Grab your metaphorical guns lads; it’s unregulated broker huntin’ time. At least that’s the impression one gets looking at the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) website this fine Tuesday morning.
The small island regulator has added a mix of unregulated foreign exchange and cryptocurrency brokers as well as a set of firms offering related products.
Like almost every other unregulated broker that has managed to inject itself on to our great world wide web, all of these companies have boring, copy-and-paste style WordPress themes.
And, even less surprisingly, none of them provide any sort of meaningful information that might enable a user to identify senior executives in charge of operations.
MFSA – fixing the problem
One site, Cryptoiberian, does have a set of ‘testimonials’ complete with names and photographs. Out of curiosity, the author Google searched the first image that crops up.
Named Roberto Fernandez on the broker’s website, it appears the man is really named Roberto Asaf and that he is a minor politician somewhere in Mexico.
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Another man is listed as an accountant named Vincente Diaz. His name is indeed Vincente Diaz, but he is an obscure singer from the Asturia region of Northern Spain.
Some of the companies list addresses in the UK and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Past experience, however, would indicate to this author that none of them have offices in either of these two countries.
For instance, last August, this author happened to be close by to an unregulated firm that said it had an office in London. The author went to said office and found….nothing. No company was there. Just a dumpy looking lady who wanted to get home on a Friday afternoon.
Similarly, just last month, Ukrainian police arrested the operators of Trade12 and HQBrokers. The company had claimed that it was operating out of the Marshall Islands but really had its base of operations in Kyiv.
Will the MSFA’s warning serve to prevent more of these companies from opening? Sadly not, Finance Magnates reader, sadly not.