Seán Quinn: lost €2.5bn on CFDs

They are the controversial financial products most famously used by businessman Seán Quinn to rack up an estimated €2.5bn in losses on his shares in Anglo Irish Bank.

But despite concerns about the significant losses investors can suffer from contracts for difference (CFDs), bookmaker Paddy Power last week launched CFD trading for its retail clients.

The service has a minimum deposit of just €10, with trading available with "just one click of your mouse".

Launching the service, the company said the move was in response to "client demand", adding that it saw "more and more people looking for sophisticated financial trading products like CFDs and financial spread-betting in the retail space than ever before".

Asked if the company was aware of the concerns surrounding CFDs, Paddy Power spokesman Davin McAnaney said its typical client "is the ordinary person who has a view on the market, whether it is on a currency pair, an index, a share or a commodity".

"It is open to anyone to apply for but accounts are subject to status, so not every account can be opened." he said.

"We place stop losses on every trade that is placed with us via a CFD or spread-betting account. We will be implementing guaranteed stops to further minimise client risk.

"The key to our offering is educating our client base so that they get a basic grounding in the markets before trading. Paddy Power Trader runs regular webinars and seminars to explain how the markets work and what clients need to look out for."

But Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan told the Sunday Tribune he was concerned about the development and suggested that it should be examined by Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield.

"It is almost a symbol of this country that the bookies are finally catching up on the stock market," he said. "Paddy Power and other bookies frequently come up with eyecatching publicity stunts. This may be for publicity pur­poses… but if it is for real, then the regulator should have a look at it."