Exclusive: ILQ Dropping its Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer License, Trades Will Be Liquidated

Institutional Liquidity LLC is discontinuing its RFED license and asking clients to withdraw by April 11, 2014, after-which it will

ILQInstitutional Liquidity LLC (ILQ), the CFTC-registered Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer (RFED) member FCM regulated with the NFA, is discontinuing its business as an RFED, and provided this notice dated April 4th. This is a breaking development, according to verified copies of an email transcript that was sent to clients around at 4:45 pm EST today, barely over an hour ago – from time of initial publication by Forex Magnates.

According to sources close to the matter, an internal memo to ILQ staff informed that the email was planned to go out next Monday but caught people by surprise when it was sent out instead today.

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It’s possible that either the NFA or CFTC required the notice be sent out earlier rather then holding off until next week since the firm knowingly plans to discontinue the license that allows it to hold customer funds, thus in order to provide clients more time to withdraw or move their accounts to another RFED.

Since the firm is almost entirely B2B, dealing with IBs, white-labels, or other intermediaries, those brokerages are apparently scrambling to contact their clients and help support a hopefully smooth transition of their accounts either to another broker (if possible) or in the form of a return of funds back to the clients.

A copy of the email transcript read as follows:

April 4, 2014 

NOTICE OF LIQUIDATION OF OPEN FOREX POSITIONS ON April 16, 2014 

 Dear Valued Customer: 

             Please take notice that Institutional Liquidity LLC (“ILQ”) is discontinuing its business as a retail forex exchange dealer (“RFED”). Therefore, ILQ is providing notice to you of the following:

  •  As of Friday April 11, 2014 at 5:00pm EDT, ILQ will no longer accept orders which initiate new positions. You will be able to close open positions in your account until 3:00pm EDT on April 16, 2014.
  • On Wednesday April 16, 2014 at 3:00pm EDT, ILQ will liquidate all open positions in your account at the prevailing market rate. 

 Any funds remaining in your account after the liquidation of open positions on April 16, 2014 at 3:00pm EDT will be returned to you. You should provide withdrawal instructions to ILQ on or before April 16, 2014 indicating the method with which you would like to receive the remaining funds in your account. No wire fees or transfer fees will apply to withdrawals requested or processed following the issuance of this notice. 

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 If funds remain in your account after April 16, 2014 and ILQ has not received withdrawal instructions from you, ILQ will attempt to contact you via phone and/or Email to coordinate the final withdrawal of your funds. 

To facilitate a timely and orderly liquidation of your positions and return of your funds, ILQ encourages you to close all positions and provide ILQ withdrawal instructions prior to April 11, 2014. 

Withdrawal requests can be provided to ILQ by logging into your portal and following the instructions under the “Banking” tab. You may also contact ILQ’s Client Support Team via Email (support@ilq.com) or phone (1-800-619-5007) to facilitate your withdrawal request. 

 We would like to thank you for being an ILQ customer. If you have any questions, comments, or requests about any of the information contained in this notice, please contact ILQ’s Director of Client Support, Chris Moon, via Email (chris.moon@ilq.com) or phone (616-691-5600).

Very truly yours,                                                                                                                                                      Institutional Liquidity, LLC 

Forex Magnates reporters tried to contact ILQ for comments but the firm appears to already be closed for business due to its operating hours ending on Friday 5pm. The news follows the stance the company took against the NFA as reported by Forex Magnates weeks ago, after the NFA had filed a complaint against ILQ. This post may be updated, following publication as new information emerges.

While its not clear why ILQ has made this shift in its plans, the U.S. market for Forex has not been an easy place for even some of the worlds largest brokerages, such as Alpari after its recent exit, where it moved clients to FXCM,  as well as when City Index exited its US presence by selling FX Solutions to Gain Capital.

However, considering the ongoing regulatory scrutiny from prior months, putting pressure on ILQ, its possible that any deal proposed for it to become an IB and shift the business elsewhere may have not been possible.

Actually, around time of publication, Forex Magnates received information that ILQ is allowing customers to transfer their funds to another broker at no cost, and how the reason the firm didn’t sell its business to another Forex Dealer Member is so that its existing IBs could decide where to best direct their clients, and how this was a reason for the firm not selling its entire book of clients to a single broker, as compared to the above examples.

Nonetheless, brokers may be lurking to be the beneficiaries of any new found business as a result of the exodus of accounts from ILQ, and considering the firms IB model, many IB agreements to move accounts or re-introduce them may be already underway.

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