. Tom Robertson is a very fine man.

Posted 4 years ago

Rebekah S

Well, I would not be trading without the help of my trader, Sam Alnakkash. He provided a really great overview of Accendo Markets, an insight into trading in general and how to get started in trading online. His advice, support and training has been fantastic all along the way, enabling me to start trading earlier than I would have done had I not had the support. He has also been very adept at understanding me as a client in order to help me achieve my trading goals. I still have a lot to learn and hope I will get there.

Posted 4 years ago

Nick z

I like the updates on shares I trade. Updates from Bloomberg and Reuters plus industry updates and breaking news. I've had Matt Grice and James Abbott and found both to be excellent. I would like to continue a personal service with James. He understands how and which stocks I trade.

Posted 5 years ago

Steve O

Excellent, knowledgable broker interaction and communication, coupled with very good research and analysis.

Posted 5 years ago

William P

Being new to direct trading I needed help and was given all the time and advice that I needed to feel fully able to make decisions on what I wanted to invest in. I asked for and got exactly the type of info I required provided by Tom Cook, who I would recommend to anyone looking for help.

Posted 5 years ago

Mr. W

I have been dealing with accendo for the past 8 years my broker Amrit I find him very helpful when he is there lol and had many offers to change but will not do it Bill Roberts

Posted 5 years ago

Zoran N

Very good all round service! Timely market information. (charts + trends coverage ) On the ball accounts managers ,quickly available and alert . Part of my success owed to my personal manager Mr Sam Springet , than you.

Posted 5 years ago

Mr Brian C

Easy to deal with.....

Posted 5 years ago

Muhammed S

Accendo markets are great for trading cfds and their research is second to none! Aymen manages my account is extremely helpful and always keeps me updated on market info. Thanks again

Posted 5 years ago

Mr Buta B

Always available, whenever I call I get straight through to someone that can and will help. The staff are very knowledgeable, helpful and easy to talk to.

Posted 5 years ago

Stephen B

Aymen Azizi keeps an eye on what is happening in the market and informs me with timely relevancy, email call, and txt.

Posted 5 years ago