Under pressure.

Spread-betting companies will be one of the sectors targeted by the Financial Services Authority’s crackdown on money laundering, writes Philip Smith.

As England’s cricket team, including Mark Butcher, returned to the Ashes fray today at Trent Bridge, many will have made spread bets in the hunt for potentially high rewards.

The FSA said money launderers could target spread betting because of a lack of awareness in the sector.

In its report on tackling money laundering published this week, the FSA said the financial industry had a key role to play by making sure it helped those firms that were ‘behind the game step up a class’ in the fight against money laundering.

Other sectors at risk included independent financial advisers, online stockbrokers and credit unions, and banks.

Spread-betting companies, which are regulated by the FSA, make predictions on sporting events in the form of high and low estimates – the gap being the spread.

Investors either ‘buy’ at the top end or ‘sell’ at the bottom, with profits and losses based on the outcome.

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