This Monday the Commissione Nazionale per le Societa e la Borsa (CONSOB), the Italian securities market regulator, issued a bulletin warning against trading with Platinums Trade. The regulator issued the warning after finding that the FX broker had contravened a number of Italian laws pertaining to financial markets.
Platinums Trade allows users to trade in FX and contracts for differences (CDFs) via the MetaTrader 4 platform. The site purports to offer various account types for traders that offer different benefits depending on how much cash you deposit.
Significantly for CONSOB, when one visits the site, the default language is Italian. Although one can change the language, this default setting suggests that the company is trying to reach an Italian audience. That this is the case seems almost certain as CONSOB also noted the firm had been cold calling Italians and asking them to start using the service.
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Time to shut down
All of this is problematic as according to Italian law, only authorized banks and investment services firms are allowed to provide investment services. As such, CONSOB can either warn the public against using those services or even order the organization to shut down.
The Italian regulator appears to have pursued the latter option and has asked the site to shut down. How easy this will be, remains to be seen. Platinums Trade has an address in Romania and one that is almost certainly fake in the UK.
The firm is owned by Pro Speed Tech, a company registered in the UK at a bogus address. Its one director, Claudia Priboi, is a Romanian citizen who also lives in Romania. Beyond this, it is difficult to find any information pertaining to the company.
Given the difficulties involved with tracking down the people responsible for the firm, it is hard to see what effective measures CONSOB can take. The case illustrates the difficulties regulators face when trying to counter unregulated firms such as Platinums Trade.