The Australian Securities and Exchange Commission (ASIC) today added the binary options broker Titantrade to its list of companies not to do business with, according to an ASIC advisory issued today.
Titantrade, which operates through SpotOption platform, is the latest entity to be added to the ASIC warning list and follows a growing number of recent complaints regarding binary option firms.
ASIC explained that the brand ‘Titantrade’, doing business through the website www.titantrade.com, operates a binary options website that offers related trading services, but doesn’t hold the appropriate licenses or authorization to do so in Australia.
Any entity that deals in, or provides advice about, binary options to Australian investors must hold an Australian financial services (AFS) licence, or be authorised by an AFS licensee.
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A brief review of the broker website reveals that Titantrade lists its headquarter address in Belize, and in the ‘Contact Us’ section it makes reference to other global contacts including the United Kingdom, Russia, Australia, South Africa and Spain. However, the company didn’t claim any specific regulatory status in these jurisdictions.
Like a chameleon
An interesting point is that the previous warnings included references to other companies associated with Titantrade’s website, Titan Trade Capital Limited and Dom Technology Services Ltd. However, the website doesn’t hint at any connection with these entities any more. Further investigation reveals that it also changed its payment service provider from MHGG Tech Solutions Limited Business Centre (ASIC advised that this company could be involved in a scam when it was operating as NRGBinary) to the current Titan Trade Solutions Ltd. Also, the company changed its address from the Seychelles to Belize. What is more, this important info isn’t displayed in a text format but through images instead, so that it can be changed later without being tracked with hidden cache versions of the website.
This is not the first time that Titan Trade has sparked regulatory concerns. Earlier in April, Italian financial watchdog CONSOB red-flagged the binary options broker. Moreover, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) issued a warning that Titan Trade is not authorised in March 2015, and the same action was taken by France’s financial market regulator (AMF) in September 2015 when it included Titan Trade in its periodically updated list of unregulated binary options providers. And in the same month, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) included Titan Trade in its RED List.
Not just a warning
With complaints from clients still pouring in, ASIC decided on 26 July 2016 to take legal action against Titan Trade in the Federal Court to restrain its operators from carrying on a financial services business whilst unlicensed. ThecCourt made orders prohibiting the operators of the website and other associated persons and entities from issuing financial products, including binary options trading, advertising or promoting its products, and operating the website in Australia.
The court’s orders have been extended until 16 November 2016, while ASIC continues to investigate the website, and persons and entities, including the Australian marketing agency Allianz Metro Pty Ltd., which was reasonable for promoting Titan Trade in the country.