Risks involved in CFD trading

Contracts for difference (CFDs) are derivatives that allow traders to speculate on the rising or falling prices of financial assets. CFDs offer lower trading costs and higher leverage levels than other instruments, making them popular among experienced investors and newcomers. However, CFD trading also carries several risks which potential traders should be aware of before getting started. This article will discuss the most common CFD risks in the UK market.


Market volatility

The UK market is known for its volatility, which can significantly impact the profitability of CFD traders. Prices can move quickly and unexpectedly due to events such as political developments or economic news, meaning that traders must constantly monitor the markets to ensure they are still in control of their positions. Not only do these movements present potential losses for traders, but they also create an increased risk of margin calls, which can further exacerbate losses.

Margin calls

Margin calls occur when a trader’s account balance falls below the minimum required to sustain open positions. As CFDs are traded on margin, this can happen relatively quickly and without warning, forcing the trader to either add more funds or close their positions. This added risk can be dangerous for traders already operating on a tight budget, as it could force them into further debt to continue trading. Moreover, it could also lead to a complete loss of capital if the trader cannot add extra funds in time.


CFD traders can access high leverage levels, which increases the potential for greater profits (and losses). While this can be advantageous in some situations, it also means that traders must exercise caution to avoid overexposure. Suppose a trader does not adequately control their risk or opens too many leveraged positions at once. In that case, they could end up with significant losses and potentially even blow their trading account. Additionally, it is essential to keep in mind that leverage can amplify losses as quickly as it can amplify gains.


Slippage is the difference between the price at which a trader intends to enter a trade and the actual price they receive when their order is filled. It can be caused by market volatility or inadequate liquidity, which could lead to unexpected losses for traders. It is essential for traders to factor in the potential for slippage when placing orders, as this can help them keep losses to a minimum and avoid being caught off guard.

Counterparty risk

Counterparty risk occurs when another party involved in the transaction does not fulfil their obligations and fails to pay out profits or losses. It can be particularly damaging for CFD traders, as the broker could become insolvent or refuse to pay out funds due to internal issues. To protect their funds and profits, it is essential that traders only work with reputable brokers who are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Furthermore, traders should also be aware that some brokers offer negative balance protection, which helps minimise the risks associated with counterparty risk.

So what are the benefits?

While there are some risks to CFD trading in the UK, there are also several potential benefits that CFD traders can utilise. Ensuring you know the risks and benefits will allow you to make a more informed decision when considering CFD trading and ultimately help you become a successful trader.

You can trade them online

When you participate in CFD trading online, you will benefit from the convenience of trading CFDs in an online environment. It can be particularly beneficial for those unable to access a local CFD trading platform. CFD trading on a computer or mobile device makes it easier and faster to compare different markets and assets before placing trades.

You can access a wide range of markets

CFD traders can access various CFDs across asset classes, including stocks, indices, commodities, and forex. It allows them to diversify their portfolio and mitigate any losses from trading CFDs in one market.

You can leverage your trades

CFD traders benefit from using leverage as it increases their potential profits while minimising their initial capital outlay. Leverage also provides CFD traders with greater flexibility in managing their risk. However, CFD traders should remember that leverage can also magnify losses, so they must employ sensible risk management strategies when trading CFDs with leverage.

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