Simon Cawkwell, the most famous proponent of spread betting, on what investors must do to succeed in this cut-throat market
11:24AM BST 21 Jul 2009
"Greed, if you want it in a word," said Simon Cawkwell, otherwise known as Evil Knievil, one of the stock market's most fearsome bear traders. "That was my primary motivation for getting into spread betting."
The self-confessed compulsive gambler admits that its lure is making money from the financial markets free of tax, although these days he claims the intellectual stimulation is more important the riches.
Because players do not own the underlying shares, their profits are free of stamp duty and capital gains tax
– making a spread bet the perfect medium for the daredevil independent investor. Its method is also extremely risky.
The challenge of working out which companies are under and overvalued is "a bit like doing the crossword", Mr Cawkwell said. But unlike mere puzzles, spread betting allows punters to wager much more than the cash they pay up front and it is not always obvious how much money they could stand to lose.
The small matter of the worst economic crisis to hit the world since the Great Depression is not even a hiccup for Mr Cawkwell. Indeed, he sounds positively indignant at the suggestion that the volatile markets could upset his success.