Scams within the foreign exchange (forex) industry continue to be the thorn in regulator’s sides. This Thursday, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has updated its warning list to include a new suspicious website.
The blacklisted website is www.merrillfx.com, which belongs to an entity called Merrill Wealth. On the website, it claims to offer forex trading through its MetaTrader 4 platform, which can be accessed via desktop or online.
“The website is not associated with Merrill Lynch Far East Limited and Merrill Lynch (Asia Pacific) Limited, which are SFC-licensed corporations,” the Hong Kong regulator says in its warning.
Is Merrill Wealth a clone firm?
Whether Merrill Wealth is a clone firm is not clear. The entity states that it has companies in Australia, Hong Kong, and Vanuatu. It also claims to have a license from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
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When searching through ASIC Connect, which allows consumers to search for registered companies, information about a company with the name of Merrill Wealth does not appear. Furthermore, the entity states that it is actively applying for Vanuatu’s financial regulatory license.
“Merrill Wealth, referred to as MW, is an international financial services company that develops and markets excellent and easy-to-use trading software for online investors and major commercial organizations,” the website states.
“Through MW, individual investors are able to enjoy fair and transparent quotations from global foreign exchange market leaders and quality trading execution. We also provide you with professional charts, expert market reviews, advanced trading tools, and a wealth of learning resources.”
As the name suggests, clone firms are fraudulent entities which copy details of a legitimate firm, such as their name, website, address, registration details, etc. Some even go to the lengths of completely copying a firm – from their website, to brand, in order to trick investors into thinking that they are the actual legitimate firm.
Clone firms are a big problem in the foreign exchange (forex) and cryptocurrency sectors. As Finance Magnates has reported, Tickmill, Dukascopy Bank and broker-dealer ICAP, among others, have all been targeted by clone firms.