One of the subtle differences of trading Contracts for Difference (CFDs) compared to trading the stock market is the fact that CFD brokers charge CFD finance when holding positions overnight. Today we will take a look at this subtle difference of CFD finance and how that may affect your CFD trading business.
The CFD brokers major source of income
You may or may not know that CFD brokers have significant amounts of money under management and it would not be uncommon for a large CFD broker to have in excess of $100 million in client's funds in the bank. These clients' funds sitting in the bank represent an amazing amount of passive income for the CFD broker and at this stage we haven't even talked about CFD finance.
So what exactly is CFD finance?
The CFD finance is a debit or credit to your account as a result of holding a CFD position overnight. Overnight simply means you hold your position past 5 PM New York time which equates to about 7 AM Australian time. This is known as the roll over time.
In effect the CFD finance is a cost you incur for borrowing the leveraged money that you are trading with in the market. As you would already know, one of the greatest benefits of trading CFDs is the ability to put a small amount of margin upfront in order to control a much larger position. For example $500 will control a $10,000 position in one of the top 20 ASX stocks.
You get credited or debited on the full amount
Traders new to CFDs often get confused with the amount the finance is charged on. Most CFD brokers charge finance on your full CFD position irrespective of the amount of margin you put up front. Having said that it is always important to check your CFD brokers product disclosure statement to ensure that is the case.
So in effect you are borrowing the full amount of your CFD position and as a result you incur a financing charge. This charge or credit is normally the overnight financing rate plus or minus 2%. This is a yearly rate which is then calculated back to a daily rate.
As of January 2009 the RBA rate in Australia is 4.25% so if you held a CFD position long you would be charged 4.25% +2% per year calculated back at a daily rate. So we are talking 6.25% per year and only if you hold the position overnight. If you happen to hold your position during the day and closed before 5 PM New York time then you will not be charged overnight financing allowing you to effectively borrows much money as you like for no charge.
Another way to think about it is if you held your CFD position for a full year then you would need to make a 6.25% capital gain just to break even with your CFD finance.
Do I get paid when I short sell a CFD?
Another great advantage of trading CFDs is the fact that when you are short you actually get paid interest every day you hold the position overnight. Normally the rate you would earn is the overnight cash rate -2% calculated as a daily rate. As you can see that doesn't equate to a massive amount of money but it is still a credit nonetheless.
Consider the cost of incurring CFD finance as the cost of accessing more opportunity than what would be available if you were trading the stock market.