Those young enough to remember the video game Call of Duty: World at War will also recall, with great affection, Nazi Zombies. For any of our readers who did not while away their youth pretending to be World War II soldiers, the Nazi Zombie game, as its name implies, pitted players against ever-increasing waves of dead German soldiers. Unlike most games, there was no ‘winning’ in a Nazi Zombie match – the player would just have to keep shooting until he or she was eventually killed by the hordes of mummified Nazis.
Now I know what your thinking – what the hell are you talking about? Well, bare with me as I make the following analogy. Unregulated brokers are much like the waves of Nazi zombies, and financial authorities are akin to the soldiers trying to kill them. Regulators can keep adding dodgy brokers to their warning lists but, try as they might, the scammers just keep coming. You can kill ten Nazi zombie brokers, but another hundred will soon be walking, at a bovine pace and with lupine malignancy, towards unsuspecting members of the public.
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FCA and the Marshall Islands Scammers
Proof of this came on Wednesday. The Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s finest regulator, added nine firms to its warning list. This, by the by, is not exceptional. On average, the FCA, as with other European regulators, adds more than one suspected scam broker or firm to its warning page every single day. And on Wednesday’s list, we have, amongst other firms, Pro X Finance, Tradex Options, and Frontex Group Ltd.
The first of these is representative of the other eight that were added to the warning list. It offers, absolutely unsurprisingly, foreign exchange and contracts for difference trading. Also unsurprising is its purported base of operations – the Marshall Islands. Coincidentally, one firm, which claimed to be operating in the Marshall Islands, was raided this week in Ukraine. The alleged criminals, who ran Trade12 and HQBrokers, controlled a huge operation, with offices in six different locations across the east European country.
Given that the firms added to the FCA’s list are likely in a similar country, whether it be Ukraine, Albania or Georgia, there is almost nothing the regulator can do to stop them. At least in Call of Duty you could shoot some of the Nazi zombies to death or cut their head off with a hunting knife, the FCA can only add brokers to a warning list that is likely to have little to no effect. Sigh. It’s all so tiresome.