The stories that made the most impact with our readers this past week involved the actions taken by FXCM INC (NYSE:FXCM) and Pepperstone in the Japanese arena due to the evolving restrictions by the regulator, the British government’s plan to regulate binary options under the FCA, MetaQuotes’ release of the latest MT4 build and the reaction of the CEO of Admiral Markets to the firm’s losses.
Pepperstone Shuts down Japan Services as IPO Grows Imminent
On Thursday, we exclusively reported that Australia’s fastest growing and largest retail FX and CFD broker, Pepperstone Financial, will no longer accept new Japan-based clients. Peppersone’s Japanese language website will also be removed. Existing clients have been set a date of 31st of December, 2014 to unwind and close all open positions.
The move seems like part of a plan to remove all possible regulatory obstacles from the firm’s supposed plan of listing its shares with a public exchange later this year. Speaking with Forex Magnates, Pepperstone’s CEO, Owen Kerr explained, “We deem it not appropriate to provide services to Japanese clients without holding a financial services license in Japan.”
The report led to a lively debate by commenters speculating that the Australian broker plans to offload Japanese clients to a New Zealand regulated entity.
FXCM Abandons Retail CFD Trading in Japan
Two days before Pepperstone’s announcement, a somewhat related move was taken by FXCM. FXCM Japan Securities Co, a Japanese regulated financial services firm, reported to its clients that it has altered its offerings to retail investors and will no longer be servicing retail investors for CFD trading.
The latest changes come as FXCM Japan streamlines its operations. Under Japanese financial rules, retail investors are required to have separate accounts for FX, Commodities and indices. After reviewing its retail CFD business, it would appear that FXCM has decided to evolve its strategy focusing only on professional traders.
Admiral Markets Group CEO Reacts to First-Ever Net Loss
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Estonia headquartered forex broker and one of six operational companies in the Admiral Markets Group, Admiral Markets AS, has published its financial results for the first half of the year, showing a harsh performance drop in H1 2014.
Dmitri Laush, Admiral Markets Group’s CEO, discussed the results with Forex Magnates and explained that IT and infrastructure investments are to blame, but some of the commentators were not willing to accept his answers and challenged the math behind them.
UK to Ditch Gambling Regulation for Binary Options
On Monday, we broke the story that the UK government will propose a consultation for regulating binary options as financial products, removing the binary options financial betting category from the reach of the country’s Gambling Act of 2005.
According to a letter sent out by the Head of Gambling, Licensing and Lottery in the UK, Alison Pritchard, to the Commissioner and Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, the British government is addressing binary options as a financial markets derivative product stating that it is “a form of fixed-odds bets on financial markets,” and intends to propose an amendment to the Regulated Activities Order from 2001 to bring binary options in line with the “standard European practice” under FCA regulation.
MetaQuotes Focuses on Copy Trading with New MT4 Build
Last Sunday we reported that the Russian developer released the latest update to its MT4 trading platform, Build 710, featuring better trading signals visuals, blogs with “rumors about companies,” a new exposure tab and several bug fixes and updates to problems that were found in various aspects of the MT4 platform.
The most interesting update, from the point of view of the forex technology industry, is MT4’s built-in trading signals service. The display of signals has been completely redesigned, with new features added, and the design and usability of the signals service have improved, according to MetaQuotes.
The news elicited one reader’s comment: “Funny world, year ago, MQ tried to kill Tradency and Zulu without success, now they are copying them…”