UK brokerage firm AFX Markets Limited has entered special administration after the Financial Conduct Authority identified serious concerns following the lapse of its Cypriot license. The broker failed after the FCA ordered it to stop trading activities, and blocked it from selling its own assets or its clients’.
Today (August 27), the High Court of Justice of England and Wales appointed insolvency practitioners from CG Recovery Limited as special administrators of AFX Markets, with the FCA confirming the application was made to protect the interests of the customers.
The FCA also stopped AFX Markets, which is still authorized by the regulator, from disposing of its own or its clients’ assets and an investigation is ongoing. The regulator added that the FX broker has agreed to cease all regulated business except for “the purpose of closing trading positions, and freezing all its assets.”
The FCA explains that in the event that clients are short-changed, claims may fall on the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The lifeboat scheme could cover assets and client money shortfalls for eligible customers if the administrators found the company did not have sufficient funds, up to its compensation limit of £85,000.
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AFX Capital loses two licenses
The regulator also clarified that AFX Capital is still authorized by the FCA and remains subject to its oversight rules. After assessing if the business would be wound down, AFX Capital may enter insolvency under the Special Administration regime, which was bought in 2011 to solve failures at firms covered by the FCA’s Client Asset Sourcebook rules.
Last month, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) has temporarily suspended AFX Capital Markets Ltd, the Cypriot arm of AFX Markets Ltd. Nearly two weeks after CySEC’s decision, the group’s UK arm has lost its FCA licence, as Finance Magnates reported earlier in August.
AFX Group is the second-largest European subsidiary of AFX Markets, and according to reports it submitted to the FCA, some 1200 client accounts that hold assets worth £7.5 million will be transferred to close-only mode. The group has maintained an active emphasis on an MT4 offering for foreign exchange, contracts-for-difference (CFDs), and spread betting services.
In 2016, the boutique financial investment firm consolidated a range of its products under two brands including its Quantic and STO offerings, part of its overall brand structure.