20,000 people in France trade contracts for difference and/or foreign exchange


Key findings


The French contract for difference / foreign exchange market is relatively young, but very dynamic

Although still relatively young, the French CFD/FX market has excellent growth prospects. 20,000 people traded contracts for difference (CFDs) and/or retail foreign exchange in the 12 months to February 2012 and a further 9,000 intended to begin trading over the following 12 months.

Based on a detailed online survey of 7,610 investors, the Investment Trends 2012 France Contracts for Difference Report and Foreign Exchange Report is the largest and most comprehensive study of retail leveraged trading markets ever conducted in France.

The report shows that 16,000 people used contracts for difference (CFDs) in the 12 months to February 2012. 15,500 traded retail foreign exchange in that period. These two markets are very closely tied together. 11,500 traders were active in both markets, either by trading foreign exchange through CFDs or by using separate providers to trade each product.

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A further 9,000 people who currently don’t trade CFDs or retail FX intend to start trading within 12 months. ‘This is a relatively young but very dynamic market,’ said Pawel Rokicki, Investment Trends Senior Analyst. ‘If we look at the more mature German CFD market, for instance, it’s twice the size of France’s, yet the number of people who intend to start trading is very similar. Our study next year will confirm how many people in this “next wave” of traders act on their intention, but based on our research in other countries this figure is likely to be around two thirds, or 6,000 new traders entering the market.’

A large proportion of CFD traders used to trade warrants

This comprehensive report analyses the CFD/FX market in a wider context of listed leveraged trading instruments such as warrants and turbos. The very mature warrants market is currently twice the size of the CFD market in France. This market presents a major opportunity for CFD providers.

‘Looking at the CFD market from a broader leveraged trading perspective confirms its growth potential’, said Rokicki. ‘More than half of warrant traders who are familiar with CFDs either already trade them, or are interested. The barriers to further adoption of CFDs revolve around insufficient knowledge about this relatively new product, rather than a preference for warrants as such.’

Warrant traders who adopt CFDs tend to abandon their old product. While 38% of CFD traders had traded warrants before they started using CFDs, only 8% continue to use warrants. By way of comparison, fully two thirds of current warrant traders who have tried CFDs continue trading this instrument.

Four large players stand out in terms of market share

This relatively young market has not produced an established leader yet. All market share metrics, however, point to a clear advantage of the four providers listed below.

Top 4 providers
(by primary market share*,
excluding white label relationships)
Contracts for difference
IG Markets 24%
WH Selfinvest 14%
FXCM 11%
Saxo Banque 10%
Top 4 providers
(by primary market share*,
excluding white label relationships)
Foreign exchange
FXCM 16%
IG Markets 14%
WH Selfinvest 8%
Saxo Banque 8%

The four providers above are even closer when compared in volume terms (volume calculated using trading size and frequency self-assessed by users).

Share by volume CFD/FX trading market combined
Saxo Banque 19%
IG Markets 16%
FXCM 16%
WH SelfinvestSaxo Banque 14%

About Investment Trends

Investment Trends is a leading specialist market research organisation in the global wealth management industry. We provide new insights and decision support information to over 200 leading financial services businesses across Europe, UK, US, Asia and Australia. We combine analytical rigour and strategic thinking with the most advanced research and statistical techniques to help our clients gain competitive advantage.

Investment Trends’ clients include major banks, online brokers, CFD and FX providers, investment platform providers and life insurers, as well as industry regulators, financial advice groups and software providers.

About the report

The results are drawn from the Investment Trends February 2012 France Contracts for Difference and Foreign Exchange Report. This report was based on a survey of 7,610 French investors conducted in January and February 2012.