Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), the country’s main financial services watchdog, today issued its second warning in a week, adding a further four entities to its Alert List after it came to light that they were offering their services to the public without having the proper authorisation to do so.
Asian Mercantile Exchange
Asian Mercantile Exchange is the first company to come under scrutiny by the watchdog for promoting its trading services without a licence. According to its website, the company, which operates online via www.asianmex.org, offers a “cost-efficient and compliant route to market for derivatives and commodities” trading products. Its address is listed as 83-86 Floors, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong but it is not actually located there.
The brokerage uses a bank account in Hong Kong in the name of Centric Ltd for settlement and is apparently associated with Fujitsu Global, another unlicensed entity on the Alert List.
Fujitsu Global offers a range of trading services including futures, options, forex and commodities. It operates online via www.fujitsu-global.com and is located at 28-30th Floor Nakanoshima Dai Building, Nakanoshima Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0005, Japan and at 40 Wall Street, New York City, New York, US.
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As already noted, this firm uses a bank account in Hong Kong in the name of Centric Ltd for settlement and is associated with unlicensed Asian Mercantile Exchange.
Next on the list is binary options firm ICOption which trades online via www.icoption.com and is located at Hansa Bank Building, 1st Floor, Landsome Road, the Valley, Anguilla. Once again, this company has been using a bank account in Hong Kong in the name of Hong Fong Trade Ltd for settlement but is not authorised as a licensed entity, nor does it provide any confirmation that it falls under the jurisdiction of any of the other global regulators.
Zhuo Yi Fortune Group
The last firm to be flagged as an unlicensed entity is online brokerage Zhuo Fortune Group, operating via www.zygold.com. According to its website it is “a diversified business group with a wide range of core businesses including financial services and real estate”. The company is located at 25/F and 29/F, One International Finance Centre, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong, but it is not located there.
Hong Kong’s financial watchdog plays a key role in informing investors about potential scams by drawing attention to illicit operations and unregulated entities that market participants should refrain from doing business with.
In conjunction with today’s additions, SFC has also taken the opportunity to warn in its statement that unlicensed entities often use names similar to legitimate companies to confuse investors, and while a firm’s website may reveal what appears to be a legitimate financial services outfit, ambiguities relating to the firm’s address and bank account details often raise concerns.
As these factors were a feature of today’s warnings, the SFC has taken action in order to protect any potential investors falling into unscrupulous hands.