What are the eligibility requirements to becoming a professional trader?
To qualify, you must answer ‘yes’ to two or more of the following:
- Has your trading averaged 10 significantly sized transactions in leveraged derivatives per quarter over the last 4 quarters?
- Do you have a financial instrument portfolio, including cash deposits, exceeding €500,000?
- Have you worked in the financial sector in a professional position, requiring knowledge of derivatives trading, for at least a year?
What is included in my ‘financial instrument portfolio’?
A ‘financial instrument portfolio’ includes:
- Stock portfolios
- Stocks and shares ISAs
- Trading accounts
- Mutual funds
- SIPPs (excluding non-financial instruments)
It does not include:
- Company pensions
- Non-tradeable assets
What if I’m not eligible to become a professional trader?
Not a problem – you can still trade with us. You’ll have access to the same powerful platforms and great customer service we offer our professional clients. What’s more, you’ll automatically get negative balance protection on your account.
What’s the difference between an IG trading account and an IG professional account?
With an IG trading account, you’ll need to hold more margin to cover your positions than a professional client would. Your account will also have negative balance protection, meaning that the balance on your account can’t go below zero.
What protections do professional clients forego?
There are a few protections afforded to retail clients that professional clients don’t receive.
- Negative balance protections don’t apply to professional clients, who have an obligation to make additional payments if their account falls into a negative balance. As a professional client, you can still attach guaranteed stops to place an absolute limit on risk. These incur a small premium if triggered.
- We need to use clear language when talking to retail clients, but we can use more sophisticated language when talking to our professional clients.
- We may assume a level of knowledge and experience when assessing whether our products are appropriate for professional clients.
- We owe our clients a duty of best execution when executing orders. For retail clients we must prioritise overall prices and cost of a transaction in doing this. For professional clients we may prioritise other factors such as speed and likelihood of execution, if we determine they are equally or more important than overall price. In practice, we don’t change the way we execute your orders.
What if I already have an IG account?
If you’d like, you can request that your account be reclassified as ‘professional’. To check whether you could be eligible, see if you have the experience and portfolio required.
Why is spread betting and CFD leverage being restricted?
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) imposed a range of leverage restrictions aimed at retail traders in early 2018, to try to increase conduct standards across the industry and improve outcomes for investors.