Plus500’s User Acquisition Costs Jump, Interactive Brokers FX Volumes Rise

The best stories of the week included a decline of Plus500's quarterly revenue and the strong performance of Interactive Brokers'

Over the past week, the online financial trading industry saw a variety of developments including a massive decline in revenues at Plus500 as well a number of reprimands lobbied against Saxo Bank for its handling of the CHF event earlier this year.

Other noteworthy stories and developments included an exclusive interview with Leverate’s CEO Kobi Gur, Interactive Brokers’ steadfast performance of its retail FX funds in May, and the in-depth analysis of CommexFX’s murky situation.

Explaining CommexFX’s Fine

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On Tuesday,Finance Magnates explored the recent imposition of a €100,000 fine on CommexFX, as well as on its owner by the Cyprus Securities and Exchanges Commission (CySEC), having stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy.

Clients have lobbied claims that they haven’t received their withdrawals, while CySEC, not being able to take any additional action, ultimately decided to levy a fine it imposed on the broker and the company’s owner a couple of years ago. Having received a license suspension notice in mid-June, CommexFX was given a two weeks term by CySEC to repay pending withdrawal requests to its clients, which paved the way to further actions.

State of  the American Market

On Wednesday, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) released its FX retail funds for the month ending May 2015, which showed a cumulative decline of 1% MoM from April 2015.

A number of major US forex brokers saw their retail FX funds take a slide, though the time of the year, typically slower and less volatile could have a lot to do with the decline. Moreover, the Q1 2015 was unusually volatile, which is measured against a more tranquil period as of late. Ultimately, Interactive Brokers stood out as the biggest beneficiary for the month of May with a rise in client funds held at the broker totaling an 11.6% growth.

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Plus500 has Quarter to Forget

On Thursday, Plus500 reported a trading update  for Q2 2015, which revealed a substantial decline in its revenue stream QoQ from earlier this year.

More specifically, revenues at Plus500 suffered a massive drop of -45.0% QoQ from Q1 2015, coming in at just $44.9 million. Additionally, new and active customer figures also dropped, while Average User Acquisition Costs (AUAC) notched a sizable growth YoY from Q2 2014.

Leverate’s CEO Goes All-In on Technology

This week Finance Magnates also sat down with Leverate’s new CEO, Kobi Gur, who spelled out a number of interesting developments with the company, including the addressing of an IPO.

In addition, he also explained that he places an emphasis on the upcoming role technology will play on the company and industry. Indeed, “Leverate enjoyed the booming of the industry, which to a large extent it has invented,” noted Mr. Gur to Finance Magnates.

Saxo in the Clear

On Friday, it was revealed that the Danish regulator, FSA (Finanstilsynet), decided to only issue two reprimands against Saxo Bank for its handling of its fallout surrounding the Swiss National Banking (SNB) decision earlier this year. The total of complaints levied against Saxo Bank was 38, all attributable to the CHF incident from January.

The Danish watchdog did not fine the broker, however it found that among other things, Saxo Bank violated a section of the local Executive Order on Investor Protection, having failed to provide information to clients about the limitations and application of ‘dedicated liquidity’.

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