'Armada Markets' Set to Leave Polish Market under a Cloud of Suspicion

In a further sign of regulatory arbitrage, an unregulated Estonian broker leaves the Polish market to "launch a new company

ARMADA

Armada Markets, an Estonian-based broker offering margin foreign exchange trading services, today sent a letter to all of its clients based in Poland, informing them that the company will no longer be offering services to Polish clients as of October 10th, 2014.

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Earlier this year in March, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) announced that ‘Armada Markets AS’ had been added to their list of unauthorized firms. The Polish regulator effectively banned Armada from operating in Poland and offering financial services to Polish residents.

The move was in addition to the Estonian Financial Supervisory Authority (Finantsinspektsioon) publishing a public warning regarding Armada Markets in September 2012, stating that the firm is not regulated in Estonia.

The Mattus Brothers, CFO Illimar (left) and CEO Ingmar (right)

Today’s letter to customers claims that Armada is “in preparation for the extension of our business … to launch a new company providing a wider range of services, temporarily suspending managing accounts for clients in Poland.” Customers have also been told to close all positions and submit withdrawal forms by close of business on October 10th, 2014.

According to ‘Comparic’, an online Polish news vendor, it is widely rumoured that Armada has been operating illegally in their dealings with Polish customers. Comparic also reports that the KNF notified the Polish public prosecutor of their “suspicions that Armada was committing crimes” and that “Armada customers may be called as witnesses to aid the prosecutor’s case.”

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On Armada’s website, the company’s CFO, Illimar Mattus, is quoted as saying: “There are over 1,000 brokers in the world. Armada is constantly ranked among top 5 brokers when it comes to low trading costs, tight spreads, deep liquidity and execution quality. This is our way of respecting our clients.”

Whether or not the ongoing vigilance over Armada by the KNF has influenced Armada’s decision to officially exit the Polish market is unclear. Regardless of what actions the KNF takes, it seems Armada is re-branding and re-opening for business in the near future.


Update

In a written statement, the Armada Markets CEO, Ingmar Mattus said:

“Armada Markets is operating based on the spot forex and metals brokerage registrations by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Estonia. Armada Markets is not a subject of any investigation and we are not accused of anything in Estonia, Poland or elsewhere. We have never had  a physical office in Poland and we stopped accepting new clients from Poland already in April 2014. Our decision to discontinue servicing existing Polish clients is due to our progress in launching a new regulated subsidiary with new and improved services. So, over the course of the coming weeks our clients will see many new positive developments coming from us.”


 

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