Scam Artists? FCA Issues Warning Against FX and Binary Options Brokers

The British regulator warns against trading with SolidCFD, StratX, Options Stars Global and XFR Financial

Another day, another set of unregulated brokers for you to keep well away from. Today’s list comes courtesy of the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The British regulatory authority posted a list of unregulated companies this Monday that includes retail binary options and forex brokers.

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Based around the globe in renowned financial hubs, such as Samoa, Vanuatu, and the Marshall Islands, these firms offer a variety of services but, surprisingly, provide little indication as to who they are or who operates them.

SolidCFD

The first company on today’s list is SolidCFD. The CFD and forex broker is owned by LOK marketing Ltd. – a company based in the small island-nation of Vanuatu. SolidCFD appears to be paving the way for forex brokers in the country, whose largest exports are frozen fish (excluding fillets) and special floating structures.

The company also has two other offices listed on its website. One is under MGNC Marketing Ltd. and is based in Cyprus. A quick google search indicates that people claiming to operate from this office have been attempting to provide unauthorized financial services through cold calling.

Another address is listed as being in West London. A list of companies operating at this address, however, seems to show that no company related to SolidCFD is based there. Fear not, because if you are in the neighborhood, you can still pay a visit to HSCOM Ltd. The company shares the same UK address as SolidCFD and is the owner of Rbinary – another unregulated broker that has popped up on different regulators’ warning lists.

Beyond the address listed on their website, no company is registered in the UK under SolidCFD, LOK marketing or MGNC Marketing. This suggests that the company is unlikely to have any physical presence in the UK, even if their website suggests otherwise.

Reviews of the website offer up a litany of negative feedback. Users report being unable to withdraw funds, pushy salesmen, and communication blackouts when requests for withdrawals are made.

This author’s advice? Stay away from SolidCFD.

Options Stars Global

Another emerging market trailblazer, Options Stars Global (OSG) is registered on the Polynesian island of Samoa – a country more renowned for rugby players and coconut cream exports than its binary options brokers.

As with SolidCFD, OSG claims to have a base of operations in Cyprus. Reviewers of the site say the firm’s salesmen claim to have authorization from the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), but this appears to be false.

The firm also lists a UK phone number on its website but does not appear to have any base of operations in the country. The purpose of this is almost certainly to give the impression the country has an office in the UK when it doesn’t.

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Users of the website report an inability to withdraw funds, threatening salesmen, and pushy brokers who tempt traders into depositing more cash into their accounts. The company has done so badly they even have a Facebook page against them.

Finance Magnates contacted an OSG employee for comment but, shockingly, no reply was forthcoming. This author advises you never to trade binary options with a company based in Samoa – stick to watching them play rugby or buy some of their coconuts.

XFR Financial

With an extremely bad website, XFR Financial is perhaps the least convincing of the (possible) scams the FCA warned of in today’s release.

The company’s website is littered with spelling mistakes and bizarre explanations of its services. There are even a series of fake awards, including ‘Brand of the Year,’ listed on the broker’s homepage. All of this meant the author struggled to believe XFR offers “the best or nothing” to its clients.

Interestingly, the company does not appear to have any registered office. XFR has a UK office, but it is clear that no one works there. The firm’s website also lists a French telephone number but does not provide an address in the country.

Another firm, XTrade Europe Ltd, was previously known as XFR Financial Ltd. Whether there is any connection between XTrade, which was included on a number of regulator’s warning lists despite having CySEC approval, and the XFR Financial mentioned by the FCA today is unclear.

In 2016, a company was registered in the UK called XFR Financial Ltd, but it was dissolved a year later. Again, it is difficult to ascertain if there is any connection between this company and the warning issued today by the FCA.

Unlike its competitors SolidCFD and OSG, XFR does not have a solid set of user reviews – unless you include the ones on its website that read as though they were written by the same person. That being said, the small number that do exist suggest the site is a scam.

StratX Markets

The last broker on our list today is StratX Markets. You will be shocked to hear, dear reader, that no response was given when the author requested a comment from the company for this piece.

Breaking away from the saturated European market and the bustling East-Asian industry, StratX decided to register its business in the Marshall Islands.

The company also has a trading office in North London. This address is also used by a company that allows other companies to register their business under their address – suggesting that StratX has no employees at its listed address.

Reviews of the company suggest you would be better off spending your money on some frozen fish from Vanuatu. Customers complain that the site is nothing but a scam. Some former customers even claimed StratX employees operate another company, calling people who have lost their money and saying they will help get it back. There is a catch of course before they get your cash back you have to give them some more of your money first. Stay away!

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