The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) today announced it has continued the suspension of the CIF license held by AFX Capital Markets Ltd, the Cypriot arm of AFX Markets Ltd. This extended suspension also applies to AFX-owned subsidiary STO, which uses the same authorization (DI87-05).
CySEC said it would shortly begin a formal investigation into the alleged violations of its regulations concerning the safety of the broker’s client funds.
CySEC official statement to the public reads: “The Withdrawal and Suspension of Authorisation as there are suspicions of an alleged violation of section 22(1) of the Law due to the AFX’s possible non-compliance with the authorisation condition in section 17(9) (organisational requirements) of the Law at all times, as specified in paragraphs 4, 6 and 9 of Directive DI87-01, regarding the protection of the clients’ funds.”
The process involves the CySEC inviting clients to the claims portal for them to enter the necessary details and state their complaints against AFX. The watchdog also identified AFX’s lack of necessary safeguard procedures to protect client assets and raised concerns about its ability to hold sufficient funds in its coffers to settle obligations.
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Regulatory woes on all fronts
AFX’s collapse was also expected as it had problems earlier with its UK operations. In August, the British watchdog confirmed the appointment of special administrators at the AFX Markets, which was ordered to cease its trading activities after the FCA found serious problems in its operations.
A month earlier, the CySEC has temporarily suspended AFX Capital Markets Ltd, which was also fined by the Cypriot regulator in 2017 after they broke another law regarding misleading information.
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 were transferred to close-only mode.
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. Since then, the group has maintained an active emphasis on an MT4 offering for foreign exchange, contracts-for-difference (CFDs), and spread betting services.