Spread betting on stock market movements is big business for Cantor
Fitzgerald's U.K. arm, Cantor Index, in the wake of September's terrorist
acts in New York and Washington, D.C.
Cantor Index, which offers spread betting on stock markets and
entertainment, saw trading activity double during periods since Sept. 17,
when American stock exchanges reopened after the attacks.
David Buik, the head of public relations for Cantor Index in London, said
Thursday that bettors are clearly looking overseas for cues on their spread
"The last two days of last week were actually quite quiet because we were
waiting for action from the great George W., to know what was going on in
the Gulf, and people just became a bit quiet really, but activity has picked
up substantially this week again," he said.
About 40 percent of spread betting transactions at Cantor Index are made
online, Buik said. The rest-usually the higher bets-are conducted by
telephone because the orders can be executed faster.
"You generally find that the small- to medium-size players who play for
between £1 and £20 a point play online, and what I call the major, high
net-worth individuals who play for £50 to £500 a point, generally play by
telephone," he said.
Cantor Fitzgerald, the British firm's American parent company, suffered
greatly from the attack on the World Trade Center. The financial services
group housed nearly 1,000 employees on floors 101, 103, 104 and105 of One
World Trade Center. Buik estimates that 733 of those employees are presumed
But he doesn't think the British have upped their spread betting with
Cantor Index out of sympathy for its losses in America.
"I'd like to think that they are, but I don't think they would be doing
it for any other but commercial reasons," he said.
The Guardian of London reported on Tuesday that bettors have netted
£100 and £250,000 each on spread betting with Cantor Index since the events
of Sept. 11, although some of the more active investors could have also lost
money. Buik said there had been some concern at Cantor Index that clients
would no longer view the company as financially stable.
"Basically our clients have done extremely well and made a lot of money,
which we're obviously very pleased about because unlike spread betting in
sports, we want our clients to make money," Buik said.